IELTS podcast

If you have a rock solid essay plan, staring at blank pages becomes a thing of the past. 

 

A rock solid essay plan will make sure you get full points for task response.

 

HOW DO YOU WRITE AN ESSAY PLAN?

 

 

100% Task Response Technique

 

STEP 1. Analyse the Question.

Should museums and art galleries be free of charge for the general public, or should a charge, even a voluntary charge, be levied for admittance?

 

Discuss this issue, and give your opinion.

 

STEP 2. Separate the question to form P1 and P2.

 

Should museums and art galleries be free of charge for the general public,or should a charge, even a voluntary charge, be levied for admittance? Discuss this issue, and give your opinion.

 

STEP 3. Generate notes / argument around the question (your opinion, to what extent, discuss).

 

Introduction. Look at both sides, and conclude with a firm opinion in favour of free entry.

 

Paragraph 1+ Example.

Should museums and art galleries be free of charge for the general public…

Yes they should – helps educate society, equal access for everyone,

+ Example. City of Arts and Sciences, – local museum – free entry – so school children go…

 

Paragraph 2 + Example.

…or should a charge, even a voluntary charge, be levied for admittance?

Charging the visitors may raise additional funds which could help future exhibitions and contribute toward the upkeep of the institution. However, unless the price was high the amount would be negligible in relation to the costs. An expensive entry fee would also deter visitors making future exhibitions questionable. For example: the cost of taking a school group to a museum would be unacceptable and the children would suffer.

 

Conclusion

 

..summary + give your opinion.

 

Listen to the Podcast here:

 
Click to read transcript

You are now listening to the IELTS Podcast. Learn from tutors and ex-examiners who are masters of IELTS.

Ben: Hi there, everyone. I hope everything’s going good. I hope you’re studying well and studying hard. Today, we’re going to look at a fundamental point. I want to look at your essay planning, specifically for Task 2. The reason I’m saying this is fundamental because if you get this wrong or if you’re crazy and you just skip this stage, then you’re setting yourself up for big mistakes, okay?

Now, when you are practicing your essays, don’t worry if you’re taking more than 40 minutes. This is perfectly normal. Don’t be disappointed, but start recording the time that it takes you, and bear in mind that near the exam, you will have to start writing them within a shorter time limit, okay? But when you’re starting, don’t worry if it takes all week. Don’t worry about it, and just concentrate on the accuracy, getting some good vocabulary in there, getting it checked, and remember to experiment as well with vocabulary, okay?

Now, going back to the topic of essay planning, what we’re going to look at is called a technique: 100% Task Response Technique. Now, basically, for most of your essays, I would recommend you have the introduction, paragraph one plus example, paragraph plus example, then your conclusion; four-paragraph essay. That’s the standard.

Now, in further detail, we’re going to look at how write the introduction in another podcast, but for now, we’ve got these four paragraphs. Once you have paragraph one and paragraph two, once you know what you’re going to do in these two paragraphs, the introduction and the conclusion are easy. So that’s why we’re just going to concentrate on P1, P2.

The easiest way to describe this is with a natural question. By the way, you can go to the site. Get the PDF for this podcast, and you can see the question, and it’s a lot easier because parts of the questions, I’ve got different colours, and it’s all separated; it’s all written out, and it’s a lot easier to follow. Anyway, here’s the first question: Should museums and art galleries be free of charge for the general public or should a charge, even a voluntary charge be levied for admittance? Discuss this issue and give your opinion. I’ll say it again: Should museums and art galleries be free of charge for the general public, or should a charge, even a voluntary charge be levied for admittance? Discuss this issue and give your opinion.

So as I said before, we don’t have to worry about the introduction. We don’t have to worry about the conclusion. Let’s just jump in for our plan. What are we going to do for P1? In my notes, I usually put P1 plus example, just to remind myself I’ve got to put the example in there.

For my first paragraph, I’m going to go directly from the question and I’ll pull it directly from the question, and basically, I would underline the first parts of the question, which is, “Should museums and art galleries be free of charge for the general public?” That, for me, is paragraph one. And because it also says discuss the issue and give your opinion, of course I will talk about this sentence at length, saying if there are some advantages or saying if there are disadvantages, depending on the opinion I’m going to give. Let’s just say that I agree that they should be free of charge. That’s the opinion I’m going to take.

So P1, the first parts of the paragraphs – the first parts of the sentence, the question, “Should museums or art galleries be free?” Yes they should because it helps educate society. It guarantees equal access for everybody. For example, in Valencia, the Museum City of Arts and Sciences offers free entry for everyone. This greatly benefits the society, the general public, and especially school children. School children can go in groups, and the cost is near zero, okay? Paragraph one with a strong example there.

Paragraph two, I would use the second parts of the question as the basis of my essay. “Should the charge, even a voluntary charge be levied for admittance?” So I’m using the second parts of the question and remembering that the question asked me to discuss. Now, in the exam, I would have circled and underlined the part where it said “discuss”, okay? Because that’s important, and the part which says give my opinion.

So for the second sentence, it says, “Should a charge, even a voluntary charge be levied?” I will acknowledge it and say, “Charging the visitors may raise additional funds, which could help future exhibitions and contribute toward the upkeep of the institution.” So I acknowledge the sentence, and then I say, “However, unless the price was high, the amount would be negligible in relation to the costs, and expense of entry fee would also deter visitors,” and then I will talk that it would be unacceptable for low-income people. “It would be difficult for low-income people or especially young school children to go and they would suffer. Therefore, the admittance fee would fail for the two reasons, and it would definitely not be advisable.”

And then we’ve got the conclusion. So as you can see for the plan, we’ve got the intro, P1, P2, and then the conclusion. As I said before, we’re going to look at the introduction later, but the most important thing, you pick up the main points in P1 and P2. This is where the lion’s share of the points are. This is where your cohesion comes in, your comprehension – the coherence, sorry. This is where it all comes in.

So let’s have a look at the next question: “As English is now the world language and an essential skill in business, English language instruction should begin in kindergarten. To what extent do you agree or disagree? Present your ideas and opinions with examples where necessary.”

Once again, introduction, P1 plus example, P2 plus example, conclusion, okay? Those are my four paragraphs. The introduction will take care of itself. We’re going to do a podcast about that. It’s not that difficult. The conclusion, more or less, is going to be similar to the introduction. Similar, but not the same. So we’re going to back to P1, P2: the lion’s share of the point.

Now, paragraph one, we’re going to focus on the first part of the question of the statement. “As English is now the world language and an essential skill in business,” this is the basis of our first paragraph. However, we just cannot talk about English and globalization. We do need to relate it back to the kindergarten, “Learning at a young age,” and whether we agree or disagree, and of course, include the examples.

So using this as the basis, what we’ll do is, we’ve got, “As English is now the world language,” we could say that, “Yes it is the world language, and it is a basic standard requirement in business,” okay? We’re going to say that, “A worker’s level must be more than sufficient due to the consequences involved if errors are made.” This way, we’ll link in the actual first sentence, “World language, essential skill for business,” with the ability of the language, and we’re going to argue in the second one that the ability – higher ability is best obtained when learning at a younger age.

Anyway, going back to the first paragraph, we’re talking about world language, essential skill in business. “Competency in the language is necessary because there can be serious consequences. For example, if a buyer orders incorrect amounts due to misunderstanding, the company may suffer an economic loss. To avoid this situation, a solid understanding of English would be necessary. The best time to obtain this understanding is to start preferably at a young age.” So we get the first part of the question, we link it to the second part of the question, we put our opinion, we put the example in, okay?

Now, for the second paragraph, we’re going to focus on the second part of the question: “English language instruction should begin in kindergarten.” This is easier. It’s a bit more obvious. We can talk about we agree because children learn easier when they’re younger, they have a natural feel for the language, and the more experienced they get with the language, the more competent they are. “For example, in Scandinavia or in Sweden, specifically, children start at an extremely young age, around three years old, and they start by listening to songs, and this makes the whole process much less painful, and takes advantage of the free time children naturally have when they are younger,” okay? Something like that, all right?

A nice, solid example there of Sweden. Everybody knows the Swedes or the Dutch or the Germans are good with English. The reason is they start at a young age. A good solid example, then, we go on to the conclusion, which is a brief summary of paragraph one, brief summary of paragraph two, and we’re done, and band 9.

Okay, very good. Now, essay number three. Okay, we’re going to do exactly the same for number three. Here it is. “Many people say that the only way to guarantee a good job is to complete a course in university. Others claim that it is better to start work after school and gain experience in the world of work.” Very simple, this one. Paragraph one, we’re going to talk about formal education, university. Paragraph two, we’re going to talk about practical experience in the world of work, okay? Simple. Take the first part of the question, paragraph one. Second part, paragraph two. Of course, while we’re doing this, we are paying constant attention to, “How far do you agree or disagree with the above views? Give reasons for your answers and any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience,” okay? It’s basically just saying, “Give me examples. Do you agree or disagree?” That’s all it’s saying, okay?

Now, a possible argument for this, we’re going to talk about formal education. We’re going to talk about, “Formal education is necessary for some jobs such as doctors or architects, which have very severe consequences if the job is performed badly. Maybe houses will fall down or people’s lives are in danger if the doctor isn’t sufficiently trained. So therefore, formal education is necessary. For this reason, the GMAT exam exists to ensure competency.” That’s the example, all right? “For example, GMAT enforces proficiency, blah-blah-blah,” okay?

Paragraph two, totally relate it to the question. We’re going to use the question in the paragraph. Try to avoid repeating the same vocabulary as in the actual question statement. Look for alternatives. However, paragraph two, “Other professions don’t need a formal education and may benefit from real direct practice,” okay?

So what sprang to mind for me would be footballers – professional footballers. A professional footballer, Wayne Rooney, in university, okay? What I’m trying to say is that for some professions, formal academic education is not necessary, okay? And from the question, we’ve managed to get paragraph one and paragraph two. We’re going to get full points for task response because we are pulling the whole content from the actual question. We’re not adding anything. Not that much. We’re just adding the examples. We’re adding our reasons, but the basis of the essay is going to be from the question, which is perfect. Then, of course, we’ve got the conclusion and the introduction, which like we said before are almost similar. We’re going to look at introductions in the next one, so don’t worry about that.

Next question: “Long-distance flight consumes natural resources and pollutes the air. Some people think it should be banned. To what extent do you agree or disagree?” This one’s a little bit trickier. We’re still going to use the same structure: paragraph one, we’re going to talk about natural resources, and paragraph two, we’re talking about, “Should it be banned?” However, we cannot just talk about natural resources and pollution, because that’s obvious, okay? We’re not answering the question, because it’s obvious. That happens, and it’s blatant. Everybody knows. What we’re going to talk about is, if the natural resources justify it being banned, okay? Then in the second paragraph, we’re going to talk about the ban, specifically, and that the ban would be impractical, okay?

So for paragraph one, I talk about natural resources, that it’s not that – we cannot ban it because it would be impractical – no. Sorry I made a mistake. We talk about natural resources. We would acknowledge that there is pollution, and that there are alternatives in the future, and that the present – for example, certain airlines are more economic, more efficient, more fuel-efficient, and we could talk about, if we know the model, perfect. We could talk about the Boeing Dreamliner, but if we don’t know, we could just talk about modern airplanes from Boeing or Airbus. Let’s try and get a company in there, which isn’t difficult. There’s only about four or five airplane companies in the world, but try and get a company name in there, just to enforce the point. More than airline companies, such as Airbus, are currently developing some of the most efficient planes ever to fly in the history of mankind. Something like that, okay?

Therefore, there is little reason for a ban or there is a scant reason to ban air travel. Therefore, we filled both requisites of the question, which was about natural resources. Obviously, we can talk about just natural resources. So we linked it to the ban, okay? Because there if there’s no question, there’d be no substance there. Then paragraph two, because we disagree with this, we’d say we disagree with a ban. Why? Because it’ impractical. Because the other alternatives are almost unthinkable in modern-day society. For example, Asia to Europe, and that alternatives would be boat, railroad, which all take considerably longer.

If you know the numbers, you could say, “Boat takes a maximum or a minimum of five weeks, and whereas air travel takes roughly 10 – between 10 and 12 hours,” something like that. Just to reinforce, but the basis is there. It’s clear that the alternatives are impractical, okay?

So that’s how you can almost guarantee yourself that you’re going to get full points. What you need to do is divide the question into two parts. From these two parts, you’ve got your basis for paragraph one and paragraph two. However, we should never ever forget where it said, do we agree or disagree or to what extent do we agree or if it said discuss the matter, right?

Well, remember to go to the website. There are transcripts available now. You can go there, have a look, and yeah, we can chat on Facebook. I think it’s – just type in Facebook, ieltspodcast.com, and ask me some questions, and I’ll try and get back to you as soon as possible.

Okay then, all the best.

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BEN WORTHINGTON

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