IELTS writing vocabulary: sports topics

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Collocations and examples sentences

Below you will find some common collocations for the IELTS essay topic of sport. Read each one carefully and think about what kind of sample answers you might give for the questions included in the IELTS test. Remember that there are several different question types including:
  • Discuss both these views and give your own opinion
  • To what extent do you agree or disagree
  • Is this a positive or negative development
  • Answer both parts of the question
  • Give causes/reasons and effects.

Sports Vocabulary IELTS Writing Task 2

Performance enhancing: Many athletes use performance-enhancing drugs to do better in sports. Sample question: Many athletes use performance-enhancing drugs to do better in sports events, and gain the benefits of making money. Do the advantages outweigh the negative impact? Competitive sports: Americans love watching competitive sports because they are inherently competitive. Sample question: All sport should be sponsored by multinational companies so that governments can spend more money on public transport, art museums, public health and vocational training. To what extent do you agree with the statement? Average body: Standard dimensions of weight and height, usually according to national or international average measurements. Ultra-endurance: Ultra-endurance sports force humans to work their hardest for as long as possible. Sample question: In recent years, the number of ultra-endurance events has increased dramatically in many countries. Is this a positive or negative development? Specialized bodies: Tall people have specialized bodies for the sport of basketball. Financial incentives: The monetary gain offered to successful athletes. Some athletes take steroids because performing better provides increased financial incentives. Sample question: Athletes in many countries are paid millions of dollars a year. Is this a positive or negative development? Athletic performance: Athletic performance varies between people and is based on body type and experience. Sample question: Athletic performance varies between people and is based on body type and experience, as well as eating habits and getting enough physical exercise. To what extent do you agree or disagree? Energy-efficient: It is more energy-efficient to eat protein and carbs before playing sports. Changing genes: Over time, changing genes in humans has caused athletes to perform better. Sample question: 'In some countries, children with athletic ability train many hours a day from an early age. While they receive a formal education, their special talent means they miss out on a normal childhood and has a negative effect on their personal development. In other countries. there are not enough sports facilities for athletes and this is not fair.' Do you agree or disagree? Give your own opinion. Different mindset: We have a different mindset today about sports than we did twenty years ago. Sample question: Some people believe that sport prepares young people for a competitive world. Others say that playing sport in their free time helps young people develop social skills, learn about different cultures and spend time with friends. Discuss both views and give your own opinion. Tearing tendons: Athletes must be careful when lifting weights because tearing tendons is a serious concern. Sample question: Young people in many countries do not get enough physical exercise compared to previous generations. What are the reasons for this, and what are some possible solutions to this problem? Human health: Taking drugs and drinking alcohol has a negative impact on human health. People can be drastically affected by these substances and so must take individual responsibility for their own health. Sample question: Sport helps combat crime and can affect individuals in a positive way. To what extent do you agree? Give examples from your own knowledge. Controversial issue: Funding national teams is a controversial issue in today's world. Sample question: Some governments are spending far more on funding national teams for the Olympics than on supporting creative artists and art galleries to display quality art. Do the advantages of this development outweigh the disadvantages?

5 questions eliciting the collocations:

1. According to scientific research, what contributes to an increase in performance in athletes' abilities over time? 2. How have genetics and technology affected athletes' performance? Is it a positive or negative development? How has the academic world affected this essential subject? 3. What is the difference in athletes' mindsets between today's world and in the past? Provide some sample answers and include your own opinion. 4. Do you agree or disagree that ultra-endurance sports are harmful to our health? Explain the negative effects. 5. What positive or negative development is there for children playing computer games in their free time from a very early age?

Task 2 sample essay - with collocations removed (gap fill task)

Performance enhancing drugs are a _____________ _____ in the sports world today. While some people believe these drugs can increase ________ ___________, it is obvious that these drugs are detrimental to _____ ______. These drugs cause athletes to have unfair benefits over others as well. Firstly, supplements to increase athletic performance should not be allowed because they can cause significant harm to the human body. For example, athletes who take these supplements may overwork their bodies and end up _______ _______ in the process. While professional athletes take these supplements because of _________ __________ in order to perform better, they are not ______ _________ to the body. Most athletes end up crashing after taking these drugs. Therefore, these performance drugs should be banned from all markets. Secondly, supplements should be banned because they provide an unfair advantage. In the world of __________ ______, an unfair advantage can result in money loss and defamation for the losing athlete. These drugs help athletes create ___________ ______ for the sport in question. Athletes on drugs have _____ _________ capabilities unlike the athlete with the drug-free and _______ ____. This causes the competition to lose its value and the real athletic talent to be lost. These drugs get rid of the real meaning of sports. In conclusion, performance-enhancing drugs and supplements should not be allowed in competitive sports due to unfair advantages, and they should not be allowed in any marketplace, because they are unhealthy. Click here for the full sample essay without gaps. Click here for sample task two questions about sport.

Now test your knowledge

  1. Does the writer believe there are more benefits or more drawbacks of athletes using performance-enhancing drugs? To what extent do you agree or disagree?
  2. What kind of practical problems occur as a result of athletes taking drugs? Give relevant examples from the script.
  3. What reasons does the writer give for athletes not being allowed to take drugs? Give your own opinion.
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Giving your own opinion and including relevant examples

Many IELTS writing task 2 questions will ask for your opinion and examples. Try to state your opinion clearly and back up your own opinion with relevant examples that the examiner will be able to understand. You could talk about an example in your local community from your own knowledge, or in other countries (or in many countries). For example, you could say that children in many countries take part in sport at school from an early age or that your government have decided to spend more money on a certain sport. When you are talking about sport, related topics that are easy to add as relevant examples include the huge negative impact of fast food on young people, the positive impact of exercise on the current generation, the importance of physical exercise from primary school, more money for sports facilities for the local community and supporting the next generation of athletes. If you are saying that you believe something is a positive development or a negative development, you need to give at least one reason. Using your own knowledge can mean mentioning a news story you saw on TV or other media to back up your argument. A news story from one of the world's major cities will be more likely to be something the examiner has heard of. If, as part of your opinion, you are saying what you think SHOULD happen, make sure you say 'possible solutions to encourage people to exercise include....' rather than 'governments must encourage people...' - this is more formal and shows you can use appropriate language. You can also mention sports groups and pages on social networking sites in different countries, sports popular with young people in your own country, how fast food companies are sponsoring sports teams and sports-themed computer games.