« IELTS Listening: 'map directions' task | Main | IELTS Writing Task 1: 'cement' diagram »

October 03, 2018


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Thank you, sir!

Is there any different between
Do you agree or disagree? And
To what extant or How far do you agree or disagree?


There is no difference between these questions.

Thank you Simon.

thank you Simon, this essay is very helpful

Awesome! I am trying to learn Simon's style of writing!

Hi Simon,
Could you please highlight variety of complex sentences which you wrote and show which clauses or linking words used to make them?
Thank you,


Thanks guys, I'm glad you like the essay.



Yes, I'll make a lesson about that. In the meantime, have a look at the lesson linked below. Complex and compound sentences are not difficult to write.


Today people are surrounded by advertising. This affects what people think is important and has a negative impact on people's lives. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

It is true that we have a higher influence of advertisements in the digital world. Personally, I agree with the idea that this trend has a significant impact on the way we think and has many consequences on our day-to-day lives.

The passage below is my answer to this topic.

It is true that it is necessary for children to learn their own countries' literature and history. I agree with this idea and I think children should also study the foreign culture though they are less important than the domestic one.
Teaching children local culture is very important according to the following two reasons. Firstly, learning local culture provided children with opportunities to have a further understanding of their motherland. For example, they are able to be aware of the previous social structure and their ancestors' life in history. Besides, history is a mirror which can make young generations to reflect on themselves as well as cultivating their sense of patriotism. Reading modern history can make them realize that their ancestors have gone through a lot of difficulties to fight for the independence of their countries.
Though the literature and history of other countries are not regarded as important as the local one, they still worth children learning. Learners can broaden their horizons and sharpen viewpoints by studying foreign culture. For instance, children can learn some experience in Japanese history about how it thrived after the world war. However, young generations should not be occupied too much by learning foreign knowledge, and they just need to see it as the complementary knowledge.
In conclusion, while learning the foreign culture may benefit children to some extent, I agree that children should focus more on studying the domestic one.

Below is my attempt to answer this topic

What score do you think I will get with this writing?

People have different views of teaching national or international history and literature at schools. While I agree with the importance of learning those subjects about a child’s own country, I still can see the benefits of having global knowledge.
On one hand, national history and literature should be taught at schools. Children will be familiar with the content of the lessons since they are about people and society that they are associated with. Furthermore, children can receive support from parents because it is a national curriculum and it passes down from generation to generation. Study the same things with parents helps to bring some kinds of connections in the family. I also believe, when children learn about their own culture and history, they can start to grow their sense of identity.
On the other hands, studying international subjects has its own benefits. Firstly, if from the young age children are taught about what happens in the world, they will be fit in the diversity of cultures and grow in to be global citizens. It is really helpful when a child wants to study abroad or even wants to start a new life in a foreign country. Secondly, it also can help them value all of the countries in the world and their cultures. Finally, studying globally is the best way to broaden a child’s horizon as it gives out the different angles of life and prepare them for the future.
In conclusion, while I see the advantages of teaching national history and literature at school, I think it is also beneficial for children to study foreign events and novels.

An Nguyen

-> Studying the same topics/material as your parents

->On the other hand,[no 's']

-> from a young age

-> they will understand/be familiar with the diversity

-> grow up to be

-> as it brings out different perspectives on life and prepares

I am not totally sure that the question has been properly answered. The question is really about how much overseas or foreign material should be included in the curriculum, or where the main focus should be. Of course they both have benefits, but that is not the question. Perhaps it would be clearer to conclude with something like:

I think the national curriculum should include a small [or significant/ large/ extensive/ minor] component on foreign history and literature.

It would then be necessary to adjust the body paragraphs to support the extent to which foreign history and literature should feature in the curriculum. This means weighing up which is of more value.


1) .....study the [English does not often use a definite article to make generalizations, although many European languages do ***see below also] foreign culture though they are it is less important....

2) ...according to for the following two reasons. Firstly, learning local culture provided [why past?]children with opportunities to have [why not "gain"?] a ...

3) .... they are still worth children learning. ... see it as the complementary knowledge.

4) In conclusion, while learning the foreign culture ...

I believe the question is fairly irrelevant to education today. For the purposes of secondary education, we are almost at the stage of being able to hand a tablet to each student and say: everything you need to know is on the internet. This makes the question of what subject material to study and test somewhat not to the point, and we need to redefine the national curriculum in terms of skills acquisition rather that knowledge acquisition.

As far as teaching history is concerned, in my view the major skill involved should be the ability to find, sift, and weigh evidence to support a particular view, theory or account. It should involve a critique of news media and 'post-factual' reportage. It should look at the situation where the victor rewrites history to justify their own involvment and deeds. Either way, whether the subject matter is local or foreign hardly matters.

When it comes to literature, the situation is similar. It is not a question of knowledge. It is a question of appreciation, and evaluation. We may value the works of Simone De Beauvoir, or Anne Frank, or Solzhenitsyn: the real question is why. We may look at the works of Pasternak and consider his treatment, depiction and understanding of 'fallen' women badly flawed, but we must ask why. Without some reaction on our part, there is little point in reading literature at all. We must also ask why the literature of women has in the past been somewhat ignored. English has the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, and more, but other languages are dominated by male writers and patriarchal viewpoints. Again, what mattters is developing the skillset, the ability to critique writing, and to articulate one's response.

In my view, the question is nowadays irrelevant to the national curriculum, which should focus on skills development, not on any particular subject matter.

(300 plus)

Some psychologists believe that to overcome stress, it is important to spend some time doing nothing productive. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Psychology graduates have different opinions about the ways of stress reduction. To a certain extent I concur with the idea that an individual can relieve himself from work-related pressure by doing less challenging work for few hours or days, however, I also believe that the different active approaches could be helpful to mitigate the overall stress.
On the one hand, I do agree with some psychologists that putting oneself away from the demanding official duties for a certain time period would help an individual in freeing himself from the heavy mental burden. Work-related stress is common among many professionals working at private firms. In contrast, I would argue that the stress is not always related to the work. In many cases, people may feel stress because of family disputes or breakup of the relationship. In such situations, stress cannot simply overcome by spending time in unimportant activities.
At the same time, I also believe that various active measures could be beneficial to an individual in a stressful time. The most important solution is that the stressed individual could involve himself in a physical training, which is also considered beneficial for health improvement. For instance, many articles, available on the PubMed, clearly reveal that exercises, such as jogging, swimming, weight training, and others, stimulate the release of anti-stress hormones, which provide relief against stress symptoms. The other measure is that the stressed individual can participate in some artistic activities such as singing or playing a musical instrument. The music has been proved as anti-stress medicine by many researchers. Last but not the least, the affected individual should consider medical attention as the stress may be the initial symptom of the serious or fatal disease.
In conclusion, I believe that the stress could be because of multiple reasons other than work; hence active measures, discussed above, are important along with the idea of taking few days off from important work.

Can we use word "like" in writing task 2


"In written English, people usually use for example, for instance, or such as rather than like:
packaging materials, for instance paper, glass, and plastic
Try to avoid fatty foods such as cakes and biscuits."

Thanks for your help, Cara. :)

This is my answer. Thanks!

Humanity is defined by our pasts and arts created. As numerous literary works and historical events exist, schools are selective when drafting the syllabus. Despite the limitless scope to study, this essay will argue that teaching children about native and foreign countries’ history and literature is indispensable.

Due to the fact that a country’s present is intertwined with its past— which is often reflected in its literary works, national education allows children to connect with their motherland. A sense of pride may echo amongst children in appreciation of epics composed by their ancestors. Moreover, national identity stemmed from shared historical events. If Chinese children are taught about the war with Japan during WWII, they will have a better grasp of the ongoing Sino-Japanese tension in line with national sentiment. Consequently, national education is paramount in every country because of the need to cultivate children’s national identity.

With cultural interaction becoming more frequent, people are equipped with knowledge about the world rather than solely concentrating on their nation. Being knowledgeable about foreign countries’ pasts and literary worlds is inevitable as every country is entangled under increasing globalisation. As children are growing up in this increasingly homogeneous world, they should not be limited in the realm of national literature and history. Therefore, possessing knowledge about foreign countries is beneficial for children.

In conclusion, learning history and literary works of their country and foreign country bears equal importance. Rather simply cultivating national identity, children should be nurtured with a global sense of awareness.

Dorothy Young:

1) Aim to write around 270 words in the exam, so that it is clearly not short. Your submission was 250.

2) "Despite the limitless scope to study,": this idea seems to be redundant, and disconnected.

3) Due to the fact that -> Since [less cumbersome]

4) -> past (which is often reflected in its literary works) national [dashes are less formal: commas instead of brackets here also fine]

5) national identity stemmed -> stems

6) Second paragraph: is it not all too easy to load up the next generation with a sense of injustice and resentment where it really has nothing to do with them? What is in the past and belongs to a bygone generation should stay in the past. Just my opinion.

7) "Moreover", "Consequently": be wary of over-doing linking adverbs at the head of the sentence.

8) "... is inevitable": ?? did you mean "essential".

9) "...entangled in/with ..."

10) "...limited to " ??

11) -> a sense of global awareness. ??

12) Task 2 essays to some extent necessarily involve abstract ideas and vocabulary, and as a result can sound quite bland and vague. To me, the way out of this is to include a goodly number of concrete examples, which will bring in different vocabulary. So the "If.." sentence re Japan is a key plank in your argument. What is needed is another concrete example in the third paragraph, and perhaps another example in the second. This would firm up your argument and avoid the impression of wandering endlessly from one fuzzy, imprecise, nebulous, hazy and ill-defined idea to the next, which serves only to point up the repetitive nature of the argument and the struggle to paraphrase the same idea. Anyway, that was my impression.

There has been a heated debate over whether it is more crucial to teach children the literature and history of their own countries or instruct them both the national and foreign literature and history. Personally, I agree with the latter point of view for some following reasons.

On the one hand, studying history and literature helps students know more about historical events and the greatest literature masterpieces through period of time. By handing out documentations, videos or articles about historical events through times, educators can evoke children’s curiosity and willingness to discover about their countries’ history, regarding when and why it was founded, who founded it and what their forefathers and predecessors had done to cope with difficulties to declare the independence. Additionally, that children have more access to learn and approach these valuable historical values will kindle inside them the feeling of gratefulness to those who have devoted their life to the better future of their countries. Besides, children should have the chance to learn about the literature, because in the past and also in modern days, literature has served as not only for educational purposes, but it is also a mental weapon to deal with predicaments. By taking advantage of the benefits brought about by literature, children will be more willing to learn about it.

On the other hand, learning other countries’ literature and history adds to children’s knowledge about the world. Since countries are getting closer, not on the geographic side but the cultural side, children should learn more about other countries’ cultures, which are almost made up by literal and historical aspects, to easily integrate into the world. Additionally, being exposed to international literature and history helps children acquire new languages more easily, though it seems difficult at first. Finally, by learning literature and history of other countries, they will know about famous historical people all over the world, making their knowledge broadened.

In conclusion, it is clear to me that children should be taught and given access to the literature and history of both their own countries and other countries. This calls for action from governments and educators to facilitate their children by means of redesigning curricula or devising programmes which help them learn about the relationships with other countries, in order to discover the diversity of the world and to become a well-rounded citizen.

Thanh Nguyen

1) At 390 words the essay is unnecessarily long, and probably too much to write in the forty minutes available in the exam. It needs to be shortened to around 280 words. This generally means shortening the introduction and conclusion, and bringing each main body paragraph down to just over a hundred words.

2) I see no need to restate the question in the introduction: all that is needed is statement of your position.

3) "There has been a heated debate over ..." Really?

4) "instruct them in/on both the national ...."

https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/instruct (#2)


5) "... for some the following reasons.

6) "documentation" is usually uncountable: https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/documentation

7) through times, -> through the ages

8) evoke children’s curiosity -> provoke

9) "Besides" tends to introduce an overriding and compelling argument, rather then simply the next point.

10) "a mental weapon to deal with predicaments." Not sure what is meant here.


Perhaps "political undertones"? Or "social realism", or "emotional reality"?

11) " learning about other countries’ literature ...."

12) -> " facilitate/enhance their children's education "

wow, i totally disagree content-wise. I am of the opinion that the education young pupils get should be as broad, comprehensive;etc. as possible..!
thank you nevertheless :)

@ cansu

There is no "right" answer in terms of the viewpoint: it is about whether it is put across clearly, logically, and supported with examples. So as Simon says it pays to just choose an "easy" viewpoint as regards actually writing a cohesive, coherent, and well-argued essay in the time available. Whether you or the examiner really think like that does not matter: it is just about the English.

Isn't the part "Finally, an emphasis on national literature and history gives educators a narrower teaching scope, making curriculum design an easier task." off topic? Since we are required to discuss the importance of learning the history of our own country or other nations, the discussion on the ease of curriculum design seems off the subject to me.

feedback needed

Every country is depicted by their unique art and history. It is generally seen that parents usually prefer teaching about their own culture and traditions rather than other nations arts and history. In my opinion, children should be given vast knowledge about the world rather than limiting their view to only their own small society.

Teaching cultural histories, art, traditions of variety of countries plays a vital role in child development and growth. It enables them to learn from the mistakes of nations, which cause them their ultimate downfall. Furthermore, positive aspects of past people, which made them prosperous in this world, can also be learned, which consequently will benefit children in better understanding the right and wrong doings.

In addition, understanding and learning of other traditions will help them in bonding with other societies. For example, in a foreign land, art and history of that country can provide advantage in understanding of their traditions which will help children in working accordingly to their values and morals.

In conclusion, I strongly believe that every child should be provided a definite knowledge of other countries literature and past events, in order to make children more adaptable in other countries and choose more wisely and reasonably to their life decisions.

Recently I am a bit confused about writing the introduction part as I could not find a proper illustration to explain my opinion. Take this question as an example, should I say
"I disagree with the opinion because learning other countries' history and literature is equally important"
"To some extent I agree that domestic history and literature learning is significant, but I would also argue that the learning of other countries’ history and literature is equally important in a child’s learning trajectory. " ? Hope someone can answer my question. xx

Should we mention the "importance" in the introduction? That's mine and I do not know that it would cover the task response request.

With the globalization, opinion has been divided on whether students should learn about their own country’s literature and history, or other countries one. It is my belief that the former would bring more benefits than the latter.

The comments to this entry are closed.