If you are very familiar with the IELTS test, you will probably already know that it is more or less theme-based. You would do well to gather enough information to not only be more acquainted with the vocabulary or have adequate background knowledge when following the information given in IELTS Listening or Reading texts, but also argue your points in the IELTS Writing Task 2 or Speaking Part 3
Here are two examples of IELTS essay questions that my students and I discussed in one of our lessons recently:
It is generally believed that some people are born with certain talents, for instance for sport or music, and others are not. However, it is sometimes claimed that any child can be taught to become a good sports person or musician.
Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.
~ Cambridge IELTS 7
Some people say we are born the way we are and we can’t change ourselves. Other people say we learn from our experiences and our environment. Do you think people are born naturally ‘good at music’ or naturally ‘good at maths’?
~ New Insight into IELTS
You can see that both these tasks are on the issue of nature or nurture, so the logical step for the IELTS candidate would be to form an opinion on this. You can, of course, agree with both or don’t agree with any at all, but you should be prepared to have some strong ideas on this in your 5-minute planning time. Remember, you WILL be marked for content. For both questions, you should try to discuss the key words (ie. sports, music, or maths) although you can introduce other examples of talent to further compare or enforce your arguments.
Here is a little background reading to help you with ideas on what to say about the subject:
- Nature vs nurture – Wikipedia (very academic – might be difficult for some IELTS students but interesting content!)
- Nature Nurture in Psychology | Simply Psychology (another academic article but worth reading for essay language)
- Nature vs Nurture (some information on research done on this – good if you want to back up your arguments)
- Nature and Nurture Debate – Genes or Environment? (some good essay language here)
- Are we products or nature or nurture? Science answers age-old questions | Science | The Guardian (news article)
- Nature Or Nurture? The Long-Running Debate May Finally Be Settled | The Huffington Post (another news article)
- Nature vs. Nurture Debate: 50-Year Twin Study Proves It Takes Two To Determine Human Traits (research article – you can use findings here to back your opinion)
- Nature v nurture: research shows it’s both – UQ News – The University of Queensland, Australia
- NOVA – Official Website | Nature vs. Nurture Revisited (lots of technical language here)
When you read these articles, bear in mind that you need to stay relevant to the task. Most of the websites above discuss a connection between genetic inheritance and behaviour development, so if you ignore the key words (eg. talent, learning), you WILL be penalised for this. Read intelligently for ideas, but think about how you can tie these to your arguments with regard to the two tasks above.
Until next time,