IELTS Practice Tests

How to write IELTS Essay. Examples and redundant words. Examples 41 – 60

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How to write IELTS Essay. Examples and redundant words. Examples 41 – 60

Topic 41: Today, people are getting greedy and selfish. Some people argue that we should go back to the old days, and show respect for the family and community, so that we can make the world a better place to live in. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Perhaps the tendency inward individualism has never been clearer than it is now. People seem to become increasingly self-centred and snobbish. I side with those people who believe that reviving thebygone concept of family and community is important

The rise of egoism has profound consequences on the unity of a family, causing the breakdown of family solidarity. Every component of a family can be detrimentally affected, if one member is egoistic. “Blood is thicker than water”, as an old saying indicates. People will turn to family first if they are confronted with problems. People used to live in a community in which they lived according to an ethos of sharing and caring, but nowadays, members of a family tend to work separately for their individual benefits. They are ignorant of the fact that families not only give them tangible benefits (e.g., financial aid), but also otter emotional support from which they obtainstrength, comfort and confidence.

Egoism also causes people to ignore the good of the community, a problem that is disruptive to the community. So greedy are some people that they can go so far to engage in illegal activities. For example, some merchants earn handsome incomes from producingdisqualified products and cajoling people to buy what they do not actually need. They, meanwhile, refuse to plough back any fraction of their income to the community. Individuals become indifferent to others’ interests and the relationship between individual members tends to become superficial, transient and ad hoc. People remain as onlookers when neighbours ask for help, and social solidarity has been dismantled in front of the overwhelming egoism.

As shown above, greedy and egoism are set to bring both the society and the families in grave trouble. The best way to prevent people from further loss in social solidarity and community unity is toreconstruct the concept of family and community, show esteem to one’s family, friends, neighbours and even acquaintances, and recover a sense of community and social cohesion.

  1. self-centred = selfish = egoistic
  2. side with = support = back
  3. bygone = past = onetime
  4. tangible = touchable = concrete
  5. obtain = gain = acquire
  6. the good of the community
  7. handsome = sizable-considerable
  8. disqualified = banned = prohibited
  9. cajole = entice = wheedle
  10. plough back = reinvest
  11. superficial = cursory = shallow
  12. transient = fleeting = brief = temporary = transitory = short-lived = ephemeral
  13. ad hoc = unprepared = unplanned = improvised = informal
  14. onlooker = bystander = watcher
  15. reconstruct = rebuild = restructure
  16. acquaintance = friend = colleague-associate
  17. cohesion = solidarity = unity


Topic 42: Creative artists should be given freedom to express their ideas through words, pictures, music or films. Some people nevertheless think that the government should restrict artists’ freedom of expression. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

In principle, every person has the right to communicate his or her views by any means and in any form, known as the right to freedom of expression. However, there has been a lot of debate as to whether artists should be given unrestricted freedom to express their thoughts through their works, such as words, pictures, music and films. I am of mixed opinions on this.

Although a citizen’s freedom of speech is protected by law, artists should not be treated as ordinary citizens. Because of the wide appeal of their artworks, the artists can easily enlist the empathyof the audience and make their views profoundly influential over public opinion. On the other hand, freedom of speech does not automatically suggest that one has the freedom to express any opinion, make any statement and deliver any message regardless of contents. If it contains racial elements, radical views toward government, and other objectionable contents, the freedom should be restrained. Artists are not an exception. A good example is that in 2005, a Danish newspaper published 12 editorial cartoons that depicted an Islamic prophet, resulting in violent protests and conflicts worldwide. It shows that the arts possess the power to ruin harmony and promote anarchy.

Apart from artworks that cause social and political unreal, some other types of artworks should be censored as well. In order to increase the visual impact of their works of art, some artists introduce unusual or even offensive images, without looking after the feelings of intended audiences. Many obscene works appear in theguise of artworks, abuse graphic sexual images and expose the public to those unwelcome messages. It will pose a threat on the welfare of the audience, especially that of children. The authority should discriminate between artworks and obscene works and impose limits.

When artists should not be treated as normal people in view of their unique capacity to influence others, their freedom of speech should be protected to the largest extent. Undeniably, their creativity would be inhibited if they are threatened by censorship or prosecution. Many of their artworks might look objectionable at first sight, but over time give people different perspectives to see things. Artworks inspire people to be creative and encourage them to reflect on what happened in the world or in the immediate vicinity. They draw attention to particular issues, which might be otherwise ignored. By encouraging critical and reflective thinking, an artist contributes to addressing social and political issues.

According to the above discussion, people can come to a conclusion that artists are entitled to freedom of speech, although some of the artworks should be thoroughly examined before being made available to the public. It would minimise the risk of causing chaos and discomfort in society—a negative consequence of the unlimited freedom of artists.

  1. unrestricted = unhindered = unobstructed = unlimited
  2. enlist = procure
  3. empathy = compassion = understanding = sympathy
  4. profound = great = intense
  5. objectionable = offensive = unacceptable = horrible = unpleasant
  6. anarchy = disorder = chaos = anarchism = lawlessness
  7. unrest = turbulence = turmoil = disorder
  8. obscene = filthy = bawdy
  9. guise = disguise
  10. censorship = restriction = suppression
  11. vicinity = surrounding area-neighbourhood


Topic 43: The advance of science and technology has a significant impact on people, but the role of artists is also important, such as musicians, painters and writers. What can the arts tell us about life that science cannot?

Unarguably, the improvement in people’s living standard owes much to technical advances, which are driven by science. So important is science that the functions of art are contested by many people. I believe that the arts can convey some messages that science can never be able to convey.

The arts represent human thoughts, whereas science represents natural order. In other words, the arts lead people to perceive the world while science is aimed at discovering the nature of things. What has been found true in science would hardly alter, unless sufficient evidence can be cited to challenge or overrule the established theories and principles. By comparison, what has been conveyed by a work of art is neither right nor wrong, and can he given different meanings by different people. Science sometimes treats a new theory as an erratic and stresses conforming toexisting rules and pursuing accuracy. Science is about exploring theundiscovered but existing, in contrast to the arts, which are interested in exploring both the undiscovered and the nonexistent. In simple terms, the arts encourage individuality and creativity, whereas science respects conformance.

Another major distinction is that the arts draw attention to issues that are unique in a particular society, while science attaches importance to the issues that are of interest to mankind as a whole. Contrary to popular belief, artwork does not necessarily aesthetically appeal to a majority of viewers. An artist’s primary motive is not only to pursue the aesthetic in the popular mind but also to remind people something that they cannot afford to ignore, such as environment, religion, politics, morality, and so forth. A scientific breakthrough, by comparison, brings benefits that can be shared by the whole human society, but not unique in any specific community.

The arts also give people a sense of cultural background and identity, as a key component of any culture in the world. By contrast, technology and science are uniform to people, regardless of nationality, race and ethnicity. Art has long been a way of passing ideas, concepts, beliefs, values and ways of seeing things to later generations. Because of art, people can be classified into different social and cultural groups.

In conclusion, the arts differ from science in many aspects and because of it, people know more about the world in which they live and get an insight into the society, culture and themselves. While science is objective and based on predetermined guides, art is inherent in the human mind and subjective.

  1. perceive = see = recognise = consider
  2. overrule = reject = cancel = annul
  3. erratic = irregular = unusual
  4. conform to = adhere to = obey = cling to = stick to
  5. undiscovered = unnoticed = overlooked = ignored
  6. nonexistent = missing = fictional = imaginary = conceived
  7. ethnicity = the ethnic group one belongs to
  8. predetermined = preset = fixed = determined


Topic 44: The government should control the amount of violence in films and on television in order to control violent crimes in society. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this action?

Because of their prevalence, televisions and films are among those media that are believed to potentially affect, change or mould people’s thoughts and behaviours. Media watchdogs suggest that some programmes should be censored so as to curb violence. It is necessary, for the link between violence in media and violence in society is evident.

First of all, violent movies promote heroism and individualism, cajoling people to resolve conflicts through violence, rather than legalconsultation. Some action movies have conveyed a notion to the audience, especially teenagers, that a hero can be highly regarded, regardless of the consequence of his behaviour. Audiences imitate those role models, in a belief that their behaviour will reapapplause from others. In most cases, their actions evolve into violent crimes.

Another category of programmes, war documentaries or crime reports, also opens up the possibility of viewers engaging in violence. Aiming at a high audience rating, TV programme producers are inclined to broadcast crime reports. Some reports can go so far as to present the whole procedure of a law-offending practice, such as robbery, shoplifting, burglary, to mention but a few. Not surprisingly, it functions like a free course from which prospective criminals learn those skills. It contributes to the rise in crime rates and then to the increase in violence that is involved in different kinds of crimes.

As well as those TV shows, action movies have a profound impact on personality development of viewers, leading to their subsequent violent acts. Dominant entertainment media succeed in attracting millions of young viewers every single day. The audience can easily become addicted to TV programmes and tend to be isolated,temperamental and aggressive. They use foul language and employ violence when feeling depressed or estranged. There is no point in denying the fact that the TV is the chief culprit for these emotional disturbances and erratic behaviour patterns.

To summarise, the violence in movies or on television can impact audiences in a variety of ways, and eventually lead to crimes. Therefore, the government should take actions to tackle such a problem and censorship is undoubtedly one of the most effective means.

  1. prevalence = popularity = pervasiveness
  2. consultation = discussion = talk
  3. role model = model = example = exemplar
  4. applause = praise = approval = support
  5. in most cases = most of the time = in general = more often than not
  6. audience rating
  7. prospective = potential
  8. temperamental = volatile = moody
  9. estranged = alienated = separated


Topic 45: Some people suggest that there should be restrictions on a detailed description of crimes in the newspapers and on television. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

The violent contents broadcasted by the mass media (the television and the printing press in particular) have been singled out in recent years as a matter of urgent public concern. It has been argued that a detailed description of crime, especially violent crime, should be restricted. I agree on this suggestion based on the following concerns.

There can be little doubt that a complete description of crimes has a direct impact on viewers’ perception of crime, including its nature and impacts. Ongoing exposure to reports on crime scenes has desensitised viewers to the horrors of serious crimes such as homicide. Many TV programmes tend to dramatise the process of tracing criminals. So immersed are viewers in the storyline that few are encouraged to link the crime to a brutal, unsympathetic and devastating act. Meanwhile, hardly has any newspaper or TV editor carried out a follow-up study of convicting criminals. This form ofrepresentation fails to alert viewers to the fact that no criminal can stay at large and all offenders will be brought to justice.

Meanwhile, the depiction of violence is potentially the primary cause of “copycat” suicides, fights, shootings and bombings. People are inclined to vent their discontent in various ways, and one of the most common is violence. The documentary on a criminal or violent act provides them with role models, those characters who initiate most of the acts of violence on television. The portrayal of those characters encourages viewers to emulate violent behaviour, believing that their acts are likely to be acknowledged.

Despite its enormous effects on the audience, the description of crimes on television or newspapers should not be made a scapegoat for all social violence. It would divert people’s attention from the root causes of violence. Some depictions of violence are likely to contribute to harmful effects on viewers, whereas other portrayals may be pro-social and beneficial for the audience. For example, many programmes encourage no-violent alternatives to solutions. Similarly, television and newspapers have played a significant role in educating the audience about the advantages of building a non-violence community and the inadvisability of excessive drinking, car racing, drug using and other unlawful acts.

As suggested above, media violence, including the detailed picturing of violent acts, contributes at least partly to social violence and to the audience’s aggressive thoughts and behaviour. However, there is no simple cause-and-effect relationship between media violence and societal violence and both have multiple causes.

  1. single out = select = highlight
  2. horror = terror
  3. dramatise = sensationalise = exaggerate = overstate
  4. immersed m = absorbed in = engrossed by = captivated by
  5. unsympathetic = uncaring = indifferent = cruel
  6. follow-up = subsequent = following
  7. convict = sentence = find somebody guilty
  8. representation = portrayal = description = account
  9. at large = free = at liberty
  10. inadvisability = inappropriateness = unsuitability
  11. unlawful = illegitimate = illegal = illicit


Topic 46: We can get knowledge from news, but some people think we cannot trust journalists. What do you think? What qualities do you think a successful journalist should have?

Today, it is important to note that the public has a growing appetite for different content areas of news, including national, local, entertainment, sports, politics, weather, and traffic news. With news becoming increasingly important, public attention has been brought to the creditability of journalists. In my opinion, it would be over-simplistic to say that journalists can convey all messages to the audience without distorting them.

Not surprisingly, whenever people talk of journalism, objectivity is the first word that springs to mind. Reporters are generally expected to disclose all facts and uncover all sides of an issue without introducing any bias, as opposed to commentators, who are allowed to provide personal opinions. However, in reality, objectivity is hard to achieve. Journalists have to succumb to either commercial or political pressure, distorting facts and misleading the public. In many countries, news organisations are controlled entirely by powerful political parties and enjoined to disregard the truth and disseminate information that guides public opinions.

Another factor contributing to the erosion of journalistic standards throughout the news business is that in these years, increasingweight has been given to following news values, entertainment,oddity and celebrity. To cater for the tastes of wider audiences, journalists can go so far as to twist the facts, fabricate news and spread rumours. Many news media have a clear preference on media personalities and use their public appeal to increase viewing rates, giving these publicities, who hardly remain neutral, numerous opportunities to express their opinions publicly on a subject in which they have a personal stake or bias. It is thus fair to say that news is now less trustworthy.

In general, a successful journalist should be first able to use careful judgement when organising and reporting information. Determination and persistence are required when journalists ought to defend the freedom of the press and ordinary citizens’ right to know the truth, despite being under different forms of pressure. In addition, they should be sensitive to and interested in current affairs at all levels. In acting as successful communicators and information senders, journalists should also have a good command of language skills and a real knowledge of different cultures, countries, races and social groups.

As shown above, people have reasons to suspect the creditability of a journalist. Either as a medium that deliberately affects the public interest or as a form of entertainment that does not attach much importance to seriousness, journalism has failed to maintain objectivity and live up to ideals of journalistic responsibility. Without showing respect to freedom of express and conveying messages accurately and promptly to the public, one cannot be acclaimed as a qualified journalist.

  1. appetite for = hunger for = craving for = desire for
  2. creditability = reputation
  3. talk of = consider = discuss = talk about = talk over
  4. spring = bounce = bound
  5. succumb to = yield to = give way to = surrender to
  6. enjoin = instruct = command = direct
  7. weigh = importance = significance = emphasis = stress
  8. oddity = peculiarity = quirk
  9. rumour = gossip = anecdote
  10. neutral = unbiased = impartial = disinterested = dispassionate
  11. bias = prejudice = preconception = preconceived notion
  12. trustworthy = dependable = honest = reliable
  13. seriousness = solemnity = gravity
  14. ideal = principle
  15. acclaim = praise-approve = commend


Topic 47: People think that the news media has influenced people’s lives nowadays and it is a negative development. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

For many people, news is a regular pan of life. An issue in dispute is whether the massive influence of the news media on people’s dailylives denotes a negative development. It is my view that news media does more good than harm to the society.

The news media provides people with much of the information they need on a timely basis, although there are claims that it reports on issues and events purposely (only selecting those events that interest the audience). Anecdotal evidence shows that people from all walks of life have the habit of collecting information regularly from the news media, including print, broadcast and Internet-based media. Information assists people in decision making. For example, the Free Trade Agreement reached by the Chinese government and its New Zealand counterpart might open up many opportunities to both countries. For any business person, either in New Zealand or in China, failing to recognise and capitalise on this impending change would cause a costly loss.

Meanwhile it should be recognised that the news media can sometimes save lives and reduce casualties. There is a lot of uncertainty about the surroundings, and people are susceptible to the damage caused by accidents, crimes and natural calamity. The news media conveys the firsthand information to concerned audiences and enable them to take corresponding actions right away. The authority can declare a state of emergency when it is necessary, organise evacuation and distribute aid to the needy areas. All these efforts count on the news media as the messenger.

Despite their significant and ongoing contribution to the society, the news media might sometimes be harmful to society. It is a convention that the news media exaggerates the magnitude of the real threat (for example, the potential of a terrorism attack), in order to draw the attention of the desired audiences and in pursuit of high audience ratings. It ends up with causing panic among the population. Meanwhile, the news media tends to emphasise some issues or events, which virtually have little relevance to people’s daily lives, such as an occasional multiple vehicle accident, an affair that a celebrity is involved with, and the like. It distracts the audience from something that is much more noteworthy, for instance, poverty, environmental problems, to name but a few.

In summary, the role of news media as an information provider should be acknowledged. In case of emergency, it acts as a lifesaver. However, it is not to say that the news media can give people an overall view of the problems in society all the time.

  1. denote = indicate = symbolise = represent = signify
  2. capitalise on = take advantage of = make the best of
  3. impending = imminent = forthcoming = coming = approaching
  4. casualty = fatality = victim
  5. surroundings = environs
  6. calamity = misfortune = catastrophe = disaster
  7. firsthand = immediate
  8. corresponding = relevant
  9. messenger = courier
  10. magnitude = scale = enormity = level


Topic 48: There are many advertisements directed at children. Parents argue that children are misled, while advertisers consider advertising a source of useful information. What is your opinion?

The impacts of advertising on children have become an area of focus in these years. When the initial purpose of advertising is todisseminate information related to goods and services, many parents have associated it with their children’s unjustified desires to buy something unnecessary. Although the extent to which advertising influences young viewers is a matter of debate, its impact, in my opinion, is undisputed.

One of the main features of advertisements is giving products an exaggerated account. In addition to this tactic, advertisers tend to stress those attributes of a product that are likely to be valued by young consumers, while playing down others. Some advertisements might disclose detailed information about products (such as health hazards of overeating some types of food), but in most cases, such information appears normally in small print and children cannot read them clearly. Nor can children comprehend the messages with their literacy skills. As a result, young viewers are susceptible to the effects of a commercial, leading directly to their subsequent buying decisions or their thrust for buying.

Another main strategy adopted by advertisers is to associate products with lifestyles that are attractive to young people and deliver a strong message that the advertised products are what their peers want and will choose. Children are more concerned with a particular label and branded products than adults, for the simple reason that they are much less pricing sensitive. They have the desire to possess products they consider popular, fashionable and likely to be admired by their peers, but seldom take into consideration the functions and practical values of those products.

When the negative impacts of advertising on children are acknowledged, it should be noted that as children grow up, they will make more sophisticated judgements about those tactics advertisers use to grab their attention. They are less receptive to advertising messages and meanwhile more likely to perceive advertising as a mere source of information, assisting them to learn products and services better. Meanwhile, some advertisements are non-commercial and provide information on such issues as anti-smoking, anti-drug, AIDS, healthy eating practices, and so forth. In this sense, it is premature to judge that advertising has no redeeming feature.

To summarise, by enhancing the image of advertised products, making exaggerated claims on products and services and portraying a fantastic way of life, advertising is liable for children’s impulsive purchases. Children are misguided to make a purchase. Although adolescents are less susceptible to the misleading information, the advertisements that are marketed to children should be restricted.

  1. disseminate = broadcast = publish = spread = present = circulate
  2. undisputed = acknowledged = undeniable = unquestionable
  3. tactic = approach = scheme = ploy
  4. attribute = feature = trait = characteristic = property = quality
  5. play down = make light of = underplay = talk down
  6. thrust = driving force = drive = impetus
  7. label = brand = brand name = trademark
  8. receptive to = tolerant of = open to = accessible to
  9. redeeming feature = advantage = strength = merit
  10. misguide = mislead = deceive = induce


Topic 49: Do the positive effects outweigh negative effects, when advert1ising gains in popularity?

It has always been difficult to assess the contribution of advertising. This issue is fraught with controversy, with concern being expressed over the harmful effects of advertising. Below are some arguments against this concern.

It is important to recognise that one of the key functions of advertising is to supply consumers with adequate and accurate information about all of the alternatives available to them. Every now and then, advertising is criticised on the ground that it canmanipulate consumers to follow the will of the advertiser; however, evidence supports an opposing view that advertising merely promotes products that are most likely to satisfy consumers’ wants. In simple terms, it is consumers rather than advertisers who decide what are advertised.

Advertising also plays a significant role in fostering full employment and facilitating economic well-being. By conveying marketing information constantly to the target audience, advertising speeds the consumers’ acceptance of new goods and technologies. It guarantees the high turnover rate of the manufactured goods and therefore, sustainability of a business. It is also agreed that advertising is one of the main sponsors of a large number of other industries, for example, the entertainment industry — particularly sports, music, and theatrical events.

Unarguably, advertising is criticised every now and then for misleading the public. However, the rapid development of advertising itself has provided a solution to this problem, as the information delivered to the audiences has made them knowledgeable consumers. Under this circumstance, they can easily distinguish inferior products from quality products with their knowledge. The misleading effect of advertising will be counteracted over time.

To summarise, advertising suggests what consumers need and contributes partly to economic development. In this sense, advertising is of great value to people and the society. The general perception of advertising as a source of misleading information is in fact a bias.

  1. fraught with = full of = filled with = burdened with
  2. manipulate = manoeuvre = operate = influence = harness
  3. will = want = wish = desire
  4. foster = promote = further = advance = encourage
  5. inferior = substandard = low-grade


Topic 50: Some people argue that advertising is discouraging people from being different individuals, and makes people to be or seem to be the same. Do you agree or disagree?

Perhaps no subject in the world is as likely to cause so much controversy as advertising does. One of the main criticisms against advertising is that it erases individual’s sense of identity and causes them to buy the same product. This view has flaws.

By tempting messages and persuasive arguments, advertising can draw the attention of the audience, but not necessarily stimulate the sales. It is clear that consumers rarely rely on advertising as a single source of information before deciding what to buy. Instead, they usemultiple information sources that are complementary, such as family, friends, inspections, and so forth. It is over simplistic to say that advertising plays a decisive role. Most of the time, there are a range of factors a consumer would take into account, including their income levels, circumstances, and so forth. For instance, when it comes to luxury goods, only a limited number of consumers respond with a final purchase. Therefore, however persuasive an advertisement is, never can it lead to the viewers making the same purchase.

Meanwhile, consumers have low tolerance for sameness. There is much uncertainty about the preference of consumers nowadays, primarily because they have easy access to information. An existing brand is vulnerable to any new entrant. Brand loyalty is something of the past, and the rise and fall of a brand is abrupt. Even if brand preference is established because of advertising, there is no assurance it will be maintained. It seems to be an entrenched tendency of consumers to try different products. The main reason behind the high unpredictability of consumer behaviour is unclear, but it is certain that consumers will not buy the same product.

However, people should meanwhile admit that advertising has every now and then contributed to consumers’ unplanned purchase Banners, signs, flags and other visuals, for example, turn unintendedshoppers successfully into impulsive buyers in their mundaneshopping trip. Another function of advertising is to make people live in a world of fantasy, in which they consider themselves prettier, slimmer, richer and more outstanding. Advertising also succeeds in creating peer effect. It is not unusual that one buys something onimpulse without knowing much about the product but merely assuming that his or her peers are using it.

As suggested above, individual’s reactions to advertisements and preferences on a brand are inherently complex and unpredictable, simple cause-and-effect conclusions are elusive. Despite boosting the sales of a product or service, advertising can hardly make any product or service dominate I he market.

  1. erase = wipe out = remove
  2. flaw = defect = fault
  3. tempting = alluring = enticing
  4. persuasive = influential = convincing
  5. multiple = various = a compound of
  6. complementary = balancing = matching
  7. inspection = examination = assessment = observation
  8. tolerance = acceptance
  9. unplanned = impulsive
  10. unintended = unintentional
  11. mundane = dull = everyday = routine = dreary = boring
  12. on impulse = on the spur of the moment = on a whim = impulsively
  13. elusive = vague = indefinable = obscure


Topic 51: The high sales of popular consumer goods reflect the power of advertising but not the real need of the society where such products are sold. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Advertising is well-known as a method of promotion, a method used by corporations to introduce their products and services to the market, attract the eye of consumers and increase sales. Critics of advertising argue that advertising is the main drive of soaring sales of some products and services, inducing consumers to purchase what they do not actually need in their daily lives. This contention is self-evident.

Advertisements conquer the audience mainly by sending them a message that they are lacking a specific brand or product that is likely to make them acceptable or even distinguished individuals in society. The advertisements as to medicine, dietary supplementand other life-enhancing products provide a typical example.Targeting the buyers that are doubtful or worried about health, advertisers have sought to encourage them to think that they are threatened by such problems as malnutrition, dysfunction of any part of their bodies. Lack of the knowledge in this field, the audience willrush to buy the advertised products. Such cases are ever-present,and the audience expects an immediate positive outcome —disregarding other solutions.

Advertising also works to create a best-seller image for a newly-marketed product. The audience is tempted to buy it in the hope that they can thus become one of the eyewitnesses and participants of a fad. It is not uncommon that cell phone users replace their phones every year, although the phone they have abandoned is still in usable conditions. They might not actually need to make purchases so frequently, but advertising spurs them to do so. The power of advertising has too often abused by advertisers, who tend to give an exaggerated account of the popularity of a product, soon after the product is marketed. So gullible are some buyers that they are driven to buy it. With the number of buyers growing, it will evolve into a buying craze.

In conclusion, people should stay alert to the influence advertising has on their decision making process. As indicated above, advertising has twisted the information about what product is needed, or what product is favoured, thereby driving people to make insensible buying decisions.

  1. promotion = advertising = marketing
  2. dietary supplement = pills to improve health
  3. target = aim at
  4. rush = hurry = dash = run
  5. ever-present = omnipresent = ubiquitous = pervasive
  6. disregard = pay no attention to = ignore = take no notice of = close the eyes to
  7. tempt = attract = entice = lure
  8. eyewitness = witness = observer
  9. in usable conditions in working conditions-in serviceable conditions
  10. give an exaggerated account of = exaggerate
  11. gullible = credulous
  12. craze = fad = trend = fashion = obsession
  13. alert = attentive = watchful = vigilant


Topic 52: Advertising encourages customers to buy in quantity not in quality. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Living in the information age, people are bombarded with substantial daily doses of advertising in multiple media. The argument that advertising, with its overwhelming power, leads to consumers’ impulsive purchase has been accepted by more and more people. Consumers are encouraged by advertisements to purchase products in quantity without paying heed to quality. This allegation is flawed,as far as I am concerned.

The first tact to note is that despite the strength of advertising, viewers remain as decision makers. They gather information from advertisements based on their own interest. While some people focus on quality, others are concerned with price. Likewise, advertisementsstress different aspects of a product, either quality or price, which is determined by contexts. Consumers are now desensitised to the information delivered by commercials and become increasingly cautious. Quality is. in most cases, a primary concern to them. Even those most loyal users of advertising are now concentrated onproduct quality, believing that neither pricing nor advertising is an effective facilitator of sales and consumers’ satisfaction with quality is the key to repeat purchases.

Price is perhaps an inducement used by marketers to trigger sales, but other elements, such as product package, functions, after-sales service and warrantee, appear to gain in importance. Advertising informs people of more choices, allowing them to make a buying decision according to their needs and favour a product for different reasons, either quality or price cuts. Needless to say, people have become more circumspect than ever before and more prone to theinteraction of other factors, such as the advice of their friends, past experience, current knowledge and physiological state.

It is also necessary to draw a line between the concept of marketing and that of advertising. Advertising alone is not able to contribute high sales and the link between advertising and product usage is in fact not clear. In its broadest sense, advertising is merely a means of generating demand in society by offering specific information on a product or service in a persuasive format. It is similar to sales promotion, package sales, low-pricing strategy and other marketing techniques. Advertising simply conveys the message relating to price, rather than creating this message.

The facts outlined above, when taken together, are in favour of a view that consumers take in the information delivered by an advertisement differently, and they are influenced by a variety of factors and driven by forces in a decision making process. Quality is of concern to them in most cases, instead of price.

  1. dose = quantity = amount
  2. allegation = claim
  3. flawed = faulty = blemished
  4. stress = emphasise=underline = underscore = accentuate
  5. desensitised to = indifferent to= uninterested in
  6. concentrate on = focus on = be conscious of = be immersed in
  7. inducement = stimulus
  8. circumspect = cautious = prudent = careful
  9. interaction = interplay


Topic 53: Some industrialised countries have serious environmental problems. The damage to the environment is an inevitable result when a country tends to improve the standard of living. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

A question central to today’s environmental debate is how economic development and environmental protection interrelate. Some people maintain that no economic target can be attained without some sacrifice made to the environment. As far as I know, there are a couple of complementary components, if operated properly.

For businesses, large or small, taking environmental consequences seriously can impel them to improve their production lines, make optimal use of materials and resources and increase the profit margin. For instance, the adoption of environmentally friendly equipment can reduce waste, minimise pollution, and decelerate the depreciation rate of machinery. Meanwhile, it can reduce businesses’ expenditure in compliance with environmental standards. The third merit is boosting loyalty of employees, who have an appreciation for the safety and comfort of their working environment.

By adhering to environmental standards, industries will also make a favourable impression on their clients, build up word of mouthreputation and trigger sales. Some large industries in the past, when asked to take actions to make their production less environment-damaging, were worried about the proportional rise in operational costs. Their attitudes are now subject to modification, as the expense of improving equipment is temporary, and can be paid off by forthcoming profits. Customers are keen on products made from an environmentally conscious business in a belief that its products are free of pollutants.

When businesses have become more profitable, more money will be available for revamping the environment. Probing the core of environment-related issues, one can observe that people are more likely to consider the possibility of incorporating environmentally friendly practices when enough funds have been raised and alternative livelihoods have been explored. Illegal logging, for example, centralises in underdeveloped countries every year, where people are unable to find jobs. In comparison, economically-developed countries show more willingness to invest in forest conservation, as their industries rely less on natural resources and have become service-oriented.

To summarise, economic development and environmental protection are not inimical, but complementary. They are inextricablyintertwined, and can be promoted simultaneously.

  1. interrelate = correlate = interconnect
  2. complementary = paired
  3. operate = manipulate = manoeuvre
  4. impel = compel = urge = drive
  5. decelerate = slow
  6. compliance = observance
  7. loyalty = allegiance = faithfulness
  8. reputation = fame
  9. modification = transformation = change = alternation
  10. pay off = recompense = reimburse
  11. forthcoming = imminent = impending “approaching
  12. revamp = mend = repair = restore
  13. probe = look into investigate
  14. centralise = concentrate
  15. in comparison = by comparison = by contrast
  16. inimical = contradictory = at odds = conflicting
  17. intertwine = interlink = interweave = interconnect


Topic 54: Environmental problems are serious in many countries. It means that the only possible way to protect the environment is at an international level. To what extent do you agree or disagree on this hypothesis?

Globally, environmental degradation has been recognised as one of the main challenges that people have to overcome in the 21st century. The rapid deterioration of environment is believed to impose a severe threat on people’s survival in the years ahead, if not solved effectively. In addressing this issue, countries worldwide should join forces and make a concerted effort, instead of working individually for inconsistent targets.

The first point to support international cooperation is that the impact of an environmental problem can be on the global scale. Common knowledge is that people live in a global environment and share natural resources and survive on the same biosphere. Theinterdependencies of ecosystems and the transport of pollutants are the main characteristics of the world. For instance, a stream or lake in a country can be affected by pesticides released from neighbouring croplands, lawns and gardens and by pollutants emitted thousands of miles away. Likewise, the depiction of a natural resource (such as deforestation) in one nation can have environmental and economic ramifications in many other countries.

Another benefit obtained from international cooperation is facilitating the exchange of goods, technology, know-how and capital. It is crucial to hammering out the best and quickest solution to the problem. Environmental problems are mainly found inunderdeveloped countries, where industrial or agricultural developments are placed ahead of environmental protection. With a clear intent to restore the damaged environment, those countries have difficulties in making headway, in the absence of facilities or technologies. They need the support from the global community, especially those industrialised countries that have achieved remarkable progress in this field. By sharing experience in environmental management, countries can tackle problems with greater efficiency and at lower costs.

To summarise, cooperation between countries is inevitable in this global campaign, not only because the ecosystem is a unified mechanism but also because international engagement can make optimal use of financial and human resources. By collaborating with each other, countries are able to protect the global environment with using the least amount of resources.

  1. threat = danger risk
  2. in the years ahead = in the years to come
  3. on the global scale = at the international level
  4. interdependency = interaction = interplay = mutual dependence
  5. release = emit = discharge = dump = dispose
  6. ramification = consequence = result
  7. hammer out = arrive at = work out
  8. underdeveloped countries = developing countries = countries in a backward state
  9. intent = intention = purpose = aim
  10. restore = repair = revamp
  11. make headway = make progress
  12. in the absence of = lacking = without


Topic 55: Some people believe that air travel should be restricted because it causes serious pollution and will use up the world’s resources. Do you agree or disagree?

The issue of the impact of air travel on the environment has heated up in recent years, following the concern that more and more peopleturn to it as a means of travel. Restrictions have been preferably imposed on air travel, according to some people. There are some points in their argument.

The first is that aircrafts have been responsible for a large proportion of air pollution. Planes, either filling or taxiing, contribute a large proportion of local emission annually. Some might suggest that air is the only suitable mode of transport for long distance trips. This viewpoint is fallacious. Trains, for instance, serve as an optimalalternative, consuming less energy and causing less pollution.

As well as air pollution, aircrafts can cause noise pollution. Although it is difficult to measure the actual impact of noise on people’s everyday lives, its ability to increase the anxiety and levels of annoyance has been confirmed. Especially to those living in the neighbourhood of an airport and around the flight paths, noise created by aircrafts is indeed a headache.

Although travelling by air is likely to cause problems, it is not to say that air navel should be significantly restricted. Alternatively, air travel can be operated in a manner that its strengths can be fully taken advantage of. For example, by replacing old engines with cleaner ones, people can mitigate the environmental impact caused by flying. Meanwhile, aircrafts have a higher capacity, allowing greater numbers of passengers for each flight and thereby giving the best possible values to the fuel used.

In the light of the facts outlined above, substantial thought should be given to the problem of pollution caused by aircrafts. However, it does not automatically mean that air travel should be curtailed. Instead, people should make adjustments and improvements wherever appropriate to ensure the optimal use of this form of travel.

  1. turn to = resort to = rely on
  2. idle = stay unused = remain redundant
  3. optimal = best = most favourable
  4. confirm = verify = prove true
  5. mitigate = alleviate = ease = lessen = soften
  6. form of travel = means of travel = mode of travel


Topic 56: It is said that the best way to solve the world’s environmental problems is to increase the price of fuel. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

The burning of fossil fuels is universally recognised as the largest source of emissions of greenhouse gases in the world and one of the key factors responsible for global warming. When there is a growing concern about the destructive effects of global warming and other environmental problems, some people argue that the best approach to deal with such problems is to increase fuel prices, assuming that it will lead directly to the drop in car use. This approach is productive to some extent, but some other measures should be given equal consideration.

It should be first noted that car use alone does not take up the entire consumption of petrol, although people’s obsession with car use contributes greatly to greenhouse gas emission. Petrol is intended for other applications too, such as electricity generation, the daily running of equipment and machinery for industrial and agricultural purposes. People are not surprised to see that the appliances used by many families are powered by petrol as well. Therefore, when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, people should take different methods simultaneously, instead of relying on any single method only.

People should meanwhile recognise the fact that the demand for petrol is generally inelastic, at least in the short run. The consumption of petrol would not vary significantly according to the fluctuation of petrol price. To such a high degree have people relied on petrol in their daily lives that they cannot cut petrol use immediately. Some people might argue that using public transport is an alternative, but notably, public transport itself is a large producer of carbon dioxide. Going on fool or by bike is clean, but not preferred by many people, who are extremely time conscious.

Therefore, die effort to reduce greenhouse gases emission by curbing car use cannot achieve any immediate outcome unless sufficient time is given. Over a period of years, petrol consumption is very-likely to drop, when households realise that fuels represent an increasing proportion of expenditure. People might turn to fuel-efficient cars or reduce non-essential trips, both resulting in the drop in petrol use. Car manufacturers are forced to enlarge research and development investment in producing hybrid cars or cars powered by renewable clean energy sources, a cure-all for car emission problems.

In conclusion, imposing petrol tax is neither the main nor the only solution to environmental problems that people are struggling to solve, although the utilisation of fossil fuels, particularly petrol, is the largest source of emissions. Some other methods should be taken into consideration as well.

  1. take up = occupy = make up = constitute = account for
  2. obsession with = fascination with = passion for
  3. inelastic = unchangeable = fixed
  4. cure-all = panacea = universal remedy = solution


Topic 57: Water resources around the world are falling deficient. Analyse the possible reasons and provide your suggestions.

Access to water is vital to every living creature on the planet. Despite the fact that approximately two thirds of the earth surface is covered with all forms of water bodies, countries worldwide are faced with different levels of water shortages. Some reasons can be cited to explain the emergence of this problem.

A trigger for a water crisis is people’s lack of knowledge of the value of water. Given the ready availability of water in many countries, people tend to believe that the reserve of water in the world is infinite. Notwithstanding the increased expenditure on water supply, water is perceived as a cheap commodity by many families. Many people see water as a perpetual resource. For this reason, theunbridled use of water is commonplace, accelerating the exhaustion of this valuable resource.

Rapid population growth is another force contributing to the water crisis. Not only does it reduce the amount of water available for manufacture, farming and households, but also has a profound effect on the sustainability of aquatic ecosystems. Massive urban and industrial growth fuels unprecedented demands, often at the expense of aquatic ecosystems. Many water resources are not replenishedbefore being re-used and depleted.

Human-induced pollution is worthy of concern as well, a factor regarded by many as the root cause of the rapid loss of drinkable water. The untreated discharge of various pollutants such as heavy metals, organic toxins, oils and solids in water bodies is believed to have severe impacts. Industrialisation, meanwhile, results inabnormal climate and biological destruction. While some areas have become barren, other areas are hit by floods. Floods ravageeverything, including reservoirs, dams and cannels. The water supply problem will intensify.

As noted above, the steady loss of water is attributable to inappropriate usage, population growth and pollution. In order to tackle the above-mentioned problems, one can adopt various approaches, besides the existing strategies, such as restoration of ecosystems, rainwater harvest. New technologies can help ease water shortages, by tackling pollution and making used water recyclable. In agriculture, water use can be made far more efficient by introducing new farming techniques (e.g., drip irrigation). Drought-resistant plants can help cut the amount of water needed.

  1. vital = crucial = essential = central = critical
  2. perpetual = eternal = everlasting
  3. unbridled = unchecked = uncontrolled = uninhibited
  4. aquatic = water-related
  5. replenish = refill
  6. deplete = reduce = exhaust = use up = drain
  7. toxin = contaminant = pollutant = poison = noxious waste
  8. abnormal = non-standard = unusual
  9. barren = arid = unproductive = infertile = dry = waterless
  10. ravage = ruin = damage


Topic 58: Many people believe that the human society has developed into a throw-away society, which is filled with plastic bags and rubbish. What are the causes and solutions?

Although waste disposal does not grab a headline as frequently as many other environmental issues do, it does not mean that it is less serious. As a matter of feet, the treatment of garbage continues to be a problem worldwide. Despite its sizable influence, many citizens have not yet realised the seriousness of this issue. It is the goal of this article to outline the potential causes of this problem and suggest possible solutions.

People should first recognise that the increment in garbage is a natural result of the social and economic development. Unethicalbusinesses are the main creators of industrial waste, including heavy metal, chemicals, plastic, and other durable and non-recyclable materials. People’s quest for a better standard of living gives them incentives to manufacture a rich variety of consumer goods and disregard the potential impact on environment. This practice can date back to the earliest days of industrial revolution, producing enormous waste that is unable to be recycled and causing an environmental disaster.

Another potential reason for the slow progress in waste treatment is people’s low awareness of the opportunities to reduce, reuse and recycle waste. Many people do not have a firm stand against over-consumption and excessive production of disposable items. Besides, many citizens are not environmentally conscious, disposing of wastes whenever and wherever they consider convenient. Meanwhile, many manufacturers lend to use virgin materials, rather than recyclable materials in the course of production. That’s why many communities are facing a particularly difficult position in waste treatment.

The best approach to address waste issues is simply to minimise its generation. It is primarily because the more waste people produce the more waste they have to cope with. Waste recycling offers another means, although it requires the spontaneous commitment of both businesses and citizens. Additionally, laws should be set out to regulate corporation behaviour and make their operation environmentally friendly.

It is clear that the problem of waste disposal exists due to people’s ever-growing demand for manufactured goods and slow response to the impact of this problem on the environment. Tackling this problem depends not only on individual’s effort to keep the waste to a minimum but also on businesses’ attempt to optimise their manufacture and reduce the inputs.

  1. garbage = refuse = waste = rubbish
  2. unethical = immoral
  3. creator = maker
  4. quest = pursuit
  5. earliest days = outset = start = onset
  6. recycle = reuse
  7. awareness = consciousness
  8. stand = stance = position
  9. virgin material = raw material
  10. set out = lay out-enforce
  11. input = resources used


Topic 59: Food can be produced much more cheaply today because of improved fertilisers and better machinery. However, some of the methods used to do this may be dangerous to human health and may have negative effects on local communities. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Fertilisers and machinery used to be welcomed by countries worldwide as essential elements of industrialised fanning, a landmark in the history of global agriculture. However, because of being used on a large scale worldwide, they have caused heated controversy. There is ongoing debate on the possible damages of industrial farming caused to the environment and humanity. In my opinion, both are still irreplaceable, although efficient and scientific utilisation is highly recommended.

Fertilisers and machinery are both essential in increasing crop yields, a solution to starvation throughout the world. In history, manual work accounted for the majority of fanning, from sowing, irrigating to harvesting. The slow pace of human labour made it impossible to produce enough crops to toed populations. Farming is, on the other hand, exposed to the influence of many elements — weather conditions, soil compositions, pests or some unpredictable events like natural disasters. Fertilisers enhance crops or oilier foods’ resistance to external disturbances, while machinery saves manpower by finishing the major part of the work. The yield is raised to the highest, and lands are used to the full. Enough food can be produced to meet the market need now, despite the continued growth of the population.

Some people defy fertilisers and machinery because of their concern on environment. However, this notion has been challenged by advances in this area of knowledge. Technological innovation has made machinery more environmentally friendly, and many machines used for farming purposes are now able to operate without generating much waste. Fertilisers, by comparison, are much less environment-damaging. Most fertilisers are organic and free of ingredients incompatible with the environment. Nor do they have deleteriouseffects on people’s health.

Despite what has been discussed, farmers should beware of over-application of fertilisers, from an environmental perspective, fertilisers and machinery should be classified and used with caution. The over-application of fertilisers not only has perpetually disastrous effects on farms but also injures the neighbouring ecosystem. Many scientific studies suggest that a long history of fertiliser use can significantly reduce land fertility. Other consequences include poisoning all wildlife feeding on farm crops (e.g., birds), and polluting the neighbouring water bodies. On health and safety grounds, fertilisers might bring remediless damage to eaters’ health, for some chemicals, although not fatal themselves, might become life-threatening when accumulating inside eaters’ bodies.

On the basis of the above-mentioned arguments, people are convinced that the sustainable supply of foods still rests onfertilisers and machinery, and the key is to use them properly and in moderation.

  1. humanity = human race = humankind = people
  2. irreplaceable = unique = inimitable = matchless
  3. starvation = hunger = food crisis = food shortage
  4. account for = explain = justify = give an explanation for
  5. unpredictable = random = irregular
  6. defy = boldly resist = boldly reject = act against
  7. notion = concept = perception = thought = opinion
  8. deleterious = detrimental life = damaging = life-threatening
  9. disastrous = devastating = ruinous = catastrophic
  10. rest on = hinge on = depend on = rely on = count on


Topic 60: Some people hold that we should spend money and time on the protection of wild animals while others suggest that the money should be spent on populations living in the poorest areas of the world. What is your opinion?

In these years, animal protection has become a subject of ongoing scientific research and an issue of concern. People take different views toward the enormous spending required by wildlife conservation. It is suggested that the spending should be divertedto helping human populations, especially those living below poverty line, because human life is more valuable than animal life. In my opinion, the investment in animal conservation is worthwhile.

Animals, as a significant part of an ecosystem, have profound impacts on the sustainability of an ecosystem and on the well-being of humanity. All animals are connected in one way or another in food chains. For this reason, the demise of a species can lead to overpopulation or underpopulation of another species and then put this species at the verge of extinction. The natural balance will be disrupted and the ecosystem cannot be sustained. It would disable vegetation from purifying water, recycling nutrient and pollinatingcrops. We humans are eventually affected.

Another justification for animal protection is that animals play a significant role in the development of industries, as an important natural resource. People derive substances and materials from animals for different purposes. A typical example is that animals provide essential substances for drug-making. It is also very common that designers and engineers turn to wildlife for inspiration. For instance, the invention of water-proof clothing drew upon the research on sharks.

On account of those benefits, wildlife protection is a significant strategy that has far-reaching effects on the future of human. However, when implemented, this strategy should be adapted in different contexts. It should be noted that spending money simply on animals is not the approach that promises the best outcomes in all circumstances. For example, in those regions where inhabitants struggle with weak economies and have few job sources, direct spending on any animal program would not stop people from hunting and trading animals for a living. An alternative strategy is creating jobs or providing subsidies, lifting these regions out of poverty.

From what has been discussed, animals are key components of the whole natural order and have relevance to the sustainability of an ecosystem and the interests of humanity. Animal protection is a strategy that applies to the whole world, and might vary in different circumstances.

  1. divert = switch = redirect
  2. worthwhile = worthy
  3. purify = cleanse = decontaminate
  4. pollinate = fertilise
  5. water-proof = water-resistant = rainproof = watertight = impermeable

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