IELTS Practice Tests

How to write IELTS Essay. Examples and redundant words. Examples 61 – 80

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How to write IELTS Essay. Examples and redundant words. Examples 61 – 80

Topic 61: Some people strongly oppose animal experimentation, believing that it causes pain to animals, while some other people consider it necessary. What is your opinion?

Perhaps no subject in the moral community is as controversial as animal testing. Animals, many people believe, merit more humane treatment. When animal-based experiments have long been the centre of criticism, I am of the opinion that such experiments are essential to both the well-being of human beings and that of animals.

There is little doubt, first of all, that most of the animal-based experiments are conducted for the development of technology and to date, there is little chance of finding satisfying substitutions for animals. Animals are used mainly because they bear a closeresemblance to humans, either in behaviour or in cell structure. They respond to external disturbances (such as electrical shock) nearly in the same manner as humans do. There is much evidence that most of what people know about themselves, including pain, stress, reproduction and nutrition, is based on findings of animal-based experiments. Animal testing proves one of the main approaches to predict the risk when drugs or other products are used on humans.

Another fact to support animal-based experiment is that animals are not the equivalent of humans, and can be used as resources for human purposes. Animals have no capacity to recognise the rights of other species. Nor will they take in consideration the interests of other species. It is possibly one of the main reasons why animalsfeed on each other. Humans, by comparison, use animal experimentations not only for their own interests but also for the interests of animals. For example, some medical discoveries can be used by veterinary surgeons to give medical care and treatment to sick animals.

Despite the justifications given for vivisection, researchers have the obligation to reduce animal testing and animal suffering. There is a growing recognition that animal tests are mostly done for commercial purposes and most of them are avoidable. For instance, the cosmetic industry has been exploiting animal experimentation simply for diversifying products and maximising profits. The fewer cosmetic products people use, the fewer animals they have to slaughter.When scientists are empowered to carry out cruel experiments like vivisection, such powers should not be abused.

To summarise, one can subscribe to the notion that animals can be taken as resources intended for the benefit of humans, although meanwhile it is certain that suffering should be controlled to the minimum during experimentation.

  1. merit = deserve
  2. substitution = replacement
  3. resemblance = sameness = similarity
  4. equivalent = counterpart
  5. capacity = ability = capability = competence = aptitude = power
  6. feed on = eat = survive on
  7. slaughter = kill = massacre = slay = butcher


Topic 62: Far too little has been done to prevent animals and plants from dying out, although people have noticed this problem for a long time. Why have people failed to improve this situation? What are your suggestions?

Nowadays, the progressive extinction of living species on the planet — either animals or plants — has arisen as a big environmental challenge, according to many scientists and researchers. Despite the growing concern on this issue, little progress has been made in this Held. There are some factors that account for why this has happened. In my opinion, this situation can be remedied, provided that some reasonable steps are taken.

The sharp fall in living species is first attributed to people’s continued and heavy reliance on them for their own interests. An age-old tradition is that animals are raised, bred and fed for human use. For example, laboratory animals, working animals and sport animals have been used for economic reasons or to fulfil different tasks throughout much of human history. The meat of rare animals is regarded as a delicacy in some countries, for example, whale meat in Japan. When it conies to plants, over-logging, over-grazing and soil erosion are the root causes of the dwindling vegetation. Over-utilisation of living species has made many animals and plants face extinction risk.

Another reason cited to explain this is that few people take the mass extinction of species seriously. For example, fur is desired and pursued as a fashionable status symbol in many countries, even in those countries where people are known for their environmental concern, such as New Zealand, Canada and Australia. Barely have buyers realised that their purchase decisions will encourage the fur business to further animal slaughter. Rainforest destruction is another example. Despite strong opposition to lumber harvesting, this problem continues simply because people have an ever-growing appetite for land to live on (such as buying luxury properties in the country) and wood products to consume (such as furniture). Humans’ pursuit of comfort and enjoyment has long been justified and condoned, even though the pursuit is at the expense of other species on the planet.

From what has been discussed, it is clear that lack of awareness and over-reliance on natural resources are the main reasons why species are being pushed closer to the brink of extinction. Humane education represents a long-term commitment and will help raise a generation that has a real knowledge of environment protection and slays alert to the risk of animal exploitation and ecological degradation. In addition, it is imperative to carefully measure and control any activity that is likely to pose a threat on the survival of species. Decision makers and individual citizens alike should take into consideration the impacts of their decisions and behaviours on living species. It is important to realise that preservation of living species is notsentimental, but essential to the well-being of humankind.

  1. extinction = death = loss = disappearance = annihilation
  2. breed = reproduce
  3. feed = give food to = nourish = raise = bring up
  4. rare animal = exotic animal = endangered animal = threatened species
  5. dwindle-shrink = decline = disappear
  6. over-utilisation = excessive use = over-exploitation
  7. condone = forgive = disregard-ignore = overlook = excuse = pardon
  8. brink = verge
  9. sentimental = emotional = unrealistic


Topic 63: Some people think that killing animals for food is cruel, but others claim that animals are a necessary part of diet. What’s your opinion?

It is a widespread practice that livestock is raised and butchered for human consumption. Although it has been condemned as cruelty to animals, a counter-argument is that meat is the necessity for people’s health and well-being. To the best of my knowledge, meat is a regular part of the diet and there is no alternative to animal food sources.

The first justification is that animal source foods provide a wide range of nutrients that are difficult to obtain in adequate quantities from plant source foods. Insufficient intake of those nutrients will produce negative health outcomes, such as poor growth. A diet with a good combination of meat and vegetable is thought to have considerable value. Some might argue that consumption of meat can pose health risks and increase the risk of foodborne illness. This statement is fallacious, considering the fact that people can kill bacteria and remove risk factors by cooking properly and using scientific methods in manufacture.

Another point to note is that most of the meat available in supermarkets for people’s consumption is produced by industrial agriculture. In view of the intense use of modern technology and mass production techniques, the produced livestock, poultry or fish cannot be taken as ordinary animals but only as manufactured goods. By making use of economies of scale to produce enough food at an affordable cost, industrial farming is essential to addressing food supply problems.

The significance of capitalising on animals as a food source is therefore undeniable, but it is important to realise that people cannot exploit animals and become addicted to meat consumption. Animal fats, for example, increase the risk of heart disease and meat is frequently associated with outbreaks of food poisoning. Meanwhile, people’s insatiable desire for meat might lead to intensive livestock farming and animal slaughter, which has a direct impact on the well-being of animals worldwide.

From the preceding discussion, one can see no reason why livestock or some other animals cannot be used as food. Switching to an animal free diet is a personal option, but the question remains whether one can ensure sufficient intake of nutrition necessary for one’s health. When there is little room for argument concerning the use of animals for meat, it is necessary to impose standards and prevent animal exploitation.

  1. butcher = kill for meat = cut for meat
  2. nutrient = life-enhancing substance = nutrition
  3. bacteria = microbe = microorganism = germ
  4. poultry = fowl = livestock
  5. economies of scale = cost-effective advantages = advantages obtained from mass production
  6. outbreak = occurrence = outburst
  7. insatiable = avid = greedy = voracious = ravenous
  8. preceding = previous = earlier = above


Topic 64: Discuss the arguments for and against raising pets.

In those years, animal welfare has become a subject of controversy and it has been argued that animals should not be regarded as property by human beings or used against their own best interests. When pet raising has become a way of life in many societies around the world, it has, on the other hand, raised the question of whether it is a breach of animal rights. Below are some arguments concerning pet ownership.

Pet animals are known for their loyalty and playful characteristics and believed to have a positive effect on the health of their owners. The pressures of modern lifestyles are tremendous. Compared to previous generations, people are more likely to live independently and away from their families at the present time. Adopting a pet animal as a companion can give quality to the owner’s life, and help reduce stress and blood pressure. It is also regarded as a solution to the feeling of isolation and loneliness. These two facts are combined to justify why there are an increasing number of people now depending on pet animals as companions or even a therapy.

Raising pets benefits pets as well. Providing companionship and giving pleasure to their owners, pets receive loving care and attention in return. Some might argue that holding a pet isunnatural, because pet animals would lose their original way of life. However, people should meanwhile recognise that some animals areunfitted to the wild environment. It is morally wrong that people force annuals to struggle with food, clean water and other necessities in the wild environment.

Keeping an animal is therefore beneficial, but, notably, there is no guarantee that every pet lives a happy life. Ignorance of an animal’s needs for space, exercise or contact with members of the same species, for instance, has been found as a common problem with raising pets. It should also be noted that many people adopt pets for wrong reasons, such as a statement of affluence or a status symbol. They are very likely to abandon or even kill pets when their initial interest subsides. When holding pet animals has become popular, other problems will result, e. g., pollution caused by excess manure.

Based on the facts outlined above, people can conclude that pet-keeping is a tradition that can be either good or bad, from an ethical point of view. On the one hand, it gives people companionship and great pleasure and animals obtain a loving home and a happy life. On the other, inappropriate treatment can rob animals of the basic right to well being.

  1. playful = lively = animated
  2. therapy = cure = remedy = treatment
  3. companionship = company
  4. unnatural = abnormal = aberrant = deviant
  5. unfitted = unsuitable = incompatible with = incongruous with
  6. manure = dung
  7. rob sb. of = deprive of = take from


Topic 65: Good facilities can be found in cities but not in the countryside. Therefore, new doctors and teachers should be sent to the countryside. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Poor facilities have been found as a common sight of rural areas. To improve this situation, some suggest that new doctors and teachers should be assigned with tasks in the countryside, but not in urban areas. There are some strong arguments for tins suggested solution.

The first is that hospitals, clinics and schools are severely understaffed in rural areas, compared with their overstaffed counterparts in the city. The imbalance of resource and staff has chronic effects on the well-being of rural people. Lack of education or medication has made them among the most disadvantaged in a country. Allocating new doctors and teachers to those areas can at least provide a temporary solution. Besides, it helps address the issue of distributing the graduates from medical school and normal college, with filling those vacancies for physicians and teachers in rural communities.

To the doctors or teachers that graduate freshly with a degree only, working in rural areas enables them to enrich work experience within the shortest possible period of time. Opportunities are scarce in the city, where numerous candidates are in the race for a single position. The chance of raising standards through practice is so meagre that it will over time hamper rural practitioners’ career development and will make them uncompetitive in a skill-based society. Facility shortage to many doctors in the country is an opportunity, instead of a challenge. They are in a position to rely more on clinical skills than on sophisticated equipment. For teachers, they teach with few teaching aids. All contribute to the increment of their skills.

Despite those benefits, the place of work should be chosen by doctors or teachers themselves and compulsory assortment is not justifiable. It is not ethical to stop the desire of individuals for a more satisfying quality of life. Needless to say working in rural areas has many issues to address, working conditions, transport and housing. For this reason, those graduates who volunteer to take rural employment deserve a better pay as a recognition of their contribution and also as an incentive.

From what has been discussed, working for a period of time in the country can benefit new teachers and doctors alike with increasing their work experience and meanwhile, address the service shortage facing those areas. However, the voluntary sign-up should be guaranteed, instead of compulsory assignment.

  1. assign = appoint = send = allocate
  2. vacancy = position = post = job opportunity
  3. physician = doctor = general practitioner = surgeon
  4. meagre = scanty = slim
  5. recognition = acknowledgement = appreciation = respect
  6. incentive = motivation = encouragement = inducement


Topic 66: Some findings have revealed that cities around the world are growing large. Could you outline the possible causes and predict consequences?

Of those issues that have concerned the government, academics and the public throughout the world, urban sprawl is one of the most prominent. There are conflicting views toward this growing trend. While it has been taken as a positive development in many newly emerging cities, it is increasingly perceived as a threat to rural environment and considered as a trigger for numerous urban problems. The objective of this essay is to evaluate the forces behind this trend and its consequences.

Population growth is widely recognised as the primary reason. The room in the city centre is so limited that it fails to provide enough housing to accommodate an ever-growing population. Another problem that has intensified in the inner city is infrastructure shortage and poor conditions of buildings. Lack of amenities, such as water and electricity supply, waste disposal, swage treatment,to name but a few, has left no choice to urban dwellers but to resettle in the suburbs, where they have easier access to new facilities

City dwellers are not always moving outward unwillingly. The continued increase in household incomes gives renewed impetus to urban development. People nowadays have higher expectations forquality of life and a growing appetite for lower-density housing with a larger open space. It is possibly the main reason why the real estate market has its focus now on the outskirts of the city, but not on the centre. In the meantime, the affordability and ubiquityof car ownership has made transport a less serious concern for those living in suburbs. They can commute daily between the place of work and the place of residence with ease.

The sustained expansion of cities will make a marked impact on the society in several dimensions. The high traffic volume between suburbs and urban areas would cause severe air pollution and reduce the lands suitable for fanning. Urban sprawl requires large developments, causing areas to lose some of their unique qualities and characteristics. From the economic perspective, the relocation of a high population in suburbs will pose adverse fiscal impacts on the local government in infrastructure construction. To those who used to live in suburbs, the inflow of new inhabitants would damage the community spirit and make relations between neighbours fragile.

Urban sprawl is, therefore, a trend which has a strong effect on the environment, communities and government budgeting. When urban decay and citizens’ desire for higher standard of living make this trendirreversible, the emphasis should be placed on planned and sustainable development.

  1. amenity = facility = service
  2. disposal = clearance
  3. treatment = handling = dealing
  4. to name but a few = to mention but a few = and so on = and so forth
  5. renewed = new
  6. impetus = momentum = thrust = drive = force
  7. quality of life = living standard = the level of comfort and wealth
  8. real estate = property = housing
  9. outskirt = suburb = the periphery of a city
  10. in the meantime = meanwhile
  11. ubiquity = prevalence = popularity
  12. commute = go back and forth
  13. with ease = easily = effortlessly = without much effort = without difficulty
  14. marked = noticeable = distinct = manifest
  15. inflow = influx = arrival
  16. inhabitant = dweller = citizen = resident
  17. damage = injure
  18. irreversible = unalterable


Topic 67: The only way to improve road safety is to impose severe punishment for driving offences. Do you agree or disagree?

Road safety has long been an issue of concern to the public, and to the government. Nothing qualifies as a sufficient compensation when a road accident occurs. Despite the painstaking effort to reduce death, injury, and trauma across the world, many countries are seeing traffic accidents increase exponentially. In improving road safety, some people advocate harsh punishment. In my opinion, it is merely one of the many countermeasures and cannot prevent all criminal offences on the road.

In many cases, many automobile accidents occur not because drivers belittle or defy road regulations but because those regulations are unfamiliar to them. It is an everyday occurrence that rule-breaking acts and traffic crashes are linked to poor driving skills. Many drivers have limited experience in coping with different situations and an inaccurate estimation of the complexity of road conditions, despite having passed licence tests. It alerts people to the loopholes in policies, such as the loose control over car use, low requirements on driving training and low licence standards. In tackling those problems, it is imperative to require licence applicants to attend more safe-driving courses and pass strict tests.

Besides education, other endeavours, such as improving road infrastructure and transportation systems, are equally important. Road conditions should be improved to allow different users, including drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, to use roads safely. Other facilities, such as stoplights and stop signs, can be used wherever appropriate to curb speed driving. Furthermore, authorities can sponsor the research for road safety measures and effective precautions, such as identifying risk factors of different driving patterns. By translating these findings into policies and practices, the government is in a stronger position to protect vehicle occupants and vulnerable road users.

Wider intervention of local authorities is also recommended, such as increasing patrols in those areas where accident rate is high. Road regulations should be reassessed and revised regularly so as to combat road offences more effectively. When the existing policies fail to regulate road users’ behaviour, tightening the control is preferred. However, as suggested before, strict standards require fullcompliance. Without regulations closely observed, standards are in fact vain.

It can therefore be made clear that punishment is not the only way to cut the accident rate and improve people’s safety on road. Some other measures, such as increasing road users’ knowledge of rules and defence driving skills, improving road infrastructure and enforcing compliance with standards, are all important

  1. painstaking = diligent = careful = conscientious
  2. trauma = suffering = pain
  3. exponentially = dramatically = markedly
  4. harsh = unsympathetic = unforgiving = severe: = strict
  5. countermeasure = preventive measure/action = precaution
  6. loophole = mistake = escape = dodge
  7. besides = apart from = aside from
  8. sponsor = fund = subsidise = support
  9. vulnerable = defenceless = susceptible
  10. tighten = increase = boost
  11. compliance = conforming
  12. vain = worthless = futile = ineffective


Topic 68: Police in Britain do not carry guns. Some people believe that unarmed police are unable to protect citizens, but some suggest that arming the police will lead to a surge in violence in society. Discuss those two views.

Whether to arm the police is a contentious subject. While some people maintain that unarmed police are unable to protect law-abiding citizens, others reject this notion, believing that it leads to a drop in violence in society. There are several factors that account for the stark contrast between the two thoughts.

The primary concern on armed police is that it would increase the potential for miscarriages of justice and mistaken shootings of innocent civilians. The legislation in many countries is supportive of this concern. Laws protect citizens from torture or cruel treatment and also their rights on arrest or detainment. If armed, the police will be less likely to think twice before pulling the trigger. They can easily get away with private execution by inventing a legitimate excuse, such as self-defence. The chance of a shoot-out would naturally rise, causing many preventable injuries or losses of life.

Arming the police might also add fuel to the gun culture. Nowadays, perhaps nothing is worse than the continued rise in the gun ownership rate. Arming the police can never redress the imbalance but worse, give criminals a motivator to carry guns even for minor crimes. On the other hand, in those communities that are otherwise peaceful, armed police are intimidating and the fear of crime will spread wildly. It would lead to further demand on private gun ownership, and expose members of the public to higher risk.

Arming police is therefore not advisable in most cases but only allowed in exceptional circumstances. For example, in those areas where armed crimes are rampant, armed police protect not only the public but also themselves from the potential attack. It gives the police the leverage in their combat against criminals, especially those hardened criminals. Firearms also serve as a deterrent to would-beoffenders. If street patrols in some neighbourhoods are routinely armed, it helps cut the rates of crime.

The access to weapons should therefore be limited, for the simple reason that carrying guns leads to higher likelihood of mistaken shootings and to higher levels of violence. Carrying guns is only accepted when the police are in conflict situations and confrontations with criminals.

  1. mistaken = incorrect
  2. execution = the death sentence = killing = capital punishment
  3. preventable = unnecessary = avoidable
  4. add fuel to = fuel = invigorate = encourage
  5. redress = restore = remedy
  6. motivator = incentive = impetus
  7. intimidating = daunting = frightening = scary
  8. deterrent = warning
  9. would-be = possible = likely = prospective = potential


Topic 69: Do you think it is better to send criminals to jail or let them receive education or job training?

In the public mind, a prison is a place to keep those who have done wicked things in captivity, in order that they will not contaminatelaw-abiding citizens. However, there is a growing concern in these years that imprisonment is a less effective form of punishment, and some alternatives seem to promise more satisfying outcomes. I agree on this proposed change, with evidence that imprisonment can be merely taken as the last resort.

Education is of critical importance to rehabilitating an offender. It first changes delinquents’ attitudes toward society and family, aprerequisite to their reintegration into the community. It meanwhile allows them to keep in contact with the community, an opportunity that prisoners are normally deprived of. With the passing of time, they lose confidence and the ability to function prosocially. The risk of re-offending is thus higher. The third benefit is preventing offenders’ peer group effect, because by receiving education in a proper learning environment, offenders have lower chance of reinforcing each other’s antisocial and criminal behaviours in group situations.

Similar to education, work is one of the most important interventions in corrections, whether it takes the form of work release or vocational training. Money is the main inducement of many crimes, such as shoplifting, robbery, burglary, and so forth. Job training enables offenders to acquire earning capacity and improve job skills. By this they can become productive members of society and have the opportunity to behave normally towards family or occupation or society. Greater post-release employment success will, in general, lead to a lower rate of recidivism.

However, to those habitual criminals, who have committed crimes repeatedly and show little respect for the legal system, education and job training might not make any significant difference. This category of offenders gives little thought to their past or future. Their behaviours and thoughts are deeply ingrained and unbending,in which circumstance imprisonment is the best way of keeping them from being perpetrators. Meanwhile, imprisonment has deterrent effects and can deter potential offenders from becoming actual offenders.

To sum up, it is clear that the results of imprisonment can be mixed and it is only effective in restricting those who are very likely to commit repeated acts of violence. By contrast, education and vocational training suit those who committed less serious crimes, preventing them from becoming re-offenders after release and assisting them to reorganise their lives.

  1. contaminate = taint = infect = influence
  2. resort = alternative = option = choice
  3. rehabilitate = restore = mend = re-establish = reshape = remould
  4. offender = lawbreaker = delinquent
  5. prerequisite = requirement = precondition
  6. reintegration = blending
  7. inducement = incentive = enticement
  8. ingrained = embedded = deep-rooted = fixed
  9. unbending = fixed = unyielding
  10. perpetrator-criminal


Topic 70: Many people are afraid of leaving their houses because of the spread of crimes. Some think that more actions can be taken to prevent crime from occurring, but others think little can be done. What is your opinion?

The rise in the crime rate in the past decades has fuelled public worries about the rapidly declining safety of their communities. Some people take the position that little can be done to prevent themselves from victimisation. As opposed to this general pessimism, many people, however, maintain that in combating crime, people should adopt a proactive approach. I side with both of them.

The first point to support this is that the government can increase intervention, including launching anti-crime public campaigns, enforcing new laws, and providing education. A civilised society ischaracterised by a high literacy rate and a low crime rate. The negative relationship between these two parameters implies that one will be away from a life of crime if given the access to education. Another method relies on the combination of imposing tougher laws and training a more effective police force. Not only does it penalise those offenders but it also deters prospective criminals. Moreover, the government can capitalise on the mass media throughout the country to alert the public to the threat of crime and teach citizens self-defence techniques.

For individual citizens, many crimes can be nipped in the bud, if they keep vigilant at crimes and are brave enough to fight back. It is particularly true in cases where burglars break into houses without an alarm system, and shoplifters target those shops that are not under the surveillance of security camera. In simple terms, it is people’s negligence that causes them to fall prey to the criminals. On other occasions, criminals are pampered by people’s cowardice. If they possessed courage to chase criminals or at least report to the police on a crime, there would be fewer victims.

To tackle crime, as indicated above, requires the commitment of nearly all members of society, from the government to ordinary citizens. Although there might not be a great deal one can do to prevent crimes from occurring, it is not entirely helpless. Solutions exist somewhere always, but wait to be found and practiced.

  1. fuel = increase = invigorate = stimulate
  2. position = stance = attitude = opinion = view
  3. victimisation = persecution
  4. combat = fight = struggle with
  5. side with = agree with = support = be in sb. ‘s camp
  6. characterise = typify
  7. parameter = factor
  8. combination = mixture
  9. tough = strict = rigid = stringent
  10. nip crimes in the bud
  11. vigilant = watchful = wary = alert = cautious = attentive
  12. pamper = spoil
  13. cowardice = spinelessness


Topic 71: There are more and more effective security measures in large cities to reduce the crime. Does this endeavour bring more benefits than problems?

In these years, the society has seen rapid proliferation of different measures aiming to prevent victimisation. It is followed by aprotracted debate over its positive and negative impacts. In my opinion, it is a reflection of the inflated fear of crime, but not of actual levels of crime.

To a larger or lesser extent, the increased presence of anti-crime devices fuels the fear of crime and has a devastating effect on people’s quality of life. Crimes are concentrated in particular areas, but the fear of crime spreads across the whole community and affects nearly every resident. The most annoying aspect of this trend is that people’s freedom is curtailed (for example, using the stairway of a building less frequently due to the alarm installed there) and sometimes, people’s privacy is invaded (due to the concealed surveillance cameras in offices). There is little, if any, evidence that the threat people perceive has a real life counterpart.

On the other hand, although some measures are said to deter or stop crime, they too often produce opposite outcomes. For example, lighting in a dark area may reduce fear but also enable criminals to see their targets more easily, leading to a high probability of attacks. The benefits of self-protective measures such as gun ownership and martial arts training are doubtful because nobody can say with certainty that the net effect is to decrease harm. Most personal defensive devices are either too difficult to use or less effective than expected.

Crime reduction and crime prevention also rely on other approaches rather than on security measures. Criminals choose their targets based on time and whereabouts. Citizens will be less vulnerable to victimisation if they bypass those places where crimes frequently occur. There is no need for carrying chemical agents for self-defence. Many mansions are armed with expensive in-door surveillance systems, but issuing passes to occupants and tenants and preventing easy access to the building is more effective and economical. In the inner city, where crimes are epidemic, eliminating the dilapidated buildings used by criminals for hiding or selecting a target is more useful than requiring all shops and residents nearby to install expensive security system. The central part of crime prevention is altering the environment, by which the root causes or at least the facilitators of crime can be eliminated.

As suggested above, it is difficult to measure the effectiveness of anti-crime equipment and users should examine it regularly. The crime prevention framework should focus on making the environment safe from crime, reducing the potential for crime in high-risk situations andhalting the possibility of future crime.

  1. protract = prolong
  2. inflated = increased = escalating
  3. devastating = destructive = harmful = damaging = dreadful
  4. curtail = limit = restrict = restrain = inhibit = curb = reduce
  5. self-protective = self-defensive
  6. halt = stop = freeze


Topic 72: With the ageing of society, we are now beginning to see a growing interest in further abolishment of mandatory retirement. Do you think that mandatory retirement is obsolete or should be sustained?

Mandatory retirement is a prominent issue raised by the continued expansion of the aged population. The notion that the older people should be forced out of employment because of age is set to become obsolete. However, the paradox is that a fixed retirement age is still being widely adopted by many employers as usual, either overtly or impliedly. My opinion is that the ways people look at older people as a section of the workforce should be subject to modification, in a world where the growth of the ageing population is a clear trend.

Due to improved diet, higher incomes and medical advances, people nowadays live longer. The ongoing increase in the life expectancyleads to the subsequent extension of working lives. It comes as no surprise that productivity and intellectual ability of workers would remain the same as they approach age 65 and in the years beyond. Meanwhile, older employees have a wealth of experience and specialised knowledge they have obtained throughout their decades-long working lives. All stand them in good stead, despite their slightly reduced physical abilities. The age prejudice is therefore unjustified, causing businesses to lose a major source of expert personnel.

Another disadvantage of mandatory retirement is the difficulty in finding qualified replacements for senior employees who have retired. Contrary to popular belief, senior employees are unlikely to impedepromoting young employees. Instead, they ensure the consistency of staff training of an organisation. Many senior employees are willing to stay on the junior jobs and earn less when they reach retirement age. Besides, their leadership is essential to the improvement of younger employees’ skills. With senior employees, a corporation guarantees the diversity of perspectives and minimises the risk of relying on impetuous decisions made by young, inexperienced employees.

Despite those justifications for longer working lives, working in later life might not be aligned with the interest of all older people. For blue-collar workers, their choice is very limited. They are either forced out because of ill health or tired of working days and nights. In many instances, despite being able to work, the majority of senior people prefer retirement, or at least working shorter hours. Income has failed to be an effective incentive, compared to being part of society and contributing to the society in later life. For this reason, retirement should be made a voluntary option to the senior.

Based on the above-mentioned arguments, one can conclude that the changing demographics have lent support to raising the age of retirement or just abolishing mandatory retirement. It is in line with the extended life expectancy and in employers’ favour, although it is up to older people themselves in deciding whether to retire or not

  1. paradox = contradictory aspect
  2. modification = adjustment = adaptation = alteration
  3. life expectancy = lifespan
  4. impede = obstruct = hinder = hamper = hold back
  5. impetuous = impulsive = reckless = heedless
  6. aligned with = in line with


Topic 73: In many countries, the proportion of older people is increasing steadily. Do you think it is a positive or negative change to the society?

In many countries, the trends toward fewer children and more senior citizens are proceeding at an accelerated pace. A long and healthy old age was previously a cause for celebration, but now viewed as a “burden on society”. As far as I sec, fears that problems will arise from an ageing population are unfounded

People tend to believe that the ageing of a society leads to slower growth of population size and to a shrinking workforce. Thedominant way of looking at an older society has been to see this as a problem — an increasing burden on the working population. The fact is that as the number of young people falls, organisations will find it harder to recruit from their traditional pool of school-leavers and graduates. To tackle this problem, an increasing number of sectors and companies are now desperate to keep their highly experienced older workers. Therefore, an ageing population will by no means constitute a problem because older people should work at or beyond retirement age. Nor will it lead to a crisis of labour.

Another widespread worry is the sufficiency of wealth available in society to sustain the retired population. Paradoxically, when people are concerned about the public expenditure on the retired population, they have ignored private transfers of time and money from the old generation to the young one. It is important to note that parents’ earning capacity grows nowadays because of having fewer children. The total time they spend caring for dependents drops, and they are thus released for productive work. When they reach retirement age, they are in a stronger position with better financial security. In later years their children should receive an adequate inheritance,assisting them in turn to achieve a comfortable retirement.

In addition to establishing a solid financial base for families, older people also have time to offer for other benefits of family and those of the community. Healthy and energetic, they are the backbone of voluntary services. Voluntary services are not worthless just because they are unpaid. Senior workers can provide families or voluntary organisations with legal, accounting, computer or other skills for free.

As suggested above, the fear (hat people will suffer from the “burden” of too many elderly people is unreasonable. Any issue that arises from having a larger, older and healthier elderly population should not be viewed as a challenge for the century to come, because improving health and increased life expectancy mean that today’s older population is able to lead a fuller life than any generation before them.

  1. unfounded = groundless = tenuous
  2. dominant = leading = main = major = prevailing
  3. desperate to = anxious to = eager to = keen to
  4. release = free = liberate
  5. inheritance = legacy = heritage
  6. backbone = main part
  7. worthless = of no value = valueless = useless


Topic 74: Currently more and more people respect elders and become convinced that older people should live with their families, which is in contrast to the view that older people should live at a nursing home. What is your opinion?

The swelling of the aged population is an inescapable trend in many countries. There is no point in denying that managing this fundamental social change is an unprecedented challenge, such as presenting suitable housing and care options to the elderly people. As to whether a nursing home suits the elderly better than their own homes (where they can stay with their families), my view is that it is a decision that varies according to personal needs and characters.

It is true that nowadays, many older persons are able to stay active in their old age because of medical advances, healthier lifestyles and anti-ageing technologies. It is time that people rethought the perceptions of what it means to be old. Many retired people feel the need to contribute to the community after a lifetime of service to businesses and their families. They love to be involved in all sorts of activities and enjoy being included in groups. Considering their desire to maintain their independence and be part of society, if they do not have a decent quality of life, they will feel excluded. For this reason, the retirement home is not a preferred option.

Families and friends are the key to a happy old age. Elders can enjoy the company of the peers of the same age in a nursing home but meanwhile, suffer a loss of family life. Living away from their families, older people are more prone to the feeling of loneliness. Thelingering stereotype of the average senior citizen as a frail andpassive family member should be scraped now. Older members are capable of shouldering more family responsibilities following their retirement. Their sense of well-being is linked to the extent to which they are involved in family duties.

Despite the strong preference among the elderly for staying with their families, a nursing home functions well to help those who do not have the company of their families. In addition to offering the access to social activity and engagement, a nursing home provides professional care service to old people, most of whom are not capable of caring and cooking for themselves. For those who are taken to hospital frequently for treatment, the rest home is particularly a good choice, as there are many health and medical specialists.

As suggested above, considering the fact that nowadays, many elderly people are able to remain healthy and active, they should be given the chances to participate in social and family activities as well as pursuing hobbies and other interests. Only when their ill health or emotional well-being becomes a serious problem, should a nursing homo be taken into consideration.

  1. swelling = growing = expanding
  2. inescapable = unavoidable = inevitable
  3. rethink = reassess = re-evaluate
  4. excluded = expelled = isolated = insulated
  5. company = accompany
  6. lingering = lasting = enduring = persistent
  7. frail = weak = fragile = feeble
  8. passive = inert = inactive
  9. shoulder = bear


Topic 75: In many countries, women join the army as men do. However, some people argue that the army solely needs males. What is your opinion?

Stepping into the 21st century, women have set foot in nearly every walk of life. However, the army is still a male-dominated area in much of the world. A great many people hold bias against women’s enrolment in the army. In my view, females can contribute to the army just as males do, despite some of their shortcomings.

The first standpoint to conscribe females is that they now have more chances to receive education. In comparison with the past, where the army recruitment policies focused on strength and fitness, the current focus is on academic ability. Physical fighting either armed or unarmed, no longer features in modern warfare. It has been replaced by battles between tanks, armours, missiles or warplanes, most of which are computerised. In other words, females can perform military tasks as their male counterparts do, provided that they are well-educated and well-trained.

Secondly, women have inborn merits that stand them in good stead. Females are less likely to commit faults, for they are accustomed to dealing with matters with accuracy and caution. Patience and consideration of others account for the high presence of females in army hospitals or logistics departments. Other impressive personality traits include their endurance of hardships, especially in gruelling conditions, and their tenderness, a character required in the caring profession in the army.

Notwithstanding their strengths, females have some limitations they may need to overcome. The first obstacle is the social attitudes. Females have to cope with the pressure exerted by their families, acquaintances, or friends, as serving the army is widely seen as a deadly job, which is exclusively for males. The second obstacle is sexual discrimination and harassment, which seems common in most armies and can discourage females from serving their countries.

In conclusion, females’ presence in the army should be approved and encouraged. Their performance can be guaranteed by their innate strengths, despite the fact that they might have to cope with prejudices and other external disturbances.

  1. bias = prejudice = reconceived notion
  2. conscribe = enlist = enrol
  3. stand sb. in good stead = advantage sb.
  4. gruelling = harsh = tough = difficult = severe = arduous


Topic 76: Gender imbalance has long been a general phenomenon not only in the labour market but also in formal education. Some analysts argue that it is impossible to eliminate the underpresentation of women in some subjects in the university. Do you agree or disagree?

Although gender equality is widely promoted at modern colleges, females are still underrepresented in some subjects. Some people tend to treat it as a persistent problem, believing that the root of this problem is not in the university, but should be seen in a wider context. This conclusion is cursory and should be reviewed in today’s society.

The first point to note is that females have made a lot of inroads into fields that have been traditionally dominated by men. To serve in the army was, for instance, the exclusive right of males, but today, more women have been enlisted. Many would consider the army as the most ideally “men only” profession. If females can make a success of it, they can succeed in every other field. The ascendancy of woman has been seen in the surge in their prominent positions in society and in the traditional blue collar business world. Women should not be considered unqualified or incapable of any university subject.

Universities that provide a gender-fair environment see benefits for both students and faculty. Historically, the gender imbalance at colleges has isolated students from the real world, where there is a high chance of dealing with females rather than just males. The tension or conflict between the sexes in the university environment only allows students to exercise their ability to work with peers of the opposite sex. Faculty gets the chance to address the problem of gender inequality and discrimination, which has characterised campuses for decades. This results in a better learning environment, and thus a better thought of university.

Despite what has been discussed, it should be admitted that to put gender equality into practice is a complex task. There are a number of hurdles a female applicant has to overcome in the pursuit of academic objectives, and the first is from family. Traditional families often feel reluctant to support their daughters’ quest for higher education. The idea that university is mainly for men to learn a tradeto support their wives and family remains prevalent. The women’s role is being defined as supporting their husband through performingmenial tasks of life.

In conclusion, achieving a gender balance in the university is no longer an unachievable aim at the present time. While the competence of women has widely been recognised by their male colleagues in a wide range of occupations, the balance between men and women in an academic environment is deemed as a necessity. Although problems such as gender prejudice and favouritismcontinue to prevent women’s full participation in some subjects, these problems are losing their leverage.

  1. persistent = lasting = constant = permanent
  2. cursory = superficial
  3. make some inroads into
  4. exclusive = absolute = sole
  5. ascendancy = dominance = superiority
  6. unqualified = incompetent = unprofessional
  7. incapable = inept = incompetent = powerless
  8. historically = in the past = in history = traditionally = in times gone by
  9. imbalance = inequity = inequality
  10. hurdle = obstacle = barrier = impediment = problem = difficulty
  11. quest for = pursuit of
  12. trade = skill = craft
  13. menial = tedious = unskilled
  14. favouritism = preference = discrimination


Topic 77: Throughout the history, male leaders often made the society more violent and conflicting. If women governed the world, the world would be more peaceful. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

It is always interesting to notice that most of government leaders around the world are male. This situation is becoming more acute as gender roles have changed dramatically over the last century — with women taking more high-ranking positions in the corporate world. An issue people are openly debating is whether women, if taking office as world leaders, can bring a more peaceful world. In my opinion, any judgement about the direct link between government policies and the gender of the government leader is premature.

It is first important to correct a common misconception that a leader’s decision is determined very often by his or her natural dispositions. The truth is that a leader formulates a policy mostly according to public opinions and makes a decision as the representative of a country. Admittedly, many autocrats in history were meanwhile temperamental males, who were notorious for their volatile characters, unpredictable decrees and aggressive stance. Some historians have offered another explanation for this general sign. A leader with such personalities was favoured and supported by a country during a specific period of time and chosen by a majority of the electorate to pursue the interest of a country. The rise of Hitler Adolf before World War II is a telling example. His attempt to establish a pure race of German people and colonise Europe reflected more a common desire shared by the whole German society than his own will.

Another general notion that females are intrinsically sympathetic andnonviolent is also ungrounded. Although it seems that females are generally less combative, quarrelsome and ambitious than males, there are always exceptions. The path to the top of the chain of command of a country is routinely filled with obstacles. Only those with strong leadership qualities can survive power struggles and reach the top position. It meanwhile requires contestants to show their abilities to make tough decisions in situations, for instance, when the sovereignty of a country is under threat. A good example to support this is the decision made by Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, to send a naval task force to recapture the Falkland Islands and settle a military conflict with Argentina. It shows that a female leader should show the samedecisiveness as a male leader does.

There are many other examples of this kind to support the argument that a decision to start a war and choose a violent solution to problems is not on personal grounds. A more satisfactory explanation is that a leader makes a decision he or she considers in general interest. The relationship between gender and peace-making is therefore remote.

  1. acute = critical = serious = sharp
  2. premature = hasty = impulsive = untimely
  3. formulate = devise = prepare = invent = create
  4. autocrat = tyrant = dictator = absolute ruler
  5. temperamental = volatile = moody = unpredictable
  6. notorious = infamous = dishonourable = disreputable
  7. volatile = unstable = unpredictable = fickle = capricious
  8. decree = order = ruling = verdict
  9. electorate = voter = voting public
  10. nonviolent = peaceful = diplomatic
  11. quarrelsome = argumentative = hot-tempered = grouchy
  12. contestant = competitor = contender = rival
  13. sovereignty = autonomy = independence
  14. recapture = resize = regain
  15. decisiveness = determination = resolve = authority
  16. remote = distant


Topic 78: Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of playing sports and participating in physical exercises.

Sport and recreational physical activity is an integral part of the society. Especially in today’s society, where people have a growing concern about health, participation in recreational physical activity has been strongly promoted as part of a healthy lifestyle. What will he discussed below are the benefits of physical exercise, and some issues participants should pay attention to when increasing the level of physical activity.

One of the main benefits associated with regular exercise is the development of a healthy lifestyle. There is evidence that people can enjoy a longer life expectancy by adapting their daily lives to incorporate physical activity. There are many reasons for this. For example, sports perform a wide range of life-enhancing functions, such as boosting the immune system, burning fat, reducing the risk of experiencing major illnesses (e.g., heart disease, diabetes). In a society where physical inactivity, unbalanced diet, stress and other problems are becoming increasingly serious, playing sports has significant implications to the well-being of the general population.

Another major benefit achieved from regular activity is the enhancement of social life. Combined with a balanced diet, sports, such as jogging, cycling or swimming, enable people to maintain a healthy weight, keep in shape, thereby boosting confidence on social occasions. In addition, sports and regular physical activities provide opportunities for social interactions. For example, team sports, such as soccer, rugby and basketball, allow participants to meet new teammates regularly and improve social life.

When physical exercise is highly recommended, it should be planned and managed well. Excessive physical exercise, for example, puts participants at the risk of injury. It is commonplace and hazardous that some people take up long duration and high intensity exercise despite lack of stamina. Although these potential risks are not tonegate the benefits of physical activity, participants should take precautions and follow the instructions of sports professionals, trainers and coaches. In general, participants are advised to start gently and then increase the frequency of the activity until they canstick to it as an everyday routine.

As shown above, there are a large number of benefits obtainable in regular exercise, such as promoting health, preventing illness and boosting self-esteem. Sports and recreational injuries are nevertheless a common problem, which deserves people’s attention. It can be avoided by increasing activity gradually to a desired level, instead of starting from intense training.

  1. inactivity = idleness = sluggishness = indolence = immobility
  2. stamina = strength = (physical or mental) energy = vigour
  3. negate = cancel out = counteract = reverse
  4. stick to = follow = abide by


Topic 79: Some people believe that national sports teams and individual athletes who represent their country should be financially supported by the government. Some people think that they should be funded by non-government groups (e.g. business, sponsorship.) What is your opinion?

In recent years, one of the clearest trends in sports is that more and more corporations have come into play. It is a subject of discussion whether private financing should be accepted by the government to a larger extent and even the state can concede its control over national sports teams to private ownership. In my opinion, the involvement of entrepreneurs is essential and can be deemed as acomplement to government administration.

There are many reasons why the private sector should play a more active role in sports. First, the government alone cannot afford the expenditure involved in the sports industry, such as salaries of athletes, administrative costs, and so forth. By organising competitions efficiently and economically, enhancing athletes” market values, seeking out sponsors or patrons, the private sector not only raises necessary financing but also maximises the return of the sports industry. A business’s willingness to take part in this industry is attributable to many incentives. For example, it would help create an image which is associated with enthusiasm, energy and passion and can be turned into enormous income. Meanwhile it contributes a lot to its solid position in society, as well as good reputation.

Meanwhile, as sports have grown more competitive, the need for better equipment, facilities, nutrition, and training methods has become urgent. Athletes should have well-developed physiques,which can be obtained only through extensive physical training and strict exercise. Private sponsors have expertise in different areas of technology, ranging from nutrition to the treatment of injuries. They are able to train athletes scientifically and effectively, reduce the risk of injuries and extend their career lives. Besides, as private sponsors are more financially capable of providing awards, bonus and other financial incentives to motivate athletes, their involvement is crucial to athletes’ performance on the playing field.

The rule of the private sector is therefore indispensable, but it is not to say that the government should divest itself of intervening in the sports industry. Although the private sector is surely committed to seeking sponsorship and performing many fund-raising jobs, it is profit-oriented and therefore, very likely to make a decision ignorant of the interests of athletes. National teams are branded, marketed and sold as entertainment products, while the value of national pride and ethnical dignity is overlooked. It is also very likely that private investors are only interested in those sports with high media exposure, resulting in the unbalanced development of sports. For this reason, the government should retain the major ownership of the sports.

In conclusion, the sports world is in need of financial support and the assistance of the private sector. While providing financial resources, goods and services, business investors can obtain communicative and commercial benefits. By giving the green light to private financing, the government is more likely to advance the overall development of sports.

  1. concede = give in = give up = grant = forfeit
  2. entrepreneur = businessman = merchant
  3. complement-supplement
  4. patron = sponsor
  5. return = earning = profit = revenue = gain
  6. physique = figure = body = form = shape = body type
  7. playing field = sports ground = arena
  8. divest = rid = deprive
  9. unbalanced-unequal = uneven
  10. give the green light = permit


Topic 80: Do you think that international sports events like the Olympic Games would continue or gradually lose their momentum?

The Olympics, known as the world’s largest event, appeal to global audiences with displaying athletic skills and competitive spirit. Pageantry, keen rivalry, and high level of competition are the striking attractions of the Olympic Games. When many people are concerned about the forces that drive this event forward, there are fears about their sustainability. In my opinion, the Olympic torch will be carried by relay runners on and on and would never be extinguished.

Reasons why the Olympics would continue are many. First, people, especially young males, are in need of some form of outlet for their energy and emotion related with sports. The Olympics, as well as other international sports events, are ideal for them. Meanwhile, leisure activities are valued today, as economic conditions continue to improve. As part of the growing leisure industries, sport and sporting contests will become increasingly important. Moreover, the Olympics are of commercial values and of broad interest to mass media organisations, advertisers, sponsors and business managers. Because of those business opportunities, cities will not cease to compete to host sporting events. Needless to say, they can thus achieve or maintain world class status.

Apart from those tangible benefits, the Olympics possess other values. For example, the Olympics allow nearly all nations in the world to compete in the event rather than require any of them to meet the strict political requirements set by other worldwide organisations, such as the United Nations on sovereignty. The political, social and economic conflicts between countries and regions are disregarded in the face of Olympic spirit. Audiences are so engrossed by the grace, endurance and fortitude shown by athletes that they pay little attention to their nations of origin, cultural and language differences.

Despite those elements in favour of sustaining this international event, the Olympics ere facing many challenges today. The expenditures are one of the biggest. So many services and facilities are required for serving athletes, media and spectators that up to present, only those cities from industrialised countries are capable of and interested in hosting such events. The Olympics are meanwhile the hotbed of various scandals. Tempted by the prospect of large financial rewards, many athletes take proscribed performance-enhancing drugs, a stain on the sportsmanship pursued by the Olympics. Critics also view international sporting events as a substitute for war, ritualising and formalising the conflicts between countries. What’s more, the Games draw criticism for embracingcommercialism. The Olympic torch, for example, an important symbol of the Olympics, has been used popularly in the commodity market.

As shown above, humankind’s passion for competing in and watching games, the special appeals of the Olympic Games, and economic and non-economic benefits brought to the host city all make the immediate demise of the games unlikely. However, in the pursuit of those high ideals, the Olympics are meanwhile at the risk of being the instruments of commercialism and nationalism.

  1. extinguish = put out = quench
  2. host = provide facilities for
  3. sovereignty = autonomy = independence
  4. engrossed by = occupied by = absorbed in = immersed in
  5. fortitude = determination = courage = strength
  6. spectator = viewer = observer = watcher = audience
  7. tempt = lure = entice = attract
  8. proscribed = banned = prohibited = forbidden
  9. ritualise = make sth. a ritual
  10. formalise = make sth. formal
  11. embrace = accept = adopt
  12. demise = termination = death

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