IELTS | Writing task II | Opinion Essay | Hypothesizing

Welcome back to another IELTS Writing Task video, and today I’m going to be focusing, again, on opinion essays. Because I have a student on my Patreon who I’m coaching, I decided to do something that pertains to who’s on my membership. So, let’s go over different types of linking devices and an opinion essay that scored an overall 7.0 band.

Technique: use linking phrases like “if” and “unless” in your answers in order to hypothesize about effects.

Additional words: if, providing, provided, as long as and unless can all be used to hypothesize.

Example: A nation should nurture the talents of its people. It will then reap many benefits.

If a nation nurtures the talents of its people, it will reap many benefits.

a. Without being encouraged by parents and teachers, aspiring musicians will not develop.

Unless ______________________________________________.

b. Science may one day stop the aging process in humans, but will this benefit mankind?

If _________________________________________________.

c. If there is no effort made to keep traditional farming methods alive, they will disappear.

Unless ______________________________________________.

d. If innovation is encouraged, many new jobs will be created.

As long as ____________________________________________.

Complete the following sentences using your own ideas.

a. Provided parents have an interest in music, _______________.

b. If government support for arts projects is not available, ____________.

c. Unless entrance to museums and art galleries is free,_______________.

d. Providing young scientists are given the right opportunities,______________

Task: The money spent on space research has brought enormous benefits to mankind, but it could be more usefully applied. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

The question of whether money could be usefully applied to tackle the crisis around the world rather than spent in on space research is a very controversial issue and it is now a matter of considerable public concern. There are, therefore, people on both sides of the argument who have feelings either for or against.

Many people believe that money should be spent to solve food crisis in Africa and South Asia. Droughts, for example, left Africa with famine. Every 30 seconds an African child dies of hunger and about 45% of children in South Asia suffer from malnutrition. Similarly, the global issue is the conflict of AIDS in Africa. Although, there are numerous factors in the spread of HIV/AIDS, it is largely recognized as a disease of poverty. Medicines, for instance, are very expensive and the government in poor countries can not afford to treat the disease, therefore millions are dying, while in rich countries people are living longer.

Having said that, however, some people oppose the former argument. They claim that space research has brought enormous benefits to mankind. Recently, NASA has launched satellites for weather and climate, which will give the scientists a unique view of earth’s atmosphere, helping them to improve their abilities to forecast weather and predict climate change.

From what has been discussed above we may draw the conclusion that both points of view have their merits. Although, human life has priority in our societies, advanced research should be carried out to find another source of energy, water on other planet, and to understand the planets and its’ effect on earth for the benefit of all.

IELTS | Speaking | 1 on 1 Coaching | Speaking Part 1 – Neighborhoods

The glorious 17-year-old student with a phenomenal accent, rhythm, enunciation, and intonation. She knows when to rise, and when to call. If any of you are having pronunciation issues, she’s the perfect example of WHAT to do. Listen to this Vietnamese phenom from Hanoi!

IELTS Live Coaching | S1: E9 | Writing | Giving Reasons

Welcome to the last writing coaching for this season (if you want more videos/blogs/audios, patreon is available!). In today’s task 2, we’re going to go over giving reasons.

How do the words in each set 1-4 connect to each other?

  1. Deforestation –> soil erosion –> less food production
  2. Climate change –> unreliable rainfall –> poor crops
  3. War –> farming prevented –> imports and exports prevented
  4. Rising prices –> less available food –> starvation

Ready the sentences below and see if you understand the meaning of the words in italics.

  1. Eating wholefoods and natural produce is important for me. They are healthier than other foods.
  2. Intensive farming increases the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. I prefer to shop at a farmers’ market where the food is usually produced and organic.
  3. Genetically modified crops are crucial I think. They help to prevent starvation, producing much greater quantities of crops.
  4. Overgrazing and deforestation mean there is less land for food production. Farmers and landowners should be banned for allowing this.
  5. Developed countries should focus on solutions for climate change. This issue has a great impact on food production in developing countries.

Is the following task asking you to find solutions or evaluate a solution?

Some people believe that famine is caused by climate change and preventing this will stop famine. What is your view of this?

An essay which evaluated solutions often describes the proposed solution and looks at the disadvantages and the advantages.

Of course the impact of climate change can’t be underestimated in relation to famine. Climate change is, in itself, caused by many different factors including deforestation and polluted air. The deforestation problem leads to soil erosion. The polluted air problem increases temperatures. Deforestation and polluted air contribute to unpredictable rainfall patterns which damage crops and the quality of vegetation that grows, preventing steady food production in developing countries. Farmers in developing countries usually don’t have enough money for measures which will help counteract the effects, e.g. anti-flooding or irrigation methods. Consequently, preventing climate change would decrease climate changes unpredictable effects and therefore reduce famine. Agriculture planning would be easier as farmers would know what the likely seasonal changes would be. However, climate change is a vast problem and not a problem easily solved. The problem requires a global effort and huge investment, which is difficult to achieve quickly in the short term.

IELTS | Speaking | 1 on 1 Coaching | Speaking Part 1 – Neighbors

We’ve got ourselves an AMAZING speaking student on the podcast today from India! She’s a professional and taking IELTS general training, and as you may hear in this podcast, her speaking capabilities and flow with pronunciation is beyond solid.  However, it’s time to critique! In today’s podcast, we’re talking NEIGHBORS!

IELTS | Reading | Cambridge 14 | T4 – P1 – The Secret of Staying Young

Welcome back to a breakdown of reading passage 1 on the Cambridge IELTS test 4! This is a first of its kind, and what I’ll be doing is breaking down T/F/NG and fill in the blank. The most difficult part about IELTS reading is finding where the key words are (far more difficult than TOEFL)….so watch how I do this.

Pheidole dentata, a native ant of the south-eastern U.S., isn’t immortal. But scientists have found that it doesn’t seem to show any signs of aging. Old worker ants can do everything just as well as the youngsters, and their brains appear just as sharp. ‘We get a picture that these ants really don’t decline,’ says Ysabel Giraldo, who studied the ants for her doctoral thesis at Boston University.

Such age-defying feats are rare in the animal kingdom. Naked mole rats can live for almost 30 years and stay fit for nearly their entire lives. They can still reproduce even when old, and they never get cancer. But the vast majority of animals deteriorate with age just like people do. Like the naked mole rat, ants are social creatures that usually live in highly organized colonies. ‘It’s this social complexity that makes P. dentata useful for studying aging in people,’ says Giraldo, now at the California Institute of Technology. Humans are also highly social, a train that has been connected to healthier aging. By contrast, most animal studies of aging use mice, worms or fruit flies, which all lead much more isolated lives.

In the lab, P. dentata worker ants typically live for around 140 days. Giraldo focused on ants at four age ranges: 20 to 22 days, 45 to 47 days, 95 to 97 days and 120 to 122 days. Unlike all previous studies, which only estimated how old the ants were, her work tracked the ants from the time the pupae became adults, so she knew their exact ages. Then she put them through a range of tests.

Giraldo watched how well the ants took care of the young of the colony, recording how often each ant attended to, carried and fed them. She compared how well 20-day-old and 95-day-old ants followed the telltale scent that the insects usually leave to mark a trail to food. She tested how ants responded to light and also measured how active they were by counting how often ants in a small dish walked across a line. And she experimented with how ants react to live prey: a tethered fruit fly. Giraldo expected the older ants to perform poorly in all these tasks. But the elderly insects were all good caretakers and trail-followers — the 95-day-old ants could track the scent even longer than their younger counterparts. They all responded to light well, and the older ants were more active. And when it came to reacting to prey, the older ants attacked the poor fruit fly just as aggressively as the young ones did, flaring their mandibles or pulling at the fly’s legs.

Then Giraldo compared the brains of 20-day-old and 95-day old ants, identifying any cells that were close to death. She saw no major differences with age, nor was there any difference in the location of the dying cells, showing that age didn’t seem to affect specific brain functions. Ants and other insects have structures in their brains called mushroom bodies, which are important for processing information, learning and memory. She also wanted to see if aging affects the density of synaptic complexes within these structures — regions where neurons come together. Again, the answer was no. What was more, the old ants didn’t experience any drop in the levels of either serotonin or dopamine — brain chemicals whose decline often coincides with aging. In humans, for example, a decrease in serotonin has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

‘This is the first time anyone has looked at both behavioral and neural changes in these ants so thoroughly,’ says Giraldo, who recently published the findings in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Scientists have looked at some similar aspects in bees, but the results of recent bee studies were mixed — some studies showed age-related declines, which biologists call senescence, and others didn’t. ‘For now, the study raises more questions than it answers,’ Giraldo says, ‘including how P. dentat stays in such good shape.’

Also, if the ants don’t deteriorate with age, why do they die at all? Out in the wild, the ants probably don’t live for a full 140 days thanks to predators, disease and just being in an environment that’s much harsher than the comforts of the lab. ‘The lucky ants that do live into old age may suffer a steep decline just before dying,’ Giraldo says, but she can’t say for sure because her study wasn’t designed to follow an ant’s final moments.

‘It will be important to extend these findings to other species of social insects,’ says Gene E. Robinson, an entomologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This ant might be unique, or it might represent a broader pattern among other social bugs with possible clues to the science of aging in larger animals. Either way, it seems that for these ants, age really doesn’t matter.

Cambridge IELTS 14 Test 4 Passage 1

Choose one word only from the passage for each answer.

Focus on a total of 1 ___________ different age groups of ants, analysing


– how well ants looked after their 2 ______________

– their ability to locate 3 ____________ using a scent trail

– the effect that 4 _____________ had on them

– how 5 ______________ they attacked prey


– comparison between age and the 6 _____________ of dying cells in the brains of ants

– condition of synaptic complexes (areas in which 7 _____________ meet) in the brain’s ‘mushroom bodies’

– level of two 8 ______________ in the brain associated with ageing

Questions 1-8

Second phase

  • True: if the statement agrees with the information
  • False: if the statement contradicts the information
  • NG: If there is no information on this

9. Pheidole dentata ants are the only known animals which remain active for their whole lives.

10. Ysabel Giraldo was the first person to study Pheidole dentata ants using precise data about the insects’ ages.

11. The ants in Giraldo’s experiments behaved as she had predicted that they would.

12. The recent studies of bees used different methods of measuring age-related decline.

13. Pheidole dentata ants kept in laboratory conditions tend to live longer lives.

Tips & Tricks

  • If the question asks you to write two words and/or a number, this means the answer may be: one word, one word + a number, two words, two words + a number

Remember that even if a number is written as a word, it counts as a number (e.g., twenty five trees = one word and a number). You do not need to write full sentences or join words together.