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Topic: More and more countries are becoming increasingly dependent on

nuclear power generation now that fossil fuels are dwindling in supply. What is
your opinion about this? Write a composition that discusses the advantages
and disadvantages of nuclear power as an alternative to more conventional
fuels.
far-reaching
numerous
recapitulate

detrimental
therefore
insolvable

mixed
onus
rectify

opt
virtually
emit

There is no doubt that nowadays many countries rely on nuclear power


generation since fossil fuel supplies are shrinking. Some people believe that
nuclear power is beneficial whereas others hold the opposite point of view.
Personally, I have .................... feelings about this issue.
Nuclear power is believed to be advantageous for several reasons. One of
these is the fact that nuclear power is .................. limitless and this can solve
and .................... the problem of ever-increasing energy demands. Another
one is that nuclear power is the most inexpensive source of electricity these
days, which gives poor countries the opportunity not to spend a lot of money
on energy. Finally, nuclear plants are far cleaner than conventional fuel power
plants as they dont require the combustion of fossil fuels and, ..................., do
not .................... fumes and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Consequently, nuclear power has a very positive influence on both the
environment and countries economies.
On the other hand, nuclear power is thought to have many drawbacks
for ....................... reasons. One of these is the fact that nuclear power has a
great diversity of ..................... impacts on both the environment and people.
To exemplify, the accident at Chernobyl caused the contamination and
destruction of the local ecosystem and, in terms of radio-activity, its
consequences in other parts of the globe were both serious and ...................
Another one is that nuclear power creates radioactive waste in the form of
spent plutonium and the problem of its disposal is .................. as it remains
radioactive for thousands of years.
To ......................., nuclear power generation has both advantages and
drawbacks. On a personal level, I support that nuclear power is very beneficial
but recognise that it could be catastrophic as well, particularly if something
goes wrong. As to whether any given country should ................. for nuclear
power or abolish pre-existing plants, I believe only the citizens have the right
to decide, but the ................... is on governments to ensure that it is a fully
informed decision.

Topic: Many countries are turning to nuclear power generation because of the
problems using conventional fuels cause. Nuclear power is, however, not
without its problems. So, should countries choose nuclear or not? Write a
composition which expresses your views.
indispensable
unprecedented

fervent
outweigh

adverse
fossil

lengths
contemporary

In ....................... times, it seems that an increasing number of countries have


started to adopt the nuclear fusion process, making it a source of energy for
their power grids. Some people believe that this is really advantageous,
whereas others would go to any .................... to prove the opposite. For my
part, I consider nuclear power plants to be ...................... in this day and age.
I am a .................... supporter of the use of nuclear power generation for a
number of sensible reasons. My main point concerns the matter of quantity.
Nuclear energy is known for being virtually limitless. This is of vital importance
as energy demands continue to soar to ..................... levels. Another point to
consider is the cost. Not only is nuclear energy inexhaustible but it is the most
inexpensive source of energy, which is really advantageous for the global
economy. Nuclear power plants are also very clean compared to conventional
plants, which burn ................... fuels and pollute the atmosphere with toxic
fumes and greenhouse emissions while doing so.
On the other hand, those who are against nuclear power generation base
their opinion on the dire and .................. consequences nuclear accidents,
such as the one on Chernobyl, cause. However, their ideas are flawed as they
fail to realise that the safety record for nuclear power is actually very good and
that new technologies are constantly being developed to ensure that they
become better.
To recapitulate, it seems that the advantages of nuclear power
far ...................... the disadvantages. Therefore, in my view, the onus is on
each and every single one of us to support the use of this highly beneficial
source of electrical energy.

Topic: Tourism has become increasingly popular in recent years. Why do you
think this is so? Do you think that it is worth the effort and environmental
damage it causes? Is it ultimately beneficial to those who travel? Use specific
examples to support your opinion.
swamped
modified

indigenous
ubiquitous

hence
redress

devastating
elaborate

It is a fact that in contemporary times that tourism has become a ....................


issue. A great number of people consider its existence to be an advantage to
citizens while others would go to any lengths to prove the opposite. From my
point of view, I suppose that its effects on the local environment can
be ....................... .
I am a fervent supporter of the idea that any kind of tourism, even ecotourism, should be restricted for the essential reason that the destruction of
the environment is unavoidable. To explain, being ............... by tourists,
pristine areas, such as Hawaiian beaches or Amazon forests, rapidly
become ..................... beyond recognition due to the demands for food and
accommodation tourists bring with them and the pollution and garbage they
leave behind when they go away.
A second point concerns the disturbance of the ...................... people.
To ....................., as bus-loads of tourists pour into cities on sightseeing tours
or flock to local beaches in hordes, inhabitants are disturbed by the
commotion and noise they make. ..................., citizens have the right to get
indignant with tourists who, more often than not, have no regard for local
customs or sensitivities.
On the whole, it seems that the disadvantages of this issue far outweigh any
possible advantages. To my mind, tourism is only eminent nowadays because
people are more concerned with the money it generates than the environment
it destroys. Therefore, I believe that something must be done to ..................
this imbalance.

Topic: Excessive consumerism has resulted in the creation of huge amounts


of garbage which cannot be easily disposed of. Write a composition which
describes the main problems of garbage disposal. (Do not write an argument
nor offer any solutions)

entails
irrigate

respiratory
seep

resultant
impetus

stench
repercussions

There can be no doubt that in our contemporary times that trash disposal is a
major problem which prompts great environmental damage. Extravagant
consumerism has triggered the creation of enormous amounts of litter and yet
the methods of disposal employed cause detrimental ....................... that
cannot be easily rectified.
One widely adopted way of disposing of rubbish is directly throwing it away in
the sea. This has many negative effects on marine life including the fact that
toxins become part of the marine food chain. As a result, the health of those
who rely on sea-food as a protein source is at risk.
Another disposal method is to dump litter into landfills. This is, however, a far
from adequate way of dealing with the problem as rainwater washes through
the half-buried garbage, causing toxins to .................... into the ground water
below. This contaminated water is then used to .................. crops, or worse,
as drinking water with inevitable consequences. It also affects marine life as it
makes its way down river systems and eventually to the sea. Additionally, not
only do landfills take up considerable areas of land that could be used for
other purposes such as agriculture or housing, but the ................. given off by
rotting garbage is intolerable.
Finally, there is another way which ................... incineration. In other words,
garbage and industrial effluence is disposed of by burning. This, however,
also has its drawbacks. Incineration causes direct atmospheric pollution which
results in ..................... problems. It also releases huge amounts carbon
dioxide, thus adding to the greenhouse effect and global warming. Moreover,
there is no way of getting rid of the .................... ash which is highly toxic and
therefore a dangerous pollutant.
To recapitulate, it seems that there are a diversity of problems caused by
current garbage disposal methods. They each have negative impacts on the
environment and yet there are currently no viable alternatives or solutions.
The onus, therefore, must be on the government and scientists to find an
answer to this desperate problem. Certainly, unless something is done, the
modern habit of throwing things away is going to become the ................ for
our own destruction.

Topic: Excessive consumerism has resulted in the creation of huge amounts


of garbage which cannot be easily disposed of. Write a composition which
describes the main problems of garbage disposal. (Do not write an argument
nor offer any solutions)

It seems that in contemporary times, the problem of rubbish disposal is


becoming increasingly desperate. No viable solution has been found, and yet
the environment is under a distinct and very real threat. The question is if
something can be done or are we to bury our future under the piles of rotting
garbage that modern society seems insistent on creating? Now more than
ever, an exhaustive analysis of the problem is really crucial if any hope
remains.
The problems associated with garbage are innumerable and mostly
irreversible. A first one to consider is the issue of air pollution. Incineration is
certainly an inefficient way to dispose of trash as the fumes and toxic gases
produced by burning damage and pollute the atmosphere and, in turn, lead to
respiratory problems and ill-health.
Another devastating problem is the one related to the contamination of water.
To elaborate, dumping at sea seems to be a quick and easy alternative but it
is far from an effective method of disposal. Marine life and ecosystems are
adversely affected, resulting in the disruption of the food chain. Predators,
including people dependant on seafood, are at risk.
Landfill dumping should also be considered. Toxins from deposited trash seep
into the ground water below landfill sites, thus contaminating it. This same
water is then used for irrigation and drinking.
To recapitulate, each method of disposal has its inherent problems. With no
alternatives available, the onus is on each and every one of us to reduce our
extraneous needs and therefore the amount of garbage that has to be dealt
with. It seems that reducing consumerism is the only thing that could save the
world.

Topic: Excessive consumerism has resulted in the creation of huge amounts


of garbage which cannot be easily disposed of. Write a composition which
describes the main problems of garbage disposal. (Do not write an argument
nor offer any solutions)

There is no doubt that one of the most important problems in contemporary


times is garbage disposal as people are yet to invent an effective and
environmentally friendly way to discard their waste. That, of course, has spelt
disaster in many ways.
One method of disposing of litter is dumping it in a landfill, without any
insulation against heat, rain or other natural phenomena. To elaborate, in
cases of soaring temperatures, landfills can emit toxic substances into the
atmosphere, thus greatly contribute to air pollution which is the leading cause
of respiratory problems and asthma attacks. Furthermore, garbage is left
there indefinitely, which allows toxins to slowly seep into the ground water
through the soil below the landfill and contaminate it. This, however, is the
very same water people drink or use to irrigate crops.
Another way is incinerating rubbish, which is thought by many to be the best
solution as it is space-saving. What those people fail to realise, though, is that
reducing it to ashes does far more harm than good since it too releases toxins
that are deadly to any living organism.
The last method is dumping at sea. It is obvious that, in this way, it directly
contaminates the water, thus threatening marine life, which is of great
significance to both animal and human life as the extinction of any given
species of fish wrecks havoc on the food chain, hence putting other species at
risk. Moreover, swimmers are strongly affected by the level of pollution of the
sea they swim in. It simply is no longer be safe for them to swim in vast
radiuses around any dumping site.
To recapitulate, garbage disposal is a problem that many generations have
had to deal with and yet no successful solution has ever been found. To my
mind, the onus is on us to resolve the problem before its devastating
consequences have an irreversible impact on our planet.

Topic: It has often been suggested that the re-introduction of capital


punishment would deter the ever increasing rate of serious crime. What is
your view? Do you think that capital punishment should be reinstated?

Its an indisputable fact that the crime rate has increased dramatically. Not
many people can stand this situation, so they suggest that capital punishment
should be re-introduced. However, others have the opposite opinion. From my
perspective, people should not be punished by being killed.
There are several reasons as to why the death penalty should not be
legalised. The most significant one is that killing criminals makes things worse
due to the fact that neither their crimes can be corrected, nor can they offer
things to humanity in order to compensate for what they have done. To
exemplify, a person that has been arrested and convicted for murder cannot
make the dead person live again by being killed, so execution helps nobody
apart from the relatives who might what the guilty person to die out of a sense
of revenge. Another important reason is that sometimes people who feel guilty
and depressed are willing to die so, in this case, the criminal seems to be
alleviated by this action. To elaborate, capital punishment does not seem
harmful for them, so far from being a punishment it is a source of relief.
Not withstanding these facts, there are those who support that by killing
criminals, danger to society as a whole is being reduced. This idea is flawed,
however, because of the fact that they fail to realise that criminals that have
committed serious crimes inevitably get life-sentences and are never released
back into society, thus ensuring the general publics safety.
To recapitulate, it seems that there are strong arguments to support the reintroduction of the death penalty, despite the concerns of some. I certainly
think that capital punishment is both inhumane and unnecessary and
therefore should not be considered as a viable solution to increasing
criminality.

Topic: Many think that the achievement of success is due to hard work while
others think it's more of a matter of chance. What do you think success can be
attributed to? Write a composition expressing your view. Support with
examples.

It is often argued that success may result from a variety of contributory


factors. While a bewildering number of individuals embrace the idea that
success is a matter of chance, others advocate that it is a matter of planning.
My firm conviction is that success can only come when somebody is well
organised and prepared.
It goes without saying that should a person be contingent on nothing more
than chance, the game is lost. Life and success are all about goals. Whether
an individual is concerned with a small task or a challenging goal which
requires time and effort, setting goals results in creating a purpose. This, in
turn, leads to the individual expecting to achieve the goals and fulfil the
purpose. For instance, if a teacher is eager to alter the relationship he has
with students by setting a goal, chances are that he is more likely to
accomplish that in comparison to a teacher who expects things to unfold by
making zero effort. This should be considered in conjunction with a second
area to consider; what people regard success as being and how much they
fight for it. To explain, it is thought to be advantageous for people who dream
of success to actively fight for it, simply by putting a stop to procrastination
and starting to act on things they wish to obtain, not just long for them to
come.
Nonetheless, many are at odds with this idea, They view that success comes
from opportunities and chances, irrelevant to goals or fighting for them. While
this strikes me as being a comfortable point of view, how is a person expected
to attain the desirable outcome when not even trying to reach it?
On the whole, it seems that success is a weighty issue, having a great many
aspects to consider. My firm conviction is that not only success but day-to-day
activity is unlikely to be regarded as feasible, if one is not prepared to instigate
a serious plan for it.

Topic: Many think that the achievement of success is due to hard work while
others think it's more of a matter of chance. What do you think success can be
attributed to? Write a composition expressing your view. Support with
examples.

There is no doubt that a host of factors are involved in success in somebodys


life. A group of individuals is convinced that success results from careful
planning, whereas others of aggressive opponents of this belief and advocate
that it comes from taking risks and chances. From my point of view, success
is uniquely owed to careful planning of ones future.
Planning has certainly proved to be a successful strategy. By organising the
future, somebody is able to avoid unpleasant situations for the simple reason
that they have already been predicted. For instance, a business by organising
and planning its economic well-being, will undoubtedly not face the danger of
bankruptcy. Moreover, careful planning gives individuals an advantage. Those
people are sure about their goals in life and wont be misled or make a wrong
choice that will probably destroy their plans.
On the other hand, numerous individuals are opposed to this belief and
strongly support the idea that success is a result of risks and chances. They
base their arguments on the fact that making the correct choice will lead to a
bright future. But their ideas are flawed because they fail to realise the fact
that risk taking is inherently dangerous and can easily destroy any chance of
successful achievement.
To sum up, success in life is based on numerous factors. However, planning
and organising are methods that will hardly ever disappoint a person for the
reason that they do not involve risk, which is something that could ruin an
individuals future.

Topic: Many think that the achievement of success is due to hard work while
others think it's more of a matter of chance. What do you think success can be
attributed to? Write a composition expressing your view. Support with
examples.

There is little doubt that thorough planning is a form of discipline and


organization. Several individuals consider careful organization a very
beneficial way of ensuring success, while others regard luck and taking risks
the right method of provoking success. As far as I am concerned, I fervently
advocate the concept of trusting luck and argue that it is an advisable way of
achieving success.
There are a host of reasons why I have adopted this opinion when it comes to
this highly debated topic. The first of them concerns the matter of self-esteem.
To elaborate, when a person takes risks, he/she feels confident owing to the
fact that he/she has faith in him/herself and his/her decisions. To elaborate, a
risky but simultaneously successful decision is likely to make a person gain
self-confidence, Hence, this may result in being more decisive and the
positive outcome of a risky decision, such as winning in gambling, is capable
of changing the entire life of a person.
Furthermore, another not only fundamental but also significant reason entails
the fact that when taking risks or exploiting opportunities of chance, people
feel independent. To justify, people feel far freer to do anything they desire
when their actions are not part of a specific program or plan. Thus, this factor
is able to contribute to people having a sense of enjoying their lives and
making the most of the opportunities they are provided with.
Last but not least, there is also another reason which is no other than the,
matter of challenge and suspense. When a person puts everything on the line
with unsound or dicey decisions, he/she risks winning everything or losing it
all. Although failure is possible, if it were not for such risks, peoples lives
would be dull and monotonous, perhaps even robotic.
To recapitulate, although taking risks is not as safe as planning, it provides
people with the mandatory thrill and excitement and is highly likely to provoke
serious success. Now, the onus is on each and every single one of us to
decide whether we desire to enhance our lives by risking a little more or
experience the boring certainty of systematic and methodical plans.

Topic: Many think that it's important to experience failure in order to learn from
it. To what extent do you think this is true? Describe an incident when you
failed and what, if anything, you may have learned from the experience.

Life is full of challenges. These challenges give rise to our strong desire to
achieve goals which, sometimes, are unlikely to happen. Most people get to
experience such moments of disappointment during their lives, and I am no
exception. Of the number of times I had to accept that things would eventually
not work out, the one during which I faced the most severe disappointment
was when I struggled to convince my parents to purchase a bike for me.
Over the years, the number of things I would like to have owned was limited,
though at that time a bike seemed like a dream which just had to come true.
Being too young to be trusted with an independent vehicle, I had to cope with
denial and long frustrating discussions over the danger bike ownership
involved, even if such arguments were sensible enough. Notwithstanding the
fact that neither my father nor my mother would agree to expose their young
child to the danger of transportation via such a form, I remember spending
most of my time doing research on bikes of high quality, comparing prices,
and befriending people who owned one. Eventually, there came a point when
I wished to hear no more of their objections and merely went out bought the
bike.
Although I never succeeded in persuading them to actually buy me one, the
experience was far more valuable than I expected. During the bleak, hopeless
hours that I spent while doing my best to get what I truly wanted and despite
the fact that it turned out to be a waste of time, it really was not. To
elaborate, while I tend to laugh whenever such memories are evoked, I
strongly believe this incident was one of the most precious lessons I have
ever come to acquire, simply for the reason that it made me realise that how
hard you try to achieve a goal only makes you stronger with more will-power.
To recapitulate, lessons can be learnt from the hardest of times. Maybe that is
what makes us go on in the end; the never-ending hope for something better.

Topic: Many think that it's important to experience failure in order to learn from
it. To what extent do you think this is true? Describe an incident when you
failed and what, if anything, you may have learned from the experience.

Like almost everyone else in their life, I have experienced a moment when
things didn't go as well as expected. And that incident was when I failed an
English exam, for which I had been well prepared.
First of all, before sitting for this difficult and important exam, I tried my best to
be properly prepared so as to succeed. I made sure that I had studied for
every lesson and that I did not miss any classes. I pushed myself to be among
the best students in class, something that would ensure my success.
However, the problem was not the theoretical or written parts of the exam, but
the orals. For an illogical reason, I felt extremely anxious, even though the
interview was not considered to be an extremely important or difficult exam
component. Therefore, I did not do as well in class in that part of the exam,
though I did try to improve on my performance in it as well.
The day of the examination eventually arrived. There was no problem
whatsoever with the written part. Indeed, I believed that I had obtained a very
high score in that. But when it was time for the interview, my anxiety took over,
although my teacher kept telling me that my fears were unfounded and that
there was no reason at all to feel uneasy. When my turn to be examined
came, I vehemently thought I would not manage to succeed. The theme of the
interview seemed enormously difficult, causing me to sweat and falter. I could
hear myself stuttering and not speaking fluently. The examiners, however,
gave no indication that they understood my discomfort and looked neither
impressed or disappointed. Nevertheless, I was entirely uncertain of whether I
had been good enough to pass as I walked out of the interview and began a
long, anxious wait to learn the results.
Several months later, my teacher called me and told me that I had failed the
entire examination due to the orals. I was devastated and couldn't help
thinking of giving up. However, it eventually dawned on me that I should learn
from the failure and make sure that I was well-and-truly prepared next time.
Encouraged by this insight, I vowed to try again. I studied for more than six
months, placing particular emphasis on the orals. In the end, when I did re-sit
the exam, I actually achieved a better grade for the interview than the written
parts of the exam.
This incident definitely taught me not to stop making efforts and doing the best
I can so as to succeed. I learned that failure is always a possibility in people's
lives but it should not act as a deterrent and people should not be discourage
by it. In fact, failure is a great motivator and should not be regarded as
confirmation of defeat but an instigator for success.

Topic: Many think that it's important to experience failure in order to learn from
it. To what extent do you think this is true? Describe an incident when you
failed and what, if anything, you may have learned from the experience.

There can be little doubt that failure is an integral part of everyone's life.
Indeed, it is inevitable not to undergo such unpleasant situations. As far as my
experience is concerned, I have faced failure many times. One of the most
remarkable ones is last year's final term examinations.
There are many factors which led to this negative experience. Actually, I used
to have a condescending attitude towards examinations and I felt the level
was very low. Thus, my efforts were insufficient and inadequate. Seldom did I
devote time to study right up to just before the examination period. Only then
did I suddenly realize that time had passed extremely swiftly and that I had
totally failed to exploit it. Understandably, my results where disappointing and
I failed to obtain the required grades to pass the year. I was forced to re-sit the
exams over the summer period at great inconvenience and personal
embarrassment.
What I learned from this event was of great magnitude. It is a gross
misconception to take anything as read and therefore not try to ameliorate
ourselves and out capacities. The fact that I did not pay the attention that was
required deprived me of the gratification that I would have experienced, had I
passed the first time. Fortunately, I took advantage if this in convenient
situation and I benefitted form it by avoiding the duplication of such a mistake.
Obviously, it is not always convenient to achieve one's goals without effort. Via
similar experiences, each and every one of us can benefit by analyzing
profoundly his/her mistakes, which should have a great influence so as not to
repeat them.

Topic: Some people prefer to multitask. They often do more than one thing at
the same time, whether it's listening to music and doing homework or working
on two or more task at the same time in the office. Others prefer to just focus
on one thing at a time, without distractions. Consider one of the two styles,
and discuss why that style works or doesn't work for you.

There can be little doubt that nowadays each and every single one of us is
inevitably charged with some responsibilities. Although a bewildering number
of people advocate that focusing on one task is beneficial, others are
conscientious objectors to this notion. As far as I am concerned, I firmly
believe that performing two or more tasks simultaneously is far more
propitious.
Working by executing many tasks at the same time is efficient. This style of
work tends to be less time-consuming and less wasteful of one's precious and
irreplaceable time. Doubtlessly, in our contemporary times, our modern way of
life involves and demands too many responsibilities to be able to cope with
easily. To illustrate my point of view, imagine a child whose spare time is
restricted, On a daily basis, he/she is charged with tons of homework, forced
to study and so on. It would be a great deal more efficient, for example, to
have a meal in tandem with studying in extreme cases. Consequently, the
time dedicated to the meal and other similar activities would be accumulated
in order to devote it to something more crucial.
One the other hand, there are some individuals who ignore this point and
subscribe to the idea that focusing completely on one task is favorable. In my
view, it is a gross misconception as they fail to perceive that time is restricted
and normally not adequate for one's needs.
To recapitulate, it is apparent that the positive aspects of the simultaneous
execution of tasks overwhelmingly outweigh the negative ones. This is a vital
part of our life and, therefore, the onus is on us to organize it as we wish.
From my point of view, however, I am an ardent supporter of the most efficient
way of doing things; that is multi-tasking.

Topic: Research shows that some people are reading and writing more than
ever due to blogs, e-mails and instant messages. Others worry about the
quality of these people's writing. Do you think technology can be a help or a
hinderance in promoting literacy? Discuss with examples.

There is no doubt that the majority of people write more than ever due to the
constant development of technology. Forums, blogs and websites where one
is able to chat with others encourage writing. Some individuals are fervent
supporters of the belief that writing under those circumstances is not
beneficial and in that way literacy will vanish from peoples abilities, whereas
others are aggressive opponents of this belief, claiming that writing, chatting
and blogging are constructive. From my point of view, literacy is not at all
affected but the internet but, contrarily, enhanced and improved.
To begin with, writing on the internet and exchanging views through forums is
undoubtedly beneficial. Individuals when writing for blogs or forums read first
what is published and then express their opinion on any given topic. In that
way, numerable ideas and beliefs can be observed and read by the user.
Consequently, one is capable of enriching his/her knowledge on a topic and
acquiring information by the debate created there. In addition to this, the
diverse opinion expressed in blogs and forums may make the individual
consider his/her permanent beliefs and draw new and accurate conclusions.
Furthermore, the people writing in serious internet pages always express their
view by using advanced vocabulary and literacy. As a result, the individuals
can be benefitted from the simple procedure of reading what is published.
They learn and retain the new words or expressions, which is something that
leads them to develop their own language skills, thus acquiring the skill of
writing proficiently.
On the other hand, a large group of people is a convinced that writing on the
internet is not only pointless but harmful. They base their arguments on the
fact that on the internet, many badly-written texts are published which often
include contracted forms of real words and that the reader deliberately
embraces these bad expressions. Their ideas are flawed, however, because
they fail to realize that bad expression is something that repels readers from
setting their eyes on the text and in that way, they are protected from any bad
influences.
To sum up, it is a fact that more and more is written in blogs, forums and
chatrooms - media only made possible by technological advances and the
internet. Personally, I believe that exposure and participation in such media
can only improve the level of language and literacy.

Formula for a discursive essay


Every discursive essay needs an introduction and a main body. Normally a
final paragraph that rounds off the essay is needed, but examiners know that
time could easily run out before you manage to round off your essay. Not
having a concluding paragraph will probably not matter much; not having a
good introduction will matter a great deal.
Introduction
Begin by redescribing the phenomenon, the trend or the debate that is the
focus of the essay question. In a short ECPE essay this might only need one
or two sentences.
eg.
In the past, it seemed obvious to many that the only reliable test of
intelligence was one which assessed a person's ability to reason, especially
the ability to see patterns in words, numbers and symbols. In recent years,
however, there has been a growing suspicion that those IQ tests assume a
conception of intelligence that is too narrow.

End your introduction either by:


1 briefly stating the point of view you are going to defend.
eg.
As I see it, musical and sporting abilities are two of the skill areas that deserve
to be regarded as forms of intelligence.
2 stating what you are going to do in the rest of the essay.
eg.
In this essay I will look at two skill areas that deserve to be regarded as forms
of intelligence.
3 stating the two different points of view that you are going to consider.
eg.
Although the vast majority of farmers look upon pesticides as invaluable,
some consumers and pressure groups have spoken out against them.
4 stating the question you are going to answer.
eg.
This raises the question of whether the benefits of pesticides outweigh their
drawbacks.

If the essay question specifically asks about your opinion, it might be better to
briefly state this at the end of the introduction, without giving any details or
arguments (but it is not absolutely necessary, especially if you don't have a
firm opinion).
If you want to look at different points of view before you weigh them up and
give your final assessment, it might be better to use techniques three and four
above.
Main body
This needs two paragraphs, each of which should develop one point.
Depending on the essay task, you might need to describe examples (as in the
question about intelligence), discuss different points of view, describe causes,
make suggestions, and give reasons for your point of view. Below are
examples of paragraphs that do each of these things.
Describing examples
eg.
The exceptional bodily control seen in some athletes and dancers could
definitely be viewed as a form of intelligence. The ability of a ballerina, for
instance, to maintain perfect balance and turn her movements into a work of
art can only be developed with years of strenuous training. In a sense, ballet
has its own language, and it seems reasonable to compare the skill of using
this language with the skill of using the verbal language that has been
traditionally tested when measuring a person's IQ. Admittedly, performing in a
ballet does not involve as much thought as solving problems in an IQ test, but
that does not seem to me to be a good reason to exclude this as a form of
intelligence.
Another area in which people can show how smart they are is music. ...
Discussing different points of view
eg.
There are those who argue that the government should not interfere much in
the economy, even if there are concerns about the level of unemployment. It
is said that the rate of unemployment will fall naturally if there is economic
growth, and the best way to guarantee economic growth is to allow the market
to develop without government interference. Those with this point of view
accept that the government has a responsibility, but they insist that it should
not go beyond providing a minimal unemployment benefit to those who are
temporarily out of work.
On the other hand, it is often argued that...
Describing causes and making suggestions
eg.

One of the reasons why some children fail at school is poverty. Students will
only make good progress if they do their homework well, but a child from a
large and poverty-stricken family who does not have a quiet room at home in
which to study will not be able to do her homework well. Furthermore, in poor
families the parents sometimes have a very low level of education and may
even have a negative opinion about the importance of education. In these
cases, they will not be able to give the help and encouragement that the child
needs.
As regards the steps that need to be taken to remedy this situation, the first
priority should be to...
Giving reasons for your point of view
eg.
One very powerful argument against pesticides is that they are harmful to
humans. Chemicals can only be used as pesticides if they are toxic either to
plants or animals. These are poisons, and it is hardly surprising that
chemicals that are poisonous to some forms of plant life, for instance, also
have detrimental effects on human health. Eating rice that has been sprayed
during storage and transport to prevent it being eaten by insects may not
make us ill immediately, but by continually eating sprayed fruit and vegetables
it is almost certain that we increase our risks of suffering from cancer.
Another reason for banning pesticides concerns the effect they have on the
environment. ...
Final paragraph
Use this paragraph to re-emphasize the main point or points you want to
make, or to weigh up the opinions presented earlier in the essay. Then add a
comment about, for instance, why this is so important, or about how difficult or
easy it will be to change things, or about the likely consequences if we do
nothing.
eg.
In conclusion, for the sake of both the environment and human health drastic
reductions in our use of pesticides must be made. Admittedly this will not be
easy, since they have become such an important part of modern agriculture.
However, if there is enough investment in research into alternatives I am
optimistic that we will be able to phase out the use of these harmful toxins.
Try to avoid simply repeating what you have already said. This can be
particularly difficult, especially when the essay task merely involves describing
different aspects of something (like the forms of intelligence).
eg.
To sum up, it is clear that the ability to do the old-fashioned IQ tests is not the
only form of intelligence. Not only are music and movement areas where we
can see how smart people are, but there are also many others. It is wonderful

that we are now appreciating this variety instead of giving a privileged place to
one narrow set of abilities.
Formal or informal English?
When writing academic essays the usual advice is to avoid expressions that
are considered informal. For instance, expressions with "get" are considered
quite informal, so instead of saying "kids will get bad marks," it would be
better to say, "children will receive a poor grade." One good reason for
following this advice is that most of the language you have been learning on
your proficiency course is formal, and so by choosing a formal register (as we
call it) you give yourself more opportunities to show what you have learnt on
the course.
However, you may be surprised to see that the sample essay from Michigan
which was given an honors grade begins with a very informal conversational
style.
eg.
OK, so your son got a low score in his IQ tests. Don't be discouraged since
this does not mean he is not "intelligent". It simply means they may not have
tested his main intelligence. More and more reassuring news is coming from
new research. These new studies indicate that there is more to intelligence
than the traditional mathematical and linguistic intelligence.
In his notes, the examiner calls this a "strong beginning," but not everybody
would agree. (By the way, the rest of that essay didn't use a conversational
style.) Our advice is to use more formal and sophisticated language wherever
you can because this will give better proof that you have become a proficient
user of the kind of academic English that makes up most of the ECPE exam.
Dos and Donts

Do make sure you have understood the task correctly.

Do ask if you are not sure about the task.

Do spend a couple of minutes thinking of ideas, choosing the best ones


and the order you will discuss them in.

Do try to have a good introduction. This creates the first impression on


the examiner, and first impressions are very important.

Do show that you appreciate how complex the topic is (vital if you want
to get a rating of A or B)

Do make sure that each paragraph in the main body of your essay has
a clear topic.

Do develop your ideas by giving arguments for the opinions you


mention, and/or giving examples, or drawing a contrast, or by

acknowledging the opposite point of view (if you have not planned to
do that in the following paragraph).

Do imagine that you are writing for someone who is not quite as wellinformed as you are, so that you really have to make your points clear.

Do try to use a good range of vocabulary. Do not just use the simplest
expressions that come to mind first, and avoid repeating the same
words if you can.

Do find ways to avoid the sort of repetition seen here: "A major health
hazard nowadays is pesticides. Pesticides are widely used in modern
agriculture."

Do use expressions such as "On the one hand," "Secondly," "By


contrast," "Furthermore," "Last but not least," "All in all," etc, where
appropriate, to make the connection between your sentences perfectly
clear. See our list of useful phrases for essays.

Do vary the length of your sentences. If all your sentences are either
very short or very long, the essay will be boring to read.

Do use some of the lovely proficiency structures you have learnt


throughout the course. See our essay grammar structures to get a few
ideas.

Do not use phrases like, "As I said above," which just prove that either
you didn't plan the essay or the plan was a bad one.

Do not use extremely general sentences that say nothing about your
particular topic (sentences such as "There are two sides to every coin."
"Everything has its drawbacks." "Nothing is perfect." etc).

Do try to write sufficiently neatly so that your essay is easy to read. As


long as you manage this, it does not matter if certain words and
phrases are crossed out.

Do keep one eye on the clock and leave yourself a minute or so to


check your work. We all make mistakes, and if you can correct some of
yours, you will save valuable marks.