IELTS Writing Topic:
WRITING TASK 1
You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
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The pie charts below give information about the household expenditure of an average US family in different years.
Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.
Write at least 150 words.
WRITING TASK 2
You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Write about the following topic:
More and more prisons are being built to house the world’s criminals, and many people believe long-term imprisonment is the answer to solving the crime problem. However, others feel that psychological assistance is what is required. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.
Task 1 Model Answer
The pie charts compare the expenses of an average American household in 1970 and in 2004. The most significant change that can be seen was in the proportion that went towards paying the mortgage; and the other increase was in the outlay for childcare.
In 1970, about a quarter of the household income was spent on mortgage payments, whereas by 2004, this doubled to account for half of all expenditure. The 1970 family spent only one per cent of income on childcarc, while the 2004 family allocated ten times more of the budget to this.
Expenditure on entertainment remained the same at 13%, but the percentage spent on food halved from 25% to 12%; and 8% less of the total income was taken up by transport costs in 2004 (only 5%). Clothing costs consumed more of the budget in 1970, at 22%, but this fell to only 10% in 2004.
Task 2 Model Answer
Imprisonment has long been the most popular form of punishment for criminals in society, but many also believe that rehabilitation should take the form of psychological treatment.
Those in favour of long-term imprisonment argue that criminals are not fit to live alongside normal members of society. The obvious reason for this is that they represent a danger to others’ personal safety, and it is true that society would not tolerate violent criminals living in its midst. The thinking behind imprisonment is to take away prisoners’ rights to individual freedom: this is their punishment. In addition, it is thought that prisoners use their time in prison to reflect on and consider their illegal behaviour, hopefully regretting and feeling remorseful about their crimes.
However, some people argue that prisons are not the best place for all criminals. Advocates for psychological rehabilitation believe that psychological therapy may be a better alternative to imprisonment for some offenders. Psychological therapy may address the root causes of the criminal behaviour and offer strategies and possibilities for change in the future. This approach may be more successful in preventing reoffending in the long run because it does not assume the same solution (that is, prison) works for all.
On the whole, I believe prison definitely has its place as a form of punishment, as no one would wish to live in fear of violent crime, and criminals need to be removed from society for this reason. However, I think a combined approach which has a strong focus on psychological treatment is essential in addressing the core causes of crime, as prison alone offers no hope for future change and eventually, almost all criminals are released back into society.