IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|15. Being good at arts

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Read the statements below and decide whether you agree or disagree with them. Explain your opinion

1. Art-based subjects are to be included in the school curriculum.

2. These subjects must have a special assessment system so as not to discourage children who are not good at arts.

3. Pupils should have choice whether to attend art-based classes or not.

4. Art must be more a kind of after-school activity rather than a school subject.

Read the writing task and underline the points you must cover in your answer

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Are these arguments for or against the topic? Place them in the correct column. Add your own ideas for and against the topic

Read the introductory paragraphs from three students’ essays and underline the words each writer uses to introduce their view

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Identify the essay which has the features listed below

Read the second paragraphs from Mika’s and Tom’s essays and underline key sentences

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Answer the questions

1. Are the ideas in the paragraphs the same as any of the ideas you have brainstormed?

2. In which essay does the author resort to examples in his/her supporting sentences?

3. What examples does the author mention?

4. What reasons are stated in the second essay?

5. How is Mika’s second paragraph different from Tom’s?

Writing

Find and correct the mistake in each of these sentences

1. We can use the following words/phrases to express a purpose:

  • with the aim/purpose/intention of: The law was introduced with the intention of encouraging more young people into higher education.
  • The aim/purpose/intention (of…) is/was to: The purpose of the experiment was to see whether the disease had a genetic component.
  • so as to / in order to: The entrance was altered so as to make wheelchair access easier.
  • so / so that: He studies at night so that he can work during the day.

2. a cause:

  • The cause of X is/was: The cause of children’s failure to learn maths is often poor teaching at school.
  • X is/was caused by: The increase in unemployment has been caused by the financial crisis.
  • due to/owing to/because of: Some people argue that children are neglected due to their parents working long hours.

3. an effect:

  • with the effect/result/consequence that: The Tate Gallery held an exhibition of Bardega ‘s work with the result that it instantly became more valuable.
  • consequently/as a consequence/in consequence: The cave paintings were discovered 20 years ago, and in consequence, the whole area now attracts more tourists.
  • result in + noun/verb + -ing: The large numbers of people visiting the cave have resulted in the paintings fading and losing their fresh, bright colours.

4. We can use otherwise to express an alternative effect to the one which occurs/occurred. It is often used with:

  • an order or suggestion in the future: You’d better fill up with petrol, otherwise we won’t get there.
  • a second or third conditional: Fortunately, the hotel had a free room, otherwise we would have had to sleep in the railway.

Compose Mika’s third paragraph by re-ordering these sentences

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Answer the questions about the paragraph structure

  1. Which sentence states the main idea of the paragraph, and what phrase links the paragraph to the paragraph which came before?
  2. Which sentence provides an explanation for a statement? How is it linked to the statement it explains?
  3. Which sentence supplies an example, and how is this linked to the explanation?
  4. Which sentence explains a consequence, and how is this linked to the examples?
  5. Which sentence introduces a further consequence, and how is this linked to the previous consequence?

Read through Mika’s paragraphs again and answer questions 1-4

Mika’s essay

People have different views about the role of arts subjects in secondary-school timetables. Some people believe that they have a beneficial impact on students’ learning, while others feel they are simply a form of creative relaxation. I agree with the former statement because I believe that they play a vital part in educational development.

It is generally thought that activities in the arts can help students learn how to work in a team. A student who takes part in a theatrical production has to cooperate with other members of the cast, with the aim of producing a successful final show. The same is true of musicians who play in an orchestra. They also have to work together to produce the best sound. I would suggest that experiences like these can enhance a student’s ability to work with different types of people and participate successfully in a group project.

Another way in which the arts can help students is that they can improve self-confidence. This is because art is often about making a product. It might be something concrete like a painting or object, or it might be something abstract like a piece of music. Both types of product need plenty of time and creativity and, as a result, can make someone feel very proud of the outcome. This sense of achievement may then stimulate someone to achieve more in other subjects.


  1. What’s Mika’s opinion? How is this idea being developed throughout the text?
  2. What should the conclusion contain?
  3. What information should you avoid in your conclusion?
  4. How many sentences should the concluding paragraph include?

Write a concluding paragraph for the essay above


Exam tips

Writing Task 2

  • Start your introductory paragraph with a general statement about the topic and state your position.
  • Keep your position clear throughout your answer.
  • Make sure the sentences in each paragraph follow a logical sequence.
  • Support your main ideas with reasons, examples and consequences.
  • Summarise your position in the final paragraph, but don’t introduce new points or ideas.

Find and correct some grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes in the essay below

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Read the task and the sample introduction. Then read the text

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Writing Task 2

It is pointless making children who lack artistic talent learn painting and drawing in Art classes at school. Instead, they should concentrate on other creative or practical subjects for which they may have more aptitude. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Sample essay

In many secondary education systems around the world, there comes a point where pupils who lack talent in non-academic subjects like Art and Music are encouraged or made to switch subjects. It is generally believed that there is no point in making children do something that they have no aptitude for. In my view, this is the wrong approach.

Paragraph 2

It is true that there are several convincing reasons in favour of the argument.

text1

text2

Just because you are not good at something does not mean that you don’t enjoy it, and learning should be fun as well as educational.


Choose the best conclusion from the options below. Think about why the other two would not be appropriate

1. In my view, all children should be encouraged to paint and draw. However, if it is clear that they lack talent, then it is something they should do in their own time, and Art classes at school should be left to those who show more artistic ability.

2. To summarise, children should not be made to do other subjects at school simply because they do not have as much artistic ability as others. Furthermore, many argue that learning to paint and draw at school helps children to temporarily focus their attention away from more academic subjects, and thus have time to process what they have learnt.

3. On the whole, I feel that all pupils benefit from learning to paint and draw, regardless of their artistic abilities. To deprive them of this opportunity could have negative consequences that may not be immediately obvious.

Read the task again and think of your ideas in favour of the opinion expressed in the Writing task

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Writing Task 2

It is pointless making children who lack artistic talent learn painting and drawing in Art classes at school. Instead, they should concentrate on other creative or practical subjects for which they may have more aptitude. To what extent to do you agree or disagree?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write a discursive essay taking the view of someone who mostly agrees with the statement. You should write at least 250 words

  • Experts would argue
  • From my point of view
  • I tend to think that
  • I personally would agree with
  • I firmly believe
  • It is often suggested
  • It is generally believed
  • It is often claimed
  • Most teachers have claimed that
  • My personal belief is that
  • These people are often thought to be
  • The majority of people take the view that

Art in schools


Exam tips

Writing Task 2

1. Start your introductory paragraph with a general statement about the topic and state your position.

2. Keep your position clear throughout your answer.

3. Make sure the sentences in each paragraph follow a logical sequence.

4. Support your main ideas with reasons, examples and consequences.

5. Summarise your position in the final paragraph, but don’t introduce new points or ideas.

  • Warm-up
  • Selecting ideas
  • From where I stand
  • Providing arguments
  • Showing your position
  • What's your purpose?
  • Writing preparation
  • Strong conclusions
  • The last but not least
  • Teaching art
  • Is it futile?
  • Teaching art
  • Is it future?
  • Showing your position
  • What\'s your purpose?
  • Writing preparation
  • Strong conclusions
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