IELTS Task 2 Essay – Opinion: IELTS 11 – Test 1

This is the first question from the Official Cambridge IELTS Book 11.

This sample uses many of the skills we used in the Free 5-day IELTS Task 2 Writing Course, as well as more advanced techniques and language from the 4-Week IELTS Task 2 Writing Course.


With this kind of essay question, you can take one point of view, or you can discuss it more like an advantages and disadvantages essay. Whichever way you decide to do it, your introduction needs to fit, so in this case the introduction introduces the fact that I will "discuss" the idea. This way of answering the question is "argument-led", the other way is "thesis-led".

Governments should spend money on railways rather than roads.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

Recently, governments have been concerned that their countries are overly-depend on roads, and that perhaps increasing investment in rail is a better approach. This essay will evaluate this idea.

To start with, it cannot be denied that railway investment has a number of merits. Firstly, from a historical perspective, railways have in the past enabled and encouraged industrialization and economic growth. Take Britain, France, Japan and the United States as key examples. Secondly, there is a strong argument to be made that rail in all its forms is in general less-environmentally damaging and therefore it makes sense to encourage people to shift to rail from road-based private transport. The final key point is general efficiency. A society built around rail tends to have denser housing and more pedestrian and green areas, which results in a more pleasant urban landscape and stronger communities.

Unfortunately, there are many problems with this idea. The core issue is that presently nearly every major society is heavily invested in roads. So, even though it may be desirable to spend more public money on railways instead of roads, in practice the public will generally resist this as a large amount of money is required to just maintain them. What is more, the decline in maintenance will lead to public outcry much faster than they notice the benefits of rail investment. In short, this policy could only work if spending on roads was generally maintained and rail investment was expanded.

In conclusion, while in the long run it may be a good idea to pursue a policy of railway development, in practice there are many constraints to its implementation as there would be considerable resistance to the short term problems caused by this transition. Therefore, while I generally believe that this is the right approach, it must be done gradually.

306  words

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