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What are universities for?
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
August 1, 2012
7:44 pm
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thanks for all the comments. i want to get some comments before i take the forthcoming (8.11) IELTS. i wrote this essay with a watch, and i did not change anything in my essay, so i guess this one may reflect my writing level.  

Some people think that universities should provide graduates with the knowledge and skills needed in the workplace. Others think that the true function of a university should be to give access to knowledge for its own sake, regardless of whether the course is useful to an employer.

What, in your opinion, should be the main function of a university


Facing the problem of unemployment, people pay much attention to the main function of a university. Some of them believe a university is a place to learn a wide range of knowledge, while others think students should be taught employable skills. I will deal with both views and give my opinion below.

The main argument in favour of students should be given access to knowledge is that students have the right to acquire knowledge in various fields (e.g. arts, science, engineering). Only if young adults attain adequate knowledge will they work effectively and efficiently in the future. Also, a wide range of knowledge, regardless of whether the course is useful to an employer, gives students more options when they want to get a job. Moreover, the schooldays are vital to every individual, it is a valued period. It is the best time for youngsters to acquire knowledge to expand their horizons. They must not be restricted in one certain aspect or skill.

Admittedly, learning employable skills and knowledge needed in the workplace benefits students to some extend. It is apparent that employers prefer accomplished employees. If students learn some practical skills before they graduate they may find it easier to get a job than their peers. Because they can make profit for the bosses immediately. More importantly, techniques of some industries help students win the fierce competitions. This is considerably due to skilled graduates are able to show some tangible skills to the interviewers, while the competitors may just talk about some intangible opinions. But I think it is not beneficial for students to enrich their vision.

Having taken the respective arguments into account, I think it is more advisable to suggest universities offer students access to knowledge rather than train their students.

August 2, 2012
5:12 am
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August 2, 2012
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i think your essay was well structured . u went off the track when u wrote abt the school skills, i belief. 

August 2, 2012
10:22 am
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Hi Victor

I hope you can make some time to comment on some other people’s essays here. It really helps.

Generic sentences

Victor, please drop these.

  • I will deal with both views and give my opinion below.
  • The main argument in favour of
  • Admittedly
  • More importantly
  • It is apparent
  • Moreover,
  • This is considerably due
  • Having taken the respective arguments into account

They are overused, tired old phrases. You can see more examples of tired old phrases and generic sentences here and here. Please try to avoid using these phrases. Some you have used correctly, some not so well.  At best, the examiners will ignore them. At worst, they will either not include them in your word count if you have too many, or they will penalize you for “overuse” of cohesive devices. (Have a look at the official descriptors for IELTS Task 2 Writing (public version) here, under Coherence and Cohesion, Band 5). As I say, most examiners will simply sigh, ignore them and look for original text related to the essay.

Thesis

Where is your thesis sentence? You wrote:

I will deal with both views and give my opinion below.

This needs to be specific and relevant to the question

I will look at both functions of a university and explain why I think universities need to do more than just train students for work.

Clarify

Paragraph Two is fine, but this chunk from Paragraph Three needs rewriting:

More importantly, techniques of some industries help students win the fierce competitions. This is considerably due to skilled graduates are able to show some tangible skills to the interviewers, while the competitors may just talk about some intangible opinions. But I think it is not beneficial for students to enrich their vision.

I think that was why Rabia.hm got a bit confused in this section. Here’s one possible rewrite:

Having particular skills can help students in interviews.  Candidates who can demonstrate specific, tangible skills are more likely to succeed in interviews than others who can just talk. However, I don’t think that learning only vocational skills will help students to develop themselves fully.

Conclusion

You only have one sentence. Why? A conclusion has to summarize both sides, give your opinion and perhaps recommend action or warn of a problem in the future. That’s too much for one sentence. Write two or three sentences You can read more about conclusions here.  

Having taken the respective arguments into account, I think it is more advisable to suggest universities offer students access to knowledge rather than train their students.

You also wasted 8 words which won’t help your band but increased the average sentence length. Removing empty phrases will help! As Rabia.hm says, your structure is fine and when you move away from the standard phrases, you are fine. 

August 2, 2012
11:49 am
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Hi, Mr Writefix,

thank you for your comments. actually, i am kind of confused about the linkers, the overused, tired old phrases. i do agree that they are humdrum. but some teachers told me to use them . without them, i am afraid that i can only write some isolated sentences. And i believe your recommendation will help me a lot.

by the way, i will try my best to make some comments on others's essays.

August 2, 2012
8:02 pm
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Hey, Victor, good job. You rarely make grammer mistakes which is so good. (I frquently made loads of grammer problems in my essays)

 

I have the same question too. But I found that so many people write essay in this way. Pat's book are utilized by so many competiitors. I agree with Enda's advise. Just cut off the useless sentences.

 

Making the passage tidy and brief, it will suit the taste of the examinor. I used to write long sentences, while the results is upset.

 

Hope you can achieve good score in Ielts, come on. Good luck.

 

Best regards,

 

David

August 2, 2012
9:51 pm
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July 22, 2012
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Hi DavidLee,

i am surprised that you know i read the PAT's book. i tonight i wrote an essay and i tried to cut off the tired useless sentences.i found it relaxing to write without them.

thank you for your regards.

August 4, 2012
4:54 pm
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It seems that Chinese students are always using too many template-sentences, i.e. sentences like "This is considerably due" or "It is apparent that", to offset the insufficiency of words due to the lack of ideas. Actually, my essay also has this kind of defect. We still need more thinking and practice.

 

By the way, it is a coincidence that I also take the IELTS test on August 11th. 

August 4, 2012
7:13 pm
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Hi everyone

Thanks for all the comments.  I think if you have enough ideas and examples, you won't need to rely on some of those phrases so much.

Don't get rid of all of them -  you still need some cohesive devices, as IELTS calls them. It's very helpful to have some. The problem is that too many people use too many of them, and this is called 'overuse' in Band 5 under Coherence and Cohesion.

Here are a few ones which are simpler and not as awkward as the dreaded "Admittedly," "Doubtlessly," "Irrefutably" and similar horrors (they sound a little like British or American warships of the 19th century, don't they?!)

Good luck on the 11th!  I think quite a few people are doing the test on that date. They should get the results two weeks later.

 

First, /First of all,/To begin with, (+ sentence)
  • First, studying aboard allows you to experience a new culture
Another point is that (+ sentence)
  • Another point is that studying abroad allows you to experience a new culture.
  • Another point is that if you study abroad you can experience a new culture.
  • Another point is that you can experience a new culture if you study abroad.
Another reason why (+ sentence) is that (sentence)
  • Another reason why people study abroad is that they can experience a new culture
Another / A second reason to (+ infinitive) is to (+ infinitive)
  • A second reason to study abroad is to experience a new culture.
Another /Yet another reason for (+ gerund) is to (+ infinitive)
  • Yet another reason for studying abroad is to experience a new culture.
In addition, (+ sentence)
  • In addition, people study abroad to experience a new culture.
  • In addition, some people want to experience a new culture, so they choose to study abroad.
...also...
  • People also choose to study abroad because they want to experience a new culture.

 

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