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Wednesday, November 24, 2010


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Dear Simon,

Below is my first effort in writing the IELTS Writing Task 2. I will be taking the exam in the middle of December. If you have time, it would be very much appreciated if you could read and evaluate my essay. Thanks : )

Space programmes and public services are of equal importance. While space programmes bring technological innovations to light, public services are vital in the sense that they are the main tools that develop the next generation to continue to work on these new innovations. I disagree with the statement “The money spent by governments on space programmes would be better spent on vital public services such as schools and hospitals.” The government should appropriately allocate the budget for both these projects since both of them are equally crucial to the existence and advancement of our lives.

A lot of money is being used to fund and advance new space programmes; it should be stressed that this great amount of money is not lost but used to actually do something for the greater good of mankind. The importance of technological innovations is crucial to the advancement of the quality of life. We cannot live as we have in the past; we must improve our quality of life, for ourselves and the new generation. The benefits of successfully launching space programmes would be tremendous; technology advancements and knowledge will broaden our horizons in living and spending our daily lives.

Public services such as schools and hospitals are essential in the sense that they are the primary tools through which the new generation is fostered and developed. If our children grow up in below-standard schools and get treated in poor hospitals when sick, it will follow almost definitely that their quality of life will be equivalent to the qualities of those schools and hospitals. These public services have immense effects upon our children; they shape the attitudes and behaviors of the new generation and therefore require great attention and focus.

In conclusion, space programmes and vital public services such as schools and hospitals are both crucial to developing the quality of life of the new generation. Without one another, the development will be incomplete.

this essay seems to be too long but if u can manage the time it's ok.

I think your essay is quite good but the ideas seem to be not good enough. eg,. the importance of space programmes is too general...u shoud give more detailed example such as the its benefit in weather forecast...when u discuss about publics services, in contrast, your reason is too detailed as u just focus on children (not all people)

I thank you for your comments ^^

Dear Simon:
My name is Shelley and my task is as follows. I appreciate your time and suggestions. :)

Government budget should be prioritized distributed due to the limited resources and the future feedback. Some hold the views that investing on space program is worthwhile because it represents a huge step of human technology. Others may outweigh the significance of public health because it is the fundamental of a country. As for me, I agree more with the latter one.

The public health programs in schools and hospitals require a huge amount of budget to support. For children and teenagers, school learning is the most precious period in their life. The government should subsidize for those who are incapable of attending school and ensure every citizen has the equal right and resource to finish compulsory education. For impoverished patients, the government should assist them with the cost of serious surgeries. For a capable citizen, he is equipped with abundant public health knowledge to take good care of himself and others around him.

The space programs are the resemblance of a country’s advanced technology. It is a huge step for human beings to figure out whether there are undiscovered creatures or materials on other planets. Nevertheless, the immense cost on research programs and cultivation of scientists and experts are countless. The budget putting on space programs could be utilized to survive millions of citizens. What’s more, the results of the space programs are unpredictable.

Accordingly, I do not agree with the government’s investing on space programs instead of important public services. (241 words)

Hi Simon
Iwrotre the following paragraph;
The most important reason why governments of developed countries should direct their funding to improve health care and education is that both of them are the cornerstone of the community, if they are neglected the community will be destroyed as citizens become illiterate and unhealthy .

Another, not less significant reason is that governments should reserve or invest money in projects that help to overcome any financial crisis. For example, a financial crisis occurred 1.5 years ago, and affected most of developed countries especially USA. If the USA governments used money that spent on space searching programs in other useful programs, they would be less affected by the sequels of that crisis.


Hi Simon,

Some of my ideas,hope these can help a little bit:
1.I fully agree with the statement that investing the money spent by governments on space programmes in vital public services would bring more positive consequences to the human beings. (I am not sure this rewriting of the topic is right)
2.The space programme is a sort of high-end technology and research, which will cost us a sea of money to obtain a satisfactory outcome. Besides, by common consent, these programmes must be a long term process and no one can affirm that its outcomes could benefit mankind obviously.
3.In some developing nations, the most urgent issues governments facing with are how to keep their members from starvation, infectious diseases and polluted water or air, etc. So using the money to where they are needed most is a wise and rational way for these countries. Perhaps successes in certain space projects can help some national governments look better in the international family, but they should bear in mind that what the real problems are and how to tackle with them. Do not let it become a reality that one day their astronauts fly out into space but they sadly realize it impossible to see their county covered by thick smoke from the space.

4.As well-known, qualified personnel is the cornerstone of any sort of technology advancement. However, in some places of the world, because of lacking of basic health care and educational resources, a large amount of individuals’ dream and future vanishes like soap bubbles. Accordingly, if governments dedicate more money and attention to vital public services, which will lay a firm foundation for the whole society, in consequence of that, they will reap fruits of a variety of technologies, of course including the space items.

Han's essay:

There has been some argument about the money spent by government on space programs and public services. Some people agree that it is better spent on vital public services, but some have different opinion. It is not easy question to answer but I will look at this issue in this essay.
Supporters of public services would argue that there are many benefits to focus on public service. One of the most important is education. Today it is very difficult to be successful without an education. Every people need to know how to read, write, and do basic mathematics. It is important and a law for all children to attend school. We should provide children opportunities to reach their fullest potential to be successful at life. Education is necessary in keeping a thriving and booming country. In addition, public service is necessary for people, especially poor people. They can not afford private hospital.
On the other hand, those who oppose public services spending argue that space exploration is important not only to humanity's curiosity of the great beyond, but it is also important for the future of the earth and all of us living on it. The current earth population is almost 6.8 billion people. Arguably beyond the carrying capacity of the earth already. The big dream is space colonization. We need some where to put all these people or we might end up living in skyscrapers. A further argument against public services spending is that we are burning the earth's resources pretty quickly. Out in the space there are virtually unlimited resources. Bringing it back will not be an easy task.
On balance, I feel space programs do have a role to play in the 21st century. However, the government needs to consider the people's welfare, especially poor people.

Hi Simon,
Here is my essay
please,can you give me your feedback

Tt is certainly true that governments
now know how to use their budget wisely to benefit their citizens.While i agree that it would be better to spend money on vital public services rather than on space programs.

Space exploration has brought to us thousands of inventions which we use in our daily life including satellites that deliver televisions and internet to millions of homes .Another benefit is it's role in weather forecast .We can know many details about the weather in advance.
Although ,it's importance to improve quality of life and sustainability of our existence,the cost of these programs is greater than its benefits

However,there are many advantages of using money on health and education services.
Firstly,there will be more care for patients in hospital providing them with more comfortable and curable sources for well being.Secondly,money spent on scientific researches is considered a vital advance to bring a new hope for patient who are suffering of serious diseases.For example,
people with cancer can get cured if their cases are discovered early.Finally,in schools we can achieve best learning and and also a personal excellence with the help of governments .hey can increase numbers of computers in each class to encourage students to get the most benefit.
Morover,opening new schools to make sure that each area has its own cateshment school.

In conclusion,although space exploration might have a tremendous impact on people lives,I believe that it is crucial to focus o public services.


Thanks for all of your contributions. There are some excellent ideas here - the level of vocabulary is particularly strong.

I looked at this question with one of my classes. Here is our essay plan:

OVERALL ANSWER: We decided that it would be easier to agree with the question statement.

STRUCTURE: We wrote 4 paragraphs.
- Introduction: introduce the topic of government spending, then agree with the statement.
- One paragraph explaining why space programmes are a bad idea (too expensive, don't directly benefit most people)
- One paragraph explaining the importance of spending money on public services that benefit everyone.
- Conclusion: repeat the opinion that governments should spend on public services rather than space projects.

Sorry I can't check individual essays, but hopefully you find it useful to see other students' work.

Keep up the good work!


Hi Simon,
Can u pls help me with this topic " TV is dangerous bc it destroys family life and sense of community; i/o visiting people or talking with our family we just watch tv". To what extent do u agree or disagree. ?
I said that i just agree to some extent (is it right if i said so?)
Then I wrote 2 par. Par 1 about the positive of TV and par.2 about the negatives as ideas suggested in your book ^^.
In conclusion, I said that "TV has its pros and cons. We should take control of it like to balance the time watching and our social life. By doing that, we can make use of benefits of TV bring to us and we will not let it harm our life"
Is it ok? Did i go the right way? I'm a bit confused about the way it goes. Is it better if i put the negatives before the positives of TV?
Pls help. Thanks

Hi Bon,

Your answer seems good to me. The key thing is that you made your opinion clear in the introduction: "I agree to some extent" is a clear, acceptable opinion. Then your paragraphs and conclusion seem to be well organised and logical. All good!

Hi Simon,

In the Writing tasks, can we use abbreviation words, such as e.g. (for example), i.e. (that is), etc. (and so on)? I think it may be fine because I have found them in the sample writings in Cambridge 7.



Hi, Simon.
Does this sentence contain any mistakes? Does it make sense to you?

It is considered rational for an employee to change jobs whenever it is warranted to achieve the optimal overall career?

Thank you.

Hi Joshua,

No, I don't recommend using abbreviations. It might seem strange but some of the model answers in the Cambridge books are not very good models in my opinion!


Hi Adverb,

It looks fine grammatically, but "warranted to achieve the optimal overall career" seems a bit strange to me. I don't think it's something that a native speaker would say - it seems a bit "forced", like you're trying too hard to be complicated. Try simplifying that part of the sentence.

Hi Simon,

Thank you for your explanation. Actually many of the model writings were written by different examiners in different types, I don't think it's better to help us form a familiar writing style.


Hi Joshua,

That's exactly my point. For me, they are not very helpful as models because each one follows a different approach.

Hi Simon1
My structure:
- Introduction: I also agree with the statement.
- 2nd and 3rd paragraphs I JUST talk about and support for the idea of spending on vital public services and I DON'T explaining why space programmes are a bad idea.
- Conclusion
What do you think about structure above?
Best regard!

Hi Dung,

That's perfect - the important thing is that you supported your opinion.

Hi, simon. all your comments is really helpful for me. I have a simple question for you.

the progress of society has relied much on scientific research and development.

Does it make sense to you?


Hi Sue,

Yes, that makes sense. Maybe I'd write "relied heavily on..."

hi simon, i have this general question
would u answer
there are some fixed structure in longman dic. which can b used in any topic ,like there is a great controvercy surrounding the issue of....
people subscribe to the view that...
using them would help to score higher?
i mean should i use a lot of them???

Hi Vahid,

No, those are the kind of things that you shouldn't spend time learning. Read the lesson below - it's about the speaking test, but it's the same advice for the writing test.


Then look at this lesson to see the kind of language that gets you a high score:


People hold mixed views about whether or not the government should fund space exploration programmes. while i believe that important public sectors like education and health should have the priority for funding, i would also argue that space programmes had a significant benefits on some aspects of our life.

on the one hand, there are some reasons whey subsidising space programmes by the state considered to be a good idea. perhaps the main one is the fact that sending man to the moon was a great achievement in human life that still inspire people particularly scientist . It indicate that they can achieve any thing they put their minds to. Also exploring the space has opened the door for some incredible possibilities,for example ,finding other energy sources in the space that could be a solution to the energy problems on earth. This possibilities could help to serve humanity in the long run .Furthermore,at the moment many countries and governments are already using space technology to serve their people by providing weather forecast which is an amazing service.

On the other hand, there are also good arguments against funding space exploration. One is that basically space programmes are not providing any vital services and in fact we could live happily without them. Also it did not benefited us practically in terms of education and health, where still many people in different places of the world suffer from serious health problems and lack of basic education. It would have been better if this funds was spent on the vital services that has direct benefit to the people. In addition there are thousands of people even in most developed countries who are homeless and do not have proper food, so it is a pity for this countries like the USA to just ignore them and look for less essential things like the space.

In conclusion , It is almost certainly true that we have some important public services that need to be first looked at, however it is also true that space programmes might be a solution to many problems present at earth, so i suggest that any government should prioritise funding according to their population need.


I am Tisha joseph, found ur blog is quite useful. i got 7 for writing .

Thanks a lot

with regards


Hi Simon,

Ur site Is quite vital in IELTS preparation. Daily checking comments.
Giving a lot of ideas.

Hi Simon,

Do we lose any score if the topic said "To what extent do you agree or disagree?", a thesis-led, then, we write the essay in argument-led for both sides(advantages/ disadvantages)?

BTW, in writing task 1, the topic asks to describe the changes between two maps, if there are a lot of changes, do we need to describe all changes or just describe the remarkable ones?

Duy Tran

Hi Simon,

Please ignore my post above.
Do I lose any score if the topic asks "To what extent do you agree or disagree?", a thesis-led. But we write the essay in argument-led for both sides(advantages/ disadvantages), and in the conclusion, after considering between pros and cons, I will give my opinion.

BTW, in writing task 1, the topic asks to describe the changes between two maps, if there are a lot of changes, do we need to describe all changes or just describe the remarkable ones?

Duy Tran

As a result of technological and astrologic breakthrough in the past decades, space probes have been launched much more frequently ever than before. I think it is true that some countries have contributed too much funds in spatial discoveries and have placed public services like public education and health care at a less important position. Personally, I reckon this trend could be detrimental to a country’s future development, and governments should pay more attention on infrastructure’s construction.

One reason involved in my consideration is that a wholesome public service system is the very basis of a country’s superstructure. Any cutting-edge technologies, including spatial explore, need to be based on a stable and wealthy society, which allows its’ citizens to have an opportunity to gain higher education and have easier access into medical treatments. Those who found space programmes are rather important in modern society may state that a country’s ability in spatial territory determines its’ future international status. However, without a potent infrastructure, a country is unlikely to be competitive when comparing to other economies in the world.

Another reason why I disagree with such an intensive attention on space probe is that a sufficient financial support in education system and health care industry seems more likely to make a virtuous circle possible. It is widely known that talents are key factors for a society’s progressing, particularly in scientific researches and economical acceleration, and for nurturing more talents who are strong both mentally and physically, a well-developed education and health care system is relatively necessary. For instance, United States is the largest economy on earth, and constantly strengthened infrastructure has provided numerous Noble Prize winners, who will continually devote themselves in scientific researches and spatial explores for their country.

So, overall, though investment in space programmes is in increased needing, public services definitely play a much more important role in our society.

hi, Simon
my ideas would be like this
4para- 1. Introduction- It’s true that investment in space explorations is necessary, but the main focus should be on public services spending, including education, medical treatment as well as facilities.
2. Space exploring programs propel us to search for extra life on other planets and to find a suitable planet for human beings to live on as resources on Earth are getting limited. Therefore, government should encourage scientists and organizations by funding them, though supporting them requires long-term strategic planning, which costs a great deal of money. For example, NASA has been working alongside experts and they have already done an excellent job in scientific research in space by sending astronauts to the national space station to study gravity and to the moon to search for suitable living condition. All these will not be possible if they are not funded by government and donations from big companies.
3. Inequality in society and thousands of people who live in developing countries still under poverty line urges leaders to improve people’s lives by offering better sanitation system, minimum wages, and better education programs. Spending in public service will see more progress and results within a few years. For example, investment in building more schools in rural areas means poor students can have equal chance to enter universities, thus earning a living for their families. Also, money raised by taxing the rich can be spent on providing advanced medical equipment in hospitals for the poor, thus shrinking the gap between them in terms of health care.
4. conclusion- In spite of spending certain amount of money on exploring space, governments should focus more on providing basic public services that will benefit generations to come.

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