You should spend about 20 minutes on this task


The graph shows the number of marriages and divorces in the UK between 1975 and 2000.

Write at least 150 words.


You should spend about 40 minutes on this task

Write about the following topic:


People think that government should increase the cost of fuel for cars and other vehicles to solve environmental problems. Give your opinion.

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

Write at least 250 words.


Report Plan:

–  Paraphrase paragraph: graph>line graph; shows>gives information about; between 1975 and 2000>over a period of 25 years

–  Overview/summary paragraph: (1) the total number of marriages increased, but the number of first marriages decreased (2) the number of divorces rose

–  Paragraph 3: select, report and compare figures/trends for total marriages and first marriages

–  Paragraph 4: select, report and compare numbers/trend for second marriages and divorces


The line graph gives information about the number of marriages and divorces in the UK over a period of 25 years.

Overall, while the number of marriages increased over the period, the number of first marriages declined. The figure for divorces rose steadily.

There were almost 500,000 marriages in the UK in 1975, and this figure rose steadily to reach a peak of 640,000 in 1985. Despite a gradual decrease to560,000 in 1995, the number rose again to 570,000 at the end of the period. By contrast, although the figure for first marriages rose from 370,000 to 410,000 from 1975 to 1985, the number then declined steadily to just over 300,000 in 2020.

However, whereas the figure for second marriages stood at only 200,000 in 1975, this rose to 260,000 by the end of the period. In 1975, there were only 80,000 divorces, although this number more than doubled over the next 5 years. The numbers then witnessed an increase to reach a peak of 250,000 by 2020, at times overtaking the figures for second marriages.

176 words


Essay Plan:

–  Introduction: refer to the task question, using paraphrasing. My own opinion – it is a useful measure, but other measures might be more effective

–  Paragraph 2: useful (1) it would limit the number of car journeys, and money raised could be used to improve public transport (2) more goods would travel by rail. Both (1) and (2) would reduce vehicle emissions and reduce the greenhouse effect

–  Paragraph 3: other measures more effective. (1) congestion charges e.g. London, money is used to improve public transport (2) free bus and train passes, reducing the use of cars and improving air quality

–  Conclusion: useful to raise taxes on petrol, but other transport measures would be more effective to help the environment


It is widely believed that one solution to environmental problems would be for governments to raise the price of petrol. While I consider that this might be an effective measure, I would argue that other measures might have an even greater impact.
If national authorities raised taxes on petrol, this would address two environmental issues. Firstly, in terms of private cars, motorists would limit the number and length of their journeys to compensate for the extra expense. Governments would then be forced to upgrade and expand public transport provision, as people would still need to travel to work, to school or to travel to shops and hospitals, for example. Secondly, from the perspective of freight services, more goods would have to be transported by rail rather than by truck. Both these measures would cut down on emissions from vehicles and help to reduce the greenhouse effect.

On the other hand, while this rise in fuel prices might be a useful stopgap measure, governments could adopt transport policies which would be more effective in the long term. The local authorities in London, for instance, introduced a congestion charge on all vehicles visiting the city centre. They use the money raised to subsidize the cost of fares and to invest in transport infrastructure. In turn, this has improved the air quality in the city, as a result of the reduction in exhaust fumes. Another policy would be to introduce free bus and train passes, as the increased use of public transport would reduce pollution from private cars and help in the effort to combat global warming.

In conclusion, a sharp rise in petrol prices would be a useful environmentally-friendly transport measure, although in the longer term other steps would be more effective.

290 words


Vocabulary from transport:

–  to raise petrol prices
Meaning: to increase the price which people pay for petrol
Example: Raising petrol prices would not be an effective method of reducing the amount of traffic on the roads.

–  to upgrade and expand public transport provision
Meaning: to improve bus and train services and to make these services more available

Example: One way to reduce traffic on the roads is to upgrade and expand public transport provision.

–  freight services
Meaning: the system of transporting goods

Example: Railways must provide more freight services in order to reduce the number of trucks on the roads.

–  congestion charge
Meaning: an amount of money that people have to pay for driving their cars into the centre of some cities, as a way of stopping the city centre from becoming too full of traffic

Example: More cities should follow the example of London and introduce a congestion charge in order to ease traffic flow in the city centre.

–  to subsidize the cost of fares
Meaning: to give money to a business or organization to help to pay for the cost of using public transport

Example: Governments must subsidize the cost of fares on public transport.

–  to invest in transport infrastructure
Meaning: to spend money on improving roads, railway lines, train and bus stations

Example: Governments must invest in transport infrastructure to make journeys by road and rail safer.

Vocabulary from government:

–  national and local authorities
Meaning: government organizations acting at a national level or within a smaller, local area

Example: Tackling crime is a responsibility of both national and local authorities.

–  to raise taxes on
Meaning: to increase the amount of tax on something

Example: Governments should raise taxes on cigarettes to persuade more people to give up smoking.

–  a stopgap measure
Meaning: a policy or action adopted for a short time until some more permanent solution is found

Example: Building more prisons will not solve the problem of rising crime rates, but it is a stopgap measure which the government must take to protect ordinary citizens.

–  to adopt policies
Meaning: to start to use particular policies

Example: In order to deal with traffic congestion, the government must adopt policies to restrict the use of private cars.

Vocabulary from the environment:

–  to cut down on emissions
Meaning: to reduce the amount of gases sent out into the air

Example: People must be made aware of the need to cut down on emissions from their cars if we are to reduce air pollution.

–  the greenhouse effect
Meaning: the natural process by which the sun warms the surface of the Earth.

The greenhouse effect occurs when Earth’s atmosphere traps solar radiation because of the presence of certain gases, which causes short wavelength visible sunlight shines through the glass panes and warms the air and the plants inside.
Example: Our burning of fossil fuels is increasing the greenhouse effect and making the Earth hotter, endangering all life on the planet.

–  global warming
Meaning: the process by which the Earth is getting hotter, as a result of the greenhouse effect – in particular the increase in carbon dioxide in the air.

Example: Perhaps the major environmental challenge which faces humanity today is global warming, because it threatens our survival.

–  environmentally friendly
Meaning: behavior or products that do not harm the environment

Example: We can help to protect the environment by using detergents and cosmetics that are environmentally friendly.

Other vocabulary:

–  to address [verb]:
Meaning: to think about a problem or situation and decide how you are going to deal with it
Example: We must address the problem of traffic pollution urgently.

–  exhaust fumes [noun]:
Meaning: smoke from cars or other vehicles which is dangerous for people to breathe in
Example: I hate walking in the city centre, because of all the exhaust fumes which pollute the air.

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