1. In many countries, a small number of people earn extremely high salaries.
Some people believe that this is good for the country, but others think that governments should not allow salaries above a certain level. Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.
People have different views about whether governments should introduce a maximum wage. While in some ways it may seem reasonable to allow people to earn as much as companies are willing to pay, I personally believe that employee remuneration should be capped at a certain level.
There are various reasons why it might be considered beneficial to allow people to be paid extremely high salaries. If companies offer excellent pay packages, they can attract the most talented people in their fields to work for them. For example, technology companies like Google are able to employ the best programmers because of the huge sums that they are willing to pay. Furthermore, these well-paid employees are likely to be highly motivated to work hard and therefore drive their businesses successfully. In theory, this should result in a thriving economy and increased tax revenues, which means that paying high salaries benefits everyone.
However, I agree with those who argue that there should be a maximum wage. By introducing a limit on earnings, the pay-gap between bosses and employees can be reduced. Currently, the difference between normal and top salaries is huge, and this can demotivate workers who feel that the situation is unfair. With lower executive salaries, it might become feasible to introduce higher minimum wages, and everybody would be better off. One possible consequence of greater equality could be that poverty and crime rates fall because the general population will experience an improved standard of living.
In conclusion, it seems to me that it would be better, on balance, for governments to set a limit on the wages of the highest earners in society.
(274 words, band 9)
2. Many governments think that economic progress is their most important goal. Some people, however, think that other types of progress are equally important for a country. Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.
People have different views about how governments should measure their countries’ progress. While economic progress is of course essential, I agree with those who believe that other measures of progress are just as important.
There are three key reasons why economic growth is seen as a fundamental goal for countries. Firstly, a healthy economy results in job creation, a high level of employment, and better salaries for all citizens. Secondly, economic progress ensures that more money is available for governments to spend on infrastructure and public services. For example, a government with higher revenues can invest in the country’s transport network, its education system and its hospitals. Finally, a strong economy can help a country’s standing on the global stage, in terms of its political influence and trading power.
However, I would argue that various other forms of progress are just as significant as the economic factors mentioned above. In particular, we should consider the area of social justice, human rights, equality and democracy itself. For example, the treatment of minority groups is often seen as a reflection of the moral standards and level of development of a society. Perhaps another key consideration when judging the progress of a modern country should be how well that country protects the natural environment, and whether it is moving towards environmental sustainability. Alternatively, the success of a nation could be measured by looking at the health, well-being and happiness of its residents.
In conclusion, the economy is obviously a key marker of a country’s success, but social, environmental and health criteria are equally significant.
(262 words, band 9)
3. Some people think that all university students should study whatever they like. Others believe that they should only be allowed to study subjects that will be
useful in the future, such as those related to science and technology. Discuss both
these views and give your own opinion.
People have different views about how much choice students should have with regard to what they can study at university. While some argue that it would be better for students to be forced into certain key subject areas, I believe that everyone should be able to study the course of their choice.
There are various reasons why people believe that universities should only offer subjects that will be useful in the future. They may assert that university courses like medicine, engineering and information technology are more likely to be beneficial than certain art degrees. From a personal perspective, it can be argued that these courses provide more job opportunities, career progression, better salaries, and therefore an improved quality of life for students who take them. On the societal level, by forcing people to choose particular university subjects, governments can ensure that any knowledge and skill gaps in the economy are covered. Finally, a focus on technology in higher education could lead to new inventions, economic growth, and greater future prosperity.
In spite of these arguments, I believe that university students should be free to choose their preferred areas of study. In my opinion, society will benefit more if our students are passionate about what they are learning. Besides, nobody can really predict which areas of knowledge will be most useful to society in the future, and it may be that employers begin to value creative thinking skills above practical or technical skills. If this were the case, perhaps we would need more students of art, history and philosophy than of science or technology.
In conclusion, although it might seem sensible for universities to focus only on the most useful subjects, I personally prefer the current system in which people have the right to study whatever they like.
(297 words, band 9)
4. Some people think that a sense of competition in children should be encouraged. Others believe that children who are taught to co-operate rather than compete become more useful adults. Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.
People have different views about whether children should be taught to be competitive or co-operative. While a spirit of competition can sometimes be useful in life, I believe that the ability to co-operate is more important.
On the one hand, competition can be a great source of motivation for children. When teachers use games or prizes to introduce an element of competitiveness into lessons, it can encourage children to work harder to outdo the other pupils in the class. This kind of healthy rivalry may help to build children’s self confidence, while pushing them to work independently and progress more quickly. When these children leave school, their confidence and determination will help them in competitive situations such as job interviews. It can therefore be argued that competition should be encouraged in order to prepare children for adult life.
On the other hand, it is perhaps even more important to prepare children for the many aspects of adult life that require co-operation. In the workplace, adults are expected to work in teams, follow instructions given by their superiors, or supervise and support the more junior members of staff. Team collaboration skills are much more useful than a competitive determination to win. This is the attitude that I believe schools should foster in young people. Instead of promoting the idea that people are either winners or losers, teachers could show children that they gain more from working together.
In conclusion, I can understand why people might want to encourage competitiveness in children, but it seems to me that a co-operative attitude is much more desirable in adult life.
(270 words, band 9)
5. Some people think that museums should be enjoyable places to entertain people, while others believe that the purpose of museums is to educate.
Discuss both views and give you own opinion.
People have different views about the role and function of museums. In my opinion, museums can and should be both entertaining and educational.
On the one hand, it can be argued that the main role of a museum is to entertain. Museums are tourist attractions, and their aim is to exhibit a collection of interesting objects that many people will want to see. The average visitor may become bored if he or she has to read or listen to too much educational content, so museums often put more of an emphasis on enjoyment rather than learning. This type of museum is designed to be visually spectacular, and may have interactive activities or even games as part of its exhibitions.
On the other hand, some people argue that museums should focus on education. The aim of any exhibition should be to teach visitors something that they did not previously know. Usually this means that the history behind the museum’s exhibits needs to be explained, and this can be done in various ways. Some museums employ professional guides to talk to their visitors, while other museums offer headsets so that visitors can listen to detailed commentary about the exhibition. In this way, museums can play an important role in teaching people about history, culture, science and many other aspects of life.
In conclusion, it seems to me that a good museum should be able to offer an interesting, enjoyable and educational experience so that people can have fun and learn something at the same time.
(253 words, band 9)
6. Some people believe that studying at university or college is the best route to a successful career, while others believe that it is better to get a job straight after school. Discuss both views and give your opinion.
When they finish school, teenagers face the dilemma of whether to get a job or continue their education. While there are some benefits to getting a job straight after school, I would argue that it is better to go to college or university.
The option to start work straight after school is attractive for several reasons. Many young people want to start earning money as soon as possible. In this way, they can become independent, and they will be able to afford their own house or start a family. In terms of their career, young people who decide to find work, rather than continue their studies, may progress more quickly. They will have the chance to gain real experience and learn practical skills related to their chosen profession. This may lead to promotions and a successful career.
On the other hand, I believe that it is more beneficial for students to continue their studies. Firstly, academic qualifications are required in many professions. For example, it is impossible to become a doctor, teacher or lawyer without having the relevant degree. As a result, university graduates have access to more and better job opportunities, and they tend to earn higher salaries than those with fewer qualifications. Secondly, the job market is becoming increasingly competitive, and sometimes there are hundreds of applicants for one position in a company. Young people who do not have qualifications from a university or college will not be able to compete.
For the reasons mentioned above, it seems to me that students are more likely to be successful in their careers if they continue their studies beyond school level.
(271 words, band 9)
7. Several languages are in danger of extinction because they are spoken by very small numbers of people. Some people say that governments should spend public money on saving these languages, while others believe that would be a waste of money. Discuss both these views and give your opinion.
It is true that some minority languages may disappear in the near future. Although it can be argued that governments could save money by allowing this to happen, I believe that these languages should be protected and preserved.
There are several reasons why saving minority languages could be seen as a waste of money. Firstly, if a language is only spoken by a small number of people, expensive education programmes will be needed to make sure that more people learn it, and the state will have to pay for facilities, teachers and marketing. This money might be better spent on other public services. Secondly, it would be much cheaper and more efficient for countries to have just one language. Governments could cut all kinds of costs related to communicating with each minority group.
Despite the above arguments, I believe that governments should try to preserve languages that are less widely spoken. A language is much more than simply a means of communication; it has a vital connection with the cultural identity of the people who speak it. If a language disappears, a whole way of life will disappear with it, and we will lose the rich cultural diversity that makes societies more interesting. By spending money to protect minority languages, governments can also preserve traditions, customs and behaviours that are part of a country’s history.
In conclusion, it may save money in the short term if we allow minority languages to disappear, but in the long term this would have an extremely negative impact on our cultural heritage.
(258 words, band 9)
8. Some people think that governments should give financial support to creative artists such as painters and musicians. Others believe that creative artists should be funded by alternative sources. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.
People have different views about the funding of creative artists. While some people disagree with the idea of government support for artists, I believe that money for art projects should come from both governments and other sources.
Some art projects definitely require help from the state. In the UK, there are many works of art in public spaces, such as streets or squares in city centres. In Liverpool, for example, there are several new statues and sculptures in the docks area of the city, which has been redeveloped recently. These artworks represent culture, heritage and history. They serve to educate people about the city, and act as landmarks or talking points for visitors and tourists. Governments and local councils should pay creative artists to produce this kind of art, because without their funding our cities would be much less interesting and attractive.
On the other hand, I can understand the arguments against government funding for art. The main reason for this view is that governments have more important concerns. For example, state budgets need to be spent on education, healthcare, infrastructure and security, among other areas. These public services are vital for a country to function properly, whereas the work of creative artists, even in public places, is a luxury. Another reason for this opinion is that artists do a job like any other professional, and they should therefore earn their own money by selling their work.
In conclusion, there are good reasons why artists should rely on alternative sources of financial support, but in my opinion government help is sometimes necessary.
(262 words, band 9)
9. Nowadays animal experiments are widely used to develop new medicines and to test the safety of other products. Some people argue that these experiments should be banned because it is morally wrong to cause animals to suffer, while others are in favour of them because of their benefits to humanity.
Discuss both views and give your own opinion.
It is true that medicines and other products are routinely tested on animals before they are cleared for human use. While I tend towards the viewpoint that animal testing is morally wrong, I would have to support a limited amount of animal experimentation for the development of medicines.
On the one hand, there are clear ethical arguments against animal experimentation. To use a common example of this practice, laboratory mice may be given an illness so that the effectiveness of a new drug can be measured. Opponents of such research argue that humans have no right to subject animals to this kind of trauma, and that the lives of all creatures should be respected. They believe that the benefits to humans do not justify the suffering caused, and that scientists should use alternative methods of research.
On the other hand, reliable alternatives to animal experimentation may not always be available. Supporters of the use of animals in medical research believe that a certain amount of suffering on the part of mice or rats can be justified if human lives are saved. They argue that opponents of such research might feel differently if a member of their own families needed a medical treatment that had been developed through the use of animal experimentation. Personally, I agree with the banning of animal testing for non-medical products, but I feel that it may be a necessary evil where new drugs and medical procedures are concerned.
In conclusion, it seems to me that it would be wrong to ban testing on animals for vital medical research until equally effective alternatives have been developed.
(270 words, band 9)
10. Some people think that strict punishments for driving offences are the key to reducing traffic accidents. Others, however, believe that other measures would be more effective in improving road safety. Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.
People have differing views with regard to the question of how to make our roads safer. In my view, both punishments and a range of other measures can be used together to promote better driving habits.
On the one hand, strict punishments can certainly help to encourage people to drive more safely. Penalties for dangerous drivers can act as a deterrent, meaning that people avoid repeating the same offence. There are various types of driving penalty, such as small fines, licence suspension, driver awareness courses, and even prison sentences. The aim of these punishments is to show dangerous drivers that their actions have negative consequences. As a result, we would hope that drivers become more disciplined and alert, and that they follow the rules more carefully.
On the other hand, I believe that safe driving can be promoted in several different ways that do not punish drivers. Firstly, it is vitally important to educate people properly before they start to drive, and this could be done in schools or even as part of an extended or more difficult driving test. Secondly, more attention could be paid to safe road design. For example, signs can be used to warn people, speed bumps and road bends can be added to calm traffic, and speed cameras can help to deter people from driving too quickly. Finally, governments or local councils could reduce road accidents by investing in better public transport, which would mean that fewer people would need to travel by car.
In conclusion, while punishments can help to prevent bad driving, I believe that other road safety measures should also be introduced.
(269 words, band 9)