IELTS Academic Writing Task 2 Sample 2

Sample Question

People are living for longer than ever before. As a result, there is concern about caring for the elderly in society. Do you think it is a family's responsibility to care for the older generation? Or is it the responsibility of the government?


Sample Answer

I am going to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of families caring for an elderly person, as opposed to government institutions caring for them.

There are many reasons why government has a responsibility to care for all of its citizens, including the elderly. The majority of senior citizens have been paying taxes all their lives and have contributed enormously to our society. Therefore, government has a duty towards them.

In addition to this, leaving care duties in the hands of the state means that it can be uniform, accessible to everyone, and indiscriminate. Government services are available to everyone.

The flip side of the argument is that many older people prefer to be looked after by their families when they are no longer able to take care of themselves. This has been the situation for thousands of years: parents care for their children when they are young and they provide care for their parents when they are old enough to need it. Children know their parents best, and they are emotionally invested. Strangers can rarely provide the same level of care that a family member can.

While families having the time and resources to care for their family members is ideal, it does not reflect the reality of modern working hours and the demands of employment. Many family members providing care are forced to quit their jobs or reduce their working hours. This can be a difficult decision for families to make, and often one family member ends up doing most of the caregiving work.

To summarise, while most families wish to provide care for their older members, they are sometimes unable to because of work commitments. Perhaps this is where the government can most support its older citizens.



Coherence and Cohesion

  • The candidate opens by stating their intentions and their approach to this question. Note that the question is binary, i.e. you are being asked about your preference between two opposing conclusions. If asked in social conversation, you could answer it very quickly. However, in an exam, you must elaborate upon your preference, while also pitching the opposite choice against it. This is why the candidate chooses to state the ‘advantages and disadvantages' of one option 'as opposed to' the other.

Lexical Resource

  • the flip side - the opposite perspective or approach, a different way to look at things

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