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IELTS Band 9 essay, topic: Breakthroughs in medical science are the most significant advances over the last two centuries (opinion)

This is a model response to a Writing Task 2 topic from High Scorer’s Choice IELTS Practice Tests book series (reprinted with permission). This answer is likely to score IELTS Band 9.

Set 1 Academic book, Practice Test 4

Writing Task 2

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

The breakthroughs in medical science are by far the most significant advances in world society over the last two centuries.

Discuss this statement and give your opinion.

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

You should write at least 250 words.


Over the last two hundred years, there have been many changes to society in nearly all aspects of people’s lives. Medical science has advanced beyond recognition and it can be argued that this has been the most significant change.

The last two centuries have witnessed great advances of the industrial revolution. Automation, machinery and various technologies have revolutionised the way people live, work, play and travel. Society has now many things that make people’s lives easier and more enjoyable, including cars, planes, computers and telephones to name only a few. It is quite clear that these advances are phenomenally significant in most people’s lives today.

Medical science has also been revolutionised. The three principal challenges facing surgery, which were pain, infection and bleeding, have all been overcome, allowing the lives of millions to be saved. The discoveries of vaccines to deal with the great killer diseases of history also took place over the last two centuries. Probably billions of people who would have died from diseases such as smallpox, tuberculosis, diphtheria and tetanus have all been saved.

In addition to this, medicine now has such an advanced knowledge of human body systems that doctors can cure or heal a wide range of ailments that would in the past have been fatal or extremely debilitating. It is also likely that the next century will see similar significant advances.

In conclusion, although there have been many different advances in society over the last two hundred years, the fact that so many people have had their lives saved or improved by medical breakthroughs makes it seem incontrovertible that it is these medical advances that have been the most significant.

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Simone Braverman is the founder of and the author of several renowned IELTS preparation books, including Ace the IELTS, Target Band 7, the High Scorer's Choice practice test series, and IELTS Success Formula. Since 2005, Simone has been committed to making IELTS preparation accessible and effective through her books and online resources. Her work has helped 100,000's of students worldwide achieve their target scores and live their dream lives. When Simone isn't working on her next IELTS book, video lesson, or coaching, she enjoys playing the guitar or rollerblading.