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IELTS essay, topic: Do schools still need to teach handwriting and mental mathematics skills?

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 close to IELTS Band 9.

Set 3 General Training book, Practice Test 15

Writing Task 2

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

With the increase in computer use, many people feel that schools do not need to put the emphasis that they used to on basic handwriting skills or mental mathematics skills.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this?

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

You should write at least 250 words.

Sample Band 9 Essay

In recent years, computer use around the world has increased drastically. As a result technological equipment is used increasingly in schools around the world. Many people question therefore whether schools should put much emphasis on teaching students basic handwriting skills and mental mathematics skills.

The use of technological equipment in lessons has increased since the onset of the digital age. Nearly all professions around the world involve computer use and even the simplest tasks are carried out via electronic equipment. Hence, it is important for students to learn how to use technology correctly for their future careers. Electronic devices also offer various learning advantages, as notes and assignments can be completed much faster and more neatly using these tools.

Nonetheless, the practical skills such as using and holding a pen correctly are likewise vital for future careers. For that reason, students have to be taught at early ages how to carry out simple tasks using basic skills, such as writing. It is also essential that a student develops neat handwriting, as in the case of a technological problem the student will have to write by hand. Furthermore, final exams are typically written by hand and thus the student must develop the basic skill of holding a pen and writing with it. Mathematics skills are no different. People will not always have a device with them to carry out calculations and the ability to do arithmetic in the head is a vital skill for operating in today’s world.

In conclusion, I personally believe that schools should keep a balance between using practical skills and using electronic equipment to carry out certain tasks by having student submit assignments created electronically, yet also by having them complete assignments by hand in class and without computers or calculators. This balance is important, as if the focus lies only on one of the two aspects, the student will face problems later on in life.

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