Written Dec. 6, 2013
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Model Answer, Cambridge Practice IELTS Tests, Book 9, Test 1, Task 1
From these two diagrams, we see that two thirds of this island has been extensively developed with tourist facilities while the remaining one third appears to have been left untouched. Previous to this development, the island had no infrastructure whatsoever. Notably, the trees have all been preserved.
More specifically, a pier has been constructed on one side of the island, with a vehicular track leading from the pier to a reception centre about 40 metres across the island. This track encircles the reception building and continues across to the far side of the island where a restaurant is situated.
Accommodation units have been built on either side of the reception centre, in two separate circular formations, with one formation comprised of 9 units and the other of 6 units, and with no unit more than 80m from the reception building. The units in each group are all connected to a circular pathway in the centre of each formation and, in the case of the left-hand group of units, the pathway extends to a beach at the far left of the island, about 100m from the reception centre. The pathway for this group also connects to the circular track surrounding the reception building, in contrast to the pathway for the right-hand group of units, which does not connect to the track.
Word count = 220
Although this is a bit long, the subject matter is relatively easy to write about so 220 words should not take much more time than, for example, a 180-word essay describing a graph.
I believe that to write a Task 1 answer that is truly and convincingly Band 9 or 8.5, you will need to write more than 200 words. Candidates who are at that level should be able to form their sentences quite quickly so the time spent on this would still be in the 20-25 minute range.
Writing long complex sentences is the best way to summarize as much information as possible in as few words as possible. And to successfully write long, complex sentences, skillful (and correct!) usage of commas is important.
Sentences such as this – “The pathway for this group also connects to the circular track surrounding the reception building, in contrast to the pathway for the right-hand group of units, which does not connect to the track” – appear to be simple in language because the words, “the pathway” are repeated when it could have been written this way – “The pathway for this group also connects to the circular track surrounding the reception building, in contrast to that of the right-hand group of units, which does not connect to the track”. But clear and easy communication should always be the number one priority and, since “that of” is immediately preceded by “reception building”, the reader might have to pause and think, “What is ‘that’ referring to?”
Since there is no indication of North, it would be incorrect (inaccurate) to use word such as, "North", "South", "East" and "West" in this essay. Yes, North is usually the upward direction on a map, but not always.