Historic buildings – sample IELTS essay

This the next in my series of sample IELTS essays and in this one I concentrate on helping you with the necessary vocabulary to write the essay. Some of my advice is that you should plan your vocabulary before you start writing. If you do not do this, you will probably use a limited range of vocabulary and perhaps have difficulty in planning your ideas. You will find a version of the essay to download at the end of the lesson.

The question

Many historic buildings are being destroyed or replaced. What are the reasons for this? What should be done to preserve these buildings?

This is a question in two parts and you must ensure that you answer both parts of the questions in your essay. If you fail to look at both the reasons and the issue of preservation, your Task Response band score will be very low.

Possible plan

The essay I have written follows this basic plan:

introduction: state the task: include both the issue of preservation and the reasons for historic buildings destruction

para 1: explain reasons why residential buildings are destroyed (lack of facilities) with examples

para 2: explain reasons why civic buildings are destroyed (financial pressure/social change) with examples

para 3: give solutions for preservation – planning authorities to prevent or limit destruction

Conclusion: complex issue. refer to different factors of change (paras 1 and 2) and possible solutions (para 3)

The vocabulary

Before I start writing, I think of some of the vocabulary I want to use. This does not need to be complex or difficult vocabulary, just precise and accurate vocabulary. If you can find words like these before you write, you are certain to write better.

Building words:

residential – bathrooms and toilets – supermarkets – cinema complexes – facilities for modern-day living – civic – central heating – facades

City words

urban landscape – planning authorities

Change words

preserve/preservation – destroy/destruction – pull down- renovate/renovation – develop/developers – under threat -alter/alteration

The future

future generations – posterity

The essay

Many historic buildings are being destroyed or replaced. What are the reasons for this? What should be done to preserve these buildings?

We live in an age of progress and one result of that is that the urban landscape of many cities is changing. An unfortunate consequence of this is that some historic buildings are being lost for future generations. Something needs to be done to preserve these buildings and, to ensure that, we first need to understand why they are being destroyed.

There are a variety of reasons why these buildings are being replaced and this mainly depends on their original pupose. Many of these historic buildings were residential and typically the problem is that they no longer have the appropriate facilities for modern-day living. For example, they might have been built in an era when central heating was not a priority, or even when bathrooms and toilets were outside. Unfortunately, it is often cheaper to pull these buildings down rather than renovate them.

Other historic buildings that are now under threat originally had a civic function and were built in city centres. Examples of these buildings are theatres and cinemas. As often as not, these buildings are being replaced through economic necessity as they are no longer financially viable. They are being replaced by supermarkets or modern cinema complexes that cater for the demands of the twenty-first century.

There is probably no one solution to ensure that these buildings are preserved. One possible step though would be for the civic planning authorities to list certain builidngs that they consider historic and prevent any alterations being made to them. Another possibility would be to ensure that at least the facades of these buildings were preserved for posterity.

Clearly, this is a complex problem and we have seen that there are a number of social and financial factors that have led to the destruction of historic buildings.  If we are to preserve them, we will need legislation to prevent or limit the  activities of developers.

(315 words)

Write the essay yourself

There are 3 exercises here to help you write the essay yourself:

topic vocabulary exercise: try a gapfill exercise to use the correct topic vocab

Academic Word List exercise: AWL words are vital in any essay: try this gapfill to use the AWL words in my essay

Coherence and cohesion exercise: now try and fit the whole essay together. To do this you will need to think about coherence and cohesion

Download the essay

Historic Buildings - sample IELTS essay (1530)
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3 Responses to Historic buildings – sample IELTS essay

  1. Kushal Ashok August 1, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    I liked the idea of thinking about the vocabulary prior to the writing.

    I think the model answer is just perfect and portrays very important aspects one needs to keep in mind.

    The first things I learned was that managing paragraphs is essential and one should introduce the next para while ending the first one. For instance, “we first need to understand why they are being destroyed.” introduces the 2nd paragraph of the passage.

    Also the sentence structures being used here set good examples. As far as phrases are concerned my favorite was “as often as not”.

    P.S.: This website is very useful for IELTS preparation. I hope I can score a good band with it’s help.

    • Avatar of Dominic Cole
      Dominic Cole August 1, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

      The planning vocabulary idea really does work – I’ve taught it for a long time now. You may find that you spend a little more time planning but you will write more quickly and with better range. Try it.

  2. Beth February 1, 2014 at 12:18 am #

    can you post more tips on how to start writing academic writing task 2?

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