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task 3 essay

Regents Text-Analysis Response (Task 3)

The New York State English Regents which is taken in 11th grade is composed of three tasks: Reading Comprehension (Task 1), Argument Essay (Task 2), and Text-Analysis Response (Task 3).  The following will help you with the text-analysis response.

Text-Analysis Response Directions on the NYS Regents :

Your Task : Closely read the text provided on pages — and  — and write a well-developed, text-based response of two to three paragraphs. In your response, identify a central idea in the text and analyze how the author’s use of one writing strategy (literary element or literary technique or rhetorical device) develops this central idea. Use strong and thorough evidence from the text to support your analysis. Do not simply summarize the text. You may use the margins to take notes as you read and scrap paper to plan your response. Write your response in the spaces provided on pages 7 through 9 of your essay booklet.

Guidelines :

Be sure to:

• Identify a central idea in the text

• Analyze how the author’s use of one writing strategy (literary element or literary technique or rhetorical device) develops this central idea. Examples include: characterization, conflict, denotation/connotation, metaphor, simile, irony, language use, point-of-view, setting, structure, symbolism, theme, tone, etc.

• Use strong and thorough evidence from the text to support your analysis

• Organize your ideas in a cohesive and coherent manner

• Maintain a formal style of writing

• Follow the conventions of standard written English

Regents text analysis response outline and sample  As given out in class, an outline and a sample for the Regents text analysis response

Regents Text Analysis Rubric

Helpful Websites for studying :

Literary Elements  — definitions and explanations

Literary Elements Quizlet

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IELTS Reading Task 3

IELTS Reading Task 3 Guides and Tips

A lot of candidates consider the IELTS Reading Test to be the most challenging part of the IELTS and leave the testing room not feeling confident of how they perform in this part of the test. 

The IELTS Reading Task 3 , for instance, being the last and most difficult part, has greatly affected the overall band score of most candidates. Are you worried about how you will fare in the IELTS Reading Test? You are in luck; this page is here to help you.

This article focuses on the IELTS Reading Task 3 (Part3) . Please continue reading to find out more. 

IELTS Reading Overview 

Ielts reading task 3 reading tips, helpful tips for the ielts reading task 3 questions, how to prepare for the ielts reading task 3, ielts reading task 3 practice questions, additional faqs – ielts reading task 3.

The IELTS Reading Test comes right after the IELTS Listening Test .

You are not given any extra time to transfer your answers, so you have to write your responses to the answer sheet right away. 

The IELTS Reading Test takes one hour to complete.

While the IELTS Academic and General Training modules have different materials, the types and quantity of questions are the same. The General Training module ‘s papers are often shorter and easier to read, and they cover a wide range of intellectual, social, and professional topics.

The Academic module’s readings, on the other hand, are lengthier and more difficult than those required of standard applicants. Magazines, books, and journals are used to compile intellectual materials.

Three texts ( Task 1 , Task 2 , and Task 3 ), generally ranging from 500 to 900 words, must be read. There are 40 questions to answer, and all of them are different types of questions.

It is used to evaluate a range of reading skills, including details, gist, and primary concepts; logical reasoning; understanding writers’ views and viewpoints; and skimming.

Task 3, the third portion of the IELTS Reading Test, comes after Task 2 and is regarded as the most difficult among the three IELTS Reading tasks.

The texts in the IELTS Academic and General Training modules are different, but they will assess the same skills, as previously indicated.

Please refer to the list we have supplied for some advice while preparing for the IELTS Reading Task 3 to assist you to get a suitable band score .

  • Read the questions first. 

To make it easier to identify answers afterward, read each question carefully before responding.

While reading, make a list of possible replies. Make notes or even highlight any piece of the text. 

  • Skim and scan for ideas. 

Start by skimming the content to acquire a feel of what the IELTS Reading Task 3 is about.

Once you are comfortable with it, read it attentively, bearing in mind the questions you need to answer.

  • Be mindful of your grammar and spelling. 

Make sure there are no grammatical problems when answering questions kinds that need you to write an answer. In the IELTS Reading Task 3, the importance of grammatical intuition, spelling, and sentence structure should not be overlooked. 

  • Be mindful of the time.

You have exactly an hour to respond to 40 questions, so make the most of it. Each section should be completed in no more than 20 minutes.

Allow 16-17 minutes for reading and answering the questions, plus 3-4 minutes for transferring and reviewing your answers. 

  • Do not leave any item unanswered. 

The IELTS does not deduct points for any wrong answer. This implies that if you do not know the answer to a specific question, try making a guess. You have nothing to lose.

Also, do not take so much of your time figuring out the answer to a specific question. Proceed to the next question and if there is still time, go back to that question. 

The IELTS Reading Task 3 has a range of questions. You must acquaint yourself with all of them so you can comfortably respond to them on test day.

The IELTS Reading Task 3 question types for both the Academic and General Training modules are mentioned below.

Matching Headings to Paragraphs

A list of headers will be shown to you. In the instructions, four to six paragraphs from the reading passage will be highlighted.

For each paragraph, you must choose the most acceptable headline.


  • Before reading the headlines, read the questions first.
  • Always keep in mind that there are generally more headings than you require.
  • Before attempting to match the headings to the paragraphs, examine them.
  • Be aware that the responses are not presented in any particular sequence.
  • Separate the main concepts from the supporting elements in the paragraph.

Classification Questions

A number of statements or phrases is given and you need to classify them according to the information given in the reading text. 

  • Be aware that the responses come in order. 
  • Watch out for paraphrased and reworded phrases and questions. 
  • Know that some answers or options may be used more than once. 

Sentence Completion

You will be given unfinished sentences to complete. You should fill in the gaps with details from the material you have read.

  • Recognize the appropriate word type for each statement. (nouns, verbs, adjectives…)
  • Determine which section of the text contains the answer.
  • Look for tips and context clues to help you figure out the correct answer.
  • Check the required word count for each response.
  • Remember that the answers usually come in a specific order.

True/False or Yes/No Not Given Questions

There are several statements, and you must decide whether or not the information is contained in the passage.

  • Examine the responses for meaning:

Yes/True – The assertion is accurate or specifically mentioned in the text.

No/False – The statement is erroneous or missing from the text.

Not Given – The statement is not found in the text.

  • Reword the sentences before looking for answers in the text.
  • Remember that the answers are listed in chronological sequence.

Preparing for the IELTS Reading Task 3 is essential because it is tagged the most challenging section of the IELTS Reading Test. You must not show up to the testing site unprepared on the day of the test.

Otherwise, you are more likely to not get your desired band score and eventually waste your time and effort preparing.

Continue reading to learn some tried-and-true strategies for preparing for the IELTS Reading Task 3.

  • Practice timed-reading. 

The IELTS Reading Test lasts about an hour. This means that you get approximately 20 minutes each task.

Unlike reading for pleasure where you can pause every now and then, you do not get this luxury in the IELTS Reading Task 3.

Therefore, we encourage that you set a timer every time you read while preparing for the test.

Keep in mind that 20 minutes is not a long time. Also, lack of time might cause you panic which might affect your performance.

  • Enhance your vocabulary. 

While the IELTS Reading Task 3 is a ‘reading’ test, it is more of a vocabulary test. Improving your vocabulary is a must.

You will not be able to comprehend what you are reading if you are not familiar with the terms in the text.

Make it an effort to learn how to paraphrase and identify synonyms. They will indeed come in handy in the IELTS Reading Task 3. 

  • Get to know the different types of questions. 

In the IELTS Reading Task 3, different question types will be asked. Each type requires a different strategy to effectively answer them.

Prior to taking the test, we strongly recommend that you study these types of questions.

This will provide you with the assurance you require so that answering them on the day of the test is not new for you. 

  • Utilize and take advantage of every reading material you have.

Read a lot, and when we say a lot, we mean all the time, every chance you can get.

Reading improves your vocabulary and reading speed, which is crucial in the IELTS Reading Task 3.

You can read books, magazines, newspapers, and yes, even flyers and brochures. It does not matter what you read, as long as you do. 

  • Utilize past IELTS papers and other practice tests. 

The IDP and British Council websites offer past papers for the benefit of those who plan to take the IELTS test. Take advantage of them.

There are also a lot of websites, just like ours, that offer free practice papers that will gauge your IELTS Reading skills.

Make it a habit to answer these practice tests at least twice a week to determine if you are improving and getting to your target band score. 

There is no greater approach to making yourself ready for the IELTS Reading Task 3 than to answer actual practice questions.

It gives you the familiarity and confidence you need because it makes you feel that you are not taking the test for the first time.

Please refer to the practice questions we have below as you get yourself ready to take the IELTS Reading Task 3. 

IELTS Reading Task 3 – Academic 

Reading passage:.

A According to a survey, harsh and uneven marking is discouraging students in England from learning languages beyond the age of 14. According to the British Council’s research and the Education Development Trust, the introduction of more challenging GCSEs will further erode interest in languages. It claims that a concentration on math and science, as well as the belief that languages are a difficult option, demotivates students and teachers.

B Exams watchdog Ofqual said the language results from last year were ‘extremely stable’. New GCSE and A-level contemporary language syllabuses will be taught in England starting in September 2016, with new exams taking place in the summer of 2018. The Language Trends Survey, now in its 14th year of tracking the condition of language learning in England’s schools, shows that these changes will discourage students from studying languages, particularly at A-level. “One of the major challenges to the successful growth of language teaching is the test system,” it reads. “The relative difficulty of language tests compared to other disciplines, as well as widespread reports of harsh and inconsistent grading, are extremely demotivating for both students and teachers.”

C “The EBacc, which requires students to study English, a language, math, science, geography or history to GCSE, looks like it is having very little impact on the numbers of students choosing languages post-16,” according to the research. After GCSE, there is a specific concern about uptake, with some public institutions claiming that the tiny number of students choosing languages as an A-level subject means the subject is becoming “financially unviable.”

D Between 2014 and 2015, the proportion of the entire cohort taking a GCSE in a language fell by one percentage point (to 48 percent), putting a halt to the upward trend in entries that began in 2012 with the introduction of the EBacc. Each of the three major languages had a decrease in entries this year compared to 2014: German is down 10%, French is down 6%, and Spanish is down 3%. Generally, A-level language entries are 94 percent of what they were in 2002, and they fell by 3% between 2014 and 2015, with French down 1% and German down 2.5 percent, while Spanish uptake increased by about 15%.

E The report did recognize some good developments, particularly at the elementary school level, stating that just over half of England’s primary schools now have access to language teaching specialists. However, primary schools say it’s difficult to incorporate languages into the given curriculum time and to find trained teachers. “Languages are already one of the difficult GCSEs, and teachers believe that with the new tests, it will be even tougher for students to earn a decent score,” Teresa Tinsley, a co-author of the paper, said. When you combine this with the anticipation that a larger spectrum of students will take the exam, it’s no surprise that teachers are worried. If languages are to survive in our classrooms, we must improve their morale and faith in the exam system.”

F “We are dedicated to ensuring that all GCSEs, AS- and A-levels, including those in modern foreign languages, are sufficiently valid, provide fair and trustworthy results, and have a beneficial influence on teaching and learning,” an Ofqual spokesman said. The previous year’s data in modern foreign languages were fairly consistent, with just minor fluctuations in the proportions of students who received each grade compared to the year before. “We investigated complaints that pupils are finding it more difficult to attain the highest grades in A level language. We discovered that this is due to the way the tests are designed, rather than the nature of the topic content. “We are looking into it and will be posting more information shortly.”

G “Before we accredit a qualification, we check that the exams are designed to allow for good differentiation – including that the brightest students will be capable of achieving the highest grades – and that they are properly premised on a different subject content,” the spokesman said, referring to new modern foreign language A-levels and GCSEs that will be taught starting in September.

H “The country’s present shortage of language skills is projected to be costing the economy tens of billions in missing trade and economic opportunities every year,” said Mark Herbert, head of schools programs at the British Council. “Parents, schools, and companies can all play a role in encouraging our children to study languages in school and restoring the respect and prominence that language learning deserves. The decrease in kids selecting for GCSE and A-level languages is worrying, particularly when coupled with teachers’ loss of faith in the exam system,” said Tony McAleavy, head of research and development at the Education Development Trust. To provide languages a stronger place in the curriculum, make languages more interesting for students who find the examination procedure a hurdle, and raise teacher morale, solutions are needed.”

Questions 1-6:

A-H are the eight paragraphs in the reading text. Choose the most appropriate paragraph heads from the list and fill in boxes 1-6 on your answer sheet with the correct letter, A-H.

  • Information on studying
  • Consistent outcomes
  • Significant economic losses
  • Exams’ objectivity
  • The most crucial factor in languages’ ability to thrive
  • Ineffective influence on students

Questions 7-10:

Sort the events by the dates shown below.

A. 2014 – 2015

D. None of the above

  • A 48% drop in GCSE results
  • England has a new syllabus system
  • The beginning of new examinations
  • The increase in applications

IELTS Reading Task 3 – General Training

What to do in case of fire?

Fire drills are an important aspect of being safe at school because they prepare you for what to do in case of fire. But what if there was a fire in your neighborhood? Would you know what to do in this situation? It’s scary to talk about flames because no one wants to think about people getting hurt or their belongings being burned. However, being prepared can help you feel less anxious.

It’s a good idea for families to discuss how they’d get out of a fire. Different tactics will be used by different households. Some children live in one-story homes, while others live in multi-story complexes. Let’s start by talking about escape strategies and escape routes.

How to Get Out:

A family escape plan can help everyone get out of a burning house. The goal is to go outside as soon as possible while remaining safe. Because smoke from a fire might make it difficult to see where things are, it’s critical to study and remember the various exit routes. What is the total number of exits? How do you get from your room to them? Drawing a map of the escape plan with your family is an excellent idea.

Because one exit may be blocked by fire or smoke, you’ll need to know where the others are. You’ll also want to know how to get to the stairs or other emergency exits if you reside in an apartment building.

Safety Procedures:

If you’re in a room and the door is shut when the fire starts, you’ll need to take extra precautions:

  • Check for smoke or heat coming in through the crevices surrounding the door. (You’re looking to see if the other side is on fire.)
  • If you detect smoke coming from beneath the door, don’t try to open it!
  • If there is no smoke, touch the door. Do not open the door if it is hot or really hot!
  • If there is no smoke and the door is not hot, lightly touch the doorknob with your fingers. Don’t try to open the door if the doorknob is hot or extremely hot!

If the doorknob is cool to the touch and there is no smoke visible around the door, open it gently and carefully. If a flash of heat or smoke enters the room when you open the door, instantly close it and double-check that it is completely shut. If there is no smoke or heat when you open the door, go to your escape path.

Complete the following sentences. For each answer, select no more than TWO WORDS from the reading text.

  • Some people live in tall structures, while others live in a ______________. 
  • It is critical to discuss escape ______________ and ______________ with your children.
  • Creating a ______________ is an excellent option because it can assist you in escaping.
  • If you reside in an apartment, you must know how to go to the stairwell or other ______________.
  • Only open the door if the ______________ is not heated and there is no smoke visible around it.
  • If smoke ______________ the room, you must close the door quickly.

Questions 7-10. 

Which of the statements below best defines the information presented in the reading text? Fill in the gaps for numbers 7-10 on your response sheet.

True – The statement approves of the details mentioned in the passage.

False – The statement disapproves of the details mentioned in the passage. 

Not Given – The information could not be found in the passage.  

  • Planning ahead of time to escape the fire is critical.
  • If you’re trapped in a room and notice smoke coming from the next room, open the door and run to the exit.
  • A hot door indicates that you should not open it to escape.
  • If everything looks fine and in order when you open the door, proceed to the exit.

How Many Questions are There in IELTS Reading 3?

There are a total of 40 questions in the entire IELTS Reading test, which implies that there will be approximately 13-15 questions in each of the three tasks.

You are encouraged to spend 20 minutes on each task to give you a better chance of managing your time well.

Spend about 17 minutes answering the questions and around 3 minutes writing your answers on your answer sheet. 

How Can I Practice for the IELTS Reading Test?

You can practice for the IELTS Reading Test by improving your grammar and vocabulary, reading a lot (newspapers, magazines, books, etc) , and answering practice tests designed specifically for IELTS.

It also benefits you if you acquaint yourself with the different question types prior to taking the test. These strategies will surely make you more confident to help you achieve your desired band score. 

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IELTS Writing Samples Band 3

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task. some countries achieve international sports by building specialised facilities to train top athletes, instead of providing sports facilities that everyone can use. do you think this is positive or negative development discuss both views and give your opinion. you should write at least 250 words., many people nowadays live in societies where consumer goods are relatively cheap do you thing the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages, the plans below show a public park when it first opened in 1920 and the same park today., do you think consumers should be responsible for their poor nutritional choices, or do food manufacturers need to be more honest about the potential dangers in eating certain foods which are high in salt, sugar and fat, universities should accept equal members of male and female in every you agree or disagree , in some socieries the number of crimes committed by teenagers is growing. some people think that regardless of age, teenagers who commit major crimes should receive adilt punishment. to what extent do you agree or disagree, learning english is important do you agree and disagree, as the world becomes technologically advanced, computers are replacing more and more jobs. describe some job positions that may be lost because of computers, and disciss at least one problem that may result, the increasing popularity of online learning has led some to believe that traditional classroom learning will become obsolete. do you agree with this view discuss both sides of the argument and give your own opinion., some people think that parents should limit the time their children spend watching tv and playing computer games and encourage them to read books instead. do you agree or disagree, some people think that all teenagers should be required to do unpaid work in their free time to help the local community. they believe this would be benefit both the individual teenagers and society as awhole. do you agree or disagree, air transport is increasingly used to export fruit and vegetables to countries where they cannot be grown or are out of season. what the advantages and disadvantages of this, writing task 2: the growth of online shopping will one day lead to all shops in towns and cities closing. do you agree or disagree, many countries have embraced tourism as a way to boost their economies and create jobs for local residents. however, some argue that tourism can have negative impacts on the environment and local cultures. what are advantages and disadvantages of tourism for a country., nowadays it is possibe to use computers and moblie phones for automatic language translation, and there is no need for human translators and interpreters. do you agree or disagree with this statement, some people think it's better to choose friends who always have the same opinions as them. other people believe it is good to have friends who sometimes disagree with them. discuss both these views and give your own opinion., some people think that the teenage years are happinest times of most people’s lives. others think that adult life brings more happiness, in spite of greater responsibilities. discuss both view and give your opinion., many people put their personal information online (address, telephone number, and so on) for purposes such as signing up for social networks or online banking. is this a positive or negative development, increasing the price of petrol is the best way to solve growing traffic and pollution problems., some people think visitors to other countries should imitate local customs and behaviour. some people disagree; they think the host country should welcome cultural differences. discuss the two views and give your opinion..

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IELTS Preparation with Liz: Free IELTS Tips and Lessons, 2024

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100 IELTS Essay Questions

Below are practice IELTS essay questions and topics for writing task 2. The 100 essay questions have been used many times over the years. The questions are organised under common topics and essay types. IELTS often use the similar topics for their essays but change the wording of the essay question.

In order to prepare well for writing task 2, you should prepare ideas for common topics and then practise applying them to the tasks given (to the essay questions). Also see model essays and tips  for writing task 2.

Below you will find:

  • Essay Questions By Topic
  • Essay Questions by Essay Type

Please also note that my new Grammar E-book is now available in my store along with my Ideas for Essay Topics E-book and Advanced Writing Lessons. To visit store, click here: Liz’s Store

1) Common IELTS Essay Questions

IELTS practice essay questions divided by topic. These topics have been reported by IELTS students in their tests. Essay questions have been recreated as accurately as possible.

  • Art   (5 essay questions)
  • Business & Money   (17 essay questions)
  • Communication & Personality   (20 essay questions)
  • Crime & Punishment   (12 essay questions)
  • Education   (17 essay questions)
  • Environment   (12 essay questions)
  • Family & Children   (8 essay questions)
  • Food & Diet (13 essay questions)
  • Government (6 essay questions)
  • Health   (9 essay questions)
  • Housing, Buildings & Urban Planning (8 essay questions)
  • Language (6 essay questions)
  • Leisure (1 essay question)
  • Media & Advertising   (12 essay questions)
  • Reading  (5 essay questions)
  • Society   (10 essay questions)
  • Space Exploration (3 questions)
  • Sport & Exercise   (6 essay questions)
  • Technology  (6 essay questions)
  • Tourism and Travel   (11 essay questions)
  • Transport  (7 essay questions)
  • Work (17 essay questions)

2) IELTS Essay Questions by Essay Type 

There are 5 main types of essay questions in IELTS writing task 2 (opinion essays, discussion essay, advantage/disadvantage essays, solution essay and direct question essays). Click on the links below to see some sample essay questions for each type.

  • Opinion Essay Questions
  • Discussion Essay Questions
  • Solution Essay Questions
  • Direct Questions Essay Titles 
  • Advantage / Disadvantage Essay Questions


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task 3 essay

20 English Essay Topics/Questions | B2 First (FCE)

task 3 essay

The language of an English essay should be formal . Also, make sure that you justify all your ideas and that you use appropriate connectors to link your sentences and paragraphs .

How to write B2 First (FCE) essay?

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B2 First (FCE) Essay: Example Topics / Questions

Below is a sample list of academic essay writing topics/tasks for B2-level (intermediate) students. You can use them to practice writing English essays or to prepare for the Cambridge B2 First (FCE) exam

B2 - Essay Topic / Question 1 | First (FCE)

You have watched a documentary about young children in poor areas who leave school to work. Your English teacher has asked you to write an essay.

Write an essay using all the notes and give reasons for your point of view.

Teenagers are dropping out of school to find a job. How can we help them to continue their education?

Write about:

  • family problems
  • financial difficulties
  • …………… (your own idea)

B2 - Essay Topic / Question 2 | First (FCE)

In your social studies course, you have watched a documentary on the potential effects of too much pollution on the air quality of city centres. Your professor has assigned you an essay to write.

Keeping the air quality in city centres at healthy levels for their residents is a concern for many places. How can we solve the problem of pollution in city centres?

  • automobiles
  • ………………  (your own idea)

B2 - Essay Topic / Question 3 | First (FCE)

In your education class, you have listened to a lecture on the importance of teaching foreign languages in school. Your teacher has asked you to write an essay.

Learning a foreign language helps students develop a set of important skills. Why should foreign languages be taught in schools?

  • new cultures
  •  employment
  • …………. (your own idea)

B2 - Essay Topic / Question 4 | First (FCE)

You have listened to a radio programme about the problem of widespread starvation in many parts of Africa. Your English teacher has asked you to write an essay.

In many parts of Africa, people are dying of starvation and lack of freshwater. Can these problems be solved?

  • lack of organised farming
  • …….. …….. (your own idea)

B2 - Essay Topic / Question 5 | First (FCE)

You have watched a video on a non-profit organisation working to stop the use of animals for testing medicines used by human beings. Now, your professor has asked you to write an essay.

Testing on animals is a standard in scientific research. What is the best way to deal with this problem?

  • animals suffer
  • outdated form of research
  • …… ……..  (your own idea)

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B2 - essay topic / question 6 | first (fce).

You have listened to a radio programme about deforestation, the cutting down of trees in many wild areas around the world. Now, your English teacher has asked you to write an essay.

Many forests around the world are being destroyed for agricultural, commercial, or housing use without allowing time for the forests to regenerate themselves. What can be done to improve the situation?

  • what contributes to the greenhouse effect
  • ………. (your own idea)

B2 - Essay Topic / Question 7 | First (FCE)

In your English class, you have been talking about endangered species, animals or plants that will likely become extinct. Your English teacher has asked you to write an essay.

Around the world, many wildlife species are in danger of extinction. How can we protect endangered animals?

  • hunting wild animals
  • ………..  (your own idea)

B2 - Essay Topic / Question 8 | First (FCE)

You have watched a Youtube video about the problem of computer game addiction in children. Your English teacher has asked you to write an essay.

More and more young people spend most of their time playing computer games. How can we help children to overcome this addiction?

  • bad grades at school
  • no social life
  • ………… (your own idea)

B2 - Essay Topic / Question 9 | First (FCE)

You have listened to a radio programme about the impact of smoking on people’s health. Now, your English teacher has asked you to write an essay.

Smoking is responsible for many health problems throughout the world. Do you think it should be made illegal?

  • lung cancer
  •  passive smoking
  • ……………… (your own idea)


More than practice tests, b2 - essay topic / question 10 | first (fce).

In your English class, you have been talking about the problem of obesity in young people. Now your English teacher has asked you to write an essay.

In Europe and the USA a lot of young people have an obesity problem. What can be done to solve this problem?

  • (your own idea)

B2 - Essay Topic / Question 11 | First (FCE)

Has technology made a positive contribution to sport today?

  • The use of technology to improve performance
  • The use of technology in refereeing decisions

B2 - Essay Topic / Question 12 | First (FCE)

It is better to work at home than in an office. Do you agree?

  • Contact with people
  • Working hours

B2 - Essay Topic / Question 13 | First (FCE)

Life is harder for young people now than in the past. Do you agree?

B2 - Essay Topic / Question 14 | First (FCE)

Is it better to go shopping in small local businesses or large out-of-town shopping centres?

  • Where things are cheaper
  • Where service is better

B2 - Essay Topic / Question 15 | First (FCE)

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Do you agree that community service works better than fines?

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  • ………………(your own idea)

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Is it true that we help the environment when we plant a tree?

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Nowadays children are suffering from obesity, that was once considered to be meant for adults only. What are its causes and what solutions can be offered?

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Is it better to be the oldest or the youngest in a family?

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Modern lifestyles can seriously endanger our health.

Do you agree?

  • physical activity
  • …….. (your own choice)

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  • The four main types of essay | Quick guide with examples

The Four Main Types of Essay | Quick Guide with Examples

Published on September 4, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

An essay is a focused piece of writing designed to inform or persuade. There are many different types of essay, but they are often defined in four categories: argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive essays.

Argumentative and expository essays are focused on conveying information and making clear points, while narrative and descriptive essays are about exercising creativity and writing in an interesting way. At university level, argumentative essays are the most common type. 

In high school and college, you will also often have to write textual analysis essays, which test your skills in close reading and interpretation.

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Table of contents

Argumentative essays, expository essays, narrative essays, descriptive essays, textual analysis essays, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about types of essays.

An argumentative essay presents an extended, evidence-based argument. It requires a strong thesis statement —a clearly defined stance on your topic. Your aim is to convince the reader of your thesis using evidence (such as quotations ) and analysis.

Argumentative essays test your ability to research and present your own position on a topic. This is the most common type of essay at college level—most papers you write will involve some kind of argumentation.

The essay is divided into an introduction, body, and conclusion:

  • The introduction provides your topic and thesis statement
  • The body presents your evidence and arguments
  • The conclusion summarizes your argument and emphasizes its importance

The example below is a paragraph from the body of an argumentative essay about the effects of the internet on education. Mouse over it to learn more.

A common frustration for teachers is students’ use of Wikipedia as a source in their writing. Its prevalence among students is not exaggerated; a survey found that the vast majority of the students surveyed used Wikipedia (Head & Eisenberg, 2010). An article in The Guardian stresses a common objection to its use: “a reliance on Wikipedia can discourage students from engaging with genuine academic writing” (Coomer, 2013). Teachers are clearly not mistaken in viewing Wikipedia usage as ubiquitous among their students; but the claim that it discourages engagement with academic sources requires further investigation. This point is treated as self-evident by many teachers, but Wikipedia itself explicitly encourages students to look into other sources. Its articles often provide references to academic publications and include warning notes where citations are missing; the site’s own guidelines for research make clear that it should be used as a starting point, emphasizing that users should always “read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says” (“Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia,” 2020). Indeed, for many students, Wikipedia is their first encounter with the concepts of citation and referencing. The use of Wikipedia therefore has a positive side that merits deeper consideration than it often receives.

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An expository essay provides a clear, focused explanation of a topic. It doesn’t require an original argument, just a balanced and well-organized view of the topic.

Expository essays test your familiarity with a topic and your ability to organize and convey information. They are commonly assigned at high school or in exam questions at college level.

The introduction of an expository essay states your topic and provides some general background, the body presents the details, and the conclusion summarizes the information presented.

A typical body paragraph from an expository essay about the invention of the printing press is shown below. Mouse over it to learn more.

The invention of the printing press in 1440 changed this situation dramatically. Johannes Gutenberg, who had worked as a goldsmith, used his knowledge of metals in the design of the press. He made his type from an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony, whose durability allowed for the reliable production of high-quality books. This new technology allowed texts to be reproduced and disseminated on a much larger scale than was previously possible. The Gutenberg Bible appeared in the 1450s, and a large number of printing presses sprang up across the continent in the following decades. Gutenberg’s invention rapidly transformed cultural production in Europe; among other things, it would lead to the Protestant Reformation.

A narrative essay is one that tells a story. This is usually a story about a personal experience you had, but it may also be an imaginative exploration of something you have not experienced.

Narrative essays test your ability to build up a narrative in an engaging, well-structured way. They are much more personal and creative than other kinds of academic writing . Writing a personal statement for an application requires the same skills as a narrative essay.

A narrative essay isn’t strictly divided into introduction, body, and conclusion, but it should still begin by setting up the narrative and finish by expressing the point of the story—what you learned from your experience, or why it made an impression on you.

Mouse over the example below, a short narrative essay responding to the prompt “Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself,” to explore its structure.

Since elementary school, I have always favored subjects like science and math over the humanities. My instinct was always to think of these subjects as more solid and serious than classes like English. If there was no right answer, I thought, why bother? But recently I had an experience that taught me my academic interests are more flexible than I had thought: I took my first philosophy class.

Before I entered the classroom, I was skeptical. I waited outside with the other students and wondered what exactly philosophy would involve—I really had no idea. I imagined something pretty abstract: long, stilted conversations pondering the meaning of life. But what I got was something quite different.

A young man in jeans, Mr. Jones—“but you can call me Rob”—was far from the white-haired, buttoned-up old man I had half-expected. And rather than pulling us into pedantic arguments about obscure philosophical points, Rob engaged us on our level. To talk free will, we looked at our own choices. To talk ethics, we looked at dilemmas we had faced ourselves. By the end of class, I’d discovered that questions with no right answer can turn out to be the most interesting ones.

The experience has taught me to look at things a little more “philosophically”—and not just because it was a philosophy class! I learned that if I let go of my preconceptions, I can actually get a lot out of subjects I was previously dismissive of. The class taught me—in more ways than one—to look at things with an open mind.

A descriptive essay provides a detailed sensory description of something. Like narrative essays, they allow you to be more creative than most academic writing, but they are more tightly focused than narrative essays. You might describe a specific place or object, rather than telling a whole story.

Descriptive essays test your ability to use language creatively, making striking word choices to convey a memorable picture of what you’re describing.

A descriptive essay can be quite loosely structured, though it should usually begin by introducing the object of your description and end by drawing an overall picture of it. The important thing is to use careful word choices and figurative language to create an original description of your object.

Mouse over the example below, a response to the prompt “Describe a place you love to spend time in,” to learn more about descriptive essays.

On Sunday afternoons I like to spend my time in the garden behind my house. The garden is narrow but long, a corridor of green extending from the back of the house, and I sit on a lawn chair at the far end to read and relax. I am in my small peaceful paradise: the shade of the tree, the feel of the grass on my feet, the gentle activity of the fish in the pond beside me.

My cat crosses the garden nimbly and leaps onto the fence to survey it from above. From his perch he can watch over his little kingdom and keep an eye on the neighbours. He does this until the barking of next door’s dog scares him from his post and he bolts for the cat flap to govern from the safety of the kitchen.

With that, I am left alone with the fish, whose whole world is the pond by my feet. The fish explore the pond every day as if for the first time, prodding and inspecting every stone. I sometimes feel the same about sitting here in the garden; I know the place better than anyone, but whenever I return I still feel compelled to pay attention to all its details and novelties—a new bird perched in the tree, the growth of the grass, and the movement of the insects it shelters…

Sitting out in the garden, I feel serene. I feel at home. And yet I always feel there is more to discover. The bounds of my garden may be small, but there is a whole world contained within it, and it is one I will never get tired of inhabiting.

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Though every essay type tests your writing skills, some essays also test your ability to read carefully and critically. In a textual analysis essay, you don’t just present information on a topic, but closely analyze a text to explain how it achieves certain effects.

Rhetorical analysis

A rhetorical analysis looks at a persuasive text (e.g. a speech, an essay, a political cartoon) in terms of the rhetorical devices it uses, and evaluates their effectiveness.

The goal is not to state whether you agree with the author’s argument but to look at how they have constructed it.

The introduction of a rhetorical analysis presents the text, some background information, and your thesis statement; the body comprises the analysis itself; and the conclusion wraps up your analysis of the text, emphasizing its relevance to broader concerns.

The example below is from a rhetorical analysis of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech . Mouse over it to learn more.

King’s speech is infused with prophetic language throughout. Even before the famous “dream” part of the speech, King’s language consistently strikes a prophetic tone. He refers to the Lincoln Memorial as a “hallowed spot” and speaks of rising “from the dark and desolate valley of segregation” to “make justice a reality for all of God’s children.” The assumption of this prophetic voice constitutes the text’s strongest ethical appeal; after linking himself with political figures like Lincoln and the Founding Fathers, King’s ethos adopts a distinctly religious tone, recalling Biblical prophets and preachers of change from across history. This adds significant force to his words; standing before an audience of hundreds of thousands, he states not just what the future should be, but what it will be: “The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.” This warning is almost apocalyptic in tone, though it concludes with the positive image of the “bright day of justice.” The power of King’s rhetoric thus stems not only from the pathos of his vision of a brighter future, but from the ethos of the prophetic voice he adopts in expressing this vision.

Literary analysis

A literary analysis essay presents a close reading of a work of literature—e.g. a poem or novel—to explore the choices made by the author and how they help to convey the text’s theme. It is not simply a book report or a review, but an in-depth interpretation of the text.

Literary analysis looks at things like setting, characters, themes, and figurative language. The goal is to closely analyze what the author conveys and how.

The introduction of a literary analysis essay presents the text and background, and provides your thesis statement; the body consists of close readings of the text with quotations and analysis in support of your argument; and the conclusion emphasizes what your approach tells us about the text.

Mouse over the example below, the introduction to a literary analysis essay on Frankenstein , to learn more.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, protagonist Victor Frankenstein is a stable representation of the callous ambition of modern science throughout the novel. This essay, however, argues that far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to portray Frankenstein in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as. This essay begins by exploring the positive portrayal of Frankenstein in the first volume, then moves on to the creature’s perception of him, and finally discusses the third volume’s narrative shift toward viewing Frankenstein as the creature views him.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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At high school and in composition classes at university, you’ll often be told to write a specific type of essay , but you might also just be given prompts.

Look for keywords in these prompts that suggest a certain approach: The word “explain” suggests you should write an expository essay , while the word “describe” implies a descriptive essay . An argumentative essay might be prompted with the word “assess” or “argue.”

The vast majority of essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Almost all academic writing involves building up an argument, though other types of essay might be assigned in composition classes.

Essays can present arguments about all kinds of different topics. For example:

  • In a literary analysis essay, you might make an argument for a specific interpretation of a text
  • In a history essay, you might present an argument for the importance of a particular event
  • In a politics essay, you might argue for the validity of a certain political theory

An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.

An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.

The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept.

Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays , and similar writing skills can apply to both.

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In a first, U.S. students will take the SAT entirely online (no pencils required)


Elissa Nadworny

The largest college entrance test in the US, the SAT, is going digital.

The SAT, a college admissions exam that for nearly a century was completed using paper and pencil, is now officially all-digital.

This week, students in the U.S. will begin taking the new SAT on their own devices — including a tablet or a laptop — or on school devices. The test is also one hour shorter (down from three hours), has shorter reading passages and uses digital tools, like a highlighter, a graphing calculator and a bookmark to go back to skipped questions.

The revamped test, which ditches the paper and pencil, aims to make cheating harder and grading easier.

Students will still take the exam at a test center or at a high school.

"Today's students, they do a lot of their living digitally, they do a lot of their learning digitally and they do a lot of their test taking digitally," says Priscilla Rodriguez, who oversees the SAT for the College Board, the organization behind the test.

Dartmouth will again require SAT, ACT scores. Other colleges won't necessarily follow

Dartmouth will again require SAT, ACT scores. Other colleges won't necessarily follow

She says in focus groups the College Board conducted, students said they felt more confident and more natural taking tests on a digital device. "They were kind of telling us in so many words, 'You're a little behind us at this point, actually. Can you please catch up?' "

A digital SAT isn't a big leap for many students

Throughout March and April, the College Board expects more than 1 million students to take the new digital SAT. Students can take the exam on Saturday test dates or during SAT School Days, where participating high schools offer the test to upperclassmen free of charge during the school day.

Stephany Perez, a high school junior from Houston, says the transition to online is "not that significant."

"We're so used to being on our laptops, like it's something we do on the regular, in every class."

SAT Discontinues Subject Tests And Optional Essay

SAT Discontinues Subject Tests And Optional Essay

Perez has been prepping for the online version in school, using test prep material from CollegeSpring, a nonprofit that partners with high school teachers.

She says she's still nervous and anxious for the test, because she feels a lot of pressure to do well. "It's a very important test," she says. "It dictates what's going to happen for your college life."

She's taking the test Tuesday morning at her high school using school laptops.

This isn't the first time the College Board has administered a digital exam. International students took a digital-only SAT in 2023, and a digital-only PSAT was given to younger U.S. high school students last fall.

Students will take the digital exam on Bluebook, an app that was built in-house by the College Board. Schools were given time ahead of testing dates to download the app onto their devices. Internet access is key to start the test, though Rodriquez says it requires very little bandwidth during the test and is designed to autosave locally, so students won't lose work or time if they lose their internet connection.

The SAT and ACT still hold power in admissions

All this comes as the relevance of the SAT and ACT, another college entrance exam, is being called into question in the college admissions process. More than 1,800 U.S. colleges are not requiring a test score for students applying to enroll in fall 2025, according to the National Center for Fair & Open Testing. But in recent weeks, some elite private colleges, including Brown University and Dartmouth College , have reinstated the test requirement, saying it provides helpful context for the admissions process.

Perez would be the first in her family to go to college in the U.S. She says, "I know a lot of schools say that they're test optional," but when she looked up colleges she was interested in, she found they still listed average SAT scores on their websites.

What to know about Florida's 'classic' alternative to the SAT

What to know about Florida's 'classic' alternative to the SAT

"So you do have to care," she says, "because [colleges] might still be looking at them, even if they say they're test optional."

Even with many schools trying to de-emphasize the exams, Rodriquez, of the College Board, says the SAT can still be an important piece of a larger admissions puzzle.

"[The SAT] can give any student a way to show what they've learned in a standardized way, and that's especially important when other parts of the college application, things like extracurricular activities and essays, are more easily influenced by parental wealth."

The SAT and ACT are also still deeply ingrained in the American high school experience. Many states require one of the exams to graduate, and several states have contracts with the College Board to offer the test during the school day for free to their students.

Before this new digital format, the SAT had already gone through several changes. In 2014, the College Board revealed it would drop its penalty for wrong answers, make the essay portion optional and remove the obscure vocabulary section. And in early 2021, the organization announced it would discontinue the optional essay component of the SAT, as well as the subject tests in U.S. history, languages and math, among other topics.

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