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  • Nick Kemp

Task 2 Essay: Studying Literature


Question: It is a waste of time for high school students to study literature (e.g. novels and poetry). To what extent do you agree or disagree?


Band 8+ Sample Answer:


(Intro) It is believed by some that the inclusion of literature, such as poetry and novels, in the high school curriculum is unnecessary. However, I disagree with this statement because it seems to me that this subject is of paramount importance for creating well-rounded and expressive individuals.


(Body 1) Opponents of the idea of teaching literature to high school students claim that in this modern world, it is better for students to pay more attention to science. These subjects may arm them with fundamental knowledge, which makes them become the driving force for their country’s development. However, I would say that this is a short-sighted view. In fact many of the world’s most famous scientists were also talented writers or artists, such as Leonardo DaVinci, Carl Jung or more recently British physicist Brian Cox. Therefore governments should aspire to create polymaths rather than those excelling in single subjects.


(Body 2) In addition to this, learning literature is also pivotal for the development of students’ mindsets. Firstly, they may become open-minded. To be more specific, by exposing themselves to different genres and works by notable authors from various backgrounds and cultures, students will learn to look at life from different perspectives and accept new outlooks. This plays a key role if they want to establish new relationships with people from all walks of life. What is more, the subject of literature in Vietnam also requires students to voice their opinions on current social affairs, such as environment, social corruption and moral degradation among young adults. Students may be taught how to express their thoughts and feelings in writing, which is a crucial skill for their future careers because many companies now prefer candidates with critical thinking and competent writing skills.


(Conclusion) In conclusion, while some people argue that it is pointless studying literature at high school, I contend that this subject is instrumental in helping students to be versatile, multi-talented as well as possessing an open minded but critical mindset. Given these arguments, this subject should be an essential component of any high school curriculum and considered as important as any other subject. (345 words)


Essay: Student essay by Lucas Nguyen, corrected & upgraded by Nick Kemp, former IELTS examiner.

Image: Silviarita / Pixabay.