Home IELTS Writing Writing Task 2 IELTS Writing Task 2: Learning Through Film or Written Documents (Real Exam/Test)

IELTS Writing Task 2: Learning Through Film or Written Documents (Real Exam/Test)

This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of whether it is better to read about the past through film or written documents.

IELTS Writing Task 2: Learning Through Film or Written Documents

It is better to learn the way people lived in the past through films and video records than written documents.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?
Sample answer:

Some believe that learning about the past is best done through written documents, while others feel video is a more accurate medium. In my opinion, recent films in particular can be useful but most information about the past is contained in documents.

Those who argue in favour of video recordings can point to their accuracy. Images transform every observation into a firsthand account. For example, there are documentaries and home videos starting in the 1960s that show how people lived. By watching these films, a social anthropologist can spot more than the surface content. They can see how people talked to each other in real life, what products they used, get a sense for the fashion and the way people spoke. In order to better understand their subject, historians would give anything for an opportunity to have similar film of the Ancient Greeks or Romans.

However, video is limited, especially in terms of its access to important persons and events of the past. It might reveal how everyday people behaved but the facts of what was going on behind the scenes is contained in firsthand notesmemos, letters, and official documents. A good example of this would be the exhaustive four volume biography of Lyndon Johnson written by Robert Caro. A famously meticulous writer, he has poured over thousands of documents ranging from private diaries and correspondences to the laws and orders issued at the time. Slowly, a good observor of the past is able to piece together disparate pieces of information into a narrative that approaches truth. There simply does not exist the same repository of video evidence from any period to yet allow for such a complete understanding of individuals or historic periods.

In conclusion, the value of film may increase in the future but documents still offer the greatest insights into the past. It is important to be mindful that all history is speculation but the best history sticks closely to the facts.


  • best done better approach
  • written documents books, notes, diaries, etc.
  • accurate medium best way
  • in particular especially
  • argue in favour of believe that
  • transform change into
  • observation watching
  • firsthand account live account in person, not secondhand
  • home videos films made at home
  • spot find/see
  • surface content what is immediately apparent
  • get a sense for have some understanding of
  • subject what they are studying
  • would give anything willing to sacrifice anything
  • opportunity chance
  • in terms of when it comes to
  • access can get to
  • reveal uncover
  • behind the scenes what is happening where people can’t see
  • firsthand notes what people wrote themselves
  • memos notes
  • official documents orders, receipts, reports, etc.
  • exhaustive comprehensive
  • volume book
  • famously meticulous writer well-known for doing good research
  • poured over read closely
  • ranging from including
  • private diaries journals
  • correspondences letters
  • orders demands
  • observor someone watching
  • piece together disparate pieces of information combine facts
  • narrative story
  • approaches truth gets close to being accurate
  • repository collection
  • complete understanding fully know about
  • historic periods times in the past
  • greatest insights biggest takeaways
  • mindful aware of
  • speculation guesses
  • sticks closely to the facts not speculate

From : howtodoielts.com

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