When it comes to IELTS preparation, one of the best pieces of advice is “learn vocabulary and ideas related to common IELTS topics.” Those topics tend to be things that everyone could talk about and one of them is globalisation.
Today, I want to talk about globalisation and IELTS, providing you with some vocabulary and grammar tips, as well as sample questions and answers.
What is Globalisation?
Before we begin, it’s worth establishing what exactly we mean by “globalisation.” (Note that this is the British spelling. Americans call it “globalization.”)
Globalisation is defined on Wikipedia as:
the process of interaction and integration among people, companies, and governments worldwide.
I think that’s a pretty good definition.
Some people might focus on the financial aspects, such as trade between nations and an increasing number of commodities being sold, whilst others would think more of cultural factors, such as the spread of Hollywood and American music. However, these are both integral parts of globalisation.
IELTS Ideas and Globalisation
I mentioned above that there are both financial and cultural aspects to consider when it comes to globalisation. Indeed, it is a big topic and so both of these could definitely be discussed.
Keep in mind that IELTS is supposed to be an exam for normal people, so you don’t need to be an economist to answer these questions. Some ideas that might appear in the IELTS exam are:
- how globalisation damages certain cultures
- the benefits of globalisation
- what globalisation means for languages
- how globalisation has impacted immigration
There are many more ideas to consider. I strongly recommend that you do a Google search for “globalisation” and then look at some reputable websites to find some interesting ideas. This is useful for any IELTS topic. It’s a good way to pick up ideas and examples that you can use in your IELTS essays, as well as vocabulary.
The best way to learn globalisation vocabulary is to read articles and listen to podcasts on this topic and take notes. However, I’ll list some words and phrases below that might be helpful for you. I will break these into three areas:
- the “global” part of “globalisation”
- financial considerations
- cultural aspects
Words and phrases for describing a connected world:
- a wide array
Now, let’s look at some financial terms:
- trade partners
- supply chain
- purchasing power
Finally, we’ll see some words and phrases that could be used when talking about the cultural implications of globalisation:
- soft power
- cultural exports
Of course, all of this depends entirely upon the specific question and your ideas. You should learn vocabulary according to what you think about globalisation. By using these words accurately, you will have a better chance of a good Lexical Resource score.
You can see even more vocabulary below, after I give my answer to a sample question.
I’ll just take a moment to point out that grammar is also important. In fact, it’s always important in an English test!
When it comes to globalisation, you will have to use grammar to be clear on when something happened.
- Did it happen in the past and is finished now? You’ll probably need the past simple tense.
- Is it a general statement of fact? Then you need the present simple tense.
- Did it begin in the past and continues now? In that case, you’ll need the present perfect tense.
Always think carefully and pick your verb tenses according to the situation. You can learn more about grammar with this book.
What parts of the IELTS exam deal with globalisation?
The topic of globalisation could arise in any part of the IELTS exam, but it’s most likely in the reading and writing tests. It might be a little complicated for listening, although it certainly could pop up towards the end. As for speaking, it’s most likely to appear in part three, when the questions become more challenging.
Realistically, you might encounter a reading task about globalisation. This is because it’s a big topic that contains challenging ideas, and so it’s likely to be the subject of a magazine or newspaper article. (In fact, here’s a practice IELTS reading task about globalisation.)
We frequently see writing questions about this as well. Of course, that would occur in task two of the writing test. We’ll see some example questions below.
In short, globalisation could appear in any part of the exam but it’s most likely to show up in the reading and writing tests.
Sample Writing Question about Globalisation
Here’s a sample question:
Globalisation has had a profound impact on various aspects of our lives, including the economy, culture, and environment. Some people believe that it has brought numerous benefits, while others argue that it has caused more harm than good.
Discuss both views and give your opinion.
This is a “discuss both views” question, so you must talk about both sides of the issue. You must not forget to give your opinion as well. Essentially, the ideas are:
- Globalisation has been beneficial
- Globalisation has been damaging
This is a fairly general question, so it would help if you had done reading on this topic as I suggested above.
Sample Band 9 Answer
Over the past half century, globalisation has increased at an astounding rate, impacting many areas of life in most of the world’s countries. Some people think that this has been largely positive but others take the opposite view. This essay will look at both points and say that it is hard to decide because both the positives and negatives are significant.
To begin with, globalisation has undoubtedly had some hugely positive impacts on the world. By bringing people together and tying economies into a global network, the likelihood of war has diminished significantly. Although wars still occur, they are far less common and tend to be more limited in scope. Likewise, it has become easier for people to co-operate, allowing for more immigration, more scientific advancements, less poverty, and the proliferation of human rights. Globalisation could be said to have drastically improved the lives of billions of people through the provision of better food, technology, and education.
On the other hand, there are clearly drawbacks and these are also numerous. First of all, globalisation could be said to favour certain countries, such as the Western nations whose values are spread throughout the world. It is not only that Western culture and language spreads, but of course this naturally favours Western corporations and governments, arguably giving them more power. In addition to all that, economic progress in less developed countries tends to come at the cost of their cultures. As they adopt Western values, they often lose aspects of their own culture, such as their values and even their language. An example is that many countries stop producing traditional music and theatre and instead attempt to copy Western musical and film styles. This makes the world less diverse and perhaps even more materialistic.
In conclusion, globalisation has major benefits but also drawbacks. It is hard to say that one outweighs the other because they are both quite significant and this would really just be a matter of opinion, with different people placing importance on different matters.
Notes on the Answer
There were some good ideas and vocabulary here.
Positives of globalisation:
- the likelihood of war has diminished significantly
- limited in scope
- scientific advancements
- less poverty
- proliferation of human rights
- drastically improved the lives of billions of people
- the provision of better food, technology, and education
Negatives of globalisation:
- favour certain countries
- favours Western corporations and governments
- at the cost of their cultures
- lose aspects of their own culture
- less diverse
- more materialistic
Those are useful ideas and phrases, but of course you should try to think of your own ones.