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Test date: 2018/07

Selection at universities

Discuss both views
Education and Learning

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task. Write about the following topic.

Many people say that universities should only offer places to young students with the highest marks, while others say they should accept people of all ages, even if they did not do well at school.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your knowledge or experience. Write at least 250 words.

Model Essay

In today’s society, where the acquisition of knowledge is the key to better career prospects, having access to tertiary education is a life-changing opportunity for many students. However, some claim universities should only accept young students with the highest grades, while others believe every student, regardless of age and academic ability, should be given equal educational opportunities. I will discuss both views and state my opinion in the following essay.

Firstly, high school students with higher grades are more deserved to attend university as their grades somewhat imply that they have superior academic skills compared to their peers, be it a better memory, logical thinking or time management skills. Therefore, such students are more likely to handle the immense workload and pressure at university. Moreover, offering university places to only a limited number of students would result in high-quality undergraduates. For example, most prestigious colleges in Vietnam, whose acceptance rates are low, only recruit
the highest scorers in the national university entrance exam to make sure that all of the universities resources are
available for students who have a higher chance of success.

As sensible and beneficial as it is, many people oppose the aforementioned idea since they believe that only accepting young academically-gifted individuals is unfair to older students or those who do not do well at school. Firstly, a student’s s age or performance at school does not always reflect their potential to succeed at university. Thus, it is unethical to deny access to tertiary education to some students, especially in a world where formal qualifications are of great importance in gaining employment. Also, there is more to college admissions than just academic performance. In fact, many well-known universities in America, like Harvard or Yale, not only accept academically gifted students but also those who are particularly gifted in sport or art. This helps to maintain a diverse community, where each student is valued and rewarded for what they are good at instead of just academic excellence.

In conclusion, although only accepting students with high marks is advantageous in some ways, I believe providing university places for all students is more just and beneficial in the long run.

(360 words)


• The acquisition of knowledge
• Life-changing (adj)
• To have access to tertiary education = To attend university
• Superior academic skills
• To handle the immense workload and pressure
• High-quality undergraduates (n)
• Prestigious = well-known (adj)
• Academically-gifted individuals
• To reflect their potential to succeed at university
Formal qualifications (n)
• To maintain a diverse community

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