Essays Ielts Topics

IELTS Writing Questions

There IELTS writing questions are examples of essay questions given in the IELTS exam for Task 2.

The essay questions have been divided into common IELTS writing topics and many have model answers.

This way you can easily see and understand the kind of areas of knowledge you will need to know about in order to help you do well in the test.

Some of the IELTS writing questions could of course be in more than one topic area.




Animals


A growing number of people feel that animals should not be exploited by people and that they should have the same rights as humans, while others argue that humans must employ animals to satisfy their various needs, including uses for food and research.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Model Answer



Blood sports have become a hot topic for debate in recent years. As society develops it is increasingly seen as an uncivilized activity and cruel to the helpless animals that are killed. All blood sports should be banned.

Discuss the main arguments for this statement and give your own opinion.



Examine the arguments in favour of and against animal experiments, and come to a conclusion on this issue.

Model Answer


Culture and Traditions


Government investment in the arts, such as music and theatre, is a waste of money. Governments must invest this money in public services instead.

To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Model Answer



It is inevitable that as technology advances, traditional cultures will be lost. It seems that we cannot have these two things together.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?



There are many types of music in the world today. Why do we need music? Is the traditional music of a country more important and should it be preserved or is international music that is heard everywhere nowadays more useful to a society?



Many old buildings protected by law are part of a nation’s history. Some people think they should be knocked down and replaced by news ones.

How important is it to maintain old buildings?

Should history stand in the way of progress?

Model Answer


Education


Some people believe the aim of university education is to help graduates get better jobs. Others believe there are much wider benefits of university education for both individuals and society.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Model Answer



Education is not a luxury, but a basic human right and as such should be free for everyone irrespective of personal wealth.

Do you agree or disagree?



Some people think that children's free time must include educational activities otherwise they will waste their time.

What is your opinion?



Formal examinations are the only effective way to assess a student's performance. Continual assessment such as course work and projects is not a satisfactory way to do this.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?





Environment


Developed countries have created many environmental problems in the World, particularly in their contribution to global warming.

Why is global warming a problem?

What can be done to reduce the dangers of global warming?



In order to solve traffic problems, governments should tax private car owners heavily and use the money to improve public transportation.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of such a solution?

Model Answer



Global warming is one of the most serious issues that the world is facing today.

What are the causes of global warming and what measures can governments and individuals take to tackle the issue?

Model Answer



Logging of the rain forests is a serious problem and it may lead to the extinction of animal life and human life.

To what extent to you agree of disagree?



Overpopulation of urban areas has led to numerous problems.

Identify one or two serious ones and suggest ways that governments and individuals can tackle these problems.

Model Answer


Health, Fitness and Diet


Currently there is a trend towards the use of alternative forms of medicine. However, at best these methods are ineffective, and at worst they may be dangerous.

To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Model Answer



The percentage of overweight children in western society has increased by almost 20% in the last ten years.

Discuss the causes and effects of this disturbing trend.

Model Answer



Eating a balanced diet is the most important factor for a healthy life.

To what extent do you agree?



Do the dangers derived from the use of chemicals in food production and preservation outweigh the advantages?

Model Answer



Many of the medical problems that people are experiencing in today's world are due to the fact that we have a very sedentary lifestyle.

To what extent to you agree?



Stress is now a major problem in many countries around the world.

What are some of the factors in modern society that cause this stress, and how can we reduce it? 

Model Answer


Media


Some of the methods used in advertising are unethical and unacceptable in today’s society.

To what extent do you agree with this view?

Model Answer



Are famous people treated unfairly by the media? Should they be given more privacy, or is the price of their fame an invasion into their private lives?



These days, we are seeing an increasing amount of violence on television, and this is having a negative impact on children's behaviour.

Do you agree or disagree?


Families and Children


Nowadays, families are not as close as in the past and a lot of people have become used to this. 

Explain the reasons for this and discuss any possible effects it may have on society.



There is an increasing trend around the world to have a small family rather than a large family.

What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of having a small family rather than a large family? 


Crime and the Law


Smoking not only harms the smoker, but also those who are nearby. Therefore, smoking should be banned in public places.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Model Answer



Some people think that the best way to reduce crime is to give longer prison sentences. Others, however, believe there are better alternative ways of reducing crime.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Model Answer



Levels of youth crime are increasing rapidly in most cities around the world.

What are the reasons for this, and suggest some solutions.

Model Answer



Smokers have rights too, so they should be allowed to smoke in public places.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?




Technology


In the last 20 years there have been significant developments in the field of information technology (IT), for example the World Wide Web and communication by email. However, future developments in IT are likely to have more negative effects than positive.

To what extent do you agree with this view?

Model Answer



People use computers when they work or go banking, but some argue that it will make people isolated and decrease their social skills.

To what extent do you agree with this viewpoint?



Some people think that computers are more of a hindrance than a help in today's society. Others believe that they are such indispensable tools that they would not be able to live or work without them.

Discuss both opinions and give your opinion.



Nowadays many people have access to computers on a wide basis and a large number of children play computer games.

What are the negative and positive impacts of playing computer games and what can be done to minimize the bad effects?

Model Answer



Do you think that modern technology, such as the internet and computers will ever replace the book or the written word as the main source of information?


Science


Genetic engineering is an important issue in modern society. Some people think that it will improve people's lives in many ways. Others feel that it may be a threat to life on earth.

Discuss both opinions and give your opinion?



As people live longer and longer, the idea of cloning human beings in order to provide spare parts is becoming a reality. The idea horrifies most people, yet it is no longer mere science fiction.

To what extent do you agree with such a procedure?

Have you any reservations?

Model Answer




 

Most people doing IELTS Writing Task 2 get stressed out about which IELTS essay topics they will face. They worry about getting an unfamiliar topic and not having any good ideas or enough vocabulary to complete the task.

This article will help you by giving you the most common IELTS essay topics and showing you how to use these to get higher scores.

Why is it important to know the IELTS essay topics?

If you are familiar with the most common topics you will have a huge advantage because you will be better at two of the most important things:

  1. Thinking of relevant ideas
  2. Vocabulary

Idea Generation

Of all the things people worry about when doing Task 2, not having enough ideas to complete the essay is normally top of the list. However, you should remember that IELTS is not a test of your knowledge, it is a test of your English. The examiners do not expect you to be an expert on the essay topic, they just want you to show that you can write clearly and persuasively in English.

You should also realise that IELTS is a global exam and when the writers of the exam are making the questions, their main concern is writing questions that can be understood by nearly everyone in the world. For example, common IELTS essay topics are education, crime and health. Everyone in the world has an opinion on these everyday topics and you need to understand that the examiners are not looking for the ‘best’ ideas, they are just looking for relevant ideas.

Let’s look at an example question on the topic of international aid:

Rich countries should help poorer countries when they suffer natural disasters. Do you agree?

You don’t have to think of the ‘best’ ideas, you just have to think of two ideas that are relevant to this question. Reasons why rich countries should help are:

  • It is the morally correct thing to do.
  • They have legal obligations under international law.
  • Not helping will result in many deaths and suffering.
  • They have more than enough money to do this.
  • It is in their interests to do so for the peace and security of the world.
  • Some of their own people might be involved in the disaster.
  • Every rich country has a fund for disaster relief within their budget.
  • They might suffer a disaster one day too and need help from the international community.

You obviously do not need to think of this many ideas and some of the ideas are better than others, but the point I am trying to make is that there are lots of ‘relevant’ ideas you could think of.

Despite this, you will obviously be more confident and be able to think of ideas more quickly if you are familiar with the common topics. Below I will show you how you can use the common IELTS essay topics to learn about the general topics and improve your English at the same time.

Vocabulary

25% of your marks come from vocabulary and this is directly linked to IELTS essay topics. One of the main ways the examiner will judge your vocabulary is something called ‘topic specific vocabulary’. The idea is that someone with a wide ranging vocabulary should be able to talk about any of the common essay topics easily using words that are specific to that topic.

For example, if the question was the same as above, you would be expected to use words like ‘international aid’, ‘wealthy’, ‘developed’, ‘developing’, ‘earthquake’, ‘hurricane’, ‘relief fund’, ‘obligation’, ‘moral’ etc. These are words that you use specifically to talk about the essay topic. You don’t have to use these words, but they would help.

Therefore, the more familiar you are with the topic, the more topic specific vocabulary you will know and the higher your score will be. Knowing the most common IELTS essay topics allows you to focus on the most important vocabulary. Below I will show you the most common topics and some of the more important words you should know.

Are IELTS essay topics predictable?

Yes and no. You will obviously not be able to predict the exact topic that will come up. There are just too many to do this and it would be a very easy test if you knew what the exact topic was going to be.

However, there are between 10 common topics that come up more than others. You should focus on these first, especially if you don’t have much time before the test.

The most common IELTS essay topics are:

I think that technology, health, education and the environment are the most important topics and will feature regularly in the future.

For more information on the most common topics, please visit my most common topics page.

How can I use the most common topics?

There are two main ways you can use the most common IELTS essay topics to your advantage. The first is to familiarise yourself with them while practicing and improving your English and the second is to focus on topic specific vocabulary.

Common Topic Familiarisation

If you are going to do well in the IELTS test you need to be using and exposing yourself to English everyday. You should be reading, listening, writing and speaking in English as much as possible. You can therefore make sure that if you are listening to or reading something in English you do it within the common topics. For example, you could listen to a podcast on technology one day and then read a newspaper report about education or health the next day. Most of the questions are on current topics, therefore staying up to date with what is happening in the world will really help you think of ideas.

For example, three of the biggest news stories of 2015 were the refugee crisis, terrorism and internet privacy issues. These topics have, unsurprisingly, already appeared on the IELTS writing paper this year.

Please check out my 25 online language learning tools for lots of ways you can study within the common topics at home for free.

If you really want to get advanced, you could also try making up your own questions based on the news of the day and then give these questions to a study partner. This is something that I do with my classes. They go to a popular news site like the BBC and write a Task 2 question based on one of the stories they were reading about and then they give it to a classmate who does the essay for homework.

Vocabulary- Notebook

There are two things you can do here: start a vocabulary notebook and focus on key topic-specific vocabulary.

As mentioned above, you should be listening to and reading English as much as possible before your test. This will not only improve your listening and reading skills, but will, more importantly, expand your vocabulary.

When you are reading or listening you will always notice words that you don’t know. Most students simply look these up immediately in the dictionary and then forget about them. I think this is a total waste of time because the words do not stay in your head and you never use them again. A much better thing to do is to start a vocabulary notebook. This is the single most effective way to improve your vocabulary. Follow the steps below:

  1. Buy a notebook that you will only use for vocabulary.
  2. When you see or hear a new word try to guess the meaning from the context of the sentence or paragraph. This step is very important because it is an essential skill to develop and will help you remember the words.
  3. Check the meaning after you have guessed it in the dictionary.
  4. Note the new word and the definition in your vocabulary notebook.
  5. Note down some of the following things beside the new word:
    1. Synonyms
    2. Antonyms
    3. Pronunciation
    4. Word forms
    5. Sentences
    6. Pictures
    7. Examples
  6. Review the list of words and test yourself on these words after one week, two weeks, one month and two months. Soon you will have expanded your vocabulary dramatically.

You can also do this using apps like Memrise to record and review vocabulary.

Vocabulary- Topic Specific Words

As mentioned above, one of the ways in which the examiner judges your vocabulary is how many topic specific words you use. Learning these words before the exam for the most common essay topics should help you get a higher vocabulary score.

However, one of the worst things you could do is simply learn a list of words and insert them into your essay. This is not how good vocabulary works and the examiners are trained to spot this. Your focus should always be on accuracy i.e. using words correctly. Because of this I advise my students to use the 100% rule.

100% Rule

You should never use any word or phrase in IELTS essays if you are not 100% sure about it. By 100% I mean that you are sure about its:

  • Meaning
  • Collocations
  • Synonyms
  • Antonyms
  • Grammar

If you are not 100% sure about the things above, then do not use it. If you do, you will probably get it wrong and this will lower your band score.

Vocabulary for Four Most Common Topics

Below are some key words and phrases for the four most common IELTS Task 2 essay topics:

Word Circles

For all of the words above I have made word circles like the one below:

These will help you remember them and they are based on the 100% rule I mentioned above.

Click there link below to access all of them:

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