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Typical Ielts Essay 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




 

The post will give you the 10 most common IELTS Writing Task 2 topics.

IELTS Writing Topics

A question my students keep asking, again and again, is ‘What are the most common IELTS writing part 2 topics?’ They are worried that they won’t be familiar with the topic and will not have any relevant ideas. This is especially true for students from ‘developing’ countries, because most of the questions are ‘first world’ problems and issues. Let’s turn that disadvantage into an advantage.

To answer the question I have asked my students over the last few years to send me the topics on their exams.

A big thank you, to those students, who were kind enough to send me their questions.  I have built up a huge amount of questions and I think it is about time to analyse them.

Are the same Writing Task 2 topics repeated?

The answer is yes and no. There are a huge amount of topics that come up in writing task 2. At last count there were around 50 different topics (based on collecting data over the last few years) and if you would like all 50, please let me know, but I’m more concerned about the topics that come up again and again. If you have time to familiarise yourself with over 50 topics then please do, but I think must people have to be smart with their time and it therefore makes more sense to prioritise the most common topics.

I try to encourage my students to be efficient when it comes to learning. However, I don’t agree with the saying ‘Work smart, not hard’ as this implies you can do very little work and still achieve your goals. My motto is work hard and smart.

IELTS Essay Topics 2015

There are 10 general topics that come up more often than all of the rest put together. They are:

So what can I do with this information?

Now you know the common topics there are 3 things you can do:

1. Develop a vocabulary list for each topic

Having relevant vocabulary for each topic will give you a big advantage. Many students fail to provide relevant vocabulary and their band score suffers.

When looking at new vocabulary try to guess the meaning from context first and then look up the meaning to make sure your idea matches the actual meaning. Also, be sure to look at the word within a sentence to be aware of the way it relates to other words.

When recording vocabulary do it in a way that will help YOU remember it. Everyone learns in a different way and everyone learns vocabulary in a different way. Some people like to draw pictures beside the word, some people like to write synonyms or antonyms, others prefer to write a few sentences and some people like to use the phonemic chart to write the word that way. Whatever works for you, do it.

It is also very important to review words regularly. This is the most effective way to remember the words. So many people learn lots of words and a week later they can’t remember them. I would recommend reviewing them one day after learning them for the first time, then one week later and then finally one month later. After that they should be firmly stuck in your head for good.

I am developing a vocabulary list for each of the topics above which you can access here.

2. Practice reading and listening within these topics

To do well on your IELTS test you should practice at home. Even just 60 minutes per day can make a big difference. This will not only improve all four skills but familiarise you with the common topics at the same time. Why waste time listening or reading something, if it is about something that probably won’t come up on the test? Unless of course you are listening or reading for pleasure, in that case, be my guest.

If you are reading an English newspaper, look for articles on the common topics and highlight any good vocabulary.

If you like listening to the radio or podcasts, find ones on the common topics.

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

3. Study within the common topics

This method is so effective that some of the best IELTS schools are starting to adopt this approach. If you are going to study or practice anything then do it within the context of one of the common topics. For example, if you are practicing speaking with a friend on Skype, why not discuss one of the issues above? If you are practicing writing essays, find a question about one of the most popular or repeated IELTS topics.

This method allows you to practice both the skills and learn about these crucial topics.

They also come up quite a lot in the speaking test.

Can I just focus on these topics and get a high band score?

Obviously, there is much more to achieving a high score than just focusing on the repeated topics but this will allow you to study and prepare in a smarter and more efficient way, giving you a huge advantage.

However, I would like to add that it is also important to study things you have a passion for. If you are genuinely interested in a topic then it is much easier to study and you are less likely to quit. Please also make time to read, listen, talk and write about your passion. If you love football, read about your team everyday on www.goal.com. Love fashion?- find some fashionista blogs. Have a passion for photography?- why not blog about it? Have a passion for astrophysics? Listen to star talk radio.

Update- September 2015

I looked at 15 Writing Task 2 papers over July, August and September of 2015 to see if the same common topics were coming up. Here are the topics:

  1. Traditional Culture
  2. Government Spending
  3. Technology
  4. Technology
  5. Education
  6. Health
  7. Technology
  8. Traditional Culture
  9. Education
  10. Health
  11. International Aid
  12. The Environment
  13. Economics
  14. Education
  15. Health

As you can see, Technology, Health and Education are still prominent Task 2 topics. It was interesting to see Traditional Culture popping up twice in such a short period of time, but that doesn’t mean that it will definitely feature again soon.

I still think that Technology, Health, Education and the Environment are important topics and will feature regularly in the future. Reading within these topics will help you and you will also pick up other vocabulary just by reading about them.

The important thing is to read actively. When you see a word you don’t know, note it down and find out the meaning, collocation and synonyms. Soon you will have a notebook full of new words and you review them regualelry until they become part of your vocabulary.

Live Video

Here’s a live video I did on Facebook about this topic:

Next Steps

I would recommend looking at our IELTS task 2 page for lots more lessons, tips and sample task 2 answers.

Need help writing essays? Check out our ESSAY CORRECTION SERVICE.

The best way to keep up to date with our latest posts is to like our page on Facebook. There are also daily practice activities on our Facebook page.

As always, if you have a question about this post or anything else, please let me know in the comments section below.

For more help check out the IELTS Preparation Ultimate Guide.

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