General Essay Topics For Ielts Writing

Although you never know what your question for writing Task 2 on the IELTS exam is going to be, there are often certain topics that come up repeatedly when practicing sample questions. Here is a list of common writing Task 2 topics and some strategies to become familiar with them.

Education

Education is a topic that mostIELTScandidates can relate to and it is a common theme for the IELTS Writing Task 2. Questions can range from topics such as the classroom to the curriculum.

Examples:

Many feel that the common educational system of teachers and students in a classroom will be replaced by the year 2050.

Do you agree with this view? Give your opinion.

Education should be free to all people and should be paid for and managed by the government.

Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

Technology

Much of our world today is heavily influenced by technology and so many aspects of our lives are impacted by this topic. Various Task 2 questions have technology as the main idea.


Examples:

Nowadays, children watch a lot of TV and play video games. However, some think that these activities are not beneficial for a child’s mental health.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Modern technology now allows rapid and uncontrolled access to information in many countries. This is a danger to our societies.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Health

Health is another common topic on the IELTS writing Task 2 as healthcare is becoming more complex with people in many countries becoming more concerned with their health and having varying opinions on how to care for themselves.

Examples:

Doctors recommend that older people exercise regularly. However, many of them do not get enough exercise.

What are the reasons?

What can be done to encourage them to exercise more?

Health care costs are increasing and many governments are finding it difficult to balance their healthcare budget. Should citizens be totally responsible for their own health with private health insurance or should the government provide free healthcare for all?

Discuss your viewpoint on this issue.

Environment

The environment is a worldwide issue that affects everyone. For this reason, it is a common topic on writing Task 2.

Examples:

Some feel that it is impossible for a country to be economically progressive and environmentally friendly at the same time. Others disagree with this view.

Discuss both points of view and give your opinion.

Water pollution has become an increasing problem over the past few decades.

What causes water pollution?

How can we prevent this problem?

Government Spending

Government spending affects everyone within a country, so many citizens have strong opinions on how government funds are allocated. For writing Task 2, questions could discuss government spending on a wide range of topics.

Examples:

Governments should lower budgets for arts in order to allocate more money to education.

Do you agree with this view?

Some believe governments should spend more money on improving roads and highways, while some think money should be spent improving public transportation, such as buses, trains, and subways.

Discuss both points of view and give your opinion.

Sociology

People and the way they behave in different situations is the focus of many questions. This is why sociology is a common topic on the writing section of the IELTS exam.

Examples:

Many parents put a lot of pressure on their children to succeed.

To what extent do you agree?

Most societies are based on rules and laws. If individuals were free to do whatever they wanted, society could not function.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Now that you know some common topics, here are some strategies to feel comfortable writing about any of them:

Read the news

All of these topics are commonly found in the news, in various types of stories and articles. Reading the news is a good way to get a sense of each topic andthe vocabulary that is commonly associated with each of these topics.

Develop common vocabulary for each topic

Reading the news will allow you to see what words are common across these topics. Writing this vocabulary down and noting how to use it will help develop your writing skills. When you practice writing Task 2 essays, try to use this vocabulary in the correct form and in different questions.

Practice writing about these topics

Although this is not an inclusive list of topics, it's a good place to start. Look at common questions about these topics and practice writing them. This will allow you to get more comfortable with writing a Task 2 essay as well as using more advanced, topic-specific vocabulary.

Know these topics in different essay types

When you look at Task 2 questions, think about all essay types because you never know what kind of essay you are going to have to write on the IELTS test. If you read a topic about sports, think about your opinion, how you would discuss both views, what are the advantages and disadvantages of differing views, any problems or solutions associated with the topic, etc. Following this advice will help you understandhow you would answer any type of essay question and aid in your success with writing Task 2.

Every test-taker dreams of getting inside information on the most recent test questions. But what are the best, most current topics you can study this year?

Beware of false advertising

If you search the web for IELTS Essay Topics 2017 (or 2016), you’ll get a lot of results. What do these results have in common? None of them are from the official IELTS websites.

This is because the IELTS itself has a policy of not releasing its most recent exam materials. So where are all these supposedly brand-new IELTS essay topics coming from? And are these topics real?

Many websites claim to offer this year’s IELTS essay topics. However, such sites seldom provide any verification that the topics come from real recent tests. Currently, one of the top results for “IELTS Essay Topics 2017” boasts that it has a topic from an “actual test.” But when you click the link, there is no explanation as to how the website might have gotten a “real” essay question from an “actual” 2017 test.

You can possibly get brand new IELTS essay topics from people who have recently taken the test. But again, beware….

There is a somewhat more reliable source for IELTS essay topics from the current year: people who’ve actually taken the test. There are many forums on the Internet where people who’ve taken the IELTS are invited to share the essay topics from their exam.

There are also IELTS blogs and websites that invite their readers to post questions they saw when they sat the IELTS. However, Magoosh IELTS does NOT encourage its students to post comments with recent test content.

Why not? Two reasons.

Most importantly, if our students publicly share the contents of their exam, they may be putting their scores at risk. The IELTS has rules that forbid test takers from publicly sharing the content of their exams. If students break those rules, it could invalidate their score, or cause them other legal problems.

In addition, the memory of test-takers may not be reliable. Taking an exam is stressful, and students can’t be expected to perfectly recall the wording of their IELTS essay topics. Do yourself a favor and review key test taking strategies for the IELTS Writing Task 1 and IELTS Writing Task 2, so you’ll be prepared regardless of what the topic is!

The good news is you don’t need the most recent IELTS essay topics

This year’s IELTS essay topics? Forget about it!

You see, the nice thing about the IELTS is that changes to the test happen slowly. There have been no significant changes to IELTS essay topics in the last several years. So you can prepare for this year’s essay topics by studying older IELTS Essay questions. The older essay topics in the official IELTS prep books and the official IELTS websites are just fine.

About David Recine

David is a test prep expert at Magoosh. He has a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has been teaching K-12, University, and adult education classes since 2007 and has worked with students from every continent. Currently, David lives in a small town in the American Upper Midwest. When he’s not teaching or writing, David studies Korean, plays with his son, and takes road trips to Minneapolis to get a taste of city life. Follow David on Google+ and Twitter!

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