Below are sample IELTS essay questions and topics reported by IELTS students in writing task 2. The 100 essay questions have been reworded and are organised under common topics which frequently come in IELTS writing task 2.
At the bottom of the page, I’ve put some essay questions for you to practice each type of essay: opinion, discussion etc. These are practice essay questions to prepare ideas, not for full exam practice.
IELTS often use the similar topics for their essays but change the essay question. In order to prepare well for writing task 2, you should prepare ideas for common topics and then practice applying them to the tasks given (to the essay questions). Also see model essays and tips for writing task 2.
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Common IELTS Essay Questions
IELTS practice essay questions divided by topic. These topics have been reported by IELTS students in their tests. Essay questions have been recreated as accurately as possible.
IELTS Essay Questions by Essay Type
There are 5 main types of essay questions in IELTS writing task 2 (opinion essays, discussion essay, advantage/disadvantage essays, solution essay and direct question essays). Click on the links below to see some sample essay questions for each type.
2018 IELTS Essay Questions
You can see recent essay questions reported by students in Jan 2018, here: Jan 2018 Essay Questions. For 2017, see these links: IELTS Essay Questions 2017. Essay questions for December 2017.
Recent Exam Questions
A page of recent questions in all sections of the IELTS test reported by students. Although the words in the essay questions can be changed, the issues and topics often remain the same.
Main IELTS Pages
Develop your IELTS skills with tips, model answers lessons, videos and more.
IELTS Writing Task 2: Question
Try this argument essay question about access to a university education. It’s very important that you write a balanced argument before giving your opinion.
It is sometimes argued that too many students go to university, while others claim that a university education should be a universal right.
Discuss both sides of the argument and give your own opinion.
IELTS Writing Task 2: Model Answer
In some advanced countries, it is not unusual for more than 50% of young adults to attend college or university. Critics, however, claim that many university courses are worthless and young people would be better off gaining skills in the workplace. In this essay, I will examine both sides of this argument and try to reach a conclusion.
There are several reasons why young people today believe they have the right to a university education. First, growing prosperity in many parts of the world has increased the number of families with money to invest in their children’s future. At the same time, falling birthrates mean that one- or two-child families have become common, increasing the level of investment in each child. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that young people are willing to let their families support them until the age of 21 or 22. Furthermore, millions of new jobs have been created in knowledge industries, and these jobs are typically open only to university graduates.
However, it often appears that graduates end up in occupations unrelated to their university studies. It is not uncommon for an English literature major to end up working in sales, or an engineering graduate to retrain as a teacher, for example. Some critics have suggested that young people are just delaying their entry into the workplace, rather than developing professional skills. A more serious problem is that the high cost of a university education will mean that many families are reluctant to have more than one child, exacerbating the falling birthrates in certain countries.
In conclusion, while it can be argued that too much emphasis is placed on a university education, my own opinion is that the university years are a crucial time for personal development. If people enter the workplace aged 18, their future options may be severely restricted. Attending university allows them time to learn more about themselves and make a more appropriate choice of career.
(320 words. IELTS 9.0)
Why does this Task 2 answer get an IELTS Band 9 score?
Task response: The model answer fully answers the question by stating several arguments both for and against the expansion of higher education. The candidate’s position is clearly expressed in the conclusion. The style is appropriate to academic writing and the answer is at least 250 words in length.
Coherence and cohesion: The model answer has an introduction and conclusion. Each body paragraph deals with a different side of the argument and begins with a clear topic sentence. Arguments are developed with logical connectives such as therefore and furthermore.
Lexical resource: There is a good range of vocabulary suited to an argument essay, including reporting verbs like claim and suggest, and hedging verbs like can and appear. There is native-like collocation throughout, including growing prosperity, enter the workplace and severely restricted.
Grammatical range and accuracy: The model answer uses a wide range of grammatical devices appropriate to academic writing. These include conditionals (If…), participle clauses (…, increasing the…), concessive clauses (while it can…) and passive constructions (…it can be argued that…). There are no grammatical errors.
This IELTS Writing Task 2 question asks you to discuss an argument. It’s easy to confuse this with an opinion essay, since opinion and argument have similar meanings. However, in an argument essay like this one, you must write about both sides of the argument before giving an opinion, which can be difficult in just 40 minutes. Since time management can be problem when writing an argument essay, plan to write two body paragraphs only, each dealing with a different point of view. Finally, when you give your own opinion in the conclusion, try to make it follow from the strongest side of the argument, not the weakest!
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