What are the best essay topics for IELTS? Looking at recent IELTS Writing Task 2 questions can help. In this post, I’ll show you real official IELTS Writing Task 2 topics that have been released in the past several years, and I’ll help you predict which new Task 2 topics you’ll see on test day!
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How to Be Well Prepared for any IELTS Essay Topic
Before we get into specific Task 2 topics that are found on the real IELTS exam, let’s look at some general “best practices.” These tips and tricks can help you get a winning score in IELTS Writing Task 2, no matter what the topic is!
- Learn the most basic info on Task 2: the format of the task, time limit, instructions, and so on. You can find these in our IELTS Writing Task 2 Basics post. (There’s so much more to this task than just the recent IELTS Writing Task 2 questions.)
- Mind your word count! This is the easiest way to avoid losing points. For more information, see our article on how many words to write on the IELTS and our guide to the IELTS Writing word count penalty.
- Look at model answers. The best essay topics for IELTS come with model responses. Sample high-scoring IELTS Writing Task 2 responses can help you see how to write top-scoring responses of your own. Magoosh’s guide to the most common IELTS Writing Task 2 question types includes links to practice questions with full Band 9 example responses.
- Don’t forget to brainstorm. As you write your own response, take a few minutes at the beginning to come up with ideas and plan your essay. Our post on brainstorming your Writing Task 2 response guides you through this important step! Learn it before you start to answer recent IELTS writing topics.
- Don’t just brainstorm, though. Also plan your Task 2 essays by using a template. For an example of this, try out Magoosh’s best IELTS Writing Task 2 template. This template is flexible, designed to work for any recent IELTS Writing Task 2 questions.
- Don’t stop at the essay template; plan your paragraphs too! Planning is especially important for body paragraphs. Here again, Magoosh has you covered, with our Task 2 body paragraph tutorial.
- Make sure you take a tone that sounds professional and academic, to match the kind of formal writing you’ll do at your future school or workplace once you pass the IELTS. This article on formal vs. informal language on the IELTS should help you use the right language.
- Know the rubric! The makers of the IELTS have an official score guide for IELTS Writing Task 2. Here on the blog, you can also read advice on how how to get an 8-9 rubric score for Writing Task 2 and benefit from a detailed explanation of the official IELTS Writing Task 2 rubric. In addition to that, I’ve also written up some special guides to each of the four IELTS Writing Task 2 rubric categories: Task Response, Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource, and Grammatical Range and Accuracy.
IELTS Essay Topics for 2021: How to Predict Them
How can we predict best essay topics for IELTS prep if you’re taking the exam in 2021? Well, IELTS topics often repeat themselves, and all-new IELTS topics are usually related to recent events, or recent topics of public debate around the world. So by looking at recent IELTS Writing Task 2 topics and looking at the news over the past year, it’s possible to put together a list of topics you could easily see on test day this year.
Below are my predictions for categories and topics, based on the news of the world, and based on an analysis of about 60 recent IELTS Writing topics. I found these latest IELTS essay topics on the official websites and in official IELTS books. The topics that may be new to this year have been highlighted in bold.
The 17 Best Essay Topics for IELTS, with Subtopics (2021)
- the effectiveness of advertising
- using real customer experiences in advertising
- the impact of online advertising
- learning English as a second language
- financial education
- online learning vs. traditional learning
- home schooling
- the best age for children to start school
- school safety measures
- longer vacations from school vs. shorter school breaks
- education preparing students for work vs. preparing them for university
- health classes for school
3. Diet and food
- the impact of being vegetarian
- taxing unhealthy foods
- the impact of organic food
- instant food vs. home cooked food
- locally grown foods vs. non-local foods
- high budget vs. low budget movies
- celebrity lifestyles
- popularity of different types of novels and movies
- online entertainment vs. traditional broadcasting
- how celebrities communicate with their fans
- habitat destruction
- endangered species
- the impact of climate change
- natural disasters
- the importance of recycling
- environmental conservation laws
- taking care of the elderly
- standards of health and quality of health
- increases in human life span
- the importance of doctors
- medical technology
- lack of sleep
- preventing the spread of contagious diseases
- the effectiveness of vaccines
- public health and safety laws
- medical assistance in the home vs. medical assistance at a hospital
- how to pay for healthcare for the poor
- housing shortages
- owning a home vs. renting one
- tiny homes
- affordable housing
- government control or subsidy of rent costs
8. Natural resources
- renewable fuels
- water as a limited resource
- clean energy
- importing and exporting natural resources
- mining and drilling vs. conservation
- children being raised in wealthy households vs. poor or middle class ones
- raising children to be confident vs. raising them to understand their limitations
- controlling screen time for children
- strict discipline vs. giving children a lot of freedom
10. Personal choices
- the best age to get married
- moving out of one’s hometown
- modern moral values versus older ones
- living with parents as an adult vs. living alone as an adult
- rise in global population
- population decline in some countries
12. Shopping and purchases
- shopping for fun vs. shopping out of necessity
- personal spending
- personal debt
- the importance of fashion
- large national stores vs. small local ones
- online shopping
- the decline of shopping malls
- watching sports vs. participating in sports
- competitive sports for children
- injuries in professional sports
- technology and privacy/surveillance
- reading in print vs. reading online
- paying via mobile app
- the trustworthiness of information found on the Web
- social impact of internet and social media
- multiplayer online video games
- future travel trends
- international tourism
- studying abroad
- domestic tourism
- travel health and safety
- government restrictions on travel
- car ownership and use
- alternatives to car transportation
- high speed rail
- bicycles and scooters for transportation
- driverless cars
- ride-share services
- the importance of training and certification
- retirement age
- staying at the same company vs. working for different companies
- the importance of job satisfaction vs. the importance of high pay
- commuting vs. telecommuting to work
- unemployment benefits
- sick days at work
Recent Official IELTS Writing Task 2 Topics (confirmed)
In addition to the general IELTS Writing Task 2 topics listed above, there are a number of confirmed, official IELTS Task 2 prompts. These recent IELTS Writing Task 2 questions originally come from real IELTS exams. They’re the very best essay topics for IELTS, because they’re so authentic. 14 official topics are listed below, with direct links to the questions associated with the topic!
For these IELTS Writing Task 2 recent topics, click the source link below to directly see the question and model answer. When noted, the model answer is at a separate link.
14 Common Essay Topics for IELTS Writing Task 2
- Lack of fresh water around the world: causes and solutions (Source: IELTS.org)
- What makes a movie good, the budget or other factors? (Source: IELTS.org)
- Are children raised in wealthy households less well-prepared for adulthood? (Source: IELTS.org; click here for a model response.)
- The advantages and disadvantages of international tourism (Source: IELTS.org; model response at this link.
- Should eldercare be paid for by families or by the government? (Source: IELTS.org; click this link for sample answers.)
- Why is shopping a popular pastime, and what is the impact of this popularity? (Source: IELTS.org; model answer found in this document.)
- Will average health standards be lower in the future? (Source: IELTS.org; click here for a model essay)
- Do we only judge people by their social status and class, or are traditional moral judgements still common? (Source: British Council)
- The reason there are so many well-qualified, well-educated job applicants who are out of work. (Source: British Council)
- Is it better to homeschool children or send them to a school outside the home? (Source: British Council)
- Should people in certain professions be able to retire before they’re 65? (Source: British Council)
- Are celebrities too wealthy to care about others? (source: Cambridge English Resources; no model answer)
- Should schools teach children about the value of money? (Source: Cambridge English Resources; no model answer.)
- Moving away from one’s hometown: advantages and disadvantages (Source: IELTS IDP; click here for sample response.)
Past IELTS Topics: Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a number of common questions about past IELTS questions that I hear from students, along with my answers!
What are the topics in IELTS writing?
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The topics in IELTS Writing fall into quite a few different categories. Questions can be related to education, technology, family, friends, society, the environment and more. Most importantly, though, the topics are fairly simple; you don’t need to be a trained expert in a topic in order to give a good answer.
Are IELTS Writing topics repeated?
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Yes! As seen in the list of 2021 IELTS essay topics above, there are many recurring topics for the second IELTS Writing task.
Do IELTS essays repeat?
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IELTS Task 2 essay topics often repeat, but it’s far less common to see the exact same question repeat on two different real IELTS tests. With that said, sometimes two questions on the same topic are so similar that you could say that the question itself is repeating.
Can IELTS papers be leaked?
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There are many websites and student forums where test takers repeat IELTS questions they saw on the test, to the best of their memory. But this is obviously not the most reliable source for past IELTS essay questions (and students who publicly disclose IELTS questions risk having their IELTS scores cancelled!). Instead, I’d recommend turning to official IELTS books and resources for real test questions that the makers of the IELTS release themselves.
Additional Resources for the Best Essay Topics for IELTS
Past IELTS questions are valuable, but they’re just one part of your preparation for IELTS Writing Task 2. Be sure to check out our complete guide to IELTS Writing Task 2 for the “big picture” on how to prepare for this part of the Writing section. And for more sample questions, check out our IELTS Writing Task 2 question types post. And for Task 1 tips and tricks, check out our IELTS Writing Task 1 guide!
If you want more structured IELTS prep, consider a subscription to Magoosh IELTS as your next step. (You can start by trying a free trial to IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training if you like!)