Recent IELTS Writing Task 2 Questions

Books in chest to show recent IELTS writing task 2 questions

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!


 

Table of Contents

Click on a section in the table of contents to skip directly to that topic, or continue reading below to start learning all about IELTS Writing Task 2 topics.


 

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!

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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.

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The 17 Best Essay Topics for IELTS, with Subtopics (2021)

1. Advertising

  • the effectiveness of advertising
  • using real customer experiences in advertising
  • the impact of online advertising

2. Education

  • 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

4. Entertainment

  • 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

5. Environment

  • habitat destruction
  • endangered species
  • the impact of climate change
  • natural disasters
  • the importance of recycling
  • environmental conservation laws

6. Health

  • 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

7. Housing

  • 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

9. Parenting

  • 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

11. Population

  • 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

13. Sports

  • watching sports vs. participating in sports
  • competitive sports for children
  • injuries in professional sports

14. Technology

  • 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

15. Travel

  • future travel trends
  • international tourism
  • studying abroad
  • domestic tourism
  • travel health and safety
  • government restrictions on travel

16. Transportation

  • car ownership and use
  • alternatives to car transportation
  • high speed rail
  • bicycles and scooters for transportation
  • driverless cars
  • ride-share services

17. Work

  • 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

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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

  1. Lack of fresh water around the world: causes and solutions (Source: IELTS.org)
  2. What makes a movie good, the budget or other factors? (Source: IELTS.org)
  3. Are children raised in wealthy households less well-prepared for adulthood? (Source: IELTS.org; click here for a model response.)
  4. The advantages and disadvantages of international tourism (Source: IELTS.org; model response at this link.
  5. Should eldercare be paid for by families or by the government? (Source: IELTS.org; click this link for sample answers.)
  6. Why is shopping a popular pastime, and what is the impact of this popularity? (Source: IELTS.org; model answer found in this document.)
  7. Will average health standards be lower in the future? (Source: IELTS.org; click here for a model essay)
  8. Do we only judge people by their social status and class, or are traditional moral judgements still common? (Source: British Council)
  9. The reason there are so many well-qualified, well-educated job applicants who are out of work. (Source: British Council)
  10. Is it better to homeschool children or send them to a school outside the home? (Source: British Council)
  11. Should people in certain professions be able to retire before they’re 65? (Source: British Council)
  12. Are celebrities too wealthy to care about others? (source: Cambridge English Resources; no model answer)
  13. Should schools teach children about the value of money? (Source: Cambridge English Resources; no model answer.)
  14. Moving away from one’s hometown: advantages and disadvantages (Source: IELTS IDP; click here for sample response.)

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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.

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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!)

By the way, improve your IELTS score with Magoosh!

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  • David Recine

    David is a Test Prep Expert for Magoosh TOEFL and IELTS. Additionally, he's helped students with TOEIC, PET, FCE, BULATS, Eiken, SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. David has a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. His work at Magoosh has been cited in many scholarly articles, his Master's Thesis is featured on the Reading with Pictures website, and he's presented at the WITESOL (link to PDF) and NAFSA conferences. David has taught K-12 ESL in South Korea as well as undergraduate English and MBA-level business English at American universities. He has also trained English teachers in America, Italy, and Peru. Come join David and the Magoosh team on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram, or connect with him via LinkedIn!