New IELTS Speaking Topic February 2017: Riots

Riot: New IELTS Speaking Topic Feb 2017

The topic of Riots is a new IELTS speaking topic for February 2017. It appeared this month in IELTS speaking part 2 and part 3. Below are sample questions and ideas for the topic.

I’ll upload a pdf file to download later this week with the vocab and tips below.

Meaning: Riot & Demonstration

Lets look at the meaning of “riot” and “demonstration”.  Below you can see two pictures, one of a riot and one of a demonstration.

Riot:a violent disturbance by a crowd of people (in public areas), sometimes a violent protest

ielts riot topic 2017

Demonstration or street protest: an action by a mass or group of people in favour of or against something. This is often in the form of a peaceful march (a walk) with signs and messages.

deomonstration vocab ielts

Connection between demonstrations and riots

As you can see there are similarities, they both involve a group of people gathering in public. A demonstration might start peacefully but as strong emotions rise and people become angry, it may turn violent and become a riot.

Most people go to demonstrations because they want to share their message to the world and have peaceful intentions. However, some people go there because they want to start violence and their intention is not related to a message but an opportunity to start trouble. So, people’s intentions and aims are deeply involved in the difference between riots and demonstrations.

Reasons for riots

  1. people are provoked by police and turn angry
  2. society has broken down and rules no longer count
  3. an opportunity for violent people to enjoy themselves and cause trouble
  4. poverty and unemployment which creates desperation and anger towards the government and state
  5. government brutality towards a person or a group of people causing anger and violent protests
  6. once there is a trigger and anger turns violent, it starts building and grows in violence becoming a riot
  7. sometimes violent people see this as a chance to be violent because their identity is hidden in a group

Recent Riots and Demonstrations Worldwide:

France Riot: Violent protests over alleged police brutality that began in the mainly immigrant suburbs earlier this month spread to central Paris and other cities on Wednesday night (15th February 2017) and 49 people were arrested. Link: A newspaper article with video about this riot:

Greece: A protest which turned violent due to austerity measures in Greece, Dec 2015. Link: A newspaper article:

USA: Protests and demonstrations caused by Trump’s inauguration as President. Link: World Wide Protests: Riots in America:

Sri Lanka: The information below was written by a student called Thoshanka, who posted it on my Recent IELTS Exams Questions page. Thanks, Thoshanka.

Sri Lanka

I would like to share the following on riots if it may help anyone for their speaking test. I’m from Sri Lanka. My country accounts for a tale of woe in riots in 1983. In brief, the dominating ethnic group in the country Singhalese started attacking the minority of Tamils in the country based on the reason where an ambush by the LTTE (Tamil militant group) killed a number of Army soldiers. 

The violence in the country created such horrific consequences on people they burnt people’s houses and it was called “race riots”. People encountered great inconveniences due to the curfew that was imposed every now and then. It was an era of darkness until the Govt intervened and took necessary measures to control the situation.

Vocabulary and Collocations for Riots and Demonstrations Topic:

tear gas = gas that irritates the eyes and is sometimes used by police in riot control

police brutality = violence by the police

the protest drew people = the protest attracted people

normal life skidded to a halt = normal life stopped abruptly

molotov cocktails = a bottle which contains liquid that is flammable and acts like a fire bomb

looting = stealing goods from shops and houses during a riot or war

clash (between police and protesters) = violent confrontation

placards = signs which are carried and contain a message

outbreaks of violence = sudden occurrence of violence

participate in a demonstration = take part in …

This topic is very difficult to deal with in IELTS speaking so you definitely need to prepare for it. Hopefully the above comments will help you in part 2 and 3. Below are typical questions with some suggestions for ideas.

Riots: IELTS Speaking Part 2 Topic 2017

Riot: IELTS Cue Card February 2017

A time when you heard about riots in another country

  • what did you hear
  • when did you hear it
  • how did it make you feel to hear about it
  • what suggestions can you make for reducing riots

what you can talk about in your talk:

  1. talk about the news program when you heard about it or a person who told you about it
  2. talk about what happened in the riot
  3. when you heard it, where you were, who was with you
  4. talk about how you felt (confused, angry, frightened) and why you felt that
  5. talk about if you agree with riots or think they are wrong
  6. talk about why demonstrations are better as a way to deal with social problems and problems of justice
  7. talk about common attitudes in your country toward violence
  8. talk about how social problems or justice problems can be solved to reduce riots
    1. increase employment
    2. increase benefits
    3. investigate injustice
    4. control and monitor known violent people who participate in riots and encourage others to violence
    5. better police training to deal with riots and violence
    6. harsher punishment for those who participate in violence

You can add any information you want to your talk. Although there are only about 4 prompts, my suggestions create 8. Always expand your talk.

What happens if you can’t remember any riots in speaking part 2?

You can choose to talk about something close to the topic but explain that at the start of your talk “I haven’t been following news and don’t know about riots, so I’m going to tell you about a problem which happened recently in my country…” You won’t lose marks for doing this!!

Riots 2017: IELTS Speaking Part 3 Questions & Sample Answers

What are the advantages and disadvantages of riots?

There are few advantages but one is that sometimes social or injustice problems are solved quicker and more attention is brought to the issues. On the whole, riots are wrong and this is because they disrupt social order, cause damage to property, can result in deaths or serious injury. Also there are economic drawbacks, such as businesses having to close and lose business or tourists deciding not to go to that country.

Notice: If you think there are no advantages, just say that. The examiner is looking for you to take control of the question and express your views clearly – that will give you a high score.

How do riots affect society?

Riots have a really negative impact on society. People feel that rules are breaking down which means they feel threatened and feel less confidence in their police or government. Another problem is that riots can increase prejudice against groups of people which in turn can make people feel unsafe and sometimes lead to more violence.

IELTS Tips and Model Answers

You can find more useful IELTS tips and model answers on the main pages of my website:

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Update on IELTS Liz for Feb 2017

Hi guys,

I just wanted to let you know a few things:

  1. IELTS Writing Answer Sheet: A student informed me that the writing answer sheet she got in Russia this month was different. It had 16 lines on the first page. IELTS do not always release the latest answer sheets. So, just be prepared for a different one.
    1. You don’t have time to count your words in the writing test, but you do have time to count the lines. So, count your lines and then multiple it by the number of words on one line. This will give you a fast and clear estimate of word count. Remember aim for about 160-180 words in task 1 and 260 -280 words in task 2.
  2. Using Capital Letters: I have up-dated information for 2017. You can use capital letters or lower case in listening and reading – you decide which to use. You can even mix them up. It won’t affect your score. I’ve up-dated my video with a message and also the list of tips as well: 25 Essential Tips for IELTS Listening. See below for example answers:
    1. Mr brown = correct
    2. mr brown = correct
    3. MR BRoWn = correct
  3. Up-Date Recent Exams Questions Page: I’ve put the Recent IELTS Exam Questions comments into pages. This means that the page shows the first 165 comments. If you want to see exam questions from a few months before, you need to do to the end of the page and press the “Older Comments” link – it’s in red and not easy to see, unfortunately. I am hoping the page will load quicker by having less comments visible and also it’s easier to find the comments box. There were around 3,000 comments on that page before!!
  4. Finding Band Score Information: Some students are still not clear on band scores. Please see this page to learn about them:
  5. Using IELTS and Finding the Right Page: There are still students who can’t find the main pages of this website. There are over 300 pages of free tips and practice for IELTS and you can find them all through the main pages. The links to the main pages are below:

Main Pages for IELTS Tips, model answers and free practice:

That’s all for now 🙂

Good luck to anyone taking their test this month!! Always follow the recent topics in speaking and writing because they can be repeated: IELTS Writing Task 2, Jan 2017 and IELTS Speaking Jan 2017.

All the best


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Model Essay February 2017 IELTS Writing Task 2 & Tips

The model essay from February 2017 was reported by IELTS students appearing in their IELTS writing task 2 test this month. It is an opinion essay, otherwise known as an agree/disagree essay or an argumentative essay. Following current topics used in 2017 is essential for success in IELTS.

Also please see that I’ve put some useful links for you at the bottom of the page to help you with your IELTS writing task 2 essay.

IELTS Essay Question February 11th, 2017 (Academic)

It is better for the students to live away from the home during their university studies rather than staying with their parents. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

IELTS Model Essay Feb 2017

While some people think that students ought to live alone whilst studying at university, it is believed by others that it is better for them to remain living at home. In my opinion, I think students benefit from living alone unless their finances prevent it.

Firstly, one of the main reasons why it is advantageous for students to live alone is that they become totally independent of their parents and able to think for themselves. University is a time for students to spread their wings and try new ideas or ways of thinking and learn to cope with making life changing decisions. By living alone, without the influence of their parents, they develop rounder, decisive characters able to function well in the world.

Another advantage to students fleeing the parental nest is that they learn to manage money. Most students see university as a stepping stone to adulthood and so by learning to live on a budget, they develop the skills needed once they are earning a salary and balancing their finances. Renting property also comes with responsibilities to both landlords and housemates, and this is a further lesson to learn in useful life skills.

Finally, however, regardless of how beneficial living alone might be for university students, it might be financially impractical for some. For a small proportion of university students, their finances might require them to stay at home for as long as possible until they are finally able to support themselves through paid work.

In conclusion, while it might not be feasible for all students, living away from parents helps university students develop strength of character and useful life skills needed for when they enter working life.

How to Write Your IELTS Essay:

  1. Spend time anaylising the essay question and brainstorming. Choose your position (your point of view) and select the best ideas. See this page about how to plan your essay properly: IELTS Essay Planning Tips
  2. aim to have either 4 or 5 paragraphs in total. See this page: How many paragraphs in an IELTS essay. Your essay MUST be over 250 words. There is no upper word count. See this page: How long should your IELTS essay be?
  3. Use a range of linking words in your essay. The examiner will mark them and it will affect your score if you spelling them wrong or if you don’t know a good range. See this page: IELTS Linking Words
  4. Before your test, prepare ideas for trending topics in IELTS this year. See this page: IELTS Essay Questions 2017. This page gives a list of essay questions used so far in 2017.
  5. The essay above is an Opinion Essay which means you need to give your opinion. See this page about how you express your opinion correctly: How to Give your Opinion in Writing Task 2
  6. If you are taking the GT test, see this page about writing differences: GT Writing Test Differences
  7. If you can’t hit the score you want in IELTS writing, GET TRAINING from an expert. Purchase my advanced lessons below to help you

Advanced IELTS Writing Task 2 Lessons

Click the following link to get my Advanced Writing Task 2 Lessons for a high score target: IELTS Liz Writing Task 2 Lessons

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2017 Questions Available for Download

Hi guys,

You can now download the 2017 questions for writing task 2 as a pdf file. Please don’t forget that these essays questions have been reported by students and are written as accurate as they can remember. Make sure you prepare ideas for all topics. Questions might change but topics can be repeated.

Follow this link and you will find the download at the bottom of the page: IELTS Writing Task 2 Qs 2017

Good luck to you all !!


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2017 IELTS Writing Task 2 Questions

Here are a list of IELTS writing task 2 questions for 2017 so far this year. The questions have been reported in the IELTS writing task 2 test by students. If your test is in February, prepare ideas for these topics as topics can be repeated but the questions will be changed.

You can download a pdf copy of the essay questions at the bottom of this page. Read the essay questions carefully before downloading.

At the bottom of the page, you will find links for:

  • All Recent IELTS Topics for 2017
  • IELTS Speaking Questions for Jan 2017
  • Model Essays & Tips for Writing task 2

IELTS Writing Task 2 Questions 2017

The questions below are divided into different essay types for IELTS writing task 2. All essay questions are from this year unless stated otherwise.

Opinion Essay 2017

Schools are spending more time teaching traditional subjects such as history. Some people think they should rather spend more time in teaching skills that can help students find a job. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

It is necessary for parents to attend parenting training course to bring their children up. Do you agree or disagree?

Some people say International sports events help in world peace. Do you agree or disagree?

Young people spend their free time in shopping malls. This has negative effects on young people and society. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Discussion Essay Questions 2017

Some people say it is OK to use animals for our benefit, others say it is not good to exploit them. Discuss both points of view and give your opinion.

Some people think Governments should take measures regarding the healthy lifestyle of individuals. Others think it must be managed by individuals. Discuss both sides and give your opinion.

Most countries allow 18 year olds to start driving a car. Some say it is good to allow it at this age, while others think that the age to start driving should be at least 25. Discuss both the views and give your opinion.

Some people think that the best way to reduce crimes is to apply longer prison sentences, other people think that there are better methods of doing so. Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Advantages and Disadvantages Essay Questions 2017

Today, more and more students are deciding to move to a different country for higher studies. Do you think that the benefits of this outweigh the problems?

Consumer goods have become the most important part of people’s lives. Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?

Many people go abroad for higher studies.Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?

In some countries, a foreign language is taught at primary schools. Do the advantages of learning a new language outweigh the disadvantages?

The advantages provided by English as a ‘global language’ will continue to outweigh the disadvantages. To what extent do you agree with the statement?

Direct Questions 2017

100 years ago people thought that the human race was steadily making progress in all areas of life. Nowadays, there is less certainty that it is so. In what areas do you think the most important progress has been made so far? In what areas are more things needed to be done?

In some schools and universities, girls tend to choose arts subjects (e.g. literature), and boys tend to choose science subjects (e.g. physics). Why do you think this is so? Should this tendency be changed?

Some universities offers online courses for students. Do you think this is a positive or negative development for students?

Children in some parts of the world have less responsibility compared to children in the past. Some people think this as a positive change, however others think of it as as negative change. What do you think? (from Dec 2016)

Cause / Problem / Solution Essays 2017

The gap between rich and poor is growing. What problems does this create? What can be done to tackle them?

More and more people prefer to read ebooks rather than paper books. What are the reasons for this? What problems can this cause for libraries?

IELTS Essay Questions by Topic

See my 100 IELTS Writing Task 2 Essay Questions divided into common topics – essential preparation!!!

Download of the above essay questionsIELTS Writing Task 2 Questions 2017

More Useful IELTS Links for 2017

IELTS Speaking Topics 2017

Click on the following link to see Recent Topics in IELTS Speaking 2017

Common Part 1 Topics 

Common Part 2 Topics

Follow All Recent IELTS Topics for LRW & S

Click on the following link to see All Recent IELTS Questions in 2017 reported by IELTS students

Model Essays and Tips for Writing Task 2

Click on the following link to see Model Essays, Tips and Free Video Lessons for IELTS Writing Task 2


See below for IELTS tips in all sections of the IELTS test.

Main IELTS Pages

Develop your IELTS skills with tips, lessons, free videos and more. Click below to learn about IELTS:

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kids or children/ teens or teenagers? Which is best to use in IELTS?

Should you use formal or informal vocabulary in your IELTS writing and speaking?

For example, in IELTS writing task 2 and speaking, should you use…

  • kids or children
  • teens or teenagers?

IELTS Writing Task 2

You should always use formal vocabulary in your IELTS essay. This means you can’t use “kids” or “teens”, you must use “children” or “teenagers”. If you use informal vocabulary, you will be marked down.

IELTS Speaking

Your IELTS speaking test is informal. All parts are informal. Part 1 is based on short answers questions, part 2 is a talk and part 3 is a discussion. It is all informal, friendly and chatty.

This means you use all kinds of language in your speaking test. You can use children and kids. You can use teens and teenagers.


  • children = youngsters, minors
    • an infant or a toddler is not a strong paraphrase for child because it refers to only very young children
  • teenager = juvenile, adolescent, youth, minor

General Training Writing Task 1

In the General Training test, there are two main types of essays: formal and informal. In an informal letters, which means a letter to a friend or someone you know well (not a boss), you can use informal vocabulary, such as kids and teens. See this page for more tips about GT writing task 1

IELTS Writing Task 2 Tips & Model Essays

See this page for IELTS Writing Task 2 Main Page

IELTS Speaking Tips & Model Answers

See this page for IELTS Speaking Main Page

IELTS Vocabulary

See this page to learn useful IELTS vocabulary

IELTS Band Scores

Learn about IELTS band scores in listening, reading, writing and speaking

All IELTS Information & Tips

See the main pages below and click on the link you need:

Main IELTS Pages

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kids or children / teens or teenagers

A lot of students have a problem knowing what type of vocabulary to use in their IELTS test. Below are two examples:

Which words to use?

kids or children?

teens or teenagers?


You can find the answer to this here: Answer to Kids or Children


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Using the Passive Voice for Giving Opinion in Writing Task 2

Many students ask me if it’s ok to use the passive voice to give your own opinion in an IELTS essay.

For example:

Is it possible to use “it is believed …” or “it is thought …” instead of “in my opinion” or “I believe”

This lesson will

  • explain when to use passive voice
  • explain about using passive voice for opinions
  • explain what the examiner is looking for in IELTS writing task 2 opinion essay
  • provide Free Video Lessons:
    • Expressing your Opinion for IELTS Writing Task 2
    • Language for Discussion Essays
  • give useful links for IELTS

Examples of passive and active voice:

  • The road was built a long time ago = passive
  • The Romans built the road a long time ago = active

Which should we use and when?

When to Use Passive Voice

We use passive voice in the following situations and ways:

  • when the performer (the person doing the action) is unknown or irrelevant
    • More wind power is used than solar power.” In this sentence, the people using the power is irrelevant to the information so passive voice is used.
    • The information was hacked from the computer.” In this sentence, the person doing the hacking is possibly not known or the person is not important to the person speaking so passive voice was used.
  • when it refers to a group of unspecified people
    • It is thought that the government should improve the infrastructure of all major cities.” In this sentence, we do not know who the people are that think this. We only know that it refers to “some people” but not a specified group.
  • when the person doing the action is less important than the action itself
    • The decision was made by the committee.” In this sentence, “the decision” is more important than “the committee” so the decision becomes the subject and passive voice is used. The person or persons doing the action is add after using “by ….”
  • depending on what is most important to the person or persons speaking
    • Trees produce more oxygen.” is an active sentence and “trees” is the subject. “More oxygen is produced by trees.” is passive voice. This is used because “oxygen” is more important to the speaker than “trees”.

Passive Voice for Giving Opinions

From the above information, we can see that the passive voice “it is thought” does not refer to you. It refers to other people who are not specified, for example “it is thought by some people that ….” This is NOT your opinion.

You use the passive voice in IELTS writing task 2 to write about other people’s opinions. For example, “It is believed by some that children should focus on sciences at school, while it is believed by others that children should spend time focusing on the arts.” Two opposite views belonging to other people – not you.

This means we will use it in a Discussion Essay or in your background statement when you introduce other people’s views before you give your own.

IELTS Writing Task 2: Your Opinion

When the IELTS writing task 2 instructions ask for your opinion, you must state your opinion clearly. This means it will be an active sentence. You will need to state:

I think / I believe / In my opinion

If you use “it is believed”, this is not your opinion. It belongs to other people. The examiner give you a lower score because you didn’t give your opinion. You can’t use “it is believed” to express your own views. It is grammatically incorrect in English and it is a big mistake in IELTS writing task 2.

How to Give your Opinion: Free Video Lesson

Watch this video lessons to help tips about expressing your opinion in IELTS writing task 2.

Discussion Essay Language: Free Video Lesson

More IELTS Tips

Click the following link to see model essays for IELTS writing task 2 and more tips: IELTS Writing Task 2 Main Page

See a Model Opinion Essay (Agree/ Disagree)

See a Model Discussion Essay

For tips and practice in other parts of the IELTS test, follow the links below:

Main IELTS Pages

Develop your IELTS skills with tips, lessons, free videos and more.

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