20 Common Essay Topics for IELTS Writing Task 2

Below is a list of the 20 most common IELTS essay topics that appear in writing task 2 with subtopics.  Although the essay questions change, the subject of the essays often remains the same. Each topic is divided into subtopics which you should prepare.

You should practice developing ideas for all common essay topics used by IELTS so that you can write your essay within the given time limit. Follow this link to get over 100 IELTS essay questions for the topics below.

Common Essay Topics with Subtopics

  • Art
    • censorship of art and artists
    • creativity
    • art at school
    • the benefits of art for individuals and society
    • funding
  • Business & Money
    • small vs large business
    • international business
    • family run business
    • management and leadership
    • success in business
    • business and technology
    • skills vs knowledge for business
    • materialism and consumerism
  • Communication & Personality
    • technology and communication
    • family and communication
    • face to face vs long distance communication
    • types of communication
    • the develop of character and personality
    • innate or developed personalities
    • female / male characters
  • Crime & Punishment
    • prisons vs rehabilitation
    • capital punishment vs other types of punishment
    • criminals – what makes a criminal
    • major vs minor crime
    • crime and technology
    • teenagers and crime
    • role of policemen
    • men and women in lay enforcement
  • Economics 
    • cash vs credit cards
    • saving vs spending
    • globalisation and economy
    • world economic issues
    • economic progress and success
  • Education
    • children and education
    • relevant subjects
    • education and technology
    • role of teachers
    • discipline and rules in school
    • single-sex schools
    • uniforms
    • funding
    • educational aid to poorer countries
  • Environment
    • animals
    • protection of endangered species
    • zoos
    • environmental problems
    • saving the environment & solving problems
    • government vs individual roles
  • Family & Children
    • family roles
    • family size
    • the generation gap
    • discipline
    • role models
    • family and education
  • Food
    • health diets
    • education of diet
    • traditional vs modern diets
    • fast food
    • children and diet
  • Health
    • prevention vs cure
    • funding
    • health and education
    • poor countries and rich countries
    • health aid
    • dealing with global epidemics
    • hospitals and treatment
    • obesity
    • exercise and health
  • Language
    • having only one language in the world
    • methods of language learning
    • travel and language
    • the disappearance of languages
    • language and culture
  • Media & Advertising
    • censorship, control and freedom of speech
    • advertising methods
    • children and advertising
    • media and technology
    • news & reporting
  • Other Common Essay Topics
    • Space Exploration
    • Water and Oceans
    • Change or Moving vs Stability and Constancy
  • Reading
    • paper books vs ebooks
    • children and reading
    • books in education
    • libraries
    • reading and leisure
  • Technology
    • controlling the internet
    • socialising online
    • children and technology (safety)
    • the change in society
    • letter vs email
    • storing data
    • safety of personal information
    • hacking
  • Transport
    • development of infrastructure
    • comparing forms of transport
    • problems with modern forms of transport
    • environmental issues
  • Travel
    • culture and travel
    • understanding people and travel
    • living in a global world
  • Society
    • overpopulation
    • poverty
    • homeless people
    • crime on the streets
    • modern life styles
    • budget spending
    • public services
  • Sport
    • professionals vs amateurs
    • salary
    • equipment
    • sport and learning
    • sport as a school subject
    •  men vs women in sport
    • types of sport
  • Work
    • shift work
    • women in work
    • types of jobs (blue collar / white collar)
    • children and exploitation
    • part time work
    • work and technology
    • employment
    • salary
    • equality

IELTS Recent Exam Topics

To get a list of recent essay questions as well as recent topics and question from all other sections of the IELTS test, follow this link: Recent IELTS Exam Questions & Topics

IELTS Writing Task 2

Get model essays, tips, free video lessons and practice exercises for IELTS writing task 2: IELTS Writing Task 2

100 IELTS Essay Questions

Get over 100 IELTS essay questions for free. The essay questions are organised into topics and also into different types of essays: 100 IELTS essay questions

IELTS Vocabulary

Develop your vocabulary for some of the above topics: IELTS vocabulary page.

Main IELTS Pages

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

Get my free lessons by email

Subscribe for free to get my new IELTS lessons sent to your email inbox.

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Comments

  1. Hi Liz, your website is very helpful,no doubt :).
    My ielts test day is 15th dec and i am really confused…
    i wanted to ask that what i ought to do if i have no knowledge about the question in writing task 2.
    waiting for your response..
    Thanks.

  2. hi Liz,
    today I have elaborately studied marking criteria of writing task 2. Could you please explain me these three things- 1)coherence 2)cohesion 3)referencing

    looking forward to your reply
    thanks in advance 🙂

  3. I have been looking for site to know writing task 2 topics with sub-topics,thanks to ieltsliz because its made my task easy.

  4. Dear Liz,

    You might have no idea how MANY DOCTORS around the world are thankful for your help in learning English! On behalf of all white coat wearing people, THANK YOU!.

    I read many FB med group chat’s comments and other social networks, where many who want to come to the UK to practice medicine get together , and many of them recommend watching your videos.

    Thousands of them, mostly from developing countries, show their gratitude to you.

    we need above 7.5 in total and above 7 in each.

    Personally, I have given IELTS 5 times, in 6 years. Unfortunately, I have not received the required score yet. BUT, I have received in Speaking 8,
    reading 7, Listening 7.5, and most horrible part-writing 6.5

    Those numbers were different in each time, I just compiled them in the best shape, to show the greatest achievement I could get in those hardest ever my exams. I never got any bad marks during my 8 years of medical exams. I graduated from medical school with Honors yet ENGLISH- is my weak point.

    I am proactive and will try for the 6th time, I believe it will be my last time of giving IELTS, I will achieve the required and even more band.

    I have never really practice writing exactly at it is given in your explanation. But this time I WILL.

    Thanks

    from Central Asia.

    • Thanks so much for your comment. I’m aware of the issues doctors face hitting their required score and am glad my site helps 🙂 I have actually replied to you at length via email using the email address you have used to post this message. Take a look as I’ve given you some extra tips and a gift. Good luck 🙂

  5. Thank you Liz for your help so much! I know you have probably heard it many times before but I really do appreciate your great work. In my case especially, your study materials are priceless. I am a mother of a 9 months old baby girl so you can only imagine how challenging for me is studying and taking care of her at the same time. Actually, now at the moment I am burning the midnight oil to study for my IELTS exam (Academic) which is coming in the beginning of December 2016. My English is far from being perfect and my dream is to get band 8+. I am full of doubts and totally bushed, worried about my final results but I know that I just simply cannot give up. I think many people are having the same thoughts and worries as I do. But you are here, for us and that’s amazing. I am sending my warmest greetings from Finland.

    • Thanks for your message. It’s great to hear you can benefit from my blog. There are students preparing for the IELTS test on their own and under difficult circumstances. It’s essential to never give up or feel deflated. Get to know the test as much as you can. Learn the difference in language used for speaking compared to writing. Learn about the band scores and what the examiner is looking for. Prepare topics, ideas and vocabulary. See the results page to see how many students have succeeded – it is possible: http://ieltsliz.com/post-your-ielts-test-results/. I’m offering 55% discount on my advanced lessons for writing task 2 next week – take a look if you want. Finally, I want to add – you have very good English. In speaking, with your language ability, you could hit 8. For writing, make sure you don’t produce sentences which are too long. Complex sentences only require one clause to make them complex and to earn you a band 9. So, aim for accuracy and avoid errors at all costs in writing. Also avoid slang in writing, aim for academic language and appropriate language rather than trying to impress the examiner. Good luck!! 🙂

  6. Thank you very much for your stunning site and I really like and benifited from it.I am a student of IELTS. My asking to you, how can I guess Argumentative written or narrative written. Some time I make mistake it . May you give me any easy way to identify it. Thank you

  7. Hi Liza,

    really love your website. It’s very interactive.

    In my speaking test had to speak about the last story I had watched on TV, with whom I watched and what did I liked about it and why.

  8. Gursharanjit Singh says:

    Hi,
    In most of the GT writing test part II in the introduction paragraph, its mentioned that “In this essay I will be describing or I explained about…..bla bla

    Similarly, In conclusion part,”I/we discussed and explained so and so…….”

    My question is that is it right to use I and We the way I used in the above example or generalised statement will be given more weightage.

  9. Hi Liz
    Thank you for your great and wonderful lessons and tips that is really valuable to us.
    i bought your Advanced IELTS Writing task2 for different types of essay questions and its amazing,v.thanks.
    “people should work a fixed number of hours per week,and employers should not ask anybody to work more than this”
    give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples.
    what is this type of essay?and how to deal with it?and if any advices you can give it to me regarding my question.
    thank you.

  10. Sumedha Sharma says:

    Hello mam, i done my best in ielts exam …i follow format similar trend which should be followed but unfortunately i overall got 5.5 band in writing ..Can u suggest me something ..now I’m going for it again.

  11. I am going to give general ielts test and I need your advice before giving the test please give me some tips for general ielts test and which lessons is are good for general test from your lessons

    • All writing task 2 lessons are also for GT. On the writing task 1 page, you will find tips for letter writing.

  12. Hi Liz,

    I am preparing for Ilets Academic exam,
    It is on 31st March, I have started my preparation on 19th March 🙁
    My goal is to achieve 6.5 band in writing, i am doing quite well in other sections.
    But i am not feeling confident in writing, kindly give me some tips on writing

  13. Hey Liz,
    I know you are taking some time off. However, I have a question for you in regard to Task 1. When the question is asking you to write a letter to your friends and in your letter,
    thank them for the photos and for the holiday you spent overseas. Since, no names were given, how would you suggest addressing this letter ?
    Would you suggest simply using imaginary names?
    Thanks

  14. Hi Liz,

    Thank you for sharing valuable information for IELTS exam.

    After going through your tips, I am a bit confused about how to write an essay for the question ‘To what extent do you agree’?

    For example, “Most artists receive low salaries and should therefore receive funding from the government in order for them to continue their work. To what extent do you agree?” – – Can I disagree with the statement or I have to agree only? As I can say here that government has other priorities as well.
    – In addition to funding, can I write something like additional unemployment benefits for artists etc to further help artists.
    – Furthermore, If I agree (partially or fully) or disagree, two body paragraphs which I make, I have to justify my statement given in introduction only or can I discuss other side as well (may be in second para)?
    – I am getting confused over this type of question (To what extent) so please provide me with some resources on it as I have my exam on 23rd Jan.

    Thanks

  15. Zeeshan Afzal says:

    Hi,
    Do you have any solve essay so that I can see all the method.

  16. Hi Liz,

    What is your opinion on giving a Title to the Essay before we begin writing it. Will that have a positive or negative impact? Please advice.

    Thanks,
    Vijay

    • You should not write a title.
      Liz

      • hi madam I bit confuse about what I write in this topic some sports make use of steroids in order to boost their performance as it easy to obtain legal drugs through a medical prescription . suggest some possible measures to check such unethical practices ielts task 2 …Please reply me as soon as possible because my exam is on 7 November. .Thanks

        • This can be checked by regular urine and blood tests. It can also be dealt with by having harsher penalties for people using drugs to enhance their performance. This issue has been in the news a lot so you can read up on google.
          Good luck
          Liz

  17. Kelly Piron says:

    Hello Liz,

    I can’t remember where I found an essay question that really stressed me out. It was something along the lines of “Some people believe the government should spend more money on defense while others believe social benefits should be favored. Discuss both sides.” I really can’t remember what it was exactly, but it concerned defense and social benefits and I honestly had no idea what I could write about on that topic. Would you have tips?

    Thank you so much,

    Kelly

    • This is a current issue in many countries. Should a country aim to protect itself or should it spend money on providing benefits for its citizens. Defense is essential in order to ensure the security of a country and its citizens. Without defense, a country would be open to attack from terrorists or other countries. It is in the interest of the citizens to provide strong defenses. However, if many of a country’s citizens are in poverty or sick, the government has a responsibility to provide benefits and extra money to support them. Without these benefits, they might end up living below the poverty line. I hope some of these ideas help. Feel free to share your views.
      Liz

      • Kelly Piron says:

        Thank you so much for your answer !

        Also, I read that each paragraph should have one controlling idea. However, on subjects such as “Some believe a good salary is more important, others believe an enjoyable job is more important. Discuss both views and give your opinion” (something along those lines, I shortened it of course). I’m struggling on two things :

        1. Is it ok if I write two paragraphs, one about good salary and the other about enjoying the job but with more than one idea for both? (ie. I wouldn’t have one single controlling idea).
        2. Do I have to give my opinion in the intro or can I give it in the conclusion?

        Thank you for your time!

        Kelly

        • You must put your opinion in the introduction, body and conclusion. You could have two body paragraphs and join your opinion with one of them or you could put your opinion separately. Have a think about getting one of my advanced training lessons for essay writing – they are very detailed and will help a lot: http://subscriptions.viddler.com/IELTSLizStore
          All the best
          Liz

  18. Dear liz,

    The writing task 2. I came across in my IELTS general exam was

    Some people thinks that radio is much more interesting and entertaining than Tv.
    To what extent do you agree? Or disagree?.
    Discuss with relevent examples.

    • Thanks for sharing 🙂

      • Hello there !
        Liz, I tried writing this topic and I’m trying the For-and-Against approach, and my opinion stated at the last paragraph. However, I can’t come up with any ideas as to how is radio more entertaining? How is it more entertaining than TV? Could you please help me out?

        • I am not clear what topic you are referring to – you need to write it in full in your message. Also I don’t know what you mean about the “for-and-against” approach. Are you talking about the discussion essay?
          Liz

          • Oh, I’m sorry, I completely forgot to mention which essay I was talking about. I was referring to “Some people think that radio is much more interesting and entertaining than TV. To what extent do you agree/disagree?”
            And what I meant by “for-and-against” was that I handle those type of questions like a discussion essay. I would first write the reasons why some people think it IS better than TV, and in the next paragraph I would list the reasons why others think it IS NOT. At the end I give my own opinion. However, I couldn’t think of any ways in which radio is more interesting, so I thought I would ask you for some ideas.

            Thank you for the fast reply!

            • It is ESSENTIAL that you follow the instructions. The instructions do not say “discuss both sides”. This is an opinion essay, you decide your opinion in the introduction and explain it in the body paragraph. Never add any information which is not your opinion. If you fail to follow instructions 100%, you will get a low mark. See my opinion essay lesson from my online course for detailed training: http://subscriptions.viddler.com/IELTSLizStore
              All the best
              Liz

  19. Dear Liz,

    Do you teach online ?

  20. Hi Liz,
    I found your blog very useful, I have my exam in a week time, I m looking to improve my scores in Reading and Writing Section of ielts, I m good enough in English I would say, What tips you would help me on this.

    Listening: As I m from Asian, And you mentioned that on your video that most of the foreigners have issues when it comes to listening to Plurals. with S. any way i can differential or improve on identify it. if so

    Reading for General: Ii have experienced issue with matching question type and matching of heading or where you have lists of headings to choice or pick from like for example ( i, ii, iv) or the case of matching with the paragraph ( A, B, D,H). one where of the problem i fixed was with use of Synonyms in passage vs question., with the crunch of time . Are the Any Traps.. to look out for or tips that can help me to do well with this kind of questions apart from skimming the text and identifying the main idea of the paragraph…

    Writing: I have issue with sentence construction or paragraph building i have ideas or points in mind when i end up reading up a task question.

    Speaking: I plan on using diverse vocabulary words. towards my topic, but how would be able to know when should i use , Could be/ Should be / Would be any differences on those, I m sure i m likely loose points on misuse of words in context or when it comes to pronounciation of words. is that the case

    • I don’t have time to give you all tips but here are some. For speaking, the issue you are talking about is not vocabulary, it is grammar. The use of the correct modals (should, could etc) and the use of conditional sentences all relates to your grammar accuracy and range. You will find a grammar website recommended on my useful website page in the IELTS Extra section. For writing, the key is preparing ideas for all common topics and also planning your essay so that each paragraph has a central point. If you mix your ideas up in paragraphs, you will not get a good mark for coherence and cohesion – so plan your ideas and then plan how to put them into paragraphs. After that, plan how to support them. All that should be done before you start writing.
      All the best
      Liz

  21. Hi Liz,

    Would you recommend to have a balanced view? Or single sided view? If I will choose a balanced view, I think I still need to state clearly which side I preferred. Is that correct? Thanks

    • You can get a good score with either approach. A one sided approach choose one side (either agree or disagree). The balanced approach is a specific opinion which doesn’t fully agree or fully disagree. I’ll soon be releasing a video to buy which explains in detail how to do both approaches for the opinion essay. I’ll post a link when it’s ready.
      Liz

  22. Hi LIZ,
    a big THANK YOU for the reply.
    Here is an essay that i wrote today from cambridge ielts 10:
    Q. by punishing murderers with death penalty, society is also guilty of committing murder. therefore, life in prison is a better punishment for murders. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement.
    ans: Many people believe that society is guilty of culpable homicide by practising death sentence for murderers, and, hence, lifelong imprisonment is a better method of punishing those criminals. I completely disagree with this point of view.
    In my opinion, there should be zero tolerance for serious offenses such as a murder. I believe it is absolutely necessary to deter other offenders from committing similar offenses, meaning that our law has no place for those who take lives of innocent people. Furthermore, this is one of the best ways to ensure security of public and maintain peace in the society. For example, if criminals knew that their lives would be exempted after killing others, they would never re-think before carrying out such sin, and encourage others as well. Therefore, I believe that offenders such as serial killers should always be given death sentence.
    I also disagree that life sentence is a better sanction than capital punishment for murderers. Firstly, it would require enormous amount of money of tax-payers to support lives of those criminals in prison, and it would also be great injustice to the victim’s families, who regularly pay tax to the state. Secondly, they could pose threat to the society directly or indirectly. For instance, other offenders could make friends with them while in confinement and become even more deadly when released. In addition, they could be get parole and try to avenge their sentence.
    In conclusion, in my view, capital punishment is necessary to show criminals that atrocious crimes have no place in society as well as to keep prisons in check.
    (269 words)

    • There are only minor problems with this essay. Nothing that would prevent you getting band 7. A minor error would be “death penalty” must have “the” before it. You’ve addressed the task well, your ideas and position are clear and relevant. You have explained and developed your main points. You have used good linking devices. Your paragraphs are good. I can only suggest you now post an essay that you actually wrote in your test – if you can remember both the essay and essay question. You clearly have the ability to get 7 both in technique and language. So, it might be a case of not doing well on the day with the particular essay question given to you.

      Another point to consider is that in this essay you have written a one sided view. That is a simple essay to get right, in terms of technique. Did you try and write a balanced view in your test? Many students make huge mistakes with balanced views and end up with no clear position. That reduces the score a lot. What kind of essay did you write in your test.

      Anyway, on the whole, you have the ability to get band 7 but this is only one essay. There might be issues with other kinds of essays that I am not aware of.
      All the best
      Liz

      • Hi LIZ,
        Thank you for for encouraging words. I virtually had lost hopes and ran out of ideas. I will try to remember one of the essay questions I faced on test day and then rewrite it and post it. I think one of the major issues that I have had during test is that I fail to produce relevant examples.

        • Producing relevant examples is not a problem for your score. You can produce examples if you want but it’s not a requirement of any band score. there are many ways to explain and support an idea – examples are just one way. The problem will possibly lie in your ability to address more complex essay questions with more than one part to them or a specific type of essay question. It is also important to check writing task 1. You might be losing points there.

          I’m about to stop for the day. I’ll check my blog again on Saturday (I’m only working part time at present). If you put some writing up, I’ll give you comments on Saturday or Sunday.
          All the best
          Liz

  23. Hi liz,
    I need to achieve at least a minimum of 7 in each module and overall score of not less than 7.5. I have had overall band score of 7.5 on multiple occasions and up to as high as 8, however, worryngly and frustratingly my writing score is always 6.5. Now I am beginning to doubt whether it is an unattainable score for me. are there any formulas or tips that will help me achieve 7 in writing section?

    • There are no formulas but plenty of tips. The two key things you need to do immediately is find the main problem with your writing. It is either your level of English which prevents you getting band 7 or your technique of answering and writing your essay. Band score 7 grammar and vocabulary means FEW errors with a range of less common words, good collocations and a range of grammar. Are you achieving this? Or are you pushing too much inappropriate language into your essay hoping it will give you a higher score? If your English is good enough, then the problem is with your method of writing the essay and how you present your ideas. Write an essay to this blog on a writing page (as you have done here) – put your details in again and also the full essay question taken from one of the IELTS Cambridge books. I won’t score you, but I will tell you if your English is safe for band 7 and then I’ll give you some tips about what you need to change.
      Liz

  24. Murali Mohana CR says:

    Hello Liz,
    How are you doing?

    I am going to take IELTS GT in July, I am not getting confidence in writing, I feel my vocabulary not so great. Would you mind giving some tips, how can I improve my vocabulary ?

    Awaiting your reply

    Many thanks in Advance

    • Unfortunately, I don’t have links for vocabulary for GT letters. Take a look online for any website giving tips on letter writing vocabulary – it doesn’t need to be for IELTS. The vocabulary for formal and informal letters is standard.
      Sorry I can’t help
      Liz

  25. Hi Liz,

    I am planning to take an ielts exam on july. It would be my first time to take that exam and I am just doing a self study. Its the second day of my self study course now and I am just reading tips about writing and watching some videos about writing essays up to now I am still confuse on the things that I need to do about writing an essay, hope you can give me some helpful advice.thank you!

    • Here’s a list of things:

      1. Learn how your essay is marked – that is step one. See my band score page for writing task 2.
      2. Brainstorm ideas then plan how to use the ideas.
      3. More ideas does not mean a higher score. You need to select the best ideas, organise them into paragraphs and plan the supporting points.
      4. Supporting points just means your points to explain in detail what you mean and can include an example if you want.
      5. Never have more than 5 paragraphs or under 4. See my model essays for the structure.
      6. Use a range of linking devices in your essay: such as, therefore, although, moreover, in addition, thus, as a result, so … Try not to repeat them.
      7. The linking words “and”, “but” and “because” never come at the start of a sentence and can be repeated. Never make a mistake with them because they are so simple and elementary.
      8. Don’t use learned phrases “a controversial issues” or “highly debatable issue” – they are overused and actually IELTS rarely give very controversial issues.
      9. Try to produce accurate language rather than trying to impress the examiner and making mistakes.

      I hope some of those point help.
      All the best
      Liz

      • Hi Liz,
        Thank you for your prompt response and for sharing some helpful tips on how to start the writing review. You are really of great help . I would just like to ask in answering the essay questions task 2,is there a pattern to be followed?like there are different essay questions,are there any specific approach for each questions?thank you! 🙂

  26. Gee Megafon0 says:

    Hi Miss Liz!
    I work as a nanny here in Russia and applied LCP in Canada. One othe requirements is the Language ability. They give me 30 days to comply or my application will be refuse. I am scared cause I don’t have any training and I’ve got only less time to tackle ielts reviewer. My sched will be this Feb 28 at BKC Centre. I think my type of exam is under general.I am thankful I found your site .I hope you can give me more on general type of exam like listening, essay writing..,and tips not to feel scared and lost. Best send it on my email.thank u Miss Liz. God bless!

    • Hi,

      I’ve emailed you a checklist of how to get starting learning IELTS.
      All the best
      Liz

      • Gee Megafon0 says:

        Thank for the swift reply! Cambridge books is free online or need to purchase it on the local stores? Im afraid there is no english books in this place. Thanks for the help.more power!

        • Hi,

          They are not free and need to be bought online. Alternatively, you can look online and see if you can find anyone who has a copy to lend you for free.
          All the best
          Liz

          • Gee Megafon0 says:

            Dear Madam,

            Hope your doing fine and your family as well. As you know, my application has been acting quite a bit delayed. For some reason too that i want you to know and understand that I faced some problems in applying earlier because I had to submit my passport to the Russian authorities for visa processing which took a very long time, much longer than I had anticipated. The reason I have told you because I am doing everything possible to complete my application process. I have done my medical as requested by the Cic last Feb 3.2015 and result was been submitted directly to them. Due to crisis here in Russia they also lower my salary that I need to be tight more an save money instead of sending to my family so that I can pay for the other things behind my application-taking ielts exam , medical,and applying police clearances in Hongkong and Russia. I am writing you because I dont want to give up hoping . I want you to know that I am looking forward to working with you. Here is my application no. UMI xxxx. I am asking for your help to please follow up my application.

            Miss liz does this sound reasonable to her?

            • Hi,

              I’m a little confused. Do you want me to correct this letter? Is it an IELTS GT letter or a personal one for you?
              Regards
              Liz

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