IELTS Essay Ideas: Is History a Waste of Time

Below are ideas for the topic of history in IELTS writing task 2. This essay is about how important history is to learn. This can relate to the subject of history as a whole or children spending time learning history. You should use the ideas given below and adapt them to the specific essay question given by IELTS.

Sample IELTS Essay Question

Some people think that studying history is a waste of time while others think that it is essential to learn. Discuss both sides and give your opinion.

IELTS Essay Ideas

Below are ideas for both side of the argument. A useful definition of history is “it is the study of past events, particularly human affairs.”. It might be the study of a country or of a person in the past. It might involve a particular event or a general situation at a given time in the past.

History is a Waste of Time

  • Most people memorise dates, names and facts when they study history. This information is not useful in everyday life or for the future.
  • If we could actually learn from history, history wouldn’t be full of the same repeated mistakes. However, the same mistakes are made again and again which makes history irrelevant to learn for the future.
  • History is a subject that is rarely used in people’s lives so it would be better to focus on science or technology which is more relevant to the future and today’s society.
  • Each historical event has different perspectives. For this reason, it makes learning history a waste of time because events can also be interpreted in a different way which makes what we learn in history less valuable.
  • Many school curriculum have been set and are rarely changed. That curriculum includes little current history which is the only type of history that helps people understand the world they currently live in.

History is Important

  • History helps young people understand their own culture and how their culture and country have evolved.
  • History gives identity and helps unify people. It gives people a sense of roots and belonging.
  • History teaches people what their forefathers experienced and suffered in the past in order to make their country what it is today.
  • History teaches us about travesties which have occurred in the past, such as the Holocaust. It is essential for both people in the past, present and future to never  forget such events in order to honour the memory of those lost and to ensure it never happens again.
  • History helps us understand change. It records and helps people understand successes and failures. Through these studies people can learn about change and how others are affected by it.
  • It shows patterns of behaviour or events in the past and their outcome which can help us avoid similar outcomes in the future.
  • Learn about the past often gives a glimpse of the future. It shows a path of development that will continue past the present and into the future.
  • Valuable information can often be found in history, such as traditional medicines. Learning about past lifestyles and techniques used by people in the past can hold the secrets to remedies or cures no longer used.


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  1. Hi Liz
    I am your avid student and I am stuck at 6.5 in writing despite scoring band 9 in other modules.
    Can you please review my essay and give feedback? I have tried to pay heed to your advice.

    The question of whether to prioritize history over science subjects in teaching curriculum is an old one. There are valid arguments on both sides but in my opinion, more stress should be placed on teaching science and technology to the students as compared to traditional subjects like history, as it is more beneficial to the society as well as more fun and interesting for students.

    The proponents of teaching history argue that children should be familiarized with their ancestors and the ordeals that they went through to teach them important life lessons.For instance the study of Holocaust can help children in understanding the devastating consequences of human actions on the society. History also gives people a sense of identity and helps in unifying people. For example the recent addition of the subject of Egyptology was hailed as a positive development by most Egyptians and was the source of great national pride for them.

    On the other hand,some people point out and I agree that science and technology should be the major focus in school curriculum as it will help students in benefiting the society. The advancements in these fields can help in betterment of present as well as future of the nations. For example the recent developments in the field of robotic surgery have revolutionized healthcare for terminal patients. Moreover science subjects are more interesting for students as there is less memorization and more practical work. According to a study published in world education journal, visual learning in science labs is 70% more effective than the traditional lectures in subjects like history.

    In conclusion, more stress should be placed on teaching the practical science fields as compared to history as it will be more beneficial to humanity in addition to being more palatable for students.

    • This is a Discussion Essay. You have written it very well indeed. Did you get a Discussion Essay in your previous IELTS test?

      • Thank you, you encouragement means a lot to me.
        Last time I got a personal viewpoint essay topic….

        • With Opinion Essays it is easy to not fulfil the Task Response which can greatly affect your score. It might be worth getting my Opinion Essay Advanced Lesson to see if you are following the right techniques: You also have to consider task 1. If you are taking the Academic test, there are again criteria that are easily overlooked. See this page: Your English does contain errors which might affect hitting band 9. But with the right techniques, you should be able to hit 8 or more (depending on how your write on the day). Always aim for accuracy. The main difference between 8 and 9 is the degree of accuracy in your English writing – so never aim to impress.

  2. Hi Liz,

    Thank you so much for your marvellous help. I am your big fan. I am going for exam 2nd time. I hope I will get sufficient score this time and for that I required your blessings.

    Thanks a lot.

  3. Hi Liz,

    Thanks a lot.

    Hope you are doing well, I would to ask if do you know what are the topics given for the month of November. I will be taking the exam by December 15th and 16th, so I would like to have initial ideas to start things right. Looking forward to hear from you soon.

  4. Dear Liz,
    I am wondering if it is a typo in the sentence ” history gives identify ” or it should be ” identity”
    Thank you very much for all your valuable effort .

  5. Sajeema Kunhikalanthante Akath says

    Hello Liz,

    I know you will not put the band score, but please can you tell me is this essay enough to get a band score 7.

    Traditional subjects such as History, Politics etc were taught in schools spending more time rather than spending on teaching interpersonal and soft skills which is of greater use for students to find a good employment opportunities in future. In my opinion, although spending a good time on teaching traditional subjects, but also giving an equal or more importance to the skills could be a key solution to find a good job.

    Firstly, History as a traditional subjects , in addition schools are the best way that our child to get to know about the past tradition, culture, ancient methods, languages as well as about our ancestors, for this reasons, traditional subjects should give more importance like any other subjects in schools.Knowing more about our culture, tradition, history is the only way that we can uphold about our beliefs.

    However, due to the increased demand for the skills namely interpersonal and soft skills such as mathematical, marketing etc which is required in all enterprises or in a job market, I admit that by contrast, it is primary to teach the students about the skills in school in addition to the subject history or arts. One clear example, to illustrate here is when we are going for an interview the employer mainly look over the skills that the employee have rather than his knowledge about the traditional subjects because obviously, the employer ‘s motive is the growth of the company.

    To summarize, I firmly believe that in school the teachers should give equal or either more importance to teach their students about the skills as it is the most important factor to find a good job. Even though it is good to have knowledge about the tradition and culture.

    Is it good enough to get a score of 7? Please if you have time point out my mistakes.

    • Sorry I don’t give feedback or scores. But I will say, avoid using “etc”. Just decide on two examples and that’s enough.

      • Duy Luu Hoang Tuan says

        Hi Miss Liz! I have a question. Why should you not use “etc” in IELTS Writing? Thank you!

        • You want to showcase your English, so choose your examples carefully and no need to add “etc”. The letters “etc” means unknown, unstated examples – don’t do that in a language test.

  6. hi mam,
    I am jumbled up, if the question is what extend you agree or disagree?, and am agreeing that what should my paragragraphs constitute?
    your earliest reply will be highly appreciated.

  7. Hi Liz, how are you?

    I am Dario from Argentina and I will take the exam next Saturday. First of all I would like to thank you for all the material, tips and exercises of the web.
    Secondly, if possible, I would like to to have a look on my essay and tell me what you think.

    Thanks in advance

    So many times one can hear that the study of history is pointless. Luckily, they are not the majority and other people still believe that history is one of the essential knowledges.

    Narrow-minded people may think that the past is gone and what we are living now or going to live in the future has no link with it. They focus on the future as it comes from another planet or suddenly appears from underneath a rock. They do not really see that what happens today is because something happened yesterday, which change the course of the things, made people to take other decisions and choose different things than the ones it would have chosen under other circumstances.

    Alternatively, still the most of people support and study history. History is sometimes crucial to understand what is going to happen, but also to prevent some things to happen again, as the holocaust or wars. The same way everyone as individual makes mistakes, the society as a whole do it as well. History provides us the key to think and understand when, why, how and what happen anything and act consequently next time. It is also our collective memory, therefore historians have an important role in our society.

    In conclusion, although a small group of people try to reduce the importance of history it can be easily argued and demonstrated that is groundless.
    In my opinion, history is one of the most important (and exciting) topics in human sciences.

  8. Pliz help me madam,i have an assignment of history now i want u to help me on the same topic.why history as a subject should be taught in schools? Pliz i need some points

  9. Thankyou madam ..for everything..

  10. kamal jaitly says

    To study history is like to live in past.Situations and circumstances changes from time to time.What was considered right in the past may be perceived as wrong in the present circumstances.In the past nations were ruled by the king with absolute authority at their command and can be seen described as dictator. Dictator in present age are not considered acceptable,so why to study previous kings.

  11. hello mam . provide me with the ideas in the recent topic of ielts “similarities are rising with same types of shops , products and brands all over the world . what are the merits and demerits of this ” this was the essay of ielts writing task 2 held on 26 th september 2015

    • Please see the recent questions page where some ideas have been shared.

      • Hi Mam
        I’m blessed that I found your blog at last. I’ve already got Band score 6, but my goal is 8. I’m excited to have your advanced lessons, but unfortunately I’m not sure how I can pay for that from Bangladesh.

        Could you please have a look on my Introduction and advise me, pointing the mistakes I made, what I should do?

        Thanks in advance

        Learning history is interesting and enjoyable. Studying history is prioritized by some as an effective subject although others argue against it as a waste of time. While studying history, it is possible to know about ancestors’ contribution on this modern world and the mistakes they made, although memorizing dates and names, and lack of science or technology has no usefulness in future.

  12. Hi Liz, in writing, is it okay ti use contractions? Because in speaking, it contractions are preferred. And is it safe to use highfalutin vocabulary such as sojourn and etc for writing task 2?

  13. Dzung Tran says

    Hi Liz,
    If I don’t get wrong, there is a typo in the third idea in the viewpoint “History is important”. History teaches “us” instead of “use”.

  14. Hi Liz, I want to write a balanced essay. Would this introduction will be fine?

    People have different views about whether or not learning history is vital in our daily lives. In my opinion, studying history has a signicant importance not only in the present but also in the future generation of our society.


  15. Jowanagee says

    June 13 writing task 2: the statement given went something like this – a huge number of accommodation and transportation facilities emerge in big cities nowadays thus the government is asking the business sectors to relocate their businesses in rural areas. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

  16. Dear Liz,
    I have watched a lot of your videos on youtube to improve my writing skills. You are doing well for students. I aim 7 band score but you don’t tell band scores. please give me a hint how much more effort i need to achieve 7 band score. I personally think i don’t have good vocabulary for this task.
    Many people argue that gaining knowledge about history is useless but others believe that it is crucial to learn and study history in many aspects of our lives. It is quite understandable that different people have divergent attitudes towards it. In my opinion, learning history is the key to know about our lives on this planet and many more crucial things.
    People who think it is the wastage of time to learn history, have their own solid reasons. Firstly, when people study history they remember many historical dates, incidents and places, which are useless in our practical life. Secondly, while studying history students spend a lot of their time to know about past events instead of spending their crucial time for todays life. Finally, after completing their study in history, they can not do any better for our community as chemists, mathematicians and physicist do.
    On the other hand, many disagree with them by arguing that there are many advantages to learn history. For example, by learning history we will not repeat our mistakes that we made in the past. Furthermore, we can plan, advise and make important decisions, give tributes to those who spend their important lives for human well beings on this planet, by learning history.
    To summarize, in my own view, though, some people consider learning history is the wastage of time but advantages are more obvious. Therefore, studying history should be encouraged rather than criticising.

    • Don’t put unnecessary information into your introduction. The second sentence is unnecessary. Make sure you restate your opinion in the body paragraph with the side you agree with. Be careful with vocabulary “wastage of time” don’t paraphrase unnecessarily and incorrectly. Please watch my video about paraphrase because you are making some elementary errors:

  17. Dear Liz,
    I am aiming for band 7 in writing general module. Could please check this piece of introduction writing will reach me to the requisite band or not.
    Thank you in advance.

    Some people think that the government is wasting money on the arts and that this money could be better spent elsewhere. To what extent do you agree with this view?

    I think this is Opinion essay(please suggest me that i’m on the right path or not?)


    It is argued by some that spending money by the government to encourage arts is waste. Rather, it could be utilized on other developments. I completely disagree(what extent) with the given statement, because arts are also an inevitable activity to exhibit growth of nation.


  18. Aisha jarrar says

    Sorry I posted it before read it and correct spelling mistakes .
    Here the corrected one .

    Many people argues about learning history .While some believe that studying past events particularly in humans affairs is merely a waste of time , others appreciate history as it is considered people’s roots . In my opinion , although I agree that people’s approach in studying history nowadays is wrong and lead to waste their time , I strongly support studying people’s past event which can helps people’s future .

    With regard to the importance of studying history , history studies give people identity and help to unify generation . In other word , when people learn about their culture , language and their forefathers’ lives they can understand from where they came and to whom they belong which gives them strength and more confidence to sustain and succeed in future’s obstacles. Moreover , history studies help people To know about all events , experiences and even wrong and right decisions have been taken and their outcomes which can benefits young generation to be a ware of these mistakes and manage to avoid any similar situation in the future to evolve countries in better and accelerated ways . For instance , people in the past they were non educated and simple therefore ,when a pregnant mother giving birth they used to make it done at home without any medical supervision which lead to either mother’s death or baby’s disorder ,but today’s mothers have learned from this wrong decision and avoided it .
    On the other hand , many people think that studying history is a waste of time because most of schools’ curriculums teach student to memorize names and numbers related to historical event which are exhausting their energy rather than benefiting them in any side of life .In addition , history events have many perspectives which can be interpreted in different way , for this reason it make studying history a waste of time because their is no approved knowledge can be learned and used in present’s lives . For example , studying about the holocaust and its causes ,there is no any good aspect of studying about this historical event .

    In conclusion , I strongly support learning history but just the important and beneficial events which enrich people experiences as well as their understand of life , at the same time avoid wasting time in learning worthless details.

    • Sorry I only give comments to students who have worked their way through my lessons. Please review all writing task 2 lessons and all vocabulary lessons.
      All the best

      • Aisha jarrar says

        I am sorry I know I have a big problem in my writing , I will take arrest of writing essays and read throw your blog to learn more then will come back in better skills .

        Thank you

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