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. Thank you for providing this fantastic piece of knowledge. This one is very useful.

  2. Daisy Mishelle says

    some people believes that history is such a waste of time and boring but others argue that it is an important subject . In my opine,from the study of history there are a lot of beneficial factors that helps in better understanding of the past events.

  3. There is a common opinion among people that learning history is important while some do not consider it as useful. Learning history is always useful in knowing about your culture and how the people have evolved with time. However history in the world of technology and innovations doesn’t have much impact nowadays.
    History is considered as the important part of any nation or country because it reflects the culture and traditions of a particular society. There are important events in the past that how people have evolved and changed their way of living. Also it mentions the important dates and people who had done something innovative/big in the past. History helps to modify our culture and things which needs to be amended. It also taches the history of noble families. It guides about the pattern of diseases that run-in families so we can take precautionary measures regarding them. It facilitates to create medicines/treatment for non-cured diseases of past.
    However, history is not useful nowadays because future of the world doesn’t depend on it. Today world is about new technologies and modern techniques which make it easier for people to learn. Remembering dates and events is not an easy task because every historical event has different perspective. Having past methods in present world doesn’t create much difference because people and their culture has evolved with the passage of time.
    In my opinion, studying history is important because that make us to understands about our culture and learn about change with time. It also reflects the important historical event that took place in the past. Upcoming generations will learn about their past and the change that has taken place to amend their present and future.

  4. hero rahman says

    thanks so much for those introduction about writing task 2 especially.after, looking at your notes I could write en essay by my self , thanks so much .

    Some people believe that history is such a boring subject and time consuming at school but other argue that it is an important part of subject to learning about many history events in past. In my opinion, Undoubtedly, from studying history can take a lot of beneficial views or criticises, and then helping children better understand about their life before making any mistakes. There should be a balance of time between studying history and other practical subject at school curriculum.

    Firstly, one of the popular reasons why history is a great deal at school program is that studying history can help students to make a sure about mistakes at their present-days problems. It means that students become more aware of any mistakes in the future. Take medical operation as example, many medical students either at school or university would like studying and learning about studying history medicine that relate to mistakes or any the result that make then to be more open-eyes.

    On the other hand, if teachers are more care about studying history, It would be more time consuming so it is better, there is a suitable time-balances between learning history forms and other subjects. For example, some students do not enjoy studying history events. because at the moment teenager are more interested in modern time rather than the studying in the past.

    In conclusion, although it is common believe that studying history has a critical point to make new generation to be more awareness in the life ,it does make a sense of subject at school with spending a lot of time on it .

  5. Hello lizy please can you help me out with this question”Discuss the crisis of historical relevance in our present day society is partly a product of social ignorance and largely the consequences of conservative and reactionary approach to the study of history by historians…”please help me out

    • That isn’t an IELTS essay question. Where did you find it? I suggest you are very careful about essay questions you find online. Stick to preparing essays using realistic or authentic questions.

  6. Mahdiye says

    Hi Liz,
    I am taking the paper-based IELTS exam next week, so I wonder if it is important that I write clean. My handwriting is not bad, but sometimes I need to make alterations that would require erasing words and sentences, then fitting the new phrase (which is usually longer than the previous one) in the same space. All these make my writing paper a bit messy. Would that be a problem?

    • It’s only a problem if the examiner struggles to read it. Are you making alterations because you have new ideas and want to express them or because of language problems? Always plan your essay thoroughly before you start. Each sentence will be planned for ideas and content. When you start writing, all you need to do is focus on your grammar and vocab for each sentence. Errors ought to be minimal. Also consider doing the computer based test if possible because then you can delete and move chunks of writing around on the page.

  7. Ishara says

    Hi Liz,
    Again, I’d thank you for the valuable lessons and I’m going through them one by one so I can get corrected my mistakes.

    What I want to know is, there are 5 points under why history is considered as a time waste and 8 points under why history is important. Can you please mention how much points are normally enough to write under each of the cases when I get this type of an opinion essay.

    • The above isn’t an essay. It’s just a list of ideas. Normally you would have two or three body paragraphs in any essay.

      • Bibo says

        I would deeply appreciate your Great effort towards valuable lessons 💪 I had got exactly the same above question in a computer based IELTS today. Thank you again 😍

  8. Tujan says

    Hi I am a 13 year old and thanks for the help

    • Glad to meet you, Tujan. Take your time using all the pages and lessons on my site. Good luck 🙂

  9. Hi Liz, for this particular topic, is it acceptable to state that I regard both are equally important subjects? Or, must I give a one-sided opinion? Thanks.


  10. I took the computer-based exam yesterday and this was exactly my task 2.

  11. Sana Riaz says

    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?

      • Sana Riaz says

        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.

  12. 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.

  13. Louis David says

    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.

  14. 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 .

  15. 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.

          • Amrinder singh says

            Hi miss liz can you please give some variations of task one.

            • Go to the HOME page and access the main writing task 1 section of the website to find model answers for task 1.

  16. 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.

  17. Dario says

    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.

  18. 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

  19. jamil says

    Thankyou madam ..for everything..

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. Cynthia says

    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?

    • No, never use contractions in IELTS writing. Only use vocabulary that you can use with complete accuracy.

  23. 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”.

    • You should think about charging for your proof reading services 🙂 Well spotted.

  24. Rachel says

    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.


  25. 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?

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