There are many topics in IELTS writing, and this can be confusing for some students who feel they may not have enough knowledge to write a good answer in task 2. However, if we look at the questions which were given over a longer period of time, we can see that some topics are more common than others – the actual questions are different, but the subject remains the same. This is useful for students because it will save time. Remember, you are not expected to be an expert on any subject in the IELTS exam, but you do need ideas and opinions, and enough knowledge to form an argument and give examples.
In 2015, the general topics were:
- Public Transport
- Criminal Justice
- Government Spending
Later in that same year, traditional culture also became a common topic, and has since remained.
In my last post, “IELTS Essay Questions April-June” I listed the 44 essay questions which were given in that period. We can see that, four years on, not much has changed in the list. There were several questions on the Arts, Architecture, Consumerism and Advertising, and even one on Fashion. Technology is present in many questions, particularly in terms of its impact in other areas of life, such as education and work.
As always in IELTS, it isn’t a good idea to focus on just one subject as if it was not connected to others. Understanding how ideas are related to one another is a great way of developing your opinions and helps in other parts of the exam too, for example in part 3 speaking.
My advice is to use this information and develop vocabulary which can be used (by keeping vocabulary lists), and practice reading and listening in these areas. Finally, if you decide to take an IELTS course, make sure you see the course book before you start and check that you’ll be studying with these common topics. That way, you’ll be developing all four skills at the same time by learning more about these key subjects.