In IELTS, the second writing task (TASK TWO) is to produce an opinion-based essay; you are required to give your own points of view on a given subject (e.g. education provision or the impact of international tourism) and not provide anything else (i.e. information not related to the question/subject).
There is no official list of subjects (“themes”, “topics”), but the following serve as a general guide:
As a result of globalisation, more and more people are choosing to (or having to) learn English.
This represents a threat to many of the world’s less widely spoken languages. Explain this problem and provide some solutions.
More and more of the food we consume today travels thousands of miles before it reaches our local supermarkets and finally, our dinner plates. In your opinion, to what extent is this a positive or a negative development?
Nowadays, all over the world people share the same fashions, advertising, brands, eating habits and TV channels. Differences between countries and cultures become less evident each year. Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages of this?
In many countries there is a shortage of housing due to a growing population. Some people argue that new towns should be built in the countryside, others argue for the regeneration of cities. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the building new towns in the countryside?
Some people believe in the traditional idea that the woman’s place is in the home, while others say that idea is outdated and that women should play an increasingly important role in the workplace of the future. What is your opinion?
People are now living longer than ever before and many old people are unable to look after themselves. Some people believe that it is the responsibility of families to look after the elderly, while others say governments should provide retirement homes for them where they can be looked after properly. Discuss.
More and more qualified people are moving from poor to rich countries to fill vacancies in specialist areas like engineering, computing and medicine. Some people believe that by encouraging the movement of such people, rich countries are stealing from poor countries. Others feel that this is only part of the natural movement of workers around the world. Give your opinion.
In many countries, children are engaged in some kind of paid work. Some people regard this as completely wrong, while others consider it as valuable work experience, important for learning and taking responsibilities. Discuss.
Some people believe that the media, such as the press, TV and Internet should be more strictly controlled. Others feel that controls should be loosened to give people freer access to information. Which opinion do you agree with?
Some people argue that universities should provide students with more practical training for their future career. Discuss the likely costs and benefits of making university education more vocationally orientated.
Should museums and art galleries be free of charge for the general public, or should a charge, even a voluntary one, be required for admittance? Discuss the potential advantages and disadvantages of such a move.
Some people believe that unpaid community service should be a compulsory part of high school programmes (for example working for a charity or teaching sports to younger children). To what extent do you agree?
Some people say that the best way to improve public health is by increasing the number of sports facilities. Others, however, say that this would have little effect on public health and that other measures are required. Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.
Every year several languages die out. Some people think that this is not important because life will be easier if there are fewer languages in the world. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?
Even though many people argue globalisation affects the world’s economy in a positive way. Its negative effects on the environment should not be forgotten. In your opinion, what are two of the key impacts globalisation has on the natural environment?
As mass communication and transport continue to grow, societies are becoming more and more alike leading to a phenomenon known as globalisation. Some people fear that globalisation will inevitably lead to the loss of national and local cultural identities. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this point of view?