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50 Recent IELTS Essay Questions

50 Recent IELTS Essay Questions 

Hey! It is so important that when you sit down to practice IELTS writing, you only use questions that are “genuine”. This means using either questions that come from the IELTS Cambridge 1 – 15 series or those that have been created by an exam writer like those in my 100 IELTS essay question blog post. However, many students like to practice recent IELTS essay questions i.e. topics that have been reported by recent test-takers.

I understand why students want to do this – knowing what the recent IELTS essays questions are and checking that you can answer them is reassuring. However, unfortunately, test-takers rarely (if ever) manage to accurately remember the wording of the question that they had in their test.

Can they remember the general topic? Sure.

Can they remember the exact wording? Definitely not!

Sadly, changing even one word in a test can change the focus of a question and, therefore, make it impossible to answer! So, every month, I collect 50 recent IELTS essay questions from students in My IELTS Classroom , and edit them so that they are as close to perfect as possible.

Plus, I divide the questions into Academic and General Training (so you can be sure you are tackling the right type of questions) and have highlighted the main topic of each question for you.

This page is updated monthly and is now showing questions from 2021. If you want to see exam questions that reportedly appeared earlier in 2021, then you can look at our 2021 archive.

As always, these questions are provided so that you can check that you have ideas for the nw topics. If you are preparing with a teacher or want high-quality feedback on your writing  then you should always use a question from the original IELTS Cambridge Series.


Academic IELTS Essay Questions (February 2021 – September 2021)

1. Some people think that criminal behaviour has genetic causes. Others believe that it is circumstances that lead people to commit a crime. Discuss both views and give your opinion.

2. Some people think that new houses should be built in the same style as older houses in an area. Others believe that local councils should allow people to choose different designs for their houses. Discuss both views and give your opinion.

3. Some people say that the best way to teach children to behave well is to punish them. Others argue that rewarding and praising children is a better way to teach them the difference between right and wrong. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

4. Some people believe that women should be able to join their country’s army and police forces. Others think that only men should be allowed to work in these areas. Discuss both views and give your opinion.

5. In some countries, there are not enough medical or educational facilities in rural areas. Therefore, some people believe newly graduated teachers and doctors should be sent to work in rural areas for some time. Others think that people should be free to choose where they work after graduation. Discuss both views and give your opinion.

6. A lot of research has shown that overeating can have a number of negative effects on the body. Some people therefore believe that the advertising of certain foods should be banned in the same way that some countries have banned advertising cigarettes. Do you agree or disagree?

7 Some people think that parents should teach their children about the importance of recycling. Others believe recycling should be taught in schools. Discuss both views and give your opinion.

8. The media has the right to publish information about the personal life of celebrities. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

9. Some people say that instead of preventing climate change, we need to find a way to live with it. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this view?

10. Young people today mostly learn by reading books or watching movies and TV shows, rather than personal experience. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

11. Big companies should provide sports and social facilities for the local communities where they operate. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

12. Some people argue that thanks to the widespread accessibility of the internet, libraries are no longer necessary. Do you agree or disagree?

13. If asked to choose between a life without work and a life that involves working most of the time, people will always choose not to work. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

14. Eighteen is the appropriate age for children to finish school. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

15. Schools should stop using books to teach and use films, TV and computers in the classroom instead. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?


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16. Nowadays foreign visitors show more interest in the museums of a country than its local residents do. Why is this? What can be done to attract more local residents to visit museums in their country?

17 Many companies sponsor sports to advertise their products or service. What advantages and disadvantages does this bring for the teams and individuals that these companies sponsor?

18. Most information today is available online whereas in the past it was stored in books or on paper. Do you think the advantages of this development outweigh the disadvantages?

19. The difference between countries is becoming less and less evident as people all over the world wear the same fashions, watch the same TV channels, use the same brands, and have similar eating habits. Do you think that the advantages of this trend outweigh the disadvantages?

20. Nowadays many people get the news online instead of reading it in newspapers or watching it on TV. Is this a positive or negative development?

21. In many countries today the proportion of older people in the population is higher than the proportion of younger people. Do you think this is a positive or a negative development?

22. More and more tasks in the home and at work are being performed by robots. Why do you think this is the case? Is this a negative or positive development?

23. Nowadays tourists and scientists are allowed to travel to remote natural environments. Do you think the advantages of this development outweigh the disadvantages?

24. Due to population growth many people these days live in apartments with limited space and no outdoor areas. Do the advantages of this trend outweigh its disadvantages?

25. Every country in the world has its own road rules, but many drivers don’t obey them. What do you think are the reasons for this? What can be done to solve this problem?

BONUS In many countries, shopping is now one of the most popular types of leisure activity. Why do you so many young people like shopping? Is this a positive or a negative development?

What are the current Aacdemic writing trends?

My observation of the most recent IELTS essay questions from 2021 is that there have been A LOT of Discuss Both Sides and To What Extent questions. In fact, this is more or less all that I have seen in the first month of the new year, so be sure that you are ready to answer these.


Want to listen to two IELTS experts discuss SIX of the questions and explain the ideas and organisation they would use to answer them? Then listen to this episode of the My IELTS Classroom Podcast!


GT IELTS Essay Questions (February 2021 – September 2021

1. Some people believe that individuals who earn a lot of money are the most successful in life. Others say that the individuals who contribute to the society (such as scientists or teachers) are more successful. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

2. It is universally accepted that sugar has a negative effects on people’s health. Therefore, some believe that the government should control the amount of sugar people consume. Others think that it is the responsibility of an individual to monitor their sugar intake. Discuss both views and give your opinion.

3. Some people say that the development of technology means that people no longer need to learn the skill of handwriting. Others believe that it is still necessary for people to learn how to write by hand. Discuss both these views and give your opinion.

4. Some people believe that individuals over 65 should not be allowed to continue working. Others think that people should be allowed to work for as long as they choose. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

5. Some people think that it is a good idea for parents to help their children with their homework. Others believe that children should do their homework on their own. Discuss both views and give your opinion.

6. Some people think that the government should spend money on cultural activities such as music or art. Others think this is a waste of taxpayers’ money. Discuss both views and give your opinion.

7. Some people think that children should be taught how to become good parents at school. Do you agree or disagree?

8. Many mothers stay at home to take care of their family and don’t go out to work. Some people believe these mothers should be paid by the government. Do you agree or disagree?

9. In many countries, it is common for people to consume fast food. However, some people believe that fast food has too much influence on our lifestyle and diet. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

10. Some people say that playing sports helps to prepare children for their future jobs. Do you agree or disagree?

11. Some people say that the Olympic Games no longer play a role in the 21st century. Do you agree or disagree?

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12. People’s behaviour (for example, their table manners and they way they dress) varies from country to country. When traveling to a different country, people should copy the behaviour and habits of the inhabitants of the country they  visit. Do you agree or disagree?

13. The best way to increase road safety is to make car drivers retake their driving test every year. Do you agree or disagree?

14. Some people believe that family is more important than friends. What do you think?

15. The Internet is the best place to find information. Do you agree or disagree?

16.  In many countries traditional customs are being lost. Why do you think this is? What can parents and schools do to keep traditional customs alive? 

17. People who are learning a foreign language can face a number of difficulties. What are some of these problems? In your opinion, what are the best ways to overcome these difficulties?

18. Young people today are often less polite and show less respect than previous generations. Why do you think this is? What can be done to solve this problem? 

19. Developments in technology mean that more and more machines are being used in the workplace instead of human employees. Does this development have more advantages or more disadvantages?

20. In some countries, young people choose to move from their parents’ home to their own house at an early age. In other countries, young people stay with parents for a longer time. Do you think young people who leave their parent’s home at a younger age have more advantages or disadvantages than those who stay?

21. In many parts of the world, more and more large supermarkets are opening and smaller local shops are closing down. Does this development have more advantages or more disadvantages for local people?

22. In some countries it is illegal to stop people applying for a job because of their age. Is this a positive or a negative development?

 23. In many countries, people are earning more money today than in the past, so they are able to buy more things. Is this a positive or a negative development?

24. Nowadays, people prefer to shop at large shopping centres rather than in local shops or markets. Why is this? Is this a positive or negative development?

25. Nowadays in many countries traditional customs are becoming less popular than in the past. Do you agree or disagree? What can parents and teachers do about this?

BONUS – Playing team sports at school can teach students a number of lessons that are useful outside of sport. What values can students learn from playing team sports? How can they apply these values in the future? 

What are the current GT writing trends?

So far this year, I have noticed two main trends for the recent IELTS essay questions for General Training students. First, there continue to be more 2-part questions than in the Academic test, and the topics seem to be more and more diverse.

Also, the test writers seem to making small changes to the wording of questions, which don’t actually change what you are expected to do, but may confuse some students. For example, in the past, you were always asked “Is this a positive or negative trend?” but recently the same question has been phrased as:

  1. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
  2. Do you think this is right or wrong?
  3. Do you think this this a good or bad use of public money?

If you enter the exam room and feel confused by the question, my advice is always to simply answer the question that you have been given.

Yes, there are question types that repeat, but if you are given a direct essay question or a type of question that is unfamiliar, simply focusing on answering the question/s you have been given clearly is always the best approach!

Confused by IELTS essays? Then watch my FREE video lesson

OK – those are the 50 most recent IELTS essay questions. I will try to do this every month so that you can be sure you have ideas for every possible IELTS question in your exam. Well, maybe not to every question, but at least by practicing with these, you will have sharpened your idea-generation skills. Plus, you can help me by adding any questions that you can remember from a recent IELTS exam in the comments below 🚀

Want more reported IELTS essay questions? Then look at our IELTS essay questions 2020 archive.

A graphic image of the words IELTS Essay Questions 2020 Archive

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