Recent IELTS Essay Questions 2018

The questions below are from a variety of sources, and are recent IELTS essay questions from 2017 as reported either by recent test takers directly in the comments section on this page, or from an assortment of other sources across the web.

Of course, I cannot guarantee if they are exactly the same as in a recent IELTS test, nevertheless, it is useful to review them as you may be able to use the same ideas from the model answers in a different essay.

The same questions will never come up in the test again, but the same topics and style of questions absolutely will so these essays are also a great source of vocabulary to learn specifically for IELTS topic areas

If you have recently taken the IELTS test please send me any questions that you can remember using the comments section at the bottom of the page.

Finally, the more you practice the luckier you will be on test day, so make sure you try and write answers to some of these questions and read the model essays for ideas too.

If you are not sure how to structure and essay then the 'Cheat Sheet' will help you with this, simply sign up at the side of the page. Good luck!

Get Your IELTS 'Cheat Sheet' Here!

Discover how to write a band 7+ essay quickly and easily!

privacy We value your privacy!

Opinion Essays

Most people believe that stricter punishments should be given for traffic offenses.

To what extent do you agree?

View Model Answer +

Some people are of the opinion that people who commit traffic offenses ought to be given harsher penalties. Personally, I disagree with this stand point due to a variety of reasons. The following paragraphs shall outline the main reasons why penalties should not be greater.

One of the main reasons drivers should not be punished more strictly is because it is unfair and the punishments can severely restrict a persons lifestyle. Even in developed countries it is virtually impossible to catch all motorists who infringe on the law. Therefore, it is quite random who gets charged for committing an offense. Once a person is charged, even for minor incidents, it can increase their insurance premium and if they are caught too many times they can be banned from driving and possibly lose their job. For instance, one commuter may drive through a street with speed cameras on everyday, whereas another commuter has no speed cameras on their route to work. The first motorist may get caught the one time a year they are speeding to work, where as the other commuter who speeds every day never gets charged.

A further reason not to charge offenders more heavily is that some of the restrictions placed on motorists are unreasonable. You can be charged for parking in a space a few minutes too long even when there are no other parking spaces available, driving slightly faster than the speed limit even on roads designed for speed, or even not wearing a seat belt which is surely a person own choice. None of these offenses are particularly dangerous and decrease the freedom of a nations populace.

In conclusion, unfair awarding of penalties and the limited value of some of the related traffic laws means I remain firmly against increasing the harshness of traffic penalties. Governments should take the above arguments into account for future planning purposes.

Humans tend to copy one another, especially in fashion, choice of clothes, and consumer goods.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

View Model Answer +

As regards the way people dress and the products that they buy humans tend to purchase the same items as other people in society. Personally, I agree entirely with this statement and in the following paragraphs reasons for this standpoint shall be explained.

Firstly, humans replicate the behaviour of others as it gives them a feeling of security and belonging. This therefore encourages them to dress similarly and own the same products. Individuals who choose not to adhere to the same social norms as others tend to face discrimination and are less likely to be able to progress in life to the same degree. For instance, one certain sub-culture of the UK are known as ‘Goths’ and they traditionally wear all black clothes as an indication of their membership of this group. These individuals are often perceived as not part of mainstream society and may therefore be treated differently.

Allied to the above, humans are competitive by nature and this characteristic often forces people to make purchases as a way to indicate how successful they are being in life. The more successful they are the more indulgent their purchases become. However, there is a trend for people to buy the same things, first a better car, then a bigger more luxurious house, and then perhaps a longer holiday. However, all of these items tend to be very similar in their core nature. Afterall, their really is not a significant difference between the 2018 and the 2017 version of Nike Air trainers.

Overall, human nature and their need for a sense of security ensure that they shall inevitably continue to purchase items that are similar in nature. For these reasons, I maintain my position that humans do base their behaviour and spending patterns on what other members of society are also buying.

Companies use several methods to increase the sales of products.

What are some of these methods? Which is the most effective?

View Model Answer +

Businesses adopt a variety of approaches in order to enhance their sales figures. The following paragraphs shall outline some of these methods and offer an opinion on which is the most effective sales technique.

First of all, the most modern techniques revolve around the use of social media as a means to make initial contact with potential customers. Often this requires people to provide their contact details in return for a free gift targeted towards their needs. Once contact has been established, businesses can then build a relationship over time by providing free advice. At a certain point in time, the company can then begin to make offers to these potential clients via email, or social media. One well known example is Skyscanner.com who will capture your email and then provide you with timely and relevant holiday offers.

The more traditional approaches to making sales however include techniques such as cold calling, door to door sales, in-shop sales pitches, or use of printed media such as running promotions in newspapers and magazines. These types of techniques have been proven to be effective over time, and large multi-national companies have been built on the back of a mixture of these techniques. For instance, Dixons were a large retailer of computers and accessories and they used all of the above techniques to drive their companies’ revenue growth year on year. Their sales reached a peak in the early 2,000s before online marketing and e-commerce really started to provide tough competition that their offline techniques could not match.

Overall, I personally believe there is a vast array of both old fashioned and new, innovative sales techniques that a company can choose from. In my opinion online sales techniques involving software applications and dedicated web-sites provide the most efficient return on investment due to the growth in popularity of purchasing products online. (313 words)

Nowadays, people living in large cities face many problems in their daily lives. What are these problems? Governments should encourage people to move to smaller towns.

Do you agree or disagree?

View Model Answer +

In recent years the lives of the inhabitants of large cities has been made more difficult by the number of issues that they routinely face. Personally, I feel governments should urge the public to consider relocating to less crowded towns and the following paragraphs shall outline my reasons for this belief.

The main problem with cities nowadays is the sheer number of people living there creating a variety of serious issues.  Firstly, with millions of people all commuting around a city at similar times, traffic congestion has become particularly bad in some cities. This means that employees have to either leave to go to work earlier or find an alternative means of transportation. Secondly, the rise in population levels of cities means that the amount of rubbish created has become almost intolerable. Governments are struggling to provide services to collect all the rubbish and dispose of it in a hygienic environmentally friendly manner increasing risk of disease and levels of pollution.

Allied to the above, with so much unskilled labour in cities these days, wage levels have plummeted, which means the poorer people in cities earn even less than in the past. This could actually be trapping this particular group of people in poverty, possibly for generations to come. For instance, the city of Detroit has experienced a 27% rise in population levels over the last 5 years alone with the percentage of people living in poverty soaring to a a record 35% of the city’s total population, up from 20% over the same time period.

Overall, unemployment, traffic congestion and waste management are the most significant issues faced by city residents nowadays. Governments should do all that they can to encourage people to migrate away from large cities in order to alleviate these issues for the benefit of all.

300 words

Discussion Essays

Discussion and Opinion Essays

Situation Essays

Nowadays more and more people want to get things done instantly.

Why is it? Do you think it is a positive or negative development?

View Model Answer +

In recent years people have begun to demand the completion of all manner of tasks instantaneously. My personal opinion is that this is a negative development that has been caused largely by improvements in technology. This essays shall offer supporting reasons for this stand point.

Society in general, now expects everything to be done immediately as we have grown used to new innovative technologies which often allow this to happen. In the past, customers would not mind waiting in a queue for a service but now, they grow increasingly agitated by doing so as there is nearly always a technology driven solution which could be easily implemented to speed up the process. For instance, Tesco in the UK have introduced checkout machines that do not require a cashier to operate them. This allows customers to go to any free machine and pay for their goods themselves, thus reducing waiting times.

This is a positive development as it means that all businesses now have to innovate in order to meet customer demands. Companies that ignore the need for speed and efficiency shall lose out to their more technologically driven companies. This should in effect create competitive industries that are all striving to improve the speed in which they provide their goods and services. For example, this has been happening for years in the smart phone market. Apple Incorporated are constantly challenged by its competitors, such as Samsung, to be creative and produce newer and more effective smart phones. Without this pressure they may not be forced to make the improvements in design that they have done and the consumer would suffer as a result.

Overall, I believe that technology is the main driver of people’s need for everything to happen instantaneously. This has benefited society in that companies have to be constantly innovating in order to remain competitive in their industry.

* Denotes Required Field

"Grab Your IELTS Writing Task 2 Cheat Sheet Here!"

Tired of wasting time and money trying to write a band 7 essay? Then let the ‘Cheat Sheet’ do the work!

We value your privacy and would never spam you

  • Opinion essay structure
  • Step-by-step instructions
  • Common topic areas
  • Practice questions
  • Sentence by sentence guide
  • The 6 Golden rules for success