If you read enough IELTS books (or take the exam too often!), you’ll soon realise that there are very definite IELTS topics. There is a good reason for this: IELTS is a very international exam and the topics have to be suitable for all countries and all cultures. Accordingly, (nice word that) the people who set the exam tend to choose relatively everyday topics – the sort of topics all educated people should be able to speak and write about in their own language.
Academic IELTS topics
So one obvious way to prepare for the exam is to practise writing and speaking about these topics. They are:
- women and the family (5 topics)
- sport and pastimes (5 topics)
- employment and money (8 topics)
- the media and advertising (4 topics)
- travel and transport (5 topics)
- science and technology (10 topics)
- education (6 topics)
- government (5 topics)
- globalisation (7 topics)
- the environment and housing(4 topics)
- health (4 topics)
- language and culture (10 topics)
- law and order (4 topics)
Questions not just topics
While the topics are predictable enough, the actual questions are invariably extremely precise. Again, there is also a good reason for this: the examiners do not want you to learn an essay, they want to test your English and see if you can answer a precise question, rather than produce a general answer to a general topic.
Learn and practice the question formats
There are 3 main formats of IELTS essay question
Each type of essay has its own difficulty (see answering the question 2). I strongly suggest you practise each type of essay before the exam.
The exam format
Remember that in the exam these words are always included:
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your knowledge or experience
This is no small point because it tells you that whatever the form of the question, you need to be able to explain and exemplify your answer ( see coherence).