Ideas for IELTS topics


  1. Advertising


Positives of Advertising


Advertising is a key part of modern business

Companies need to tell customers about their products

Advertisements inform us about the choices we have

Advertising is a creative industry that employs many people

Without advertising we would have less choice

Without advertising there would be higher unemployment

Advertising is a form of modern art

People enjoy adverts


Negatives of Advertising


Advertising manipulates people

It aims to persuade people that buying a product will make them happier

Advertisers focus on selling a brand image

They use glamorous, successful people

We now live in a consumer culture

We are persuaded to follow the latest trend

We are encouraged to associate certain brands with a higher status

Advertisers often aim their marketing at children

Children can easily be influenced by advertisements.

Children put pressure on parents to buy them things


Opinions about Advertising


Advertising should be regulated

Advertising aimed at children should be controlled or even banned

Unhealthy foods should not be marketed in a way that attracts children

Products that can be risk to healthy should display warnings

In some countries it is illegal to advertise cigarettes on television

Warnings must be displayed on cigarette packets

However, advertising is necessary in free market economies

It creates demand for products

Governments should only censor false information or products that are harmful


  1. Animal rights

Arguments for Animal testing

Animals are used in important scientific research

It is necessary to do medical tests on new drugs

Animal testing helps to advance medical and scientific knowledge

Many important medical discoveries involved experimentation on animals

Researchers aim to minimize the suffering that animals experience

Testing for the cosmetics industry is now banned in many countries


Arguments against Animal Testing

The benefits of research using animals do not justify the suffering caused

There are alternative methods of research

The lives of animals should be respected

Humans have no moral right to do experiments on animals

Arguments for Vegetarianism

Vegetarians do not eat foods that are produced by killing animals

Many people choose a vegetarian diet for moral or health reasons

A healthy diet is possible without eating meat

It is unnecessary to kill animal for food

A vegetarian diet may reduce the risk of disease like cancer

Many people question the treatment of animals in factory farms

Arguments against Vegetarianism

Vegetarians do not eat a balanced diet

In many cultures, meat is the main ingredient in traditional meals

Meat-eaters argue that animals are below humans in the food chain

It is completely natural for us to kill them for food

Our aim should be improve farming methods

Farms should produce organic food

Positives of Zoos

Zoos paly an important role in wildlife conservation

They can help to protect endangered species

Zoos allow scientists to study animals and their behavior

Zoos are educational, interesting and fun

Children, in particular, enjoy learning about animals

Zoos provide job opportunities.

Negatives of Zoos

Zoo animals are kept in artificial environments

They are kept in cages or have limited space

Zoo animals rely on humans

They lose the freedom to hunt for food

They best way to save endangered species is by protecting natural habitats.

Some people believe that zoos are unethical

Zoos exhibits animals with the aim of making money

We have no right to use animals for entertainment and profit.

  1. Cities

Reasons for Urbanization

People move to cities in search of job opportunities

Cities offer greater employment possibilities and a higher standard of living

People migrate to cities from the countryside

Traditional activities like farming need fewer workers nowadays

Negatives of City Life

Life in cities has its drawbacks

The cost of living is higher than in rural areas

Some people d not manage to find work

Housing is usually much more expensive

Homelessness and poverty are common on cities

There is a gap between rich and poor

Life in cities can be extremely stressful

There are problems like traffic congestion and crime

Cities lack a sense of community

People do not even know their neighbor

Cities are sometimes described as “concrete jungles”.


Pedestrian Areas

Pedestrian zones in city centre can improve the local environment

Banning cars encourages people to walk or cycle

Many European cities have built bicycle lanes

Dependence on cars is linked to health problems like obesity

People who walk or cycle regularly are generally healthier

Pedestrian areas are safer and more attractive for both residents and tourists

  1. Crime

Police and Crime Prevention

The job of the polices is to catch criminals

They must also prevent crime and make communities safer

There should be an increase in the number of police officers on the streets

Police officers should be seen as part of the community

They should be involved with education and prevention

The police should be in close contact with schools

They should focus on young people who have dropped out of school.

These teenagers may become involved with gangs


Fines are used as punishment for minor crimes

If the crime is more serious, prison is the most common punishment

Some criminals pose a threat to society

They are put in prison to ensure the safety of other citizens

Negatives of Prisons

Criminals are put together

They make friends with other offenders

Many prisoners re-offend when they are released

A criminal record makes finding a job more difficult


Another aim of prisons is rehabilitation

Prisoners receive education of vocational training

Prisoners should learn personal skills and specific job skills

Punishment could make prisoners’ behavior worse

Rehabilitation aims to make them better citizens

Rehabilitated prisoners are less likely to re-offend

Capital punishment

Supporters say that capital punishment deters crime

Fear of the death penalty stops people from committing offences

The death penalty shows that crime is not tolerated

It is a form of revenge

The cost of imprisonment is avoided

The offender cannot pose a threat to others

Against Capital Punishment

Innocent people could be wrongly convicted and executed

Crime rates are not necessarily reduced

Many criminals do not think they will be caught

Capital punishment is not a good deterrent

Executing prisoners creates a violent culture and encourages revenge

We have no right to take another human life

Community service

Community service is a way to reform offenders

It could be a solution to prison overcrowding

It avoids the cost of imprisonment

It makes offenders useful in their local communities

They are required to clean streets or talk to school groups

Offenders repay their community

They avoid the negative influence that prison can have

Against community service

Community service is not a sufficient punishment

Criminals should be locked up, away from their victims

Crime in the Media

Crime is one of the main subjects of most news programs.

The mass media focus on violent and sensational crimes

This lead to fear of crime among the public

Sensational stories attract more viewers or readers

The media report crime stories in order to increase their audience

  1. Education

Benefits of education

Education gives people knowledge and skills

People with qualification are more likely to find work

They can earn a higher salary

They can contribute positively to society

Schools aim to teach young people moral values such as tolerance and sharing

Schools prepare children to be members of a society

Benefits of Studying Abroad

Foreign institutions may offer better courses

Many students want to attend a prestigious university

The best universities employ teachers who are experts in their fields

Qualifications gained abroad can open the door to better job opportunities

Living abroad can broaden students’ horizons

Overseas students are exposed to different cultures and customs.

They become more independent

They are responsible for cooking, cleaning and paying bills

They will learn a foreign language

Drawback of studying abroad

Living and studying abroad can be difficult

Students have problems with paperwork such as visa applications

The language barrier can be a problem

Students have to find accommodation and pay bills

Studying in a foreign language is challenging

Living alone in an unfamiliar culture can cause homesickness

Technology in Education: Advantages

Technology is a powerful tool to engage students

Technology can make lessons much more interesting

Students can do research using online resources

Students can study at their own place

Adults can take distance learning courses

Students can study whenever and wherever they want

Students also learn skills which are useful for their future jobs

For example, they learn to write reports using a word processor

Technology in Education: Disadvantages

People rely too much on computers

Young learners do not become proficient in some basic skills

They use word processors and spelling may suffer

People should be able to write a letter by hand

Technology is no substitute for a real teacher

Learners need a structured course

An experienced teacher knows what materials to choose

Computers are expensive to maintain and can be unreliable

Technology in Education: Opinion

Institutions should supplement traditional teaching with the use of technology

Technology is part of everyday life

It can enhance a teacher’s lessons

Students can use online resources to help with homework

Students must still learn to write by hand

They should still use traditional sources of information such as books

Education in Developing countries: Problems

Children often have to work from an early age

There are no schools in many areas

Families do not have access to books or computers

Literacy rates are often low

People in developing countries need knowledge and skills

Education is the key to improving the economy of these countries

Education in developing countries: solutions

Developed countries could help developing nations by providing money

They could invest in schools and technology

They could supply the funds to build schools and pay for teachers

Children need to have access to free schooling

Computer equipment could be donated

The Internet can expose students to a world of knowledge and information

Governments should make education compulsory for all children

They should encourage parents to send their children to school

Governments of developed and developing countries must work together

Higher education: Advantages (also see “benefits of education”)

There are many benefits to going to university

A degree can open the door to better employment prospects

Economies are becoming increasingly knowledge-based

Most jobs require specific knowledge and skills

Skilled workers are needed for sectors such as information technology and engineering

Repetitive manual jobs are now done by machine

Many factories have moved to developing countries

Higher education: Disadvantages

A healthy economy needs a wide range of workers

Some manual workers will always be needed

A university degree is not necessary for many service professions

Practical training is more important in some industries

In the UK, for example, there is currently a shortage of plumbers

Their services are therefore becoming more and more expensive

Advantage of Home-schooling

Some parents decide to educate their children at home

Some families live in isolated areas with poor transport

Other parents are not satisfied with local schools

Parents can respond to what their children need and how they learn best

One-to-one lessons allow much faster progress

The child can work at his or her own pace

Discipline problems are avoided by home-schooling

Disadvantages of home-schooling

Most parents do not have the time to educate their children at home

One parent would need to give up work

School subjects are normally taught by up to ten different teachers

Most parents do not have the necessary knowledge or resources

Private tutors are expensive

Children will miss out on the social experience that school offers

At school, children learn how to get on with each other

Home-schooled children may lack social skills

Schools offer a better overall educational experience

Bad behavior in schools: causes

Bad behavior is due to a lack of structure and discipline

There are too many children in some classes

Large classes are difficult to manage

May disruptive students come from an unstable family background

Other parents are too lenient and spoil their children

Some children are used to getting whatever they want

Schools can do very little if they are not supported by parents

Bad behavior in schools: solutions

Schools need a clear code of conduct

Schools need a clear set of rules about behavior

They need to create a positive working atmosphere

Teachers must have the power to punish disruptive students

Schools should remove difficult children from lessons

Schools need to work closely with parents

Discipline could be lacking at home

Parents must support the school rules

They should take responsibility for their children’s behavior

Corporal Punishment: Opinion

Corporal Punishment is not a good idea

Physical punishment is a way of controlling children using fear

This does not promote trust between adults and children

Children who are punished physically may become shy or resentful

Corporal punishment creates an atmosphere of fear and anger

Single Sex Education: Advantages

Some people believe that male and female students should go to separate schools

This is often for religious or cultural reasons

Discipline problems might be avoided by separating boys and girls

Boys and girls may learn in different ways and have different needs

Student at single-sex schools often get better exam grades.

Single-sex Education: Disadvantages

Separating boys and girls is unnecessary

It is unhealthy in terms of children’s social development

Many coeducational schools are extremely successful

A mixed-sex environment is more representative of real life

Coeducational schools provide children with better social skills for adult life

Advantages of Streaming (grouping children according to ability)

Some schools separate students according to their academic ability

Teachers can work at the right speed for their students

Teachers can plan more suitable lessons

High-level groups may progress faster

Lower level groups can benefits from a slower pace

Some teachers and parents support streaming for these reasons

Disadvantages of Streaming

Grouping by ability may have a negative impact on students

Children do not want to be seen as less intelligent than others

Streaming could damage students’ self esteem

They may lose motivation

Students from wealthier families tend to be better prepared

Children from poorer families may receive less support from parents

Mixed ability classes encourage everyone to achieve their potential.

  1. Environment

Global warming

Gases such as carbon dioxide trap heat from the sun

This causes global temperatures to rise

This process is known as the greenhouse effect

Human activity is a major factor in the rise of the greenhouse gases

Factories and vehicles produce emissions and exhaust fumes

Many developing countries are becoming industrialized

The number of cars on our streets is growing

Cheap air travel is allowing more people to fly

Effects of Global Warming

Global warming will have a significant impact on our planet

Rising temperature will cause melting of the polar ice caps

Sea levels will rise

We can expect more extreme weather conditions

Flooding and droughts may become more common

Impacts of humans on the environment

The increasing world population is putting pressure on natural resources

Fossil fuels like oil and gas are running out

We are destroying wildlife habitats

We have cut down enormous areas of rainforest

This has led to the extinction of many species of animals and plants

Solutions to environment problems

Governments could introduce laws to limit emissions from factories

They should invest in renewable energy from solar, wind or water power

They could impose “green taxes” on drivers and airlines companies

Government campaigns should promote recycling

Natural areas and wild animals should be protected

Individuals should also try to be greener

We should take fewer flights abroad for holidays

We should take public transport rather than driving

We should choose products with less packaging

We should recycle as much as possible


The amount of waster we produce has increased

This problem is a result of our consumer culture

Products are not made to last

If something breaks, we throw it way and buy a new one

Advertisers encourage is to buy the newest fashions

Packaging is an important part of selling

Most foods are sold in non-biodegradable plastics packaging

The amount of household waste is growing

This waste ends up in landfill sites


People do not think about the consequences of dropping rubbish

They assume that somebody is pad to clean the streest

Plastic packaging does not break down easily

Most of the litter seen on streets is fast food packaging

Recycling and other solutions

Companies should make goods that last longer

They should not use so much packaging

Governments should be stricter, about waster produced by companies

They should put legal limits on packaging

Consumers should avoid buying over-packaged products

We should recycle and reuse useful materials.

There are collection banks for glass, paper and plastic bottles

Households can use several rubbish bins to separate waste

Recycling saves energy and raw materials.

Nuclear Power: Positives

There are several benefits to build more nuclear power stations

Fossil fuel like oil and gas are running out

Nuclear power is a sustainable energy source

It can be used to produce electricity without wasting natural resources

It could be replace the use of natural resources like coal, oil or gas

Nuclear power stations are cleaner than fossil fuel power stations

They could help to reduce carbon emissions that cause global warming

The risks of accidents are being reduced

Nuclear Power: negatives

Opponents of nuclear power worry about the safety of power stations

The building of new nuclear power stations is unpopular

Nobody wants to live near one

Nuclear waste disposal is a significant problem

There is currently no way to decontaminate radioactive material

People worry that terrorists could steal radioactive materials

It is safer to produce energy from solar, wind or water power.

  1. Family

Family size

Families in many countries are not as large as they used to be

We tend to live in small nuclear families rather than large extended families

Parents tend to have fewer children

Young children are no longer expected to work

Nowadays both parents often work

It costs so much to bring children up

It is more difficult to raise a large family


Working parents (also see “gender” topic)

Children and their parents seem to be less close nowadays

Parents spend less time with their children

Women traditionally stayed at home to cook, clean and look after children

Nowadays both parents often work full time

Children may be left alone, or with nannies or babysitters

Busy parents have less contact with their children

Many families no longer eat meals together

Children spend more time with friends or surfing the Internet


Negative effects on Children

The lack of closeness in families can have a negative effect on children

Many parents have no idea how their children spend their time

Friends, television and the Internet become the main influence on children’s behavior

Teenagers are influenced by peer pressure

Some of them join gangs

Juvenile delinquency is on the increase

Parents should be more involved with their children’s upbringing

Young people need positive role models



In the past, divorce was unacceptable

It was considered to be embarrassing for a family

People stayed together for religious or family reasons

Divorce is more socially acceptable nowadays

It has become much more common

Divorce can be extremely stressful

Lone parents may face financial difficulties

Many single parents have to rely on benefits paid by the state

Divorce can have a negative effect on children

Children from single-parent families are more likely to get lower grades or drop out of school.

The rise in divorce rates may be connected to some social problems


Care for Old people

Caring for elderly people was traditionally the responsibility of families

Adults had to look after their elderly parents

A woman’s job was to stay at home taking care of her family

Nowadays, fewer elderly people are looked after by their relatives

Residential homes provide care for large number of elderly people

Some families are unable to look after elderly relatives

Families tend to be smaller these days, and women often have full-time jobs

Cares homes provide a professional service for senior citizens

Nurses are better trained than family members


Care for Old people: Opinion

The best form of care for the elderly depends on the family situation

It depends on whether family members have the time resources

We all have a responsibility towards the older people in our society

Governments should invest money in facilities and training for care workers.

  1. Gender

Gender and education

Men and women should have access to the same educational opportunities

Males and females should be accepted onto courses according to their abilities

It is wrong to discriminate against students because of their gender

Gender should be irrelevant in education

Student’s achievements should depend on hard work and individual merit

In the UK, there are similar numbers of male and female students in higher education

Gender and work

Men and women should have access to the same professional opportunities

Both man and women should be able to pursue a career

They should earn equal salaries

They should be employed according to their abilities, qualifications and experience

Traditionally women have been restricted to certain roles

They were often employed as secretaries or receptionists

Nowadays, a range of occupations is available to both sexes

Career success depends on individual merit


Women’s and Men’s roles in the Family

Some people argue that a mother should not work

She should stay at home and bring up her children

The father should be the breadwinner of the family

Others believe that both parents should share these responsibilities

Working women can take maternity leave during and after pregnancy

Many mothers continue to work after this period

Many fathers and mothers share their parenting and domestic responsibilities

They contribute equally to childcare, cooking and cleaning

Some women many have better career prospects than their husbands.

Paternity leave and “househusbands” are becoming more common

Traditional gender roles and gradually changing

Families can divide roles and responsibilities in the most convenient way.


  1. Genetic Engineering

Positives of genetic engineering

Genetic engineering is the practice of manipulating the genes of an organism

It is used to produce crops that are more resistant to insects and diseases

Some genetically modified crops grow more quickly

Some drugs and vaccines are produced by genetic engineering

It may become possible to change human’s genetic characteristics.

Scientists may use genetic engineering to cure diseases.

Inherited illnesses would no longer exist

Genes could be changed before a baby is born

It could also be possible to clone human organs

We could all have replacement body part

Humans could live longer, healthier lives


Negatives of genetic engineering

There are ethical concerns about human genetic engineering

Parents might want to choose their children’s characteristics

This would be unnatural

It would be unacceptable in most religions

Soldiers could be cloned from the genes of the strongest people

Clones might be used like robots to do certain jobs

Clones might even be developed just for organ replacements

Society and human evolution would change completely

Currently, human genetic engineering is prohibited


Genetically-Modified (GM) foods: Advantages

Farmers can produce crops that grow bigger and faster

Some GM crops are more resistant to disease or insects

This could be important for food production in developing countries

Faster growing cereals, fruit and vegetables will mean more profit

GM foods can be modified to look perfect

They may be more attractive to customers


Genetically-Modified (GM) Foods: Disadvantages

There may be risks involved in the genetic engineering of foods.

GM crops might change whole ecosystems

Food chains could be broken if crops are resistant to predators

Organic foods are produced without chemicals or genetic modification

Organic farming may be slower and more expensive

However, the environment is not damaged by fertilizers or pesticides.


  1. Global issues

Problems in developing countries

Developing countries face a range if problems

Standards of healthcare and education are low

Life expectancy is usually lower than in developed countries

There is a lack of infrastructure, employment and good quality housing

Many people are forced to live in poverty

Food, drinking water and basic medicines are in short supply


How to help developing countries

The best form of help for developing countries is development aid

Richer nations can help by investing in long-term projects

Governments and charities can help by building new houses and schools

Globalization may also help developing countries

Multi-national companies can creating jobs in developing countries

On the other hand, many people emigrate to find work in richer countries

They often sand money back home to their families

This money helps to improve the standard of living in developing countries



Some people move to another countries in search of a better life

Many immigrants come from less developed countries

Richer, industrialized countries may offer opportunities for employment

Free healthcare and schooling are available in some developed countries

Other people migrate to a foreign country to improve their academic qualifications


Positives of immigration and Multi-cultural societies

From an economic perspective, immigration can be extremely positive

Many immigrants have skills that are needed in the country they move to

Immigrants who find work contribute to the economy of their new country

Many immigrants send money home to help family members

Immigration also creates cultural diversity

People of many different nationalities learn to live together

This can help people to become more open-minded and tolerant


Negatives of Immigration

Some people believe that immigrants take jobs that should go to local people

Some immigrant workers work longer hours for less money

Companies might pay lower salaries to immigrant workers

Unemployment rates could rise if there are too many immigrants


Opinions about Immigration

Immigration can help the economy of a country

It can create multi-cultural societies

However, immigration needs to be controlled

In many countries, immigrants need visas or work permit

Governments should stop companies from exploiting immigrant workers

Foreign and local workers should have the right to equal pay and conditions


Positives of Globalization

Business of becoming increasingly international

Multi-national companies do business across the world

Companies like MacDonald’s can be seen on high streets in most cities

Goods are produced in one country and sold in many others

A global economy means free trade between countries

This can strengthen political relationships

Globalization can also create opportunities for employment

It encourages investment in less developed countries

It could reduce poverty in the developing world


Negatives of Globalization

Globalization is not always beneficial to everyone

Companies can move to countries where labour is cheap

This creates redundancies, or job losses

Employees cannot be confident that they have stable jobs

Companies sometimes exploit their employees in developing countries

Global trade creates more waste and pollution


The future of Globalization

There should be global regulations for salaries and working conditions

Governments should impose laws to protect the environment


  1. Government and Society

What governments can do

Governments provide public services like healthcare and education

They support people who are living in poverty or unable to work

Governments raise money by taxing working people

They can spend money on resources and campaigns

They can introduce new laws

They can impose taxes

They can raise people’s awareness of issues (e.g climate change/healthy eating)

They can influence people’s habits and opinions

They can create jobs

They can regulate the activities of companies such as banks

They can provide resources for schools

They are also responsible for the security and well-being of their citizens

They control armed forces and police forces


Public services

Governments pay the salaries of public sector workers like police officers and teachers

The necessary money is raised by taxing people’s income

Free education and healthcare may be provided by the state

Some governments control public transport systems and even TV channels

In other countries, these services are provided by private companies

Some people believe that competition between private companies is good

It helps to improve quality while bringing prices down

Other people think that essential services should be free

Governments should pay for them


Censorship: Opinion

Governments can censor what public sees or reads in the media

To a certain extent censorship is necessary

We should use censorship to protect children from violent images

Some computer games involve killing people or committing crimes

The Internet also needs to be controlled

Many websites show pornography and violence

There should be age limits for websites and computers games

Parents need to take responsibility for checking what their children watch

It is impossible for governments to control everything we see


Video cameras in public places

The use of CCTV is becoming widespread

Video cameras have been installed in many public places

They are supposed to protect us and deter criminals

Many people think that this surveillance violates our privacy

The authorities could build databases with our pictures and identities

We should not be treated like criminals


Smart cards: Positives

Governments will probably introduce a digital identification card system

Smart cards will have benefits and drawbacks

They could help to reduce crime

They could hold personal information, such as DNA

Digital bank cards could contain fingerprint information

It would be very difficult for criminals to use a stolen card

It would be easier for police to identify people and catch criminals


Smart cards: Negatives

Many people are worried about losing their privacy

Governments could store all our personal and medical information

This information could be used by insurance companies

Employers could check our health records


People with Disabilities

People with disabilities should be treated the same as everybody else

They should have the same rights as other people

They should have access to the same jobs as other citizens

Discriminations against disabled people is illegal in many countries

Ramps and lifts for wheelchairs should be installed in public buildings

Support teacher can be employed to help children with learning difficulties


  1. Guns and Weapons

Why guns should be legal:

In some countries, people are allowed to own firearms

Individuals have the right to protect themselves

People can use guns in self defence

This deters criminals


Why gun ownership should be illegal:

There is a risk of accidents with guns

The number of violent crimes increases when guns are available

Criminals may be armed

The police then need to use guns

Suicide rates have been shown to rise when guns are available

Guns create violent societies with high murder rates


Why polices should use guns

Many criminals use weapons

The threat of a gun can deter criminals

Police officers can forces a criminal to surrender

It is easier to arrest someone and avoid physical violence

The police may shoot violent criminals in self defence

They can protect the public

They can shoot an escaping criminal who poses a serious danger to the public

Why police should not carry guns

There is a risk of accidents and mistakes

The police might shoot an unarmed criminal or an innocent person

Accidents can happen in public places

There are several alternatives to guns (e.g tear gas, sprays and electric shock weapons)

Only special police units should use guns


Arm Trade: Positives

The export of arms, or weapons, is an extremely controversial issue

Governments of rich, industrialized countries sell arms to each other

This industry creates jobs and wealth

The trade of weapons may improve relationships between governments


Arms Trade: Negatives

Weapons may be used in conflicts and wars

The supply of arms could be responsible for deaths

Governments are promoting war in order to make a profit

Rich countries can influence the politics of other nations


Nuclear weapons

Nuclear weapons are capable of destroying whole cities

A nuclear war between two countries would destroy both countries

Nuclear weapons are used as a deterrent

They prevent wars from starting


Nuclear weapons: Opinion

Nuclear weapons should be prohibited

Governments should limit the production of nuclear weapons

There is a danger of nuclear weapons being obtained by terrorists

Nuclear weapons cannot be used against terrorist organizations


Armed Forces: Positives

Armed forces provide security and protection

They deter military attack by another country

They can also be sued to maintain peace within countries

They can be sued to give the police extra support

Soldiers are also used to help in emergency situations, such as after a natural disaster


Armed forces: negatives

Armies require a lot of funding from governments

Too much money is spent on weapons and military technology

This money could be spent on schools, hospitals and other public services

  1. Health


The human body requires a balanced diet

An unhealthy diet can cause various health problems

Obesity, diabetes and heart disease are on the increase

Many people nowadays rely on fast food or pre-prepared meals

These foods often contain too much fat, salt and sugar

They are cheap to buy and very easy to prepare

Many young people have grown up on a diet of convenience foods

Populations in developed countries are increasingly overweight


Regular exercise is essential in maintaining a healthy body

Exercise burns calories and helps to build healthy bones and muscles

Doctors advise exercising at least three times a week for 20 minutes

Most people nowadays lead a sedentary lifestyle

We tend to walk less and do desk jobs

Most adults relax by watching television

Children play video games rather than doing outdoor sports

In the past, people were more active in their jobs and at home

Government’s Role

Governments have a significant role to play in reducing obesity

More and more people, including young children are seriously overweight

They are at risk of heart disease and diabetes

This situation will increase the burden on hospitals and taxpayers

Hospitals rely on the government for money and resources

Governments should promote a healthy diet and regular exercise

There should be more time for sports on school timetables

Unhealthy junk food should be banned from school menus

People need information about what foods contain

Food packaging must show the food’s nutritional content

The British Government recommends eating five portions of fruit and vegetables per day


State Health system: advantages

Good healthcare should be available to everyone for free

State healthcare is paid by the government using money from taxes

Everyone has access to the same quality of care and treatment

Private healthcare is unfair because only wealthy people can afford it

The National Health Service in the UK provides free healthcare for every resident


Private Healthcare: advantages

State hospitals are often very large and difficult to run

Private hospitals have shorter waiting lists for operations and appointments

Patients can benefit from faster treatment

Many people prefer to pay for more a personal service

Patients have their own room and more comfortable facilities


Alternative medicine: Positives

People are increasingly using alternative medicines to treat illnesses.

For example, acupuncture can be used to treat backache

Herbal medicines can be used to treat allergies or viruses

Many patients report positive experiences with these treatments

Some traditional cures have been used for hundreds of years


Alternative medicine: Negatives

Many alternative medicines have not been tested scientifically

They may have no beneficial effect at all

They may cause unknown side effects

People should trust the opinions of qualified doctors

An illness could get worse without treatment from a doctor


Modern lifestyles are increasingly stressful

People work long hours with strict deadlines

Our busy lifestyles mean we have less time to relax

Unemployment is a major cause of stress

Children may be affected by their parents’ relationship problems

Tests and exams can also cause stress


How to reduce stress

Stress can be reduced by taking regular exercise and eating a healthy diet

It is also important to get sufficient sleep and make leisure time a priority

People should work less overtime and take regular holidays

Schools have started to employ psychologists

They can offer emotional support to students

They can help students to cope with exam stress


  1. Housing and Architecture

State/council housing

In some countries the government provides state or council housing

This helps people who cannot afford to buy their own house

It can be argued that state housing creates dependence on the government

People should be rely on the government to look after them

People have no incentive to earn money and buy their own home

Council properties are often made with cheap, poor-quality materials.


Old Buildings

Historic buildings are part of a country’s heritage

They should be protected

Old buildings are often considered to be works or art

They give character to cities and attract tourists

They show us how people lived in the past

We identify countries by architectural symbols like the pyramids in Egypt

Governments should spend money on looking after historic buildings

They need regular repairs and maintenance

New buildings should be designed to complement them


Modern/green buildings

Modern buildings should be designed to be environmentally friendly

They should use less energy and produce less waste

Modern insulation can make houses more energy-efficient

Solar and wind power can be used to generate electricity

Rainwater and waste water can be recycled and used to flush toilets.

Modern glass buildings take advantage if natural light


  1. Language

English as an international language

English is widely used around the world

It is becoming a global second language

It is the dominant language of technology, science and international business

International business meetings are regularly held in English

The most important textbooks and journals are published in English

The ability to speak English is a necessary skill in the modern world


Negative of English as an International Language

If one language is dominant, other languages may disappear

The dominant language brings its own culture

American culture has become popular around the world

Other cultures may be damaged

As an alternative to English, a new global language could be invented

It would have no nationality or culture attached to it

This could help to promote international peace and understanding

Esperanto is an example of a language that was invented with this aim


  1. Money

Money and Society

Society has become increasingly materialistic

People aspire to earn more money

They want a bigger house or a better car

We connect wealth and material possessions with happiness and success

Brands like “Armani” or ”Mercedes” are status symbols

Advertising creates new desires and needs

It persuades us to buy the latest styles


Positives of Consumerism

Consumerism creates employment

It helps to reduce poverty

It encourages innovation and creativity in business

We live in a global economy

We have a better quality of life


Negatives of Consumerism

Consumerist societies create more waste

They use more natural resources

They cause damage to the environment

Consumerism creates a “throw-away” culture

Advertisers tell us who we are and what we want

Wealth does not lead to happiness

Materialism causes greed and crime

We should return to traditional values like sharing


  1. Personality


Happiness means different things to different people

It can be described as a feeling of pleasure or enjoyment

People enjoy spending time with family and friends

Hobbies, sports and games can be a source of fun and enjoyment

Some people see money as a source of happiness

Other people define happiness as something deeper

In order to be truly happy it is necessary to live a good life

We need to feel that we are doing something useful with our lives

Some people get a sense of achievement from their work

Others find happiness in bringing up their children

Religion or a sense of purpose can also be a source of happiness



People define success in different ways

Some people get a sense of achievement from raising a family

For others, success is defined by wealth or status

We often think of rich and famous people as being successful in life

Millionaires like Bill Gates are considered to be successful

They have risen to the top in their chosen professions

For some, being successful means achieving personal or professional goals

They see success as the result of hard work

Success in any field requires long-term planning and effort


Nature or Nurture

Some people believe that our personalities are determined mainly by genetics

We inherit our abilities and talents from our parents

Others think that our education and upbringing are more important

We develop according to the influences around us

Our personalities and achievements depend more on nurture than nature

Many people argue that we control our own destinies

We can shape our own personalities

By working hard we can achieve and goal that we put our minds to

Many successful people are “self-made”

We are not limited by our genetic characteristic or upbringing


  1. Sport and Leisure

Arguments against Professional/competitive sport

Sport has become a business

Professional sport encourages people to compete for money

Many sports stars are only concerned about money and fame

Some athletes take drugs in order to win at any cost

Competitors are often selfish and rude

They are not good role models for children

All sports should be amateur

Sports should be leisure activities rather than jobs

People should do sporting activities for enjoyment and health reasons

Taking part is more important than winning


Arguments for Professional sport

Professional sports are the same as any other business

Many people are employed in the sports industry

People should be able to use their talents to earn a salary

Sports stars entertain millions of people

Money is necessary to improve facilities and train athletes

The level of professional sport is much higher than that of amateur sport


Arguments for Competitive sport

Competition is a natural instinct in humans

In daily life we compete to get jobs or the highest grades

Sports are a safe form of competition

Competition is healthy because it pushes us to give our best

Competitors and fans can release energy and aggression

Supporters of teams feel a sense of belonging to a community


Opinion: professional sport salaries are too high

Sports professionals earn too much money

They do not provide a vital service

Football players, for example, earn enormous salaries by simply kicking a ball

We could all live happily without professional football

Life would be difficult without doctors, engineers and other vital professionals.

Society does not seem to value these professions as highly as professional sport

Sports salaries should be compatible with the wages most people earn


Opinion: professional sport salaries are fair

It is fair that the best professional earn a lot of money

Sport is a multi-million-pound industry

There is a large audience of sports fans

Sports on television attract many viewers

Sports stars have dedicated hours of practice to developing their fitness and skills

Only the most talented among them will reach the top

A sports career many only last 10 years

Sports fans are willing to pay to support their teams


Sports and Politics

Some people think that sport and politics should remain separate

Governments are involved in the hosting of sporting events such as the Olympics.

These events attract investment and create jobs.

The Olympic Games are an advertisement for the host nation

They attract huge numbers of visitors and sports fans

Wealthy countries tend to hold these events

Developing countries should be given the chance to become hosts


  1. Television, Internet, Phones

Positives of television

Watching television is a good way to relax

It is many people’s favorite way to wind down after a hard day at work

Television programs can be entertaining and enjoyable

Viewers have access to a huge variety of entertainment channels

Television brings the best comedians, musicians and actors into our homes

Programmers can also be informative and educational

News coverage makes the public aware of events around the world

Documentaries can make learning more interesting


Negatives of Television

Television is having a negative impact on society

Some people link violence on television with crime rates in the real world

Children copy the behavior they see on the screen

Children are less healthy because they spend less time palying

Advertisers direct their marketing at children

Most programs do not require much thought

Watching TV is a waste of time


Opinions about Television

Television has many benefits

However, it can be addictive

Children should play outside rather than sit in front of a screen all day

Behaviour shown on TV can influence people

Parents should choose carefully what their children watch

Children should not be exposed to violence, swearing or sexual images

Advertising during children’s programs should be strictly controlled

TV companies should make more positive, educational programs


Positives of the Internet

There are many advantages to using the Internet

It gives us instant access to information on almost any subject

Shops and other services are now available online

People can buy goods and services from the comfort of their homes

The Internet is starting to replace other forms of entertainment

It has revolutionized communication

We can keep in touch by email or instant messenger services

Video messaging is becoming common for business meetings


Negatives of the internet

Many websites contain offensive content

Some sites show violent or sexual images

Parents find it difficult to control what their children see online

They do not always know who their children are chatting to

With so many websites it is difficult to search for good information

Criminals increasingly use the Internet to steal people’s money


Internet compared to newspaper and books

Newspapers and books are now published online as well as in print

We can read the news in any language from any country in the world

It costs nothing to publish or access information on the Internet

The Internet allows anybody to publish their own writing

Newspaper articles and books are written by professionals

Professionals produce better quality writing than amateur

People still buy newspapers and books because they are portable

People do not like reading from a screen


Positives of Mobile Phones

The mobile phone is the most popular gadget in today’s world

Mobile phones have revolutionized the way we communicate

We can stay in touch with family, friends and colleagues wherever we are

Users can send text messages, surf the Internet, take photos and listen to music

Mobiles have also become fashion accessories


Negatives of Mobile Phones

Mobiles phones can be a problem in some public places

Ringing phones cause disturbance in cinemas and school lessons

Some people are not aware that others can hear their conversations

Mobile phones may also interfere with electronic equipment

Their waves could cause damage to our brains

Mobile phones can also be a dangerous distraction

Using a phone while driving reduces the driver’s concentration

Mobile phones are a popular target for thieves


Opinion about Mobile Phones

The benefits of mobile phones outweigh the drawbacks

We need to use these phones with care


  1. Tourism

Positives of Tourism

Tourism is a popular leisure activity

People go on holiday to relax and have fun

Tourists can experience different cultures

They can sunbathe on beaches or go sight-seeing

Travelling abroad opens our minds

We can learn to speak other languages

The tourist trade is vital for some economies

It creates employment in services like accommodation, transport and entertainment

Some areas rely on tourism for their income

Tourists spend money

Tourism attracts investment from multi-national companies

It helps to improve the standard of living

Low-cost airlines are making it cheaper to travel abroad


Negative effects of tourism

Tourism can have a negative effect on the natural environment

The building of facilities and infrastructure can destroy the habitat of wild animals

Beautiful beaches are spoilt by the building of hotels

Tourism creates pollution and waste

It puts pressure on local resources

Local traditional and cultures may be endangered

A rise in the cost of living affects local people

The price of goods, services and housing may increase significantly


The future of tourism

Government should introduce laws to protect natural environments and local cultures

Tourism should have a low impact on wildlife

Renewable resources like solar or water power should be used

Waste should be recycled

Local businesses such as farms should be supported


  1. Traditional vs Modern

Losing traditional skills

Because of industrialization and global trade, many traditions have disappeared

Global advertising encourages everyone to buy the same products

Most products are now made in factories

Machinery has replaced skilled human labour

Factory work is boring and leaves people feeling unfulfilled

Goods are produced very quickly and in large numbers

Products are cheaper, which means that more people can buy them


Clothes are mass produced in standard sizes

People wear similar clothes, rather than traditional costumes

Jeans and T-shirt are now worn throughout the world

Historic buildings took skilled craftsmen years to build

Modern concrete, steel and glass buildings are built in only weeks or months

There are fewer people who can create hand-made goods


Traditional customs

Traditional customs are still important during weddings and religious festivals

People wear traditional costumers and eat special foods

It is important to maintain our different cultural identities

We should celebrate festivals, teach traditional skills and protect historic places


  1. Transport

Traffic problems

Traffic congestion is caused by commuters travelling to work

Most people live in the suburbs outside city centre

Commuters tend to travel at the same time of day

They tend to travel alone

Cars and road space are not used efficiently

This causes traffic jams during the rush hour


Traffic solutions

In order to reduce traffic we should change our working habits

The internet can now be used to connect people

More people could work from home

Meetings can be held as video conferences

Workers could be given flexible timetables

Another solution would be to tax drivers

Workers should share their cars and travel together

In London, for example, there is a congestion charge

This helps to raise money for better public transport

Public transport needs to be reliable and efficient


Positives of Public transport

We need to reduce our dependence on cars

Parking a car can be extremely difficult in big cities

Well-designed transport systems are comfortable and convenient

Modern public transport can be fast and cheap

Public transport can help to reduce pollution in cities

Investment in buses and trains will ease traffic congestion

Buses can be given special lands to avoid traffic


Negatives of public transport

Public transport if often slow and unreliable

Metro systems and trains are often dirty and crowded

People feel like “sardines in a can”

Cars are much more comfortable


Road safety

Driving while tired or drunk is extremely dangerous

Mobile phones can be a dangerous distraction for drivers

They draw the driver’s attention away from the road

The use of phones while driving has been banned in many countries

Punishments are becoming stricter

Television campaigns are used to remind people to drive safely

Speed cameras have become more common

Speed bumps are another form of traffic calming

Many streets are designed with the aim of slowing traffic down


  1. Water

Importance of clean water

Water is as necessary natural resource

Humans need access to clean, safe drinking water in order to live

Poor water quality is a major cause of disease and death in some countries

Water usually needs to be treated before we can drink it

Developing countries often lack the means to treat and supply water to citizens

Developed countries tend to have much better sanitation

Citizens have access to clean tap water

Drinking water is not contaminated by sewage or waste water

The supply of clean water would improve public health in many developing countries


Water supply

Urban life would be impossible without water supply systems

These systems are massive engineering projects

Many professionals are involved in their planning, construction and maintenance

The supply and distribution of water are major concerns

Water is becoming scarce in some countries

Areas that suffer droughts often need to import water

As populations grow, there is more pressure on water supplies

This could lead to a water crisis


Water and politics

The supply of water is also an important political issue

Huge amount of water are needed for agriculture and industry

The irrigation of crops accounts for a large proportions of water use

A water crisis could lead to political conflicts or even wars


Argument: water should be free

Some people believe that water should be free for everyone

Governments should supply water to all homes at no cost

Private companies should not be allowed to profit from this natural resource

Money from taxes can be used to pay for water supply systems


Argument: water should not be free

If water is free, people take it for granted

They do not think about how much water they waste

They leave taps running while washing or brushing their teeth

If we have to pay for water, we will use it more responsibly

Water supply systems are extremely expensive

Investment is needed to maintain and improve them

Private companies may provide a better service than governments

If they provide an efficient service, they will make more money

They will repair leaks to avoid losing money


Bottled Water: Opinions

Some people carry bottles of water wherever they go

For example, they take bottles of water to work or to the gym

They believe that bottled water is healthier than tap water

They also argue that it tastes better

However, other people believe that we should consume less bottled water

Plastic water bottles add to litter and waste problems

Companies should not be able to make a profit from water

It is unethical to make money by selling packaged water

There is no difference in quality between bottled and tap water


  1. Work

The benefits of staying in the same job for life

Employees have a stable career with one employer

They have a good pension and health insurance

Their salaries gradually increase

They may be promoted within the organization

They demonstrate loyalty

Experienced staff can be trusted with more responsibility

They become part of a team

There is a clearly defined path for development


The benefits of not staying in the same job

People often change jobs in order to further their career

Another company may offer a promotion or a higher salary

People who change jobs can gain experience

They can learn different skills

Changing jobs is interesting and challenging

People can retrain in a different occupation

In a fast-changing world workers need to be flexible

People need to develop a range of experience and skills



Nowadays, it is easy to set up a company

The Internet provides a global marketplace

Self-employment offers greater freedom than working for a company

However, there are risks to starting a new business

Self-employed people may face financial difficulties

Many businesses fail to make a profit

There is less stability in self-employment

There are no benefits like pensions, sick pay and holiday pay

Self-employment involved hard work, long hours and total responsibility



Unemployment is a big problem for individuals, communities and society

Some people are unable to find a job

They may not have the sufficient level of education or qualifications

They may find themselves homeless

Unemployment causes frustration and stress

Jobless people may become involved in crime as a means to get money

The unemployed need careers advice

Governments need to provide vocational courses and retraining


Unemployment benefits: positives

Some governments pay unemployment benefits in order to help jobless people

Unemployed people need financial support until they find a new job

By claiming benefits they can continue to pay for their homes

The benefits system helps to reduce poverty, homelessness and crime


Unemployment benefits: negatives

Some people claim benefits rather than working

They become dependent on the government

They are not motivated to find a job

The benefits system is a burden on taxpayers

All citizens should work to earn a living and support themselves

Receiving benefits affects people’s self esteem


Work/Life Balance

It is important to achieve a balance between work time and leisure or family time

Too much work can result in stress and poor health

“workaholics” may neglect their families and friends

People need to take regular holidays

Companies should be expect employees to work overtime

Nowadays, many people work part-time or have flexible working hours

Technology allow people to work from home

Many companies provide childcare facilities

A good work/ life balance can raise job satisfaction

Happy, healthy workers are more productive


Technology and work

Internet, fax and mobile phone technologies have revolutionized working life

Workers can communicate via email, online networks and video conferencing

Technology can connect workers in different countries

It gives people more freedom

It can also save time and money

Some people believe that offices could disappear in the future

Virtual online offices may replace them


Child labour

In some countries, children are exploited

They do repetitive jobs for very low pay

Children are often used in agriculture and factory work

The employment of children is prohibited in other countries

Many people think that children should be free to enjoy their childhood

Governments should make education a priority

They should build new schools

They should supply the resources to educate children

Children need to be given the knowledge and skills for adult life