IELTS Essay Ideas for Feb 2017: Open Plan Offices

Here are some IELTS essay ideas for a writing task 2 question which appeared in February, this year (2017)

IELTS Essay Question February

Reported by a number of IELTS students this month in IELTS writing task 2 (academic writing).

Nowadays, some buildings such as offices and schools have open-space design instead of separate rooms. Why is it so? Do you think this is a positive or negative development?

IELTS Essay Ideas (Feb 2017)

This essay question requires you to answer two questions.  The first one asks you to explain why are there so many more open plan offices these days. The second question requires you to decide if this change is positive or negative – it requires your opinion. Below are some ideas for this essay question:

Main reason why open plan is adopted as a common office floor design:

The main reason is, of course, cost. The cost of floor space in most major cities is increasing. Having an open plan design is cheaper. Without the walls and doors, more staff can work in the office space available. Desks are either joined together or separated by just a small amount of room.

Positive Change

  • better interaction between staff
  • less distinction between different levels of staff
  • improves communication between staff and departments
  • more natural light
  • flexible work space for high staff turn over
    • this means that if staff come and go, it’s easy to find a new desk for new staff

Negative Change

  • it is hard for staff to concentrate
  • lack of privacy
  • problems with constant noise which lowers staff performance
  • easy spread of illness
  • increased stress due to feeling of exposure and being watched

These ideas were found on 

IELTS Links for a Better IELTS Essay

Click the red links below to open the useful pages:

Keep up-to-date with IELTS essay topics. See my list of Essay Questions for 2017. Also see a Model IELTS Essay Feb 2017 for writing task 2.

See an IELTS Model Essay for Positive Negative Question and also an Opinion Essay Model

See all pages on which contain Ideas for IELTS Writing Task 2

Find out about the structure of an IELTS essay, learn How Many Paragraphs you need to have.

Get information about how your IELTS writing score is calculated as a total and also a page of useful Linking Words for IELTS Writing Task 2

Tips for All Section of IELTS, see below:

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Relocating businesses outside cities: Essay Ideas

Here are some ideas for questions and essays about relocating businesses outside city centers to regional areas. This is a common IELTS topic in writing task 2 and also speaking part 3.

In some countries, the government is encouraging businesses and industries to move outside city centers and relocate to regional areas.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this trend?

Advantages of businesses being outside urban areas

  • Land prices are cheaper and more available in rural areas which is beneficial to businesses. Many overheads will be cheaper.
  • Workers in regional areas can be hired for a lower salary.
  • Industry and business can often produce pollution so locating them away from residential areas is sensible.
  • Raw materials are located in rural areas so it makes sense for many businesses to be situated nearer their required resources.
  • Local communities usually support the arrival of new businesses as they bring jobs. This local support can be beneficial for businesses.

Disadvantages of relocating businesses

  • The infrastructure is sometimes less developed in rural areas which can be a problem for businesses.
  • Internet connection may not be reliable and this can adversely affect companies.
  • Workers in rural areas may be plentiful but they might not be as skilled as those in urban centers. A lack of skilled, experienced workers can be a problem for some companies.
  • For many companies, their customers are in city centers so moving away from their customer base is not beneficial.


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Employment Competition Essay Ideas

This essay question was reported in April 2015. It is about the employment of older people and the problems this creates.

IELTS Essay Question

Nowadays, more and more younger people need to compete with older people for the same jobs.

What problems does this cause? What would you suggest as a solution?

This essay question focuses on younger people. The instructions ask for problems and solution. Always note whether you are asked to give the causes or the problems.

IELTS Essay Ideas

Problems caused by young and old people competing for work

  • young people will have to compete with older people who have more experience which might mean some young people fail to find work
  • with greater competition for jobs comes more unemployment
  • high unemployment in young people can cause unrest in society leading to problems such as crime
  • if old people are not able to compete with young people, they may not be able to get a job
    • without adequate financial means to support themselves, old people may be thrown into poverty
    • with a growing world population of elderly people, this can be a huge financial crisis

Solutions for young people competing for work

  • one effective solution could be to provide sufficient social benefits for older people to allow them to retire without loosing their standard of living
  • by fixing a clear retirement age over which no one can be employed, it will ensure that the young do not need to compete against older people for work
  • have a fixed quota of jobs set aside for people under a certain age and over a certain age to avoid so much competition
  • another possible answer is to offer a job share between elderly and young people so that both groups can gain some form of employment
  • alternatively, older people could be employed purely to pass on their knowledge and experience to the young rather than taking their positions at work

Alternative Essay Question

Nowadays, more and more older people compete with younger people for the same jobs.

What are the reasons for this? What would you suggest as a solution?

This essay question focuses on older people. You must provide the causes (reasons) why older people compete and also solutions for this situation.

Essay Ideas

Reasons why old people compete with young people for work

  • older people continue being fit for work for longer so wish to continue working
  • some older people do not have enough money put aside for their pensions so must work
  • some elderly people do not want such a long tedious retirement and wish to continue working
  • as older people work for longer, there are less jobs available for the younger generation
  • increased life expectancy raise the proportions of working elderly people

Solutions :

The solutions are the same as given above.


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Essay Ideas: Should libraries invest in technology or books?

Ideas for and against libraries invest more in technology than books. This topic of libraries was reported in the IELTS writing task 2 test and can also appear in speaking. Here are some ideas to help you answer this essay question.

IELTS Essay Question

Libraries should provide more books rather than invest in new technology such as computers and e-books. To what extent do you agree?

Ideas for this topic:

Libraries should invest in books

  • Not all books are available on digital format which means some specialised books are still in paper form.
  • Paper books are not easily lost unlike e-books which can be deleted accidentally or malfunction. Paper books are more reliable.
  • Libraries should be responsible for keeping paper books as one day the internet may not exist. It is a known fact that paper books are the only reliable and safe source of information.
  • Paper books help people focus and concentrate. They are not easily distracted. Reading online tempts people to search for new books, visit websites, and look up links rather than focus on the book they are reading.
  • Children should be given paper books to read rather than allowing them to read online which opens them up to uncensored sites.
  • Seeing a shelf full of books and topics is inspiring and stimulates the imagination.

Libraries should invest in technology

  • Technology, such as e-books, allow the same information to be stored in a fraction of the space. This is more cost effective than paper books because they need more storage space.
  • Computers allow users to locate information more quickly, providing better customer service.
  • Looking for and using books online is user friendly. This means people don’t need to leave their seat in order to find one or more books they want.
  • Technology is the way forward for all companies and services.
  • Providing more technology makes more services available as people can access the internet for more information than that provided solely by the library.

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IELTS Essay Ideas: Is History a Waste of Time

Below are ideas for the topic of history in IELTS writing task 2. This essay is about how important history is to learn. This can relate to the subject of history as a whole or children spending time learning history. You should use the ideas given below and adapt them to the specific essay question given by IELTS.

Sample IELTS Essay Question

Some people think that studying history is a waste of time while others think that it is essential to learn. Discuss both sides and give your opinion.

IELTS Essay Ideas

Below are ideas for both side of the argument. A useful definition of history is “it is the study of past events, particularly human affairs.”. It might be the study of a country or of a person in the past. It might involve a particular event or a general situation at a given time in the past.

History is a Waste of Time

  • Most people memorise dates, names and facts when they study history. This information is not useful in everyday life or for the future.
  • If we could actually learn from history, history wouldn’t be full of the same repeated mistakes. However, the same mistakes are made again and again which makes history irrelevant to learn for the future.
  • History is a subject that is rarely used in people’s lives so it would be better to focus on science or technology which is more relevant to the future and today’s society.
  • Each historical event has different perspectives. For this reason, it makes learning history a waste of time because events can also be interpreted in a different way which makes what we learn in history less valuable.
  • Many school curriculum have been set and are rarely changed. That curriculum includes little current history which is the only type of history that helps people understand the world they currently live in.

History is Important

  • History helps young people understand their own culture and how their culture and country have evolved.
  • History gives identity and helps unify people. It gives people a sense of roots and belonging.
  • History teaches people what their forefathers experienced and suffered in the past in order to make their country what it is today.
  • History teaches us about travesties which have occurred in the past, such as the Holocaust. It is essential for both people in the past, present and future to never  forget such events in order to honour the memory of those lost and to ensure it never happens again.
  • History helps us understand change. It records and helps people understand successes and failures. Through these studies people can learn about change and how others are affected by it.
  • It shows patterns of behaviour or events in the past and their outcome which can help us avoid similar outcomes in the future.
  • Learn about the past often gives a glimpse of the future. It shows a path of development that will continue past the present and into the future.
  • Valuable information can often be found in history, such as traditional medicines. Learning about past lifestyles and techniques used by people in the past can hold the secrets to remedies or cures no longer used.


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Housing and Trees in Urban Areas: IELTS Essay Question

Here is a recently reported essay question for IELTS writing task 2 and below are some ideas to help you with this topic.

Some people think that planting trees in open spaces in cities and towns is more important than building houses. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Reasons for Using City Space for Trees

  • Trees and green areas create a peaceful living environment which promotes a better living standard and better mental health.
  • Trees produce oxygen which can counteract against heavy pollution in cities and create a better quality of air.
  • Heat in cities can be better controlled by having more trees which filter the sun’s heat and offer shade. This ultimately lowers the temperature.
  • Planting more trees in urban areas brings nature into cities which is beneficial to people without access to rural areas.
  • Noise levels can also be reduced by planting trees which can act as a buffer against sound.
  • Planting more trees can make the living environment more pleasant which is thought to reduce crime to some extent. Trees encourage people to enjoy their neighbourhood and be more active in it which deters petty crime.
  • Trees offer urban wildlife a better environment to live in and play a part in the ecosystem of a city.

Reasons for Using City Space for Housing

  • Lack of affordable housing can lead to rising crime rates. Thus by having more housing, there are more opportunities for everyone to get housing.
  • Without more housing, a city is unable to grow and develop which is essential in a world with an increasing population.
  • Housing is also essential for any country which is hoping to develop its economy as workers must have access to affordable homes.
  • Shelter is a basic requirement for life.
  • Urban space is limited and priority should be given to shelter rather than creating pleasant parks.
  • Without enough homes, people can become homeless which can leads to alcoholism and drugs or slums can develop which can be detrimental to any country.


Recent IELTS Essay Question: International Aid

This essay question was reported on March 21st. Below is the essay question and ideas to help you write about both sides.

Some people think that famous people’s support towards international aids organisations draws attention to problems, while others think that celebrities make the problems less important. Discuss both sides and give your opinion.

Ideas for and against the involvement of famous people’s involvement in aid work:

Support for famous people’s involvement

  • Famous people draw media attention wherever they go which helps to highlight the aid organisation and the problem.
  • Charities or causes can be made more popular by celebrity involvement.
    • Take Princess Diana as an illustration, she championed the problem of land mines and brought enormous international attention to an otherwise forgotten problem.
  • Celebrities are able to bridge the gap between a tragedy that has occurred in a distant place and bring it into people’s sitting rooms, making the problem seem more real and less remote.
  • Famous people’s words often have more reach and more global identity. They are able to influence people in different countries and cultures all over the world.
  • People are more likely to give donations when they are called to action by their favourite actor or football star. Fans follow the work of their favourite stars and like to get involved in whatever they are doing.
  • Famous voices calling people to action have more power and influence than someone the public have never heard of. In other words, a familiar voice is often more trustworthy and more compelling.

Against famous people’s involvement

  • More media attention may be given to the famous person’s involvement than the actual aid organisation and can draw attention away from the problem itself.
  • Celebrity involvement can make the message shallow coming from a famous star who does not directly work with the charity.
  • Using famous people to draw attention to particular global problems helps to promote world inequality which should be avoided.
  • If the famous person’s image is damaged in the media for any particular reason, it could have repercussions on the charity and the problem. This means the charity becomes dependent on the famous person maintaining popularity which cannot always be guaranteed.
  • Some people may be put off the aid organisations if they do not like that particular famous person.
  • People may lose interest in a charity if the famous person stops their involvement.

Please note that these ideas must be adapted so that they connect directly with the issues in the essay question. You should not copy these ideas word for word. Instead you should take these ideas, write them in your own words and apply them to the specific essay question.

All Essay Ideas for Writing Task 2

Essay Ideas about Salaries

The essay question below is currently being used in IELTS writing task 2 and was reported last weekend.

In many countries in the world, some people earn extremely high salaries. Some people think that this good for a country. Others think that the government should not allow salaries above a certain level. Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Why some people earning high salaries is good for a country:

  • people who are highly skilled and talented should be rewarded with high salaries.
  • high salaries are an incentive for others to work harder.
  • high salaries are important to entice people to do dangerous or unpleasant work.
  • having high salaries is a sign of a country’s wealth.
  • high salaries is a way for a country to express their gratitude for a person’s experience or expertise.
  • high salaries deter skilled or talented people leaving a country.

Why the government should not allow salaries above a certain level:

  • the government should ensure that wealth is evenly distributed throughout a country.
  • limiting high salaries would bring more equality.
  • it can be disheartening for some to receive a low salary while others receive a high salary without much justification.
  • capping high salaries will prevent the rich from gaining unfair control over certain aspects of society.
  • limiting high salaries will mean more funding for public services which will benefit all people in society.

See all writing task 2 lessons, tips and model essays: IELTS Writing Task 2


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