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Sample Essay Questions

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ESSAY QUESTIONS

PTE Academic Essay Questions

You will have 20 minutes to plan, write and revise an essay about the topic below. Your response will be judged on how well you develop a position, organize your ideas, present supporting details, and control the elements of standard written English. You should write 200-300 words. Click on the questions for sample answers written by experts.

  1. When computers first appeared on the scene, it was thought they would make us more productive in providing goods and services, smarter and possibly happier. Skeptics claim that the opposite is true as computers have proved disappointing in terms of productivity, and have made us less happy and more stupid because information is not knowledge.Which of these points of view do you agree with most? Support your argument with reasons and/or examples from your own experience and observations.
  2.  It has recently been suggested that the classical, or “dead”, languages Latin and Greek should be re-introduced into the school curriculum. Those that oppose the idea claim that the ancient languages are of no practical use and no help in getting a job. Those in favour of the idea say that education is more about training the mind than preparing for a career.Which of these points of view do you agree with most? Support your argument with reasons and/or examples from your own experience and observations.
  3. More and more students are studying at universities abroad, either because it is cheaper, or because they feel they can receive a better education, or because it will provide them with greater professional opportunities.Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of studying abroad. Support your argument with reasons and/or examples from your own experience and observations.
  4. Some people prefer to spend their holidays in resorts where everything is organized for them and they take little interest in the country they are vising. Others prefer to travel around the country and to see how the people live, to get to know their customs and traditions and cuisine. Write an essay on which type of foreign travel you think is best for both the tourist and the local community.
  5. Most people in what are known as the developed nations have homes full of gadgets and labor-saving devices, from vacuum cleaners and dishwashers to the latest in computer technology. Some people claim that despite all these labor-saving devices, we seem to have less free time. In your opinion, has technology improved the quality of life or made it more complicated? Support your argument with reasons and/or examples from your own experience and observations.
  6. A recent trend in the entertainment world is to adapt classic works of literature for either TV or the movies. One argument is that this is to everyone’s benefit, as it introduces people to works they might otherwise never have experienced, while others say that turning books into movies not only cheapens the original, but is rarely done successfully. In your opinion, do works of literature translate effectively to the screen? Support your argument with reasons and/or examples from your own experience and observations.
  7. When Computers first appeared on the scene, it was thought they would make us more productive in providing good and services, smarter and possibly happier. Sceptics claim that the opposite is true as computers have proved disappointing in terms of productivity, and have made us less happy and more stupid because information in not knowledge. Which of these points do you agree with most? Support your argument with reasons and / or examples from your own experience and observations.
  8.  ‘Education is a critical element of the prosperity of any nation. The more educated the people in a country are, the more successful their nation becomes.’ Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement. Support your point of view with reasons and / or examples from your own experience or observations. 
  9. ‘Students should be required to stay in school until the age of eighteen.’  To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement? Support your point of view with reasons and / or examples from your own experience. 
  10. Environmental problems are too great to be managed by individuals so real change can only be achieved at government level.’ To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement? Support your point of view with reasons and / or examples from your own experience. 
  11. ‘Some types of employments are more suitable for men and other types of employment are more appropriate for women’. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement? Support your point of view with reasons and / or examples from your own experience. 
  12. ‘Nowadays many young people leave home at an early age to either study or work in another city.’ Do you think this has more advantages or disadvantages for young people? Support your point of view with reasons and / or examples from your own experience. 
  13. ‘Computer technology has had more of a negative than a positive impact on society.’  How far do you agree with this statement? Support your point of view with reasons and / or examples from your own experience.

 

IELTS

Cambridge 5

 

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Universities should accept equal number of male and female students in every subject. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

In some countries young people are encouraged to work or travel for a year between finishing high school and starting university studies.

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages for young people who decide to do this.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Some people think that a sense of competition in children should be encouraged. Others believe that children who are taught to co-operate rather than compete become more useful adults.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Research indicates that the characteristics we are born with have much more influence on our personality and development than any experience we may have in our life.

Which do you consider to be the major influence.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

Your neighbours have recently written to you to complain about the noise from your houseflat.

Write a letter to your neighbours. In your letter

Explain the reasons for the noise

Apologise

Describe what action you will take

Write at least 150 words.

You do not need to write any addresses. Begin your letter as follows:

Dear……………..

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Some people believe that children are given too much free time. They feel that this time should be used to do more school work.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

You have a full time job and are also doing a part-time evening course.

You now find that you cannot continue the course.

Write a letter to the course tutor. In your letter

Describe the situation

Explain why you cannot continue at this time

Say what action you would like to take.

Write at least 150 words.

You do not need to write any addresses. Begin your letter as follows:

Dear……………..

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Nowadays we are producing more and more rubbish. Why do you think this is happening? What can governments do to help reduce the amount of rubbish produced?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

Cambridge 6

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Today, the high sales of popular consumer goods reflect the power of advertising and not the real needs of the society in which they are sold.

To what extend do you agree or disagree?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Successful sports professionals can earn a great deal more money than people in other important professions. Some people think this is fully justified while others think it is unfair.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Some people believe that visitors to other countries should follow local customs and behaviour. Others disagree and think that the host country should welcome cultural differences.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Some people prefer to spend their lives doing the same things and avoiding change. Others, however, think that change is always a good thing.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

You and your family are living in rented accommodation in an English- speaking country. You are not satisfied with the condition of some of the furniture.

Write a letter to the landlord. In your letter

Introduce yourself

Explain what is wrong with the furniture

Say what action you would like the landlord to take

Write at least 150 words.

You do not need to write any addresses. Begin your letter as follows:

Dear……………..

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Some people think it would be a good idea for schools to teach every young person how to be a food parent.

Do you agree or disagree with this opinion. Describe the skills a person needs to be a good parent.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

You have just moved into a new home and are planning to hold a party. You are worried that the noise may disturb your neighbour.

Write a letter to your neighbour. In your letter

Introduce yourself

Describe your plans for the party

Invite your neighbours to come

Write at least 150 words.

You do not need to write any addresses. Begin your letter as follows:

Dear……………..

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Using a computer every day can have more negative than positive effects on young children.

Do you agree or disagree?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

Cambridge 7

 

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

It is generally believed that some people are born with certain talents, for instance for sport or music, and others are not. However, it is sometimes claimed that any child can be taught to become a good sports person or musician.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Some people believe that there should be fixed punishments for each type of crime. Others, however, argue that the circumstances of an individual crime, and the motivation for committing it, should always be taken into account when deciding on the punishment.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

As most people spend a major part of their adult life at work, job satisfaction is an important element of individual wellbeing.

What factors contribute to job satisfaction?

How realistic is the expectation of job satisfaction for all workers?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Some people think that universities should provide graduates with the knowledge and skills needed in the workplace. Others think that the true function of a university should be to give access to knowledge for its own sake, regardless of whether the course is useful to and employer.

What, in your opinion, should be the main function of a university?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

You have recently started work in a new company.

Write a letter to an English – speaking friend. In your letter

Explain why you changed jobs

Describe your new job

Tell him/her your other news

Write at least 150 words.

You do not need to write any addresses. Begin your letter as follows:

Dear……………..

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Some people prefer to live in a house, while others feel that there are more advantages to living in an apartment.

Are there more advantages than disadvantages of living in a house compared with living in an apartment?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

Last month you had a holiday overseas where you stayed with some friends. They have just sent you some photos of your holiday.

Write a letter to your friends. In your letter

Thank them for the photos and for the holiday

Explain why you didn’t write earlier

Invite them to come and stay with you

Write at least 150 words.

You do not need to write any addresses. Begin your letter as follows:

Dear……………..

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Some people feel that entertainers (e.g. film stars, pop musicians or sports stars) are paid too much money.

Do you agree or disagree?

Which other type of job should be highly paid?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

Cambridge 8

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Some people think that parents should teach children how to be good members of society. Others, however, believe that school is the place to learn this.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Nowadays the way many people interact with each other has changed because of technology.

In what ways technology affected the types of relationships people make?

Has this become a positive or negative development?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Increasing the price of petrol is the best way to solve growing traffic and pollution problems.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

What other measures do you think might be effective?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

In some countries the average weight of people is increasing and their levels of health and fitness are decreasing.

What do you think are the causes of these problems and what measures could be taken to solve them?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

You have recently moved to different house.

Write a letter to an English – speaking friend. In your letter

Explain why you have moved

Describe the new house

Invite your friend to come and visit

Write at least 150 words.

You do not need to write any addresses. Begin your letter as follows:

Dear……………..

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Today more people are travelling than ever before.

Why is this the case?

What are the benefits of travelling for the traveller?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

You recently bought a piece of equipment for your kitchen but it did not work. You phoned the shop but no action was taken.

Write a letter to the shop manager. In your letter

Describe the problem with the equipment

Explain what happened when you phoned the shop

Say what you would like the manager to do.

Write at least 150 words.

You do not need to write any addresses. Begin your letter as follows:

Dear……………..

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Some people think that it is better to educate boys and girls in separate schools. Others, however, believe that boys and girls benefit more from attending mixed schools.

Discuss both these views and give your opinion

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

Cambridge 9

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Some experts believe that it is better for children to begin learning a foreign language at primary school rather than secondary school.

Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantage?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Some people believe that unpaid community service should be a compulsory part of high school programmes (for example working for a charity, improving the neighbourhood or teaching sports to younger children)

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Some people say that the best way to improve public health is by increasing the number of sports facilities. Others, however, say that this would have little effect on public health and that other measures are required.

Discuss both the views and give your own opinion.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Every year several languages die out. Some people think that this is not important because life will be easier if there are fewer languages in the world.

To what extend do you agree or disagree with this opinion?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

You are working for a company. You need to take some time off work and want to ask your manager about this.

Write a letter to your manager. In your letter

Explain why you want to take time off work

Give details of the amount of time you need

Suggest how your work could be covered while you are away.

Write at least 150 words.

You do not need to write any addresses. Begin your letter as follows:

Dear……………..

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Being a celebrity – such as a famous film star or sports personality – brings problems as well as benefits.

Do you think that being a celebrity brings more benefits or more3 problems?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

On a recent holiday you lost a valuable item. Fortunately you have travel insurance to cover the cost of anything lost.

Write a letter to the manager of your insurance company. In your letter

Describe the item you lost

Explain how you lost it

Tell the insurance company what you would like them to do

Write at least 150 words.

You do not need to write any addresses. Begin your letter as follows:

Dear……………..

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Some people think that the teenage years are the happiest times of most people’s lives. Others think that adult life brings more happiness, in spite of greater responsibilities.

Discuss both these views and give your opinion

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

IELTS

 

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Learning English at school is often seen as more important than learning local languages. If these are not taught, many are at risk of dying out.

In your opinion, is it important for everyone to learn English? Should we try to ensure the survival of local languages and, if so how?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

You have lost an item of value on a train.

Write a letter to the railway company. In your letter

Describe the item

Explain where and when you left it

Say what action you would like the company to take

Write at least 150 words.

You do not need to write any addresses. Begin your letter as follows:

Dear……………..

 

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Some people think that having a set retirement age (e.g. 65years) for everybody, regardless of occupation, is unfair. They believe that certain workers deserve to retire and receive a pension at an earlier age.

Do you agree or disagree?

Which type of workers do you think should benefit from early retirement?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Solar energy is becoming more and more popular as a source of household energy in many countries around the world.

Why is this?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

You have a problem with a neighbour.

Write a letter to your neighbour. In your letter

Describe the problem

Say how long it has been a problem

Explain what action you want the neighbour to take

Write at least 150 words.

You do not need to write any addresses. Begin your letter as follows:

Dear……………..

 

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

It is generally accepted that exercise is good for children and teenagers. Therefore, physical education and sport should be compulsory for all students in all schools. What do you think?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

 

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Rising university fees and scare employment prospects for graduates have led some people to say that universities should not teach arts subjects, like philosophy and history, and only offer practical degree courses that maximise chances of employment. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

 

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Most people accept that we now live in a globalised world but not everyone agrees that this is beneficial.

To what extent is globalisation a positive or negative development?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

 

BARRON’S – The leader in test preparation

 

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

As the world become technologically advanced, computers are replacing more and more jobs.

Describe job positions that may be lost because of computers, and discuss at least one problem that may result?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

 

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Families who do not send their children to government-financed schools should not be required to pay taxes that support univer5sal education.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

 

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

By punishing murders with the death penalty, society is also guilty of committing murder. Therefore, life in prison is a better punishment for murderers.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

As compared to the past, children these days spend more of their leisure time indoors with computer and TV and less time outdoors.

Describe some of the problems this lack of outdoor leisure time can cause and suggest at least one possible solution.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Modern technology, such as personal computer and the internet have made it possible for many people to do their work from home at least part of the time instead of going to an office every day. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of this situation?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  1. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Children today spend more time watching television than they did in the past. Describe some of the advantages and disadvantages of television for children.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

TOEFL

  1. Leaders like john F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King have made important contributions to the people of the United States. Name another world leader you think is important. Give specific reasons for your choice.
  2. Read and think about the following statement: Pets should be treated like family members. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Give reasons to support your opinion.
  1. Read and think about the following statement: The college years are the best time in person’s life.Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Give reasons to support your opinion.
  2. Many people believe that it is very important to make large amount of money, while others are satisfied to earn a comfortable living. Analyze each viewpoint and take a stand. Give specific reasons for your position.
  3. Advances in transportation and communication like the airplane and the telephone have changed the way that nations interact with each other in a global society. Choose another technological innovation that you think is important. Give reasons for your choice.
  4. Many people have learned a foreign language in their own country; others have learned a foreign language in the country in which it is spoken. Which is better? Give the advantages of each and support your viewpoint.
  5. You are planning to study abroad. What do you think you will like and dislike about this experience? Why? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

GRE

  1. “Question authority. Only buy questioning accepted wisdom can we advance our understanding of the world. ”
  2. “If rituals did not exist, we would have to invent them. We need ceremonies and rituals to help us define ourselves socially and culturally.”

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