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Advertising

Some people say that advertising is extremely successful at persuading us to buy things. Other people think that advertising is so common that we no longer pay attention to it.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

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Some believe that people will purchase a product based on their needs and advertising is not needed.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Art

Some think that quality art can be made by anyone while others think that it requires special talent and ability.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

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Many people believe that film is a less important art than other forms such as literature and painting.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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The number of people who are interested in and wearing fashionable clothes is increasing.

Is this a positive or negative development?

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Many museums charge for admission while others are free.

Do you think the advantages of charging people for admission to museums outweigh the disadvantages?

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Nowadays because of digital technology it is possible for not only studios but also individuals to produce their own films.

Do you think this is a positive or negative development?

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Museums and art galleries should focus on works that show the history and culture of their own country rather than works of other parts of the world.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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When designing a building, the most important factor is the intended use of the building rather than its outward appearance.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Children

Although families have influence on a children’s development, factors outside the home play a bigger part in their lives nowadays.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Some people believe that children that commit crimes should be punished. Others think the parents should be punished instead.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

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In some cultures, children are often told that they can achieve anything if they try hard enough.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of giving children this message?

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Giving children and adolescents pocket money is common throughout the world.

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this practice and give your own opinion.

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Cities

Some cities create housing for growing populations by building taller buildings while other cities have opted to build on wider areas of land.

Which solution is better?

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Too much money is wasted on repairing old buildings that should be used to knock them down and build new ones.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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The roads in major cities today are often difficult to travel on.

What are the causes of this?

What are some possible solutions?

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Traffic and housing problems in major cities could be solved by moving companies, factories and their employees to the countryside.

Do you agree or disagree?

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Living in large cities today poses many problems for people.

What are these problems?

Should governments encourage more people to live in smaller towns?

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Computers

Some scientists believe that in the future computers will be more intelligent than human beings. While some see this as a positive development others worry about the negative consequences.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

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Crime

Watching TV shows and movies about crime is becoming more and more popular.

Why is this?

What effect does that have on society?

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Plagiarism in academics has become a pressing problem in many countries today.

What are the causes of this problem?

What are some possible solutions?

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The crime rate nowadays is decreasing compared to the past due to advances in technology.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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The most common solution for criminal behaviour is prison but many believe education is a better method.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Some countries are struggling with increases in crime rates. Some believe that having more police on the streets is best way to reduce and combat crime.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Culture

Some believe that it is beneficial to show foreign films while others feel this can have a negative impact on local culture.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

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Some people say that music is a good way of bringing people of different cultures and ages together.

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

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Economics

Developing the economy will always damage the environment.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Many believe that the best way to ensure a happier society is to reduce the difference in income earnings between the rich and poor.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Recent research has shown that business meetings and training are increasingly taking place online.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?

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Education

Full-time university students spend a lot of time studying. Some say they should do other activities too.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Some think schools should rewards students who have the best academic results, while others think it’s more important to reward students who achieve other types of success (such as sports, music, and good behaviour).

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

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Some educational systems make students study specialised subjects from the age of fifteen while others require students to study a wide range.

Discuss both sides and give your own opinion.

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Some people argue children should stay in school until the age of 18 while others think that 14 years is long enough.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

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Some people believe that one-on-one lessons are better for learning while others think that group lessons are superior.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

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Some today argue that schools are no longer necessary because children can learn so much from the internet and be educated at home.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Some believe that money for education should mainly be spent on better computers while others believe it would be better spent on teachers.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

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Many feel that students today should learn practical skills at school such as car maintenance and managing a bank account.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Many people who drop out of school are more successful than those who complete their studies.

Why does this happen?

What does it require to be successful?

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Many people feel that students should learn from online materials while others feel that it is better to use printed materials.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

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Some people think that children should begin their formal education at a very early age. Some think they should begin at least 7 years old.

Discuss both views give opinions.

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Students should be primarily taught academic subjects so that they can pass exams, and practical skills such as cooking should not be taught.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Some people believe that education is the key to tackling hunger worldwide while others feel that the answer is in food aid.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

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Compared to the past, more people are now studying abroad because it is more convenient and cheaper than before.

Do you think this is beneficial to the foreign student’s home country?

Will this trend change much in the future?

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Some people say that school children should be mainly taught about the literature (e.g fiction and poetry) of their own country because it is more important than that of other countries.

To what extent do you agree?

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Environment

The increase in the production of consumer goods results in damage to the natural environment.

What are the causes of this?

What can be done to solve this problem?

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Online shopping is becoming more common these days.

What effect could this have on the environment and the types of jobs required?

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Many believe that individuals can do little to improve the environment. Only governments and large companies can make a real difference.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Scientists have been warning for many years about environmental protection and how important it is to limit our personal energy consumption.

What are the causes of the over-consumption of electricity?

How can people be encouraged to use less energy?

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Most agree that we should be training children to recycle waste to preserve the Earth’s natural resources. However, some believe that it is parents who should teach their children to recycle waste while others feels schools are more responsible.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

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Some people say that the main environmental problem of our time is the loss of particular species of plants and animals. Others say that there are more important environmental problems.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

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Plastic shopping bags are used widely and cause many environmental problems. Some people say they should be banned.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Climate change is a phenomenon that affects countries all over the world. Many people strongly believe that it is the responsibility of individuals, rather than corporations and governments, to deal with this problem.

To what extent do you agree?

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Family

Many parents today do not spend much time with their children.

Why is this?

Does this affect parents or children more?

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Many parents encourage young people to leave home when they become older, while others think they should stay at home with the family.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

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Food

Some feel that countries should produce most of the food that is eaten in their country and import as little as possible.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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In spite of the advances made in agriculture, many people around the world still go hungry.

Why is this the case?

What can be done about this problem?

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Gender

In many schools and universities today, women have a tendency to study the humanities (such as the arts and languages) while men more often major in science related subjects. Some believe this tendency should be changed.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Throughout history, male leaders have led us into violence and conflict. If a society is governed by female leaders it will be more peaceful.

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

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Government

Many people believe that every individual is responsible for his/her own healthy lifestyle. Others believe that governments should take care of it.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

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Some believe that because everyone needs a place to live, governments should provide houses for those who are too poor to afford their own.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Health

Some believe that the best way to stay fit is to join a gym or health club while others think doing everyday activities such as walking and climbing stairs is enough.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

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Some think that governments should tax unhealthy foods to encourage people to eat healthier.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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More and more people today are drinking sugar-based drinks.

What are the reasons for this?

What are the solutions?

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Many think that in today’s world it is very difficult for people to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Others, however, feel that it is easy for people to be healthy and fit if they want to be.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

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Some people think that it is better to build more public parks and sports facilities in new towns rather than shopping malls.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Many feel that going to the gym is the best way to stay fit. Others think there are more effective methods.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

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The best way to prevent people from smoking is to impose high taxes on tobacco products. In this way, people will be less likely to develop a long-term addiction to smoking.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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History

It is better to learn the way people lived in the past through films and video records than written documents.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Some believe that history has little to teach us about today while others think that the study of the past helps us to understand the present.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

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Some people say history is one the most important school subjects. Other people think that, in today’s world, subjects like science and technology are more important than history.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

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Homes

In some countries, owning a home rather than renting one is very important for people.

Why might this be the case?

Do you think this is a positive or negative situation?

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There are severe social consequences to housing shortages in cities and only the government can solve these problems.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Language

Some think that students must travel to another country in order to learn its language and customs.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Some believe that we should invent a new language for international communication.

Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

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Many local languages today are dying out due to the rise of languages like English.

Is this a positive or negative development?

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Living in a country where you have to speak a foreign language can cause serious social problems, as well as practical problems.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

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Media

In the future, nobody will buy printed newspapers or books because they will be able to read everything they want online without paying.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

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Watching a live performance such as a play, concert, or sporting event is more enjoyable than watching the same event on television.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Due to television and the internet it is easier today for a large number of people to become famous.

Is this a positive or negative development?

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Nowadays, entertainers get paid more than politicians.

What are the reasons for this?

Is this a negative or positive development?

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Nowadays children watch much more television than they did in the past and spend less time being active or creative.

What is the reason for this?

What measures should be taken to encourage children to be more active?

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Some people think that the news media has become much more influential in people’s lives today and it is a negative development.

Do you agree or disagree?

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Some people think that newspapers are the best way to learn news. However, others believe that they can learn news better through other media.

Discuss both views and give your opinion

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Medicine

Research into medical treatments are essential to improve health and fight disease.

Who do you think should fund this research: individuals, private companies or governments?

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Governments should spend more money on medical research and less on researching the environment.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Some people say that it is acceptable to test medicine intended for people on animals. Others, however, believe that it is not right to use animals in this research.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

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Old People

Many retired people today are choosing to live in other countries.

What are the advantages of disadvantages of this?

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Some old people today struggle with the use of modern technologies such as smartphones and computers.

What is the cause of this?

What are some possible solutions?

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Even though doctors advise old people to get more exercise, many old people do not get enough.

What are the reasons for this?

What are some possible solutions for this?

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Many people think that it is better to get advice from old rather than young people.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Some think that governments should support retired people financially while others believe they should take care of themselves.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

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At the present time, the population of some countries includes a relatively large number of young adults, compared with the number of older people.

Do the advantage of this situation outweigh the disadvantages?

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Psychology

Some think that ambition is a good quality.

Is it important to be ambitious?

Is it a positive or negative characteristic?

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Some believe that people are naturally born as leaders while others feel that leadership skills can develop.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

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Many psychologists recommend that the best way to relieve stress is to do nothing at all for a period of time during the day.

Do you agree or disagree?

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Some people believe that it is best to accept a bad situation, such as an unsatisfactory job or shortage of money. Others argue that it is better to try and improve such situations.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

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Some people believe that nowadays we have too many choices.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Science

More and more students at university today are not choosing to study science.

Why is this happening?

What are the effects of this?

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Some people believe that it is good to share as much information as possible in scientific research, business, and the academic world. Others believe that some information is too important or too valuable to be shared freely.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

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Smartphones/Mobile Phones

Many people think that mobile phones should be banned in public places such as libraries, shops and public transport.

Do you agree or disagree?

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Some people believe that smartphones are destroying social interaction today.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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More and more people today are becoming overly dependent on the internet and phones.

Is this a positive or negative development?

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Society

Many people believe that music is just a form of entertainment, whilst others believe that music has a much larger impact on society today.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion. 

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As well as making money, businesses also have a responsibility towards society.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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The use of social media is replacing face-to-face interaction among many people in society.

Do you think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?

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Some people think that paying taxes is their only responsibility towards society while others feel that everyone should do more.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

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Many people believe that social networking sites (such as Facebook) have a huge negative impact on both individuals and society.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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People have historically attempted to achieve a perfect society. However, it is difficult to decide what a perfect society would be like.

What would be the most important element of an ideal society?

What can normal people do to make society more perfect?

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Some people believe that allowing children to make their own choices on everyday matters (such as food, clothes and entertainment) is likely to result in a society of individuals who only think about their own wishes. Other people believe that it is important for children to make decisions about matters that affect them.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

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In many countries people are living in a “throwaway society” where things are used for a short time and thrown away. 

What are the causes of this and what problems does it lead to?

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Space

In the future, people may have to live on other planets. Some think that it is therefore important to spend money researching other planets such as Mars.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Sports

One good way to promote world peace is through international sporting events.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Extreme sports such as sky diving and skiing are very dangerous and should be banned.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this view?

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Some people think that it is a waste of money for countries to host big sporting events like the world cup, and that the money would be better spent on other things. However, others think that hosting large sporting events has a clear, positive impact on a country.

Discuss both these views and give your opinion.

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Technology

Some believe technology has made our lives too complex and the solution is to lead a simpler life without technology.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Nowadays more tasks at home and work are being performed by robots.

Is this a negative or positive development?

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Tourism

Some believe that tourism does more to create tension between countries rather than helping individuals better understand other cultures.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Transportation

When cars and cyclists use the same roads, there are often problems.

Why is this the case?

What are the solutions?

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More and more people in developing countries are purchasing cars for the first time.

What problems does this cause?

What do you think are the possible solutions?

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In a number of countries, some people think it is necessary to spend large sums of money on constructing new railway lines for very fast trains between cities. Others believe the money should be spent on improving existing public transport.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

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Some people think that governments should invest mainly in making public transportation faster while other think there are more important priorities (cost, the environment).

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

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Some people believe that the best way to increase the road safety is to increase the minimum legal age for driving cars.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Travel

After graduation many students take a year to travel. Some think that it would be more useful to work for a year.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Many people today are choosing to travel to other countries.

Why is this happening?

Is this a positive or negative development?

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People today often use the internet to learn about the culture of other countries. This means that it is not that important to travel to those countries.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Wildlife

Some people think that resources should be spent on protecting wild animals, while others think those would be better used for the human population.

Discuss both sides and give your own opinion.

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Many people think that zoos are cruel. Others think they are helpful in protecting rare animals.

Discuss both sides and give your own opinion.

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Work

Many schools today require students to work without pay for companies as part of their education.

Is this more advantageous to students or companies?

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In some countries, governments provide payments for unemployed people.

How does this impact people?

Is this a positive or negative development?

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Some people like to spend their leisure time after work with co-workers while others prefer to keep their private life separate from their work life.

Discuss both sides and give your own opinion.

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A lot of companies and organisations require employees to wear uniforms.

Which kind of jobs are uniforms suitable for?

Are there any disadvantages to wearing a uniform to work?

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In many countries, teenagers are encouraged to find part-time jobs. Some think this is a good development while others disagree.

Discuss both sides and give your own opinion.

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Some people argue that job satisfaction is more important than job security, while others believe that they cannot always expect job satisfaction and a permanent job is more important.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

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These days people spend more and more time at work and less time at home.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?

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The job market today is very competitive and it is best to choose a career or field of study early in order to get a good job later in life.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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Nowadays many people choose to be self-employed, rather than to work for a company or organisation.

Why might this be the case?

What could be the disadvantages of being self-employed?

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Many people try to balance work and other parts of their life. However, this is very difficult to do.

What are the problems associated with this?

What is the best way to achieve a better balance?

Read my sample answer for this question here.

Nations should spend more money on skills and vocational training for practical work, rather than on university education.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Read my sample answer for this question here.


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