Section 1 1. How justified are the high salaries and bonuses paid out in some professions? 2. To what extent should a nation try to forget its past? 3. Should women be more prominent in the public life of your country? 4. ‘Elections are meaningless as many voters have no real knowledge of national and international issues.’ Discuss. 5. How far do you agree that an hereditary monarch as Head of State is preferable to an elected President? 6. How valid is it to claim that war cannot be avoided? 7. ‘Superpowers do more harm than good in the world.’ How far do you agree? 8. Should there be any limits to freedom of expression? 9. Can child labour ever be justified? 10. ‘A society suffers if it fails to educate its women.’ How far do you share this view? 11. How far has your country recovered from the global financial crises? 12. ‘Explaining the past should be left to historians.’ Discuss. 13. To what extent would you consider politicians to be dishonest? 14. How far do you believe immigration to be a blessing to your country? 15. How helpful has parental advice been in your life so far? 16. How effective, so far, are the measures your country has taken to counteract the global financial crises? 17. ‘Anybody who ignores history is foolish.’ How far would you agree? 18. To what extent would you agree that your country has the government it deserves? 19. How far should immigration be encouraged or discouraged? 20. Assess the advantages of living in an extended family. 21. Assess the discrimination you might face when choosing a career, considering such issues as age, sex, and background. 22. Slavery was abolished in the British Empire in 1833. To what extent is slavery still a problem in the 21st Century? 23. Evaluate the characteristics that make the people of your country unique as a nation. 24. Is it democratically acceptable not to vote in elections? 25. ‘Girls and women participate less in sport than boys and men.’ How far is this inevitable or desirable? 26. To what extent does your country’s constitution uphold and promote human rights? 27. To what extent are racism and other forms of discrimination a problem in your society? 28. Nelson Mandela wrote ‘The real heroes are men and women who are friends of the poorest of the poor.’ To what extent do you agree? 29. ‘As well as instructing and convincing, history should be thrilling and delightful.’ How far do you agree with this proposition? 30. Have revolutions ever made the world a better place? Examine two revolutions in support of your view. 31. To what extent are small businesses in your country still affected by the recent financial upheavals? 32. How effective are the police in tackling crime where you live? 33. How important is the buying power of the over-60s to your country’s economy? 34. ‘Social security and welfare payments are essential in any modern society.’ How far do you agree? 35. ‘There are few remaining sports where players abide strictly by the rules.’ How far do you agree? 36. How far has confidence in financial institutions been undermined in your country since 2008? 37. How much importance should governments place on raising consumer awareness? 38. How important is the buying power of the under-21s to your country’s economy? 39. ‘Tyranny is always better organised than freedom.’ How far would you agree? 40. ‘It is essential to maintain the integrity of sport.’ Discuss this statement in the light of recent scandals in various sports. 41. How much truth is there in the old joke that ‘economists have predicted ten of the last five recessions’? 42. How far would you agree that there is no real difference between government and opposition in most democracies? 43. ‘International sporting success is not necessarily dependent on a large population.’ Discuss. 44. To what extent are the elderly revered or ignored in your society? 45. How far are cultures other than European significant in your country? 46. Why do all Empires decline in the end? Is there evidence for this in today’s world? 47. With the move to text entry on computers, some states no longer require handwriting to be taught. Is this a desirable development? 48. Is sex education the responsibility of school or parents? 49. Assess the arguments, applicable to your country, for encouraging or discouraging immigration. 50. Who is winning the gender wars? Give reasons to support your answer 51. What is currently the most important political challenge being faced by your country and to what extent is it being tackled? 52. To what extent is it easier to run a revolution than a government? 53. How far do receiving countries really benefit from development aid? 54. How far is poverty still a problem in your country? 55. ‘If you are convicted of a crime, you should lose your rights as a citizen.’ Consider this view. 56. How true is it to claim that the focus of economic activity in the world is passing from West to East? 57. To what extent has the course of history been determined by the contribution of individuals? 58. How fairly can it be claimed that European colonisation was more beneficial than harmful to the countries concerned? 59. To what extent is a university education essential for an individual’s prospects? 60. Is it fair to claim that the United Nations has achieved little in solving the problems of the world? 61. How far is it possible for corporations to combine profit-making with ethical business practices? 62. Consider the relative merits of state schools and private schools in your country. 63. To what extent can democracy survive where corruption is widespread? 64. ‘Foreign aid should be the responsibility of private individuals and established charities, not governments.’ How far do you agree? 65. ‘Prisons make people worse rather than better.’ What is your view? 66. A meritocracy offers opportunities for advancement through individual ability and achievement. To what extent is your society meritocratic? 67. Would you agree that the Olympics are less about sports and more about nationalism and commercialism? 68. Should tax payers be expected to subsidise the cost of university courses? 69. How important is it to be an ‘ethical consumer’? 70. ‘Positive discrimination is essential to help minority groups succeed.’ How true is this claim? 71. What is the greatest social challenge currently being faced by your country and how is it being met? 72. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of coalition governments. 73. ‘All governments need to levy taxes.’ Explain which taxes you consider to be fair or unfair. 74. What options, other than imprisonment, would you think appropriate for the punishment of criminals? Justify your suggestions. 75. Should quality and durability be essential features of consumer goods? Section 2 1. How true is it that most of the pleasurable things in life are bad for you? 2. Should obesity be regarded as a serious health concern? 3. Is the theory of evolution nothing more than a theory? Defend your view on this topic. 4. How far is it true to claim that pesticides have done more harm than good? 5. To what extent is it correct to claim that modern technology enables businesses to be located anywhere? 6. Assess the ability of technology to ensure human happiness in the present century. 7. How far is mathematics ‘the true universal language’? 8. ‘In order to progress we need to be in harmony with nature.’ How true is this claim? 9. Is it really important to respect even the most insignificant of species? 10. ‘Fears about global warming are often exaggerated and alarmist.’ Do you have any sympathy with this view? 11. ‘Parents should not be allowed to select their child’s gender.’ To what extent would you agree? 12. Assess the suitability of solar power for generating sufficient electricity. 13. To what extent should young people worry about climate change and global warming? 14. How much of a social problem is internet gambling? 15. To what extent has your country protected itself against recent pandemics? 16. Account for the strong preference for male babies in some societies. 17. Assess the advantages and disadvantages of hydroelectric power generation. 18. How effectively engaged are young people in environmentally friendly projects in your region? 19. Account for the popularity of console and computer games. 20. ‘Personal income should be sufficient to cover decent shelter, clothing and food.’ How well are these ‘basics’ fulfilled in your society? 21. Consider the view that the computer has failed to meet our educational needs in school. 22. ‘Social networks, like Facebook, have radically changed our attitude to personal privacy.’ Consider this statement. 23. ‘Without animal research and testing, medical advances would be seriously delayed.’ How far do you agree? 24. ‘Global warming is a far greater threat to our planet than international terrorism.’ Evaluate the truth of this observation. 25. Given the misery in both human and personal history, is it possible to believe in compassionate Divinity? 26. How far is it true that the Earth’s geology subjects our civilisations to dramatic change without notice? 27. Considering the problems facing your region’s agriculture, how effective are farm and land management in coping with these difficulties? 28. ‘Mathematics can reveal the beauty and order of the world.’ How is your understanding of the world enhanced by mathematics? 29. ‘Human migration is solely determined by economic considerations.’ How far do you agree? 30. How far is it the duty of couples to limit the number of children they have? 31. Our demand for energy justifies drilling anywhere.’ Consider this claim. 32. To what extent would you agree with Al Gore that ‘the science is settled’ with regard to global warming? 33. ‘Modern society is too reliant on “pill-popping”.’ Assess this opinion. 34. To what extent do you consider the increasing popularity of internet-based friendships and relationships to be desirable? 35. How far is tourism in Space viable? 36. ‘No limits whatsoever should be placed on medical research.’ Discuss. 37. How efficient is the transport infrastructure in your country? 38. How far have scientific developments removed our sense of awe and mystery? 39. Consider how far web services such as Twitter and Facebook are a force for harmony or discord. 40. What do you understand by ‘sustainable development’? How far has it progressed in your region? 41. Assess the benefits and drawbacks of cosmetic surgery. 42. To what extent is your country experiencing substantial climate change? 43. How far should the state interfere with an individual’s right to smoke and drink alcohol? 44. To what extent can an individual in a developed country function effectively without the internet? 45. ‘Organic farming can never solve the world’s food problems.’ Discuss. 46. Is living longer necessarily a good thing? 47. ‘Mathematics is more feared than respected.’ How far do you agree with this view? 48. Various writers have envisaged a bleak future world. To what extent do you share their pessimistic vision? 49. Is the world becoming too reliant on Information Technology? 50. Ought there to be any limits to genetic research? 51. To what extent is ‘green’ technology affordable? 52. What are the ‘delights’ of studying mathematics? 53. How far would you consider the huge cost of a census to be justified by the information gained? 54. ‘The war against drug trafficking is a worldwide failure.’ Discuss. 55. ‘We are lucky to live in an age in which we are still making scientific discoveries.’ Discuss. 56. How far do the resources of your country meet the needs of its local population? 57. What qualities should a good doctor possess? Give reasons for your selection. 58. Will mankind always be at the mercy of weather and climate? 59. What, if any, justification can there be for weapons’ development research? 60. Argue the case for and against nuclear power generation. 61. ‘Developing countries cannot afford ‘green’ technology because they have more urgent priorities.’ What is your view? 62. Discuss the ways in which our eating habits are changing. 63. ‘The majority of the world population believe our climate is changing, but only a minority believe this change is caused by man.’ What is your opinion? 64. To what extent do traditional values influence your country’s progress? 65. ‘A census is no more than a headcount.’ How far would you agree with this statement? 66. How far is it true that a country’s climate governs how the people live and work? 67. To what extent is a lack of cooperation amongst countries impeding the development of successful energy policies? 68. ‘It is no longer sufficient to have armed forces because future wars will also be fought in cyberspace.’ Discuss. 69. Should immigrants have to pass language proficiency and citizenship tests before they are allowed to settle in their host countries? 70. DNA tests are now affordable and easy to obtain. Consider the arguments for and against DNA testing. 71. Several countries that pioneered and developed wind power technology are less enthusiastic about it now. Is their lack of enthusiasm justified? 72. What advantages and disadvantages do you see in studying for a qualification online? 73. Consider the arguments for and against using the resources of the Polar regions. 74. Recent research has claimed that the poorly educated will age faster and possibly die younger. What is your view? 75. ‘Natural disasters bring out the best in a nation’s people.’ How far is this true? Section 3 1. ‘A play can be read, but to be truly appreciated it must be seen.’ How far do you agree with this view? 2. ‘Nothing today compares with the artistic masterpieces of previous generations.’ How far do you agree with this judgement? 3. ‘If we all spoke the same language, the world would be a better place.’ How true is this? 4. Are films or movies only for entertainment and nothing else? Illustrate your answer with appropriate examples. 5. How far do you agree that young people usually reject the music enjoyed by their elders? 6. How important is it for individual cultures to maintain their own art forms? 7. To what extent should the media lead or follow public opinion? 8. Is cooking more than just a necessity? 9. ‘Without storytellers, we would understand neither ourselves nor the world about us.’ How far is this true? 10. To what extent should the arts aim to awaken our political and social awareness? 11. Should the state subsidise such arts as opera, ballet and theatre? 12. ‘The way we dress reveals who we are.’ How true is this? 13. Account for the ever increasing popularity of celebrity culture. 14. To what extent is learning a foreign language important in your society? 15. ‘Historic buildings are interesting but useless relics of the past.’ Discuss. 16. To what extent has television had a negative impact on ‘live’ entertainment? 17. To what degree have local languages influenced spoken and/or written English in your country? 18. Would you consider your society to be too fashion conscious? 19. How far do you agree with the suggestion for paying to access content on the internet? 20. To what extent are Shakespeare’s works still relevant today? 21. Handwriting is often considered a relic of the past. Argue the case for retaining it. 22. In considering the languages you are familiar with, evaluate the influence they have in your society and on yourself. 23. How important is it for a country to have its own film industry? 24. Are there any aspects of fashion that you would consider timeless? 25. Consider adverts you know well and suggest reasons for their impact. 26. Photography is both skillful and creative. Explain why this is true. 27. How far, in your opinion, can communication be achieved through dance and/or drama? 28. Discuss the appeal of science fiction films. 29. What do you consider to be a ‘good read’, and why? Refer to at least two novels with which you are familiar. 30. Why do human beings of all ages feel the need to play? 31. ‘Television is a weapon of mass distraction.’ How far would you agree? 32. Which foreign culture appeals most to you? Give reasons for your choice. 33. ‘Great writers explore ideas of universal significance.’ Show how this applies to a writer or writers from your region. 34. ‘3D does not add anything of value to the cinema.’ What is your opinion? 35. How far would you agree that art is ‘anything you can get away with’? 36. ‘Modern toys fail to stimulate a child’s creativity and imagination.’ In your experience, how far is this true? 37. Which foreign country would you most like to visit? Give reasons for your choice. 38. ‘The media pay far too much attention to people who do not deserve it.’ How far do you agree? 39. ‘Affordable fashion comes at a cost.’ What do you understand by this statement? 40. ‘Modern buildings are ugly; historic buildings are beautiful.’ To what extent would you agree? 41. ‘Too many video games promote aggression and violence.’ How far do you agree? 42. As long as we communicate, does it matter if we are grammatically inaccurate? 43. ‘It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.’ How far would you agree with this view? 44. How well are the arts, for example, drama, music and painting, promoted and supported where you live? 45. Which novels have you least enjoyed studying at school? Give reasons for your choices. 46. To what extent can photography arouse our political and social awareness? 47. Can celebrity culture ever provide worthwhile role models? [You need to consider their contributions, not just list their life stories.] 48. ‘It is often easier to communicate through speaking than writing.’ Consider this view. 49. You are the judge of a literature competition. Indicate which novel would win the top prize. Give reasons for your choice. 50. What do you consider to be the serious purpose behind television cartoon shows? 51. ‘Journalists often intrude too far into private lives.’ Discuss. 52. ‘I still value reading books but the e-reader is simply more convenient.’ What is your view? 53. How far would you agree that most people today are too smart to be manipulated by advertising? 54. To what extent are art galleries still important in the cultural life of your country? 55. How far would you consider that royal and/or celebrity weddings merit the attention they receive worldwide? 56. How successfully have traditional performing arts been preserved in your country? 57. At its best, architecture is both artistic and functional. How far do you agree? 58. Do you agree with Oscar Wilde that ‘all art is quite useless’? 59. ‘Languages with a declining number of speakers should be left to die out.’ How far do you agree with this view? 60. What have you read that illustrates ‘heroism’ most effectively? Fully explain your answer. 61. What kind of advertising do you find ineffective and unconvincing? Give reasons for your choices. 62. ‘Happiness is not the absence of problems but the ability to deal with them.’ Discuss. 63. Account for the popularity of street markets in your country. 64. How useful and rewarding do you find social networking sites? 65. What makes your country different from other countries? 66. What purposes are served by awards, and award ceremonies, in the film and/or book industries? 67. What role does art and design play in your life? 68. To what extent should news be ‘in the public interest’ and not just ‘interesting to the public’? 69. Which natural attractions in your country are in greatest need of conservation? Give reasons for your choices. 70. ‘A society that cannot laugh at itself cannot learn from its failings.’ How far do you agree? 71. ‘Sport makes a significant contribution to society.’ How far do you agree with this claim? 72. To what extent are social networking sites a danger to privacy? 73. You are designing a literature syllabus for post-16 students in your country. Indicate which local writers you would include and why. 74. How far would you agree that the film industry is focusing too much on ‘blockbusters’ based on comic books and video games? 75. Would you consider rap to be a ‘chant’ or a ‘rant’ or, indeed, something else?