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Edited by- Rayhan Chowdhury

Rayhan Chowdhury 5/2/17 IELTS Speaking


IELTS Speaking Tips

Everything you need to Help you Get a


High Band in the IELTS Speaking Test

Rayhan Chowdhury
CONTENTS
General Dos and Donts........................................................................................................ 3
Band expectations .................................................................................................................. 4
General Preparation............................................................................................................... 6
Vocabulary for Band 6-6.5..................................................................................................... 8
Vocabulary for Band 7-9 ........................................................................................................ 9
Conversation fillers .............................................................................................................. 10
If you forget words ............................................................................................................... 10
Asking for clarification......................................................................................................... 12
Being spontaneous ............................................................................................................... 14
Pronunciation tips ................................................................................................................ 15
Dealing with nerves .............................................................................................................. 17
Develop your answers ......................................................................................................... 18
Grammar for part 1............................................................................................................... 19
If you do not have an opinion .............................................................................................. 21
Sample answers for part 1 .................................................................................................. 22
Using preparation time (part 2) .......................................................................................... 26
Beginning your answer (part 2) .......................................................................................... 27
Time management (part 2) .................................................................................................. 28
Describing people ................................................................................................................ 29
Describing objects ............................................................................................................... 33
Describing an event ............................................................................................................. 35
Describing places ................................................................................................................. 37
Buying time ............................................................................................................................ 39
Speaking topics .................................................................................................................... 41
Grammar for part 3............................................................................................................... 43
Giving opinions ..................................................................................................................... 46
Connecting ideas .................................................................................................................. 47
Giving examples.................................................................................................................... 51
GENERAL DOS AND DONTS
Before discussing specific strategies to help you in the IELTS speaking test, lets look at
some general dos and donts. These will give you a general idea of what is required to get
a successful band in the test. This Book will discuss and explain these tips in more detail.

Do
listen to the questions carefully

give relevant answers

ask for clarification if you dont understand the question

express your opinions and give examples to support your ideas

use conversation fillers to give yourself time to think

relax and enjoy yourself

try to use interesting adjectives

paraphrase if you dont know a word

speak clearly

Dont
give very short answers

repeat yourself all the time and overuse simple words

memorize long answers

get stressed if you dont understand the question

make long frequent pauses

speak too quietly

spell your name for the examiner

use your native language

use words or idioms that you are not sure about

write on the task card

ask the examiner if what you say is correct.

3
BAND EXPECTATIONS
Be realistic about your goals. If your level of English is around band 5, then do not expect to
achieve a band 7. Try to aim slightly above your current level. For example, if you took the
test and achieved a band 5.5, then you should try to aim for a 6-6.5 next time.

If you are too ambitious and try to learn very advanced idioms or phrasal verbs that are
inappropriate for your level, you might use them incorrectly, and your English will not sound
very natural. In the worst case, the examiner will not understand what you are trying to say.

Here are some simplified requirements for each band according to the IELTS official site. Try
to decide what level you are or ask your teacher.

SPEAKING BAND 4.0


You cannot respond without pausing and hesitating, and you may speak very slowly.
You repeat simple words a lot (e.g. because, and, good).
You cannot talk about unfamiliar topics without using the wrong words.
You cannot easily use synonyms.
You use very short, simple sentences.
You make lots of grammatical errors, and this may cause misunderstandings.
Your pronunciation is poor and it is easy to misunderstand you.

SPEAKING BAND 5.0


Your responses contain a lot of hesitation, and you may speak slowly.
You often repeat the same words (e.g. because, and, good, bad, nice, easy).

You can sometimes use synonyms, but in general you have problems saying things in
a different way.

You can easily produce simple sentences (e.g. I live in Dhaka), but you have
difficulty with more complex sentences (e.g. I moved to England when I finished my
studies).

It is sometimes difficult to understand what you are trying to say when you try
to produce a more complex sentence.

Your pronunciation and sentence stress is sometimes clear enough but at other times
it is difficult for the listener to understand you.

4
SPEAKING BAND 6
You can speak at length more easily, but you sometimes hesitate and
correct yourself.

You can use a range of connecting words and phrases (e.g. however, but, yet, so, on
the other hand), but not always appropriately.

Your vocabulary is wide enough to talk about different topics at length and the
meaning of what you are trying to say is generally clear.

You can use synonyms and say same the same things in different ways, but
not always successfully.

You can use a mix of simple and complex grammatical structures but you may
make frequent mistakes with complex structures, e.g. conditionals, perfect tenses.

Your pronunciation is generally clear enough to be understood but you sometimes


make mistakes with individual words.

SPEAKING BAND 7
You can speak at length with only occasional hesitation and self-correction.
You can use a wide range of connecting words and phrases.

You can use less common vocabulary, idiomatic phrases and collocations.
However, you sometimes make bad choices.
You can easily use synonyms and say the same things in different ways.

You can use complex grammatical structures (conditionals, perfect tenses, etc.)
but with occasional mistakes.
Your pronunciation is generally good enough for you to be understood clearly.

SPEAKING BAND 8
You can speak fluently with occasional self-correction.
You only hesitate when thinking about what to say, not how to express it in English.
You can develop topics easily and appropriately.
You have a wide vocabulary and you can express very precise meaning.

You can use less common vocabulary, idiomatic phrases and collocations, with only
occasional inaccuracies.

You can use a wide range of complex grammatical structures with only occasional
errors.
Your pronunciation is good and it is very easy to understand what you are saying.

SPEAKING BAND 9
You can speak fluently with very rare self-correction.
You only hesitate when thinking about what to say, not how to express it.
You have a wide vocabulary and you can express very precise meaning.
You can use less common vocabulary, idiomatic phrases and collocations.

You can use a wide range of complex grammatical structures with only
occasional slips that a typical native speaker would make.
Your pronunciation is very accurate and it is very easy to understand you.

5
GENERAL PREPARATION
The best way to prepare for the IELTS speaking test is to practise with a teacher as much
as possible. However, if you are preparing by yourself or if you want to use your spare time
more efficiently, you will find the following suggestions useful.

RECORD YOURSELF ANSWERING QUESTIONS


For example, ask yourself the questions on pages 41-42 and record your answers on your
mobile phone or computer.

WRITE DOWN YOUR ANSWERS


Listen to your recorded answers and write them down word for word. That way you can
learn what mistakes you made and how well you followed the advice in this book. You can
learn, for example, if you used simple or more sophisticated vocabulary, what grammatical
errors you made and if you connected your sentences and ideas appropriately.

PRACTISE DESCRIBING YOUR OWN PHOTOGRAPHS


This will train you to talk about your memories in case you are asked to describe an event in
your past. Try to talk about what the event was, when it took place and say how you felt. You
can use this method to practise the expressions for Describing events (pages 35-36).

READ A TEXT THEN SPEAK IT


Try to summarise what you read in your own words. Record yourself and write down your
summary. This will train you to paraphrase and use synonyms effectively, which is
important if you want to achieve a high band.

RECALL YOUR MEMORIES


In parts 1 and 2, you may be asked personal questions about your life. Think about the
people you know, places you have visited, events you have attended and objects you own.
Then practise talking about them using the expressions on pages 29-38.

THINK ALOUD
Instead of thinking in your own language, try thinking aloud in English. For instance, instead
of planning your day in your native language, say it in English, for example Okay, today
Ive got an important meeting. I should get going. Im going to be late, etc. This will make
you feel more comfortable speaking English.

6
WATCH FILMS
Watching films is a good way to improve your spoken English. The more you listen to native
speakers, the more confident you will become in speaking. Try to understand what the actors
are saying. Pay attention to the subtitles or look up words in a dictionary. Try to follow the
subtitles in your own language first, and then in English when you feel more confident. Some
students find it useful to watch English comedies, for example Monty Python. In order to
understand the jokes, you will need to look up the meaning of certain words.

FIND A SPEAKING PARTNER


If you dont have a teacher to help you prepare for the test or if you need additional
practice, find a speaking partner. Try the following websites:

www.mylanguageexchange.com

www.italki.com www.busuu.com

LISTEN TO ENGLISH SPEAKERS


Listening is very important. The more you listen to native speakers, the more confident you
will feel in speaking. Sources of listening include:

Real people (tourists, travellers, etc.)


Audio books
Podcasts

You should find the following websites useful:

www.podcastsinenglish.com

www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish

www.eslpod.com

7
VOCABULARY FOR BAND 6-6.5
If you are aiming for band 6-6.5 your vocabulary must be wide enough to talk about any
topic at length, and you need to be more precise with your words than for lower bands.

For example, if you repeatedly describe the weather as good, this shows that you have a
limited range of vocabulary. If you want to get a 6 or higher, you need to be more precise.
How is the weather good? Is it nice and sunny? Is it clear and dry?

Lets study the difference between precise vocabulary and imprecise vocabulary.

Imprecise: I was very happy when my manager gave me a better position.


Precise: I was very happy when my manager gave me a promotion.

Imprecise: The weather in my country is good in summer and not good in winter.
Precise: The weather in my country is nice and sunny in summer and very cold in
winter.

Imprecise: I live in very very big city.


Precise: I live in a very large city.

Imprecise: In my town, there are many many cars.


Precise: There is a lot of traffic in my town.

Imprecise: Near my home, there is a place where people play football.


Precise: Near my home, there is a football pitch.

Imprecise: My uncle is a man who gives money to everybody.


Precise: My uncle is a very generous man.

Imprecise: The transport system in my country is bad.


Precise: The transport system in my country is not very efficient.

Imprecise: In my street the cars are very loud.


Precise: My street is very noisy because of the traffic.

Imprecise: I finished university study in 2010.


Precise: I graduated from university in 2010.

Imprecise: There are many people in my country who are without job.
Precise: There are many unemployed people in my country. /
Unemployment is very high in my country.

Imprecise: In my free time, I walk in the mountains.


Precise: In my free time, I go hiking in the mountains.

Imprecise: My cousin is somebody who drives very big cars.


Precise: My cousin is a truck driver.

8
VOCABULARY FOR BAND 7-9
In order to achieve a very high band in the IELTS speaking test, you need to demonstrate
that you can use less common vocabulary, including idioms and less common collocations.

Lets look at how you can say common sentences in a less common way:

Common: Korean people think that they are good singers, so they enjoy karaoke.
Less common: Korean people regard themselves as being talented singers, so they
enjoy karaoke.

Common: I was very happy when I got my promotion.


Less common: I was over the moon when I got my promotion.

Common: We should try to produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions.


Less common: We should try to reduce our carbon footprint.

Common: Many people in my country are extremely poor.


Less common: Many people in my country live below the breadline.

Common: I live in a rich part of the city.


Less common: I live in an affluent part of the city.

Common: In the end, we arrived in a strange part of town.


Less common: We ended up in a strange part of town.

Common: People in my country are spending less money because of the crisis.
Less common: People in my country are tightening their belts because of the crisis.

Common: In my hometown, the streets are very very dark at night.


Less common: In my hometown, the streets are almost pitch black at night.

Common: I think his reaction was a little exaggerated.


Less common: I think his reaction was a little over the top.

Common: Although they played well, they lost the match.


Less common: Even though they played well, they lost the match.

Common: In my country, if you are rich you can do bad things and not get punished.
Less common: In my country, if you are wealthy you can get away with murder.

NOTE ON USING IDIOMS


Do not try to show off to the examiner by using an idiom in every single sentence.
Idioms should be used appropriately. Think of them like spices in a cooking recipe.

9
CONVERSATION FILLERS
In the IELTS speaking test, you often need to think about what to say next. But this does not
mean that you cannot demonstrate your command of English while you are thinking. When
English native speakers do not know what to say, they are not completely silent. They use
conversation fillers words and phrases to fill the space. Here are some examples.

Well, .

So, .

Let me think .

Lets see

Hmm, thats a difficult question.

Hmm, thats a tricky question.

Umm, you know

Ive never really thought about that.

I guess

I suppose

I would say

Basically

Examiner: Who is your favourite family member?


Candidate: Hmm, thats a difficult question. Umm, I would say my older brother.

Examiner: Is there any other work you would like to do in the future?
Candidate: Hmm well, I suppose consulting would be interesting.

Examiner: Are you ever late for appointments?


Candidate: Umm, you know, let me think about that. Hmm, Im usually quite punctual,
so Id say pretty rarely.

Examiner: Is water pollution a problem in your country?


Candidate: Well, I think its becoming a problem.

Examiner: How long have you been learning English?


Candidate: Hmm.lets seeummmI would saybasicallyabout 10 years.

10
IF YOU FORGET WORDS
During the IELTS speaking test you might forget some words because you are nervous.
Try not to worry! You can use other words to describe what you want to say.

The expressions below will help you explain what you mean and at the same time
demonstrate your speaking skills to the examiner.

I dont know what you call it, but you use it to cut grass.
(a lawnmower)

I cant remember the word for it, but its used for changing the TV channel.
(a remote control)

I cant remember the word for them, but they help you to see under water.
(goggles)

Ive forgotten the name for it, but its a type of fish with large head and is normally
quite expensive.
(King prawn)

I dont recall the word for this profession, but its a person who helps passengers on a
plane.
(a flight attendant)

Ive forgotten the verb, but its when you change the colour of something, for
example your hair or your car.
(dye)

ADVANCED EXPRESSIONS
Consider using these expressions if you aiming for band 7-9:

The name of this crime is on the tip of my tongue but I cant quite recall it. Its a form
of crime where someone dishonestly takes money that is entrusted to him or her.
(embezzlement)

The name of this condition has completely slipped my mind. Its when you have problems
breathing. (asthma)

Ive never come across the name of this animal in English. Its a nocturnal bird
with large eyes, a flat face and a flexible neck. (an owl)

11
ASKING FOR CLARIFICATION
If the examiner asks you a question that you do not understand, do not panic. Instead,
see this as an opportunity to demonstrate your communication skills by asking for
clarification. Study the expressions below.

YOU DIDNT UNDERSTAND SOMETHING


If the examiner uses a word or phrase that you didnt understand or that you have forgotten,
for example the verb exaggerate, you can say something like:

Sorry, but could you explain what you mean by exaggerate?

I havent heard that word before. Could you explain what you mean?

Sorry, Im not sure what that word means. Could you explain it another way?

Sorry, I dont know what exaggerate means. Could you explain it another
way?

Sorry, Ive forgotten what exaggerate means. Could you explain it another
way?

YOU DIDNT HEAR SOMETHING


If you simply didnt hear what the examiner said or asked, you can say something like:

Excuse me, I didn't quite catch that. Could you say it again?

Sorry, I didnt hear what you said. Could you repeat it?

I'm sorry, but would you mind repeating that? (more polite)

12
CHECKING UNDERSTANDING
If you want to check that you understood something correctly, you can say something like:

Do you mean ........?

Are you asking .?

When you say ........, do you mean ........?

By , do you mean ?

When you say ........, are you including ........?

Examples of use

Examiner: Who is your favourite family member?


Candidate: When you say family member, do you mean my close family, or can I talk
about my relatives?

Examiner: What is your hometown like?


Candidate: When you say hometown, do you mean the town where I grew up?

Examiner: Do you find your work satisfying?


Candidate: Are you asking if I like my job?

Examiner: What is your favourite gadget?


Candidate: By gadget, do you mean things like iPhones and cameras?

Examiner: What typical problems do you have in your hometown?


Candidate: When you say typical problems, are you including pollution, traffic, and
things like that?

NOTE ON ASKING FOR CLARIFICATION


Only ask for clarification if you really need the examiner to repeat or rephrase
something. Do not ask for clarification after every question just to show off or use up
time. This may negatively affect your score.

13
BEING SPONTANEOUS
While you are speaking, many new ideas may come into your head. This is another good
opportunity to show your communication skills. Here are some examples of expressions
you can use to introduce new ideas in a natural, spontaneous way.

What else? Oh, yes,

Another example just came to me.

One more thing Id just like to add.

Another point I wanted to make is that ...

I just remembered what I wanted to say.

One more thing comes to mind. (Band 7+)

One more thing springs to mind. (Band 7+)

Here are some examples of how these expressions can be used. In the examples below,
the candidate is talking about why she likes a particular child (for part 2 of the test).

What else? What else? Oh yes, he is very respectful.

I just remembered what I wanted to say -- he is also very respectful.

Another point I wanted to make is that he is very respectful.

Another example just came to me -- he is very respectful.

One more thing Id just like to add -- he is very respectful.

One more thing comes to mind -- he is very respectful.

One more thing springs to mind -- he is very respectful.

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PRONUNCIATION TIPS
In order to get a high band in the IELTS speaking test, you dont need to speak with a British
or American accent, but you must be easily understood. This tip presents a few general tips
on how to make your English easier on the examiners ears.

You can listen to the correct pronunciation of any word by going to www.ivona.com,
entering the word in the text-to-speech box and pressing PLAY.

THE SCHWA //
The schwa is an unstressed vowel sound that is found in many English words. It is the
most common vowel sound in the English language and it can be spelled in many different
ways, for example:

'a' in about [bat]


'e' in taken [tekn]
'i' in pencil [pnsl]
'u' in supply [spla]
'o' in provide [prvad]
unwritten as in rhythm [rm]

Make the schwa with your jaws slightly open, your lips relaxed, and do not move
your tongue!

The schwa is represented by unstressed suffixes, for example -er, -ar, -or, -um, -an, -al,
-ous, -ough, -our, -and, -ent and -ion. Enter the words below at www.ivona.com and
repeat them.

-er // -ar // -or // -um /m/ -an /n/ -al /l/


bigger familiar sailor medium barman hospital
trainer popular instructor maximum doorman normal
cater vinegar doctor quantum organ cathedral
meter sugar elevator premium hooligan artificial
better singular conductor Museum human actual

-ous /s/ -ough // -our // -and /nd/ -ent /nt/ -ion /n/
dangerous thorough armour England ancient operation
tedious borough behaviour thousand current television
spacious flour husband basement nation
nervous harbour island competent action
precious humour highland silent region

15
The schwa is represented by unstressed prefixes, for example su-, pro-, to-, a-, sur- and
con-.

su- /s/ pro- /pr/ to- /t/ a- // sur- /s/ con- /kn/
suppose protect together ago surprise control
suffice provide tomorrow around survive connect
success proliferate today appropriate survivor convert
suspect (vb.) professional tonight allow surround conclude
subtract pronounce torrential affect surreal condition

ADVANCED TIP
When native speakers speak at a natural speed, the pronunciation of many words changes
schwa becomes even more common. In the examples below, the schwa sound is highlighted
in yellow:

SLOW SPEECH: I went to a town where there were a lot of tourists.


NATURAL SPEECH: I went to a town where there were a lot of tourists.

The pronunciation of unstressed grammatical words such as prepositions, pronouns


and auxiliary verbs often changes in natural fast speech. These words include to,
where, there, I, you, were, from, for, are, of, etc.

Read the sentences below first slowly and then quickly. Compare yourself to a native
speaker if possible.

1. How are you?

2. How are they arriving?

3. Where are you going?

4. Ive just got a present from my brother.

5. Have you ever been to Italy?

6. Do you know where the children are hiding?

7. Im going to town for an hour or two.

8. Ive just got back from America.

9. There are lots of interesting cafes in my town.

10. Shes meeting an old friend for lunch.

11. Im off to the beach. See you later!

16
DEALING WITH NERVES
Most people feel nervous before an oral exam. This is normal. Although stress is a personal
thing and can affect different people to different degrees, here are some tips on how to
reduce nerves before and during your IELTS speaking test.

THINK POSITIVE
Stress is caused by the way you think. If you imagine a negative experience during your
exam, for example not being able to understand the questions, you will start to panic a little.
It is important to realize that you have no idea how the exam will go until you take it. It
could be much easier than you expect. Before you go into the exam, try to remember a test
that you took in the past which was much easier than you had expected.

EXERCISE
Try to get a good nights sleep before the exam and start the day with a healthy breakfast.
Doing some exercise is also a good idea go for a run, walk or swim. This will take your
mind off the exam and help you to relax.

MEDITATE
On the day of your exam, you will have a lot of thoughts about the test How will it go? Will I
understand the questions? What will I do if I fail? What will I say if the examiner asks me .?
Find a quiet place to sit for 15-30 minutes. When a thought or image comes into your head,
try to observe it and feel the tension in your body. The thought and tension will disappear
and you will start to become a little more relaxed. Do not try to stop thinking. Just observe
your thoughts like you are watching a film.

THINK ABOUT THE EXAMINER


Try to be aware of the examiners perspective. A professional examiner has been in this
situation hundreds of times and does not want you to fail. You are certainly not the first
nervous candidate. If you step back and think about the big picture, you will relax more.

FOCUS ON THE QUESTIONS


During the exam, try to focus on the questions and you wont have time to get stressed. If
you dont understand or didnt hear something, ask the examiner to explain or repeat it (see
page 12).

IMAGINE A CONVERSATION
Try to think of the exam as a conversation with an acquaintance of yours, especially for parts
1 and 3. If you go into the exam thinking that you are going to take a test, you will put more
pressure on yourself.

17
DEVELOP YOUR ANSWERS
During part 1 of the IELTS speaking test, try to give full, relevant answers to the examiners
questions. Take a look at the sample answers below. Do not memorize any of these
answers, unless you can repeat them without sounding unnatural!

Examiner: Where are you from?


Candidate: Im from Dhaka. (Dont stop!) Its the capital city in
Bangladesh and very popular with tourists because of its historical sites.

Examiner: Have you ever been to an English speaking country?


Candidate: No, I havent. (Dont stop!) But Id really like visit London. Ive heard so much
about the place.

Examiner: Do you do any sports?


Candidate: Yes, I play football. (Dont stop!) I play with my friends every Sunday. Im not a
fantastic player, but I really enjoy it, and thats the main thing.

Examiner: How many people are there in your family?


Candidate: There are four of us. (Dont stop!) Myself, my sister and my parents. Oh, and
we have a cat, if that counts!

Examiner: Do you enjoy cooking?


Candidate: Yes, I do. (Dont stop!) I especially like cooking noodles because its quick and
there are so many different recipes to experiment with. When I was living in
India I also learnt how to cook Indian dishes.

Examiner: Do you prefer reading magazines or newspapers?


Candidate: Definitely newspapers. (Dont stop!) I like to keep up-to-date with the latest
news and so daily newspapers are more informative for me.

Examiner: Why are you taking the IELTS exam?


Candidate: I need it for my studies. (Dont stop!) Ive been offered a place at Manchester
University but only on the condition that I achieve a band 7 or higher in the
IELTS exam.

Examiner: Is there any job you would like to do in the future?


Candidate: No. (Dont stop!) Im quite happy with my current job. Ive always been a
creative person so a job in marketing was the kind of job I always wanted.

Examiner: How long have you been learning English?


Candidate: About 10 years. (Dont stop!) But Ive made more progress over the last five
years since I started taking private lessons with a native speaker. He has
helped me a lot.

18
GRAMMAR FOR PART 1
In part one of the IELTS speaking test, you are asked about 12 general questions.
These questions will be about yourself, for example your hometown, your favourite
holiday destination, what books or films you like, your family, your neighbours, etc.

It is important to use correct grammar in your answers, so listen carefully to the questions
and pay special attention to the verb tenses that the examiner uses. You may be able to
answer using the same tense or you might prefer to use a different tense.

USING THE SAME TENSE


Study this example:

Examiner: What type of activities do you do in your spare time?

The examiner uses the present simple (do you do). We use the present simple when
we talk about regular, repeated activities in the present.

You can begin your answer with the same tense, for example:

Well, I regularly play tennis in the summer.

I dont really have much spare time, but when I do, I like to

Heres another question you might hear:

Examiner: What are you studying?

Here, the present continuous is used. We use the present continuous when we talk
about an activity that is taking place around the present time (but not necessarily right
at this present moment).

In this case, you can begin your answer with:

Right now, Im studying Molecular Biology.

19
USING A DIFFERENT TENSE
You can also begin your answers with a different tense if appropriate.

If you are confident enough, you can try to use a more complex tense or structure than in the
question, especially if you are aiming for a high band. Study this example:

Examiner: Do you know the people who next door to you?

Candidate: No, Ive never met them personally, but my wife has chatted to them on
several occasions.

In the above example, the examiner uses the present simple but the candidate begins the
answer with the present perfect simple. We often use the present perfect simple to talk
about our general experiences things that we have done in the past without saying when
we did them.

Heres another example:

Examiner: Do you cook?

Candidate: Well, I would if I had the time. Unfortunately, Im just too busy.

In the above example, the examiner uses the present simple but the candidate begins
the answer with a second conditional structure. We often use the second conditional to
talk about a hypothetical or imagined situation in the present or future.

20
IF YOU DO NOT HAVE AN OPINION
You do not need to have great ideas or opinions. The examiner is only evaluating your ability
to communicate in English. However, you have to give a relevant response to every
question. This shows that you have understood the question correctly. So, what do you say
if you dont have any ideas or opinions on a particular topic?

You can try inventing an opinion -- the examiner is not interested in the truth. However, if you
really have nothing to say, then its okay to tell the examiner that you do not have an opinion.
However, try to give your reasons and show good communication skills. You can say:

Im sorry, Ive never heard of that.

Im afraid Ive never been interested in [sport, etc.]

Im afraid Im not very keen on [music, etc.]

Im afraid I dont know much about [art, etc.]

Im sorry, Im not sure what that is.

Im sorry, Im not familiar with that topic.

ADVANCED EXPRESSIONS
Consider using these expressions if you are aiming for band 7-9:

Im sorry, Ive never given that much thought.

Im afraid Im not really a [sports, painting, etc.] enthusiast.

Im afraid Im not really into [art, music, sports, etc.]

Im afraid that topic has never really aroused my interest.

Im sorry Im completely unfamiliar with that topic.

21
SAMPLE ANSWERS FOR PART 1
Read and listen to different answers for part 1 of the IELTS speaking test.
Study the analysis of each answer. Please do not learn these answers word for word. The
examiner is trained to notice pre-prepared answers.

Finally, remember that in the speaking test, you might hesitate and correct yourself, which
is natural. The possible band scores for each answer take that into account.

EXAMINER: DO YOU WORK OR STUDY?

Candidate (Girl): Well, at the moment I study accounting. I want to later become an
accountant.

Possible band level: 5.5-6.5

Her answer is a little short. She also makes a clear grammatical mistake: I want to later
become an accountant. She should say: I want to become an accountant later or I want to
become an accountant in the future.

Candidate: Well, at the moment Im a student Im studying accounting. When I


graduate next year, I hope to get a job in a large international company.

Possible band level: 7-7.5

This time she develops her answer well. She doesnt make any grammatical mistakes.
However, if she wants to be sure of getting a very high band, she could try using some less
common, more complex vocabulary.

Candidate: Well, right now Im still a student Im doing a degree in accounting. When I
graduate next year, fingers crossed, I hope to find a job in a reputable international company.

Possible band level: 8-9

In this answer, She doesnt make any grammatical mistakes. She shows that she can
paraphrase and use collocations correctly (do a degree in something instead of
studying). She also demonstrates that she can use less common words (reputable) and
appropriate idiomatic vocabulary (fingers crossed).

22
EXAMINER: WHAT DO YOU DO TO STAY HEALTHY?

Candidate: Well, in general I try to eat healthy food lots of fruits and vegetables. And I
dont smoke. But I dont exercise and I like coffee very much.

Possible band level: 6-6.5

She doesnt make any grammatical mistakes and uses appropriate vocabulary. However,
she only uses very common words in her answer.

Candidate: Well, I do try to keep a balanced diet, you know, eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
Besides that, I dont smoke. However, I dont do much exercise and Im rather fond of coffee.

Possible band level: 7.5

In this answer, She speaks more naturally. She connects her sentences well and uses less
common vocabulary -- Im rather fond of coffee.

If she wants to be sure of getting an even higher band, she could use more less
common vocabulary, for example I try to refrain from smoking instead of I dont smoke.

EXAMINER: WHAT DO YOU FIND MOST DIFFICULT ABOUT LEARNING ENGLISH?

Candidate: I think tenses are very difficult. You have too many tenses! In my language
there are only three. It is difficult to use them in speaking because I dont have time to think
which tense am I supposed to use.

Possible band level: 6.5

She makes only one grammatical mistake she should say I dont have time to think which
tense I am supposed to use. Her vocabulary is generally appropriate, but she uses very
common words in her answer. If she wants to be sure of getting a higher band, she could try
to be more precise, e.g. Its more challenging to use them in speaking than in writing
because you have to think on the spot.

23
Candidate: I would say learning the phrasal verbs is pretty tricky. Its easy to memorize
a long list of them but its not that easy to put them into practice.

Possible band level: 7.5

In this answer, She doesnt make any grammatical mistakes and she shows that she can
use less common vocabulary, for example tricky instead of difficult. If she wants to be sure
of achieving an even higher band, she could try using more less common vocabulary. For
example, instead of repeating the word easy, she could say so something like putting them
into practice can be a daunting task.

HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR FREE TIME?

Candidate: Well, I like to spend my free time outside the home. I walk in the mountains a lot
I enjoy the fresh air and the nice views.

Possible band level: 6.5

Niki doesnt make any grammatical mistakes. However, she uses very common vocabulary.
Instead of saying walk in the mountains, she could use the more precise expression go hiking
in the mountains.

Candidate: Well, I spend much of my free time outdoors. I especially enjoy hiking in the
mountains and I live near the mountains which is really convenient. I love the fresh air
and the spectacular views.

Possible band level: 7.5

She doesnt make any grammatical mistakes and uses less common vocabulary, for
example hiking instead of walking, spectacular instead of nice.

If she wants to be sure of getting an even higher band, she could try using an idiomatic
expression in her answer, for example I live just a stones throw away from instead of I
live near ...

24
WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF COMPUTERS NOWADAYS?

Candidate: Computers are very important in our lives. Without computers we cannot do
many things. For example, we cannot find many jobs, we cannot communicate with
email, we cannot find information very easy.

Possible band level: 6

In this answer, She generally communicates her ideas well, but the phrase we cannot find
many jobs is a little unclear. Perhaps she wanted to say we cannot find work so easily. She
also makes a small mistake -- she uses the adjective *easy* instead of the adverb easily.

Candidate: Computers are absolutely essential nowadays. We simply cannot do


anything without them. Without computers we cannot communicate with each other so
easily, we cannot multi-task at work. Thanks to the internet, we can instantly find
solutions to our daily problems. In the past, this was impossible.

Possible band level: 7.5

In this answer, She develops her ideas clearly and doesnt make any grammatical mistakes.
She uses less common vocabulary, for example absolutely essential instead of very
important and the phrasal verb do without. She also does well to correct her pronunciation
of the work multi-task.

If She wants to be sure of achieving an even higher band, she could try using even more
precise and less common vocabulary such as absolutely indispensible instead of absolutely
essential. She could say how computers automate common work tasks or how there are so
many things that we take for granted which would be impossible without computers.

25
USING PREPARATION TIME (PART 2)
In part 2 of the IELTS speaking test, you may be asked to describe a cultural event, a place
you have been to, a person you know, a TV show you have watched, etc.

You have one minute to prepare, and you have to talk for 1-2 minutes. The examiner will
give you a pencil and some paper to make notes while you prepare. You should make notes
that you find useful in English or in your native language.

Most tasks contain two main parts: describing the topic, and explaining your feelings about
it. To do well, you have to include both in your answer.

Here are some tips for making notes:

MAKING NOTES FOR PART 2

Read the task card carefully if you dont understand any


part of it, ask the examiner.

Think of something to describe as quickly as you can.

Write down all the vocabulary related to the topic that you
can think of.

Make notes for each part of the task.

Think of 2-3 things to say for each prompt and write


down words that will remind you of what to say.

Just write down the keywords which you can talk about
(you dont have time to write full sentences).

26
BEGINNING YOUR ANSWER (PART 2)
When your preparation time has ended, you are ready to begin talking. It helps to have an
idea how to begin. If you are not sure how to begin, you can use one of the expressions
below.

Im going to talk about


Im going to describe
Ive decided to talk about
The person/place/object Im going to describe is

Look at the cue card below.

Describe someone who has had an


important influence on your life.
You should say:

Who the person is


How long you have known him/her
What qualities this person has

Explain why they have had such an influence on you.

You can begin your answer with:

Im going to talk about my university professor.


Im going to describe my university professor.
Ive decided to talk about my university professor.
The person Im going to describe is my university professor.

Alternatively, you can begin your answer without using a fixed expression. Pay attention
to the grammatical structure used in the in first sentence of the cue card, for example:

My university professor has had a very important influence on my life.

Recall that if you are aiming for a high band, you need to show that you can paraphrase and
use synonyms effectively. If you are confident, try to paraphrase the cue card instruction:

My university professor has influenced me in a major way.


My university professor has really shaped my outlook on life.
A key influence on my life has been my university professor.

27
TIME MANAGEMENT (PART 2)
For part 2 of the IELTS speaking test, there are four points that you need to talk about. There
are three short points (who, where, why, how long, what, etc.) and one longer part which
asks you to explain something. After you have completed the task, the examiner will ask you
a short follow-up question.

When you practise this task, try to set yourself a time limit for each part, for example:

20 seconds
20 seconds
20 seconds
1 minute

Here are some more tips for managing your time:

TIME MANAGEMENT TIPS FOR PART 2

Have the first sentence ready when the examiner asks you to speak.

Follow the order on the prompt card.

Try to say one or two sentences for each of the first three parts.

Give quick examples where relevant.

Dont forget the last part of the task.

If you feel you are going to finish in less than one minute and you have
nothing else to say, try to use conversation fillers (see page 10).

If you have spoken for at least one minute and you feel that you
have nothing more to say and your fluency is getting worse, just stop
talking and give the cue card back to the examiner.

When the examiner asks you the follow-up question, answer with one
or two sentences.

28
DESCRIBING PEOPLE
In the IELTS Speaking Test part 2, it is very common that the questions on the card will be
about a person, for example a role model, a neighbour, a child that you know, a celebrity or a
friend. You may need to describe the persons appearance, personality, what the person
does, why you like or respect the person, etc.

ADJECTIVES FOR DESCRIBING APPEARANCE


In the table below you will find useful adjectives that you can use for describing a persons
appearance. If you dont know any of the words, look them up in a dictionary and/or do a
Google image search. Use Google to search for examples of how the words are used.

If you are aiming for a high band, consider using adjectives from the table on the next page.

Hair (colour) black, dark brown, light brown, red, blond, dyed blond, fair, grey, ginger

Hair (type/state) short, long, medium-length, shoulder-length, straight, wavy, curly, bald,
untidy, spiky, thick, thin

Body thin, slim, fat, tall, big, short, straight, curvy, muscular, well-built
overweight, hairy

Skin dark, pale, tanned, spotty, clear

Face pretty, beautiful, good-looking, handsome, oval, round, plain

TIP
Make your descriptions more interesting by using qualifying adverbs such as a
bit, a little, slightly, quite, fairly, very, really, extremely. For example:

Rahim is extremely overweight.


He has a very handsome face.
Her skin is quite spotty.
His hair is a bit thin.
Karims skin is a little pale.
Her face is slightly oval.

Practice ideas

1. Look at photos of your friends and family. Practise describing them using
the vocabulary above.
2. Next time you are walking down the street, describe the people you see in your head.

29
ADJECTIVES FOR DESCRIBING APPEARANCE (BAND 7-9)
Consider using any of the adjectives in the table below if you are aiming for a very high band.
However, be careful when using unfamiliar words in the exam. Use a good dictionary to
check their meaning and do a Google search to see examples of how these words are used
in practice.

Hair (colour) auburn, ash-blond, golden brown, jet black

Hair (type/state) blow-dried, braided, close-cropped, lank, shaggy, thinning, unkempt


wiry, wind-blown

Body slight, heavy set, burly, gangly, lanky, leggy, stocky, thickset

Skin bronzed, freckled, glowing, olive, pimply

Face chiseled, craggy, made-up, weather-beaten, wrinkled

30
DESCRIBING PERSONALITY
In the table below you will find useful adjectives that you can use for describing a persons
personality. If you dont know any of the words, look them up in a dictionary. Use Google
to search for examples of how the words are used.

If you are aiming for a high band, consider using adjectives from the table on the next page.

Qualities clever, funny, generous, loyal, outgoing, punctual, tolerant, relaxed,


open-minded, friendly, patient, honest, sociable, polite, sensitive, kind,
intelligent, calm, cheerful, smart, optimistic, strong, brave, confident,
thoughtful, charming, gentle, modest, nice, reliable

Flaws arrogant, boring, moody, unfriendly, impatient, dishonest, intolerant,


narrow-minded, insensitive, unkind, mean, pessimistic, rude, stupid,
jealous, miserable, weak, selfish, lazy, childish

Other traits quiet, reserved, shy, talkative, tough, soft, proud

TIP
Peoples moods and personality can change depending on the situation. Try
to make your descriptions more precise by using adverbs of frequency such
as usually, normally, sometimes, never, hardly ever, occasionally.
For example:

Salman is usually very outgoing, but he is sometimes a bit moody.


Adnan is hardly ever pessimistic.
She is normally quite reserved.
He can sometimes be very arrogant.
She is very sociable, but occasionally a little too talkative.
He s usually extremely cheerful, but hes a bit rude at times.

Practice ideas

1. Think of your friends and family. Practise describing their personalities using the
vocabulary above.
2. Next time you meet someone new, describe his/her personality in your head.

31
ADJECTIVES FOR DESCRIBING PERSONALITY (BAND 7-9)
Consider using any of the adjectives in the table below if you are aiming for a very high band.
However, be careful when using unfamiliar words in the exam. Use Google search to see
examples of how these words are used in practice or check with your teacher that you are
using them correctly.

Qualities Flaws
amiable clingy
courageous needy
courteous cowardly
compassionate devious
fearless dull
frank grumpy
larger-than-life hostile
industrious impulsive
resourceful indifferent
sensible nasty
charismatic timid
balanced vain
sincere self-conscious
jovial insecure
wise stuck-up
witty absent-minded
easy-going big-headed
level-headed hot-tempered
self-disciplined two-faced
thick-skinned self-centred
warm-hearted tight-fisted

TIP
If you are aiming for a very high band, consider using more complex qualifying
words and expressions, for example:

She tends to be rather hostile.

Adnan is a bit on the timid side.

He can be a bit self-centred at times.

She is hardly ever grumpy.

He is usually quite an amiable guy. But theres also a hostile side to him.

She seems a bit stuck-up. But once you get to know her, shes
really easy-going.

32
DESCRIBING OBJECTS
In the IELTS Speaking Test part 2, it is possible that the questions on the card will be about
an object, for example a present, a gadget, a photo, something you bought recently, an
important possession, etc. You may need to describe the appearance of the object as well
as its use and importance.

DESCRIBING THE APPEARANCE OF AN OBJECT


Study the expressions below. They will help you describe what an object looks like.

Size Its small/big/thick/thin


Its the size of a

Weight Its heavy/light


It weighs about kilogrammes

Shape Its square/round/rectangular/oval

Colour Its red/blue/green/white/shiny

Material Its made of plastic/leather/steel/wood

Examples of use

My iPhone is small, thin and shiny black. It weighs about 100 grammes.

My first mobile phone was the size of a brick. It was very thick and heavy.

My wallet is small and brown. Its rectangular and its made of leather.

DESCRIBING THE USE OF AN OBJECT


Study the expressions below. They will help you describe the use of an object.

I use it to
It can be used to
Its used for ing
It has lots of features like

Examples of use (an iPhone)

I use it to chat with my friends. Its used for making phone calls.

It can be used to send emails. It has lots of features like video and an MP3 player.

33
DESCRIBING THE IMPORTANCE OF AN OBJECT
Study the expressions below. They will help you describe the importance of an object.

Its very important to me because


It helps me a lot because .
It reminds me of
It makes my life easier.

Examples of use

Its very important to me because it makes my life easier. (an iPhone)

It helps me a lot because I study mathematics and I need to do lots of


calculations. (a calculator)

Its very important to me because it reminds me of my childhood. (a photo or toy)

DESCRIBING THE IMPORTANCE OF AN OBJECT (BAND 7-9)


Consider using the expressions below if you are aiming for a very high band.

Its an essential part of my life.


Its indispensible.
I couldnt live without it.
It brings back memories of

Examples of use

Its an essential part of my life. I keep my contacts there, my photos, I can make calls
with it. I simply couldnt live without it. (an iPhone)

I study mathematics so its indispensible. (a calculator)

Its very important to me because it brings back memories of my childhood. (a photo or toy)

Practice ideas

1. Think of some objects you own. Practise describing their appearance, use and
importance.
2. Look at some important photos. Practise describing why they are important to you.

34
DESCRIBING AN EVENT
In the IELTS Speaking Test part 2, it is possible that the questions on the card will be about
an event. You may need to describe the type of event, the people involved and the
activities that took place. There may also be a question about how you felt at the event or
why it was important to you.

TYPE OF EVENT
a birthday party
a wedding
a concert
a sports event
a festival
a class reunion
a stag party (UK) / bachelor party (US)
a hen night (UK) / bachelorette party (US)

WHEN WAS WHO WAS


IT? last summer THERE? close
two winters ago friends relatives
5 years ago family and friends
during my summer break people I know
after I graduated from work colleagues
university on my 30th birthday old classmates
people Ive known since childhood

WHAT DID I DO?


danced
ate a delicious meal
gave somebody a present
sang songs
HOW DID I FEEL?
It was very exciting.
watched a match
It was a lot of fun.
played some games
I had a great time.
met new people
listened to music Everybody enjoyed themselves.
It was a good occasion to
It was a very sad day.
I was a bit bored.
I remember feeling a bit bored/sad.

35
Look at the cue card and the sample answers below.

Describe a recent event.


You should say:

when and where it


was who was involved
what happened

and describe how you felt.

SAMPLE ANSWER

Im going to describe my friend's birthday party, last month. We went for a meal in an
Indian restaurant and then to different places.

There were about 10 of us, some close friends, old friends and work colleagues.

We started the evening at the restaurant. We ate a delicious meal and then we went to fancy
shop in my town. We were dressed like kids. It is a party tradition in my country to wear a
costume.

How did I feel? Well, it was a lot of fun. Everybody enjoyed themselves very much. And it
was great to meet old friends who I hadnt seen since my childhood. It was really
interesting to find out about what they were doing in their lives. What else? I cant talk
about everything we did, but lets just say that everybody had a great time.

SAMPLE ANSWER WITH LESS COMMON VOCABULARY


Here is the same answer with some less common words and structures (in bold), which
can help you get a very high band in the test.

Im going to describe my friend's birthday party, last month. We went for a meal in an
Italian restaurant and then to different shops.

There were about 10 of us -- some close friends, old friends and work colleagues, most of
them were people I've known since university.

We started the evening at the restaurant. We ate a delicious meal and then we went out to
some shops in my town. We were all dressed up like superheroes. It is a party tradition in
my country to wear a costume.

How did I feel? Hmmmwell, it was a lot of fun. And it was great to catch up with old
friends and make some new ones. I cant reveal everything we did because it got a little
crazy, but lets just say that everybody enjoyed themselves very much.

36
DESCRIBING PLACES
In the IELTS Speaking Test part 2, it is possible that the questions on the card will be about
a place. You may need to talk about the type of place it is, its location, its history, its purpose
and the type of activities that happen there. There may also be a question about how you
feel about the place. Learn the adjectives and expressions on this page.

DESCRIBING A BUILDING DESCRIBING AN AREA


tall beautiful
modern interesting
DESCRIBING A HOME
old amazing
expensive
new dangerous
cheap
commercial safe
well-located
unusual crowded
comfortable
conveniently-located noisy
dark
quiet
---------------band 7+ ------------band 7+-------- strange
rundown wild
damp peaceful
dilapidated
well-lit romantic
multi-story
poorly-lit
neglected
luxurious ---------------band 7+----------------
abandoned
spacious
classical tranquil
cramped
neoclassical deserted
cozy
gothic touristy
lively

IT IS LOCATED SURROUNDING AREA


in the north/south/east of rural
in the centre of urban
on the coast mountainous
on a quiet street dry
by the sea flat
near the town centre hilly
in the suburbs
in the mountains HISTORY
in the countryside It was constructed in
in the city It was established in
10km from
---------------band 6.5+----------------
---------------band 7+----------------
It has existed since [DATE IN THE PAST]
in the outskirts of [NAME OF CITY] It has existed for [NUMBER OF YEARS]
at the mouth of [NAME OF RIVER]
at the foot of [NAME OF MOUNTAIN]

37
Look at the cue card and the sample answer below.

Talk about your ideal home.


You should say:

how big it would be


what it would look like
where it would be located

and explain why you would like to live there.

SAMPLE ANSWER

OK, so what would be my ideal home? Well I think it would have to be a big flat, about 100
square metres. It would have five rooms a bedroom, a kitchen, a bathroom, a living room
and two spare rooms. Everything should be modern modern furniture, a flat-screen TV
and a gaming PC. There should be plenty of natural light.

It should be located in the centre of my city, near the market square in the old town.
But on a quiet street.

I would like to live there for several reasons. Firstly, its big and I like lots of space. Secondly,
I enjoy entertaining guests and the flat has everything I need modern appliances, space and
nice furniture. Also, I really like cooking, so a big kitchen is very important to me. I would also
like to live there because its well-located. It would be nice to live in the centre because I often
go there with my friends to eat out, visit some bars, go for a walk, and so on. I like meeting new
people and the centre of my town is very crowded, which is perfect for me.

VOCABULARY FOR BAND 7-9


If you are aiming for a very high band, consider using the more advanced words from
the previous page, for example:

Well I think it would have to be a big, spacious flat.

It should be very well-lit.

Id prefer it to be located in the centre of the city than in the outskirts.

It should be a luxurious penthouse suite.

38
BUYING TIME
In part 3 of the IELTS speaking test, you will be asked a question related to the topic of part
2, and you might need more time to think than you did in part 1. Simple conversation fillers
(see page 10) might not be enough to buy yourself the time that you need before
answering the question. Here are some more effective techniques.

REPEAT THE QUESTION


When the examiner asks the question, try to repeat it in your own words. Some examples:

Examiner: What different types of food do people eat in your country?


Candidate: Hmm.so you would like to know the different types of food that people eat in
my country.

Examiner: How popular is watching television in your country?


Candidate: Hmm.how popular is TV in my country?

Examiner: What are the advantages of playing sport?


Candidate: Hmm..so just to be clear, youre asking me about the benefits of playing sport.

Examiner: How do people in your country travel long distances?


Candidate: So, just to check that Ive understood, you are asking me which forms of
transport people use to travel long distances in my country?

Examiner: What leisure activities are popular in your country?


Candidate: Okay, so basically you are asking me how people like to spend their free time
in my country.

DIRECT VS. INDIRECT QUESTIONS


If you ask yourself a direct question, you need to use standard
question word order:

How popular is TV in my country?


How do I like to spend my free time?

With indirect questions, we use the same word order as


statements (subject before verb):

You are asking me which forms of transport people use.


(NOT: do people use.)
You are asking me how people like to spend their free time.
(NOT: how do people like )
You would like to know where I live.
(NOT: where do I live.)

39
ASK FOR TIME
Another way to give yourself extra time to think about your response is simply to ask for time.
This is a technique that everybody uses in normal conversation. Study these examples:

Interesting question. Can I think about it for a minute?

Okay, thats a difficult question. Can you give me a moment to think about it?

Hmmgood question. Can I have a little time to think about it?

If you are aiming for a very high band, you can consider using the following expressions.

Thats an interesting question. Can I dwell on it for a moment?

Okay, thats a tricky question. I just need a moment to think it over.

Okay, thats a tricky question. I just need a moment to ponder over it.

USE CONVERSATION FILLERS


If you still need a few extra seconds after using the above expressions, you can begin your
response with a suitable conversation filler from page 10. For example:

Well, I guess I would say that television is extremely popular.

Hmm.I suppose that train travel is the most common form of transport.

Well, umm, basically I think that sport can help us to live a much healthier lifestyle.

COMBINE TECHNIQUES
In order to buy yourself the maximum time that you need, consider all three approaches:

Examiner: What different types of food do people eat in your country?

Candidate: Hmm.so you would like to know the different types of food that people eat in
my country. Hmminteresting question. Can I think about it for a moment?
Well, I guess traditional Bangladeshi cuisine is still very popular.

40
SPEAKING TOPICS
You do not need a high level of general knowledge to achieve a successful result in your
IELTS speaking test. If you can communicate your ideas (or lack of ideas) fluently and
coherently, you will do well. However, it will help you to practise talking at length about a
variety of topics. Here are some possible part 3 questions that you can practise.

FOOD AND DRINK


What types of food are popular in your
country?

Have eating habits changed in your country


in recent years?

How healthy is your countrys food?


SPORTS
How popular is fast food in your country? What types of sports are popular in
your country?
Have other cultures influenced your
countrys food? What are the advantages of doing sports?

Do you think eating habits will change in Can sports be dangerous? How?
the future? How?
What types of sports do you think are better,
team sports or individual sports?

SHOPPING
Do you enjoy shopping?

Is shopping a popular activity in


LEISURE ACTIVITIES
your country What types of leisure activities are popular in your
country?
How have shopping habits changed
in recent years? What types of leisure activities are not popular in
your country? Why?
In what ways you think advertising
affects the way people shop? How have leisure activities in your country
changed in recent years?
What are the advantages and
disadvantages of shopping online? How important is it to have leisure time?

Do people in your country have too much or too


little leisure time?

41
TELEVISION TRAVEL
How popular is watching television in What are the benefits of travelling?
your country?
Do people travel much in your country?
What types of television programme Which destinations are popular?
are popular in your country?
Has the travel industry changed in your
Why do you think people like country in recent years?
watching television?
Which countries would you like to visit in
What are the dangers of watching the future? Why?
television?

What are the benefits of watching


television? TRANSPORT
How do most people travel long
distances in your country?

EDUCATION Has transport changed much in your


How the quality of education changed in your country over the last few decades?
country in recent years? How easy is it to get around your city
Do you think languages are taught well in schools? by public transport?

How can the type of school you go to affect your How safe is your countrys transport
career success? system?

What do you think of the education system in your


country?

TOWN AND COUNTRY


How is life different in cities ENVIRONMENT
compared to rural areas? Is pollution a problem in your country?

Do you prefer to live in the city What are some of the causes of pollution?
or the countryside? Why?
What can people or governments do to
What are the problems living minimize pollution?
in big cities?
Do you think problems with pollution will
What do you think cities will be improve in the future?
like in 50 years time?

42
GRAMMAR FOR PART 3
In part 3 of the IELTS speaking test, you need to think about the grammar that you are going to
use in your answer. Pay attention to the type of question that the examiner asks you.

QUESTIONS ABOUT CHANGES


The examiner may ask you a question about how something has changed, for

example: Has transport changed much in your country over the last few decades?

How have shopping habits changed in recent years?

If you get such a question, you need to think carefully about the tenses that you are going
to use in your answer.

If you want to talk about a current trend, use the present continuous (verb be + -ing):

People are shopping much more now than in the past.

If you want to say how a situation has changed over time up to the present moment, use the
present perfect (have/has + past participle):

Peoples shopping habits have changed dramatically in recent years.

If you want to talk about something that people did regularly in the past, but not today, use
used to/didnt use to + infinitive:

People didnt use to shop very much in the past.

QUESTIONS ABOUT HYPOTHETICAL SITUATIONS


The examiner may ask you a question about a hypothetical situation, for

example: Which countries would you like to visit in the future? Why?

How would you spend your time if you didnt have to work?

If you get such a question, you need to think about the structure you are going to use.

If you talk about an imaginary situation in the present or future, use would + infinitive:

I think that Scotland would be a very interesting country to visit.

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If you want to talk about an imaginary situation with if., use a second conditional
structure. We form the second conditional in the following way:

If + past simple, would + infinitive

If I didnt have to work, I would spend more time with my family.

QUESTIONS ABOUT COMPARING AND CONTRASTING


The examiner may ask you to compare and contrast something, for example:

Do you prefer to live in the city or the countryside? Why?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of shopping online?

How does London compare to your hometown?

You should try to use appropriate connecting words and comparative structures in
your answer.

If you want to introduce a contrast, use words and phrases like however, on the other
hand or though:

Shopping online is very convenient. You can do it from the comfort of your home. However,
in my opinion it is not a good way to shop for things like clothes.

If you want to compare two different things, use while or whereas. For example:

I prefer to live in the city than in the countryside. In the city you have more shops and places
of entertainment, whereas in the countryside there isnt much to do.

If you want to express a comparison using adjectives, use appropriate comparative


and superlative structures.

FORMING COMPARATIVE AND SUPERLATIVE ADJECTIVES


Comparative form Superlative form
Words with one Add -er Add -est

syllable cheap cheaper cheap the cheapest

hard harder hard the hardest

Two-syllable words -y -ier -y -iest

ending in -y early earlier early the earliest

lucky luckier lucky the luckiest
Two or more Use more/less Use the most / the least

syllables expensive more expensive expensive the most expensive

boring more boring boring the most boring

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Things to remember

1) When comparing two things with a comparative adjective, use than:

The bus is cheaper than the train.

2) Before comparative forms, you can use qualifying expressions, for


example much / a lot / far (= a lot) / a bit / a little / slightly:

The plane is far more expensive than the train.

3) With some two-syllable adjectives, you can use -er/-est or more/most, for example:
simple clever gentle friendly quiet narrow

Joanna is friendlier / more friendly than usual.

4) We usually use the before superlative forms:

The plane is the fastest option. He is one of the most interesting people I know.

5) These adjectives have irregular forms:

good - better - best bad - worse - worst far - further/farther - furthest

6) To say that one thing is less than another thing, you can also say not as as:

My hometown is not as big as London.

7) If you want to say that two things are the same, you can say as as:

Spanish is as easy as Italian.

8) If you want to say that two things are same, you can also say the same as:

Prices in Moscow are nearly the same as in London.

9) If you want to say that two things are similar, you can say similar to:

The weather in Italy is similar to the weather in Greece.

10) If you want to say that two things are different, you can say different than/to/from:

The weather in Singapore is different than the weather in Russia.

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GIVING OPINIONS
In the IELTS speaking test, the examiner will ask you for your opinions on particular topics.
You may need to express opinions in part 1, part 2 or part 3 of the test. Therefore, it is a
good idea to learn some special phrases that you can use in your responses.

Study these examples.

In my opinion, good exercise and a healthy diet are important for a long life.
I believe that many jobs are more suited to men.
Personally, I think that many jobs are still more suited to men.
I feel that the gap between rich and poor is growing.
I find Indian food a bit too spicy.

If you want to give an opinion that something is not true with I think, I feel,
I believe, etc. you say I dont feel, I dont believe, etc. For example:

I dont believe that there is enough equality between men and women.
I dont feel that the gap between rich and poor is getting smaller.

ADVANCED EXPRESSIONS (BAND 7-9)


The expressions below are slightly more advanced. Consider using them if you are aiming
for a very high band.

I reckon an increasing number of people will be working from home in the


future. (informal, British English)
Im utterly convinced that the government should do more to help
the unemployed. (expresses a very strong opinion)

Im of the opinion that the government should do more to


encourage environmentally-friendly transport.
From my point of view as a student, the cost of living in my city is very
high. The way I see it, my country has too many public holidays.
As far as Im concerned, French cuisine is among the best in the world.

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CONNECTING IDEAS
In parts 2 and 3 of the IELTS speaking test, you will need to speak at length about a
particular issue. In order to get a high band, it is important to develop your ideas using
appropriate connecting words and phrases. Study how the connecting words/phrases in
bold are used in the answer below.

Would you prefer to live in a big or small city? Why/why not?

Well, I think on the whole Id prefer to live in a big city. Firstly, there are more job
opportunities. On top of that, the standard of living is higher and the infrastructure is more
developed. Also, there are more places to go shopping. In short, there are lots of
advantages.

On the other hand, I think there are several important drawbacks. First of all, big cities
tend to be more polluted because of all the cars. Secondly, there is more noise. Regarding
transport, big cities can be very stressful. For example, my home city Dhaka has a very
crowded transport system. In fact, its one of the most stressful transport systems in the
world.

However, despite those disadvantages, Id still prefer to live in a big city.

Talking in general On the whole

Introducing a topic Regarding (transport)

Listing different points Firstly,


First of all,
Secondly,
On top of that,
Also,

Giving an example For example,

Introducing a contrast On the other hand,


However,
Despite (those disadvantages),

Modifying a previous statement In fact,

Summarizing In short,

The next page presents some more words and expressions that you can use to develop
an argument.

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WELL
Use well to introduce a remark or give yourself time to think.

Who is my favourite family member? Well, I need to think about that one.

SO / THEREFORE
Use so or therefore to introduce a logical result. So is more informal than therefore.

Living in a big city has lots of advantages. Therefore, Id prefer to live


there. Living in a big city has lots of advantages. So Id prefer to live there.

BASICALLY
Use basically to introduce the most important aspect of something. It is very common in
spoken English (dont use it in formal writing) and often used as a conversation filler
(see page 10).

Basically, there are three reasons why Id like to live in a big city.

HOWEVER / YET
Use however or yet to make a contrast.

I agree with that opinion. However, I dont know if it will be true in the future.
I agree with that opinion. Yet I dont know if it will be true in the future.

THOUGH
Though is used to make a contrast. It normally goes at the end of the sentence.

Living in a big city has lots of advantages. Id still prefer to live in a small town, though.

IN OTHER WORDS
Use in other words to simplify or summarize what you just said before.

In big cities, there are more offices and shops. In other words, there is more work.

IF WERE TALKING
Use If were talking to introduce a new topic.

If were talking shopping and entertainment, Id prefer to live in a big city.

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AS FAR AS IS CONCERNED
We use as far as something is concerned when we introduce a new topic. It is a little
more formal that If were talking

As far as shopping is concerned, it is much better to live in a big city than a small town.

EVENTUALLY
Use eventually to say what happens after a long time and/or many problems. The
meaning is similar to in the end.

We drove for two hours trying to find the hotel. Eventually, we gave up and decided to stay
at a hostel.

ON TOP OF THAT / WHATS MORE


Use on top of that or whats more to introduce an additional point.

The hotel was awful. On top of that, the weather was cold and wet.
The hotel was awful. Whats more, the weather was cold and wet.

These connectors are more informal than in addition, furthermore and moreover, so
dont use them in formal writing.

ANYWAY / ANYHOW
Use anyway or anyhow to confirm or support a point or idea just mentioned in
a conversation.

When I was in Italy, I didnt have time to go for a pizza. Anyway, I dont really like pizza.

You can also use anyway or anyhow to return to something you were talking about
before the subject was changed.

Anyhow, we finally found a mechanic to fix our car.

ACTUALLY
Use actually to give an unexpected or surprising response.

Q: What is your profession? A: Actually, Im still a student.

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IN FACT
Use in fact to modify a previous statement, for example if you said something that is slightly
inaccurate and you want to be more precise.

I used to get up at 7am. In fact, it was around 6.30.

You can also use actually: I used to get up at 7am. Actually, it was around 6.30.

TO CUT A LONG STORY SHORT


Use the idiom to cut a long story short (American English: to make a long story short)
when you want to stop telling someone all the details about something that happened
and just get to the main facts.

To cut a long story short, I arrived home after midnight.

ON THE WHOLE / IN GENERAL


Use on the whole or in general to make a general statement:

On the whole, I think the food in my country is healthy.


In general, I think the food in my country is healthy.

OVERALL
Use overall to make a final concluding statement.

Overall, it was a fantastic holiday.

You can also use: all in all, on the whole, all things considered.

FOR EXAMPLE / FOR INSTANCE


Use for example or for instance to give an example.

Big cities have more developed public transport. For instance, in my city there are
trams, metro systems, buses and trains.

ALTERNATIVELY
You can use alternatively to provide an alternative idea.

In my town, you can get to the city centre by tram. Alternatively, you can take the bus.

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GIVING EXAMPLES
In parts 2 and 3 of the IELTS speaking test, and for some questions in part 1, you can extend
your answers and make them more interesting by giving personal examples to support your
points. Try to use real examples and stories about yourself where possible. Look the
examples below and study how the expressions in bold are used to introduce the examples.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF WATCHING TELEVISION?


Well I think that watching the right kind of TV programmes, for example documentaries,
can open your mind and increase your general knowledge. Let me give you an example.
Last week, I watched an interesting documentary on Roman history. I learnt a lot about the
Roman way of life.

HOW HAVE SHOPPING HABITS CHANGED IN RECENT YEARS?


I think shopping habits have changed considerably in recent years. Take my hometown as
an example. I remember ten years ago before the financial crisis, the shops were always
full of people. Nowadays, people are tightening their belts and shopping less.

Note: tighten your belt is an idiom which means spend less money.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF TRAVELLING?


I think there are a lot of benefits. When you travel, you meet new people, you learn about
new cultures and you can develop yourself. For example, last summer I went travelling in
Africa. I saw how cheerful and happy the people were, despite their difficult situation. It
made me a more open-minded person.

DO YOU THINK LANGUAGES ARE TAUGHT WELL IN SCHOOLS?


I think that the problem in schools is that teachers focus too much on grammar. I remember
when I was at school, I had a nice English teacher, but unfortunately we had very little
speaking practice.

HOW EASY IS IT TO GET AROUND YOUR CITY BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT?


Is it easy to get around my city? Hmm.well, we have a fairly efficient metro system in
London, but sometimes there are problems. For instance, last week I was trying to get
home from work. Normally the journey takes about 20 minutes, but there were some delays
and I got back home 30 minutes later than usual.

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