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IELTS
Speaking Simon
2010-2020
Written b Simon Corcoran
Compiled by Alisher Saidov
ielts-simon.com

Friday, September 25, 2009

IELTS Speaking: Basic Information The IELTS Speaking Test is the final part of the exam. Your test will be at some time
between 1.30pm
and 5.00pm. You can take only your ID document into the exam room.
The test lasts between 11 and 14 minutes. You will be interviewed by an examiner who
will record your conversation. Timing is strictly controlled by the examiner, so don't be
surprised if he or she interrupts you during an answer.
There are 3 parts to the Speaking Test:
1. Introduction/ interview: around 10 questions in 4 to 5 minutes.
2. Short presentation: talk for 2 minutes with 1 minute to prepare.
3. Discussion: around 5 questions in 4 to 5 minutes.
Preparation is the key to a good score in IELTS Speaking. Different skills are tested in
each part, so you need to know exactly what to do.
We can predict the kinds of questions that the examiner will ask. We'll prepare ideas,
possible answers and good vocabulary for each part of the test.
Posted by Simon in About the exam, IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (51)
Frida
y, April 30, 2010
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: describe an animal Several students have asked me about this question:

Describe a wild animal from your country.

You should say
• what the animal is and what it looks like
• where it lives
• and explain how people in your country (or you) feel about this animal.
You might not be able to copy my example because I've described an animal that is
common in the UK. However, hopefully my description will give you some ideas.
1. I'm going to describe the 'robin' which is a wild bird that is common in the UK. The
robin is a small bird with brown and white feathers and an area of bright red colour on
it's face and on the front of its body. The area of red colour makes robins very easy to
distinguish from other birds.
2. Robins are common garden birds. Many houses in the UK have a garden, and you
can often see this bird sitting in a tree. They make their nests in trees and go looking
for food. You might also see a robin if you go for a walk in the countryside or in a park.
3. Robins have a special place in British culture. They are considered to be christmas
birds, and are often used on christmas cards. Many people leave food in their gardens
for robins and other small birds to eat.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (42)

Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

Friday, July 23, 2010
IELTS Speak
ing Part 2: describe a toy Aida sent me this difficult speaking question:
Describe a toy that was specia

l to you when you were a child.
You should say:
- when you got it
- what it looked like
- who gave it to you
- and how you used it or played with it.
If you can't remember a real toy that you had, choose something simple like a toy car
(typical boy's toy) or a doll (typical girl's toy). Both of these toys are easy to describe.
I'll write some example ideas about this topic tomorrow. If you have any suggestions,
please share them in the "comments" area below.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (21)
Saturday, July 24, 2010

IELTS Speaking: describe a toy Below, you can read an example description of a toy (for IELTS speaking part 2). See
yesterday's les

son for the full question.
Lego Car Description:
One special toy that I remember getting was a Lego car. It was a birthday present from
my parents. I can't remember exactly how old I was, but I was probably about 10 or 11.
The special thing about this car was that I had to build it myself out of hundreds of
pieces of Lego. The pieces came in a box with a picture of the finished car on the front,
and I had to follow step-by -step instructions to put all the pieces together in the correct
way. This wa sn't an easy task because the car even had an engine, movable seats and
gears. It took me a day or two to make, and required a lot of concentration.
When the car was finished it looked great, and I felt a sense of accompl ishment. I s

eem
to remember that I didn't play with the car very much; the fun part had been the process
of building it.
Don't just read this description once. Spend some time analysing it:
• Is the description well-organised and easy to follow?
• Can you find any good 'band 7' words or phrases ?
• Could you write a similar description for a different toy?
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (16)
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Friday, July 30, 2
010
IELTS Speaking Part 3: children's toys Here are some questions related to last week's part 2 topic:

1. Do you think it's important for boys t
o play with "boys' toys" and for girls to
only play with "girls' toys"?
I think boys naturally seem to prefer playing with "boys' toys" and girls with "girls' toys".
When I was young I had toy cars, trucks, guns and things like that, whereas my sister
always wanted to play with dolls. I don't suppose it really matters if a boy plays with a
doll or a girl plays with a toy car, but children learn quickly what toys are supposed to be
for boys and for girls.
2. Do you think it's good if parents only buy "educational" toys for their children?
No, I don't agree with only giving children educational toys. In my opinion, children learn
by playing with whatever interests them. Children invent their own games, even if they
don't have any toys at all. It's important for children just to have fun; there will be plenty
of time for parents to worry about education when their children get older.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (6)



T
uesday,

August 03, 2010
IELTS Listening/Speaking: describe a city I've used the following video with some of my classes. Try the gap-fill exercise for IELTS
listening practice.
The topic of t

he video, a description of a city, is useful for IELTS speaking. Try using
words or phrases from the video to describe a place you have visited.
Listen and fill the gaps:
1. Copenhagen is stylish, ______ and frequently cloudy or rainy.
2. Its location is ______. It’s the bridge between Europe and Scandinavia.
3. The locals ______ to be bike-riding, taciturn and very good -looking.
4. My best piece of ______ for travellers is to wear comfortable shoes.
5. If you can get a ______ point, the views over the city are ______.
6. Learning the language is an exercise in ______.
7. It’s ______ of people who are helpful and practical .
8. Travellers should take a ______ of humour and a ______ mind.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Listening, IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (35)



Frida
y, August 13,

2010
IELTS Speaking Part 2: describe an object In IELTS speaking part 2, you might be asked to describe an object. For example:
Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests


Describe something you bought recently.
• Describe a
gift you gave or received.
• Describe something you own which is important to you.
Choose something easy, like a mobile phone:
I'm going to describe my mobile phone. I bought it online / in a mobile phone shop / it
was a present from...
I use the phone to keep in touch with friends and family, for communication by voice, text and email.
It has various fea
tures like video, MP3 player, wireless Internet, digital camera and games. It's easy to share photos and music. I use it for almost everything, it
even has a cal

endar that reminds me about appointments.
My phone is an essential part of my life. It holds my contacts, my photos, my music collection. I've got instant access to my favourite websites. It's
like having
my whole life in my pocket. I couldn't live without it.

Note:

I've underl
ined the best phrases for IELTS band 7 or higher.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (45)



Friday, September 24, 2010

IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: describe an advertisement Describe an interesting advertisement that you have seen. You should say:

• where you saw it
• what it was ab

out
• why you think it was an interesting advertisement.
Choose something simple. Here's an example with the "band 7" vocabulary underlined:
1. I'm going to talk about an advertisement for Coca -Cola, which is one of the biggest brands
in the world. I've seen Coke advertised everywhere, on posters and TV commercials.
2. The advert sho

ws a picture of Santa Claus smiling and holding a bottle of Coke. I
think the aim is to target children and associate (link/connect) the brand with Christmas time.
3.
The advert

is interesting because the company is deliberately trying to influence and attract children. The marketers are trying to
capture
young customers. They are presenting the drink as something special, a gift for Christmas. However, Coca-Cola is
not necessarily a healthy dri

nk for children; it contains a lot of sugar. Maybe this kind of
advertising manipulates children and encourages them to pester their parents . Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (60)


Frida
y, October 08, 201

0
Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

IELTS Speaking Part 3: How will the Internet affect our lives?
The "perspectives technique" for generating ideas (see 6th October) can also be us
eful
in the IELTS speaking test. Here's an example:
How do you think the Internet will affect our lives in the future?
Personal perspective:
I think the Internet will have a huge impact on our lives. More and more people are using
social websites to keep in touch with friends. I think the Internet will probably replace TV
because most channels are already available online.
Economic perspective:
Also, I think we'll do more online shopping. Web-based companies like Amazon are
already really successful. In the future, there will probably be more companies that only
sell via the Internet, and I expect we'll spend more money online than in traditional
shops.
Educational perspective:
Schools and universities might also use the Internet to provide courses, so online
learning will probably become a normal part of life.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (5)



Friday, October 22, 201

0
IELTS Speaking Part 1: a good example Have a look at this video, taken from YouTube. I think it's a good example of

how to do
IELTS Speaking Part 1.
Remember, Part 1 is supposed to be easy. You should give short, simple answers. I
think the student in the video does this well: she speaks clearly, answers the questions
directly, and doesn't hesitate before answering. Her answers sound natural and she
makes almost no mistakes.
Here are the first 4 questions and answers:
Do you work or are you a student?
I work and I'm studying Engl ish as well.
And what's your job?
I work in hairdressing and I do manicure, I do nails. I work part -time.
How long have you done this job?
I've been doing this job for almost one year.
Do you like it?
Actually, I don't like it very much. The part that I like is that I can communicate with
people.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (15)



Frida
y, November

19, 2010
Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

IELTS Speaking Part 2: describe a person
Describe a person you admire.

You should say:
• who the person is
• what he
or she is li ke
• and why you admire him or her.
Here are some ideas. I've underlined the best vocabulary.
• I'm going to talk about my father because he has been a major influence in my life. •
My father was always a good role model for me as I was growing up. He's hard- wor
king, patient and understanding; he's also got a good sense of humour and seems to get on well with
everybod
y. Hopefully I've inherited some of these traits . •
I admire my father because I think he brought m
e and my brothers/sisters up well; he was quite strict but alw

ays fair, and he has always been someone I can turn to for advice. I think my father
set a good e
xample by working hard and having a positive outlook on life. I remember that he used to leave for work early and come home qui

te late, but he alway
s made time fo
r me and my brothers/sisters. Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (72)


Frida
y, January

07, 2011
IELTS Speaking Part 2: describe an event Describe a recent event that made you happy.
You should say:

• when and whe

re it was
• who was involved
• wh at happened
• and explain why it made you happy.
The following description contains the kind of phrases that native speakers (like me)
really use. I've underlined the best vocabulary.
1. When and where: my friend's birthday party, last Saturday evening, we went for a
meal in an Italian restaurant.
2. Who: there were about 10 of us, he invited some close friends and work colleagues, most of them were people I've known since university.
3.
What happened: we met at the restaurant, I gave my friend a present and a birthday
card, we
ordered some food, while we ate dinner everyone chatted, after the main course the waiter
brought out a c
ake and we sang 'Happy Birthday', everyone went home quite late.

4. Why it made me happ

y: it was great to get together with old friends, I had some interesting conversations, it was a
goo
d o
pp
or t
u
nity to catch up with what my friends
had been up to, it was a nice way to wind do w
n after a hard week at work, the food was
delicious , I w
ent home feeling full after a fantastic meal. Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (54)
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Saturday, January
08, 2011
IELTS Speaking: informal expressions Yesterday I wrote about 'an event' for IELTS Speaking Part 2. Some of the expressions I
used were inf

ormal:
• we chatted (talked)
• to get together with (meet)
• to catch up with (talk to someone you haven't seen for a while)
• what my friends had been up to (had been doing)
• to wind down (relax after something tiring)
The examiner would consider these phrases to be "less common vocabulary". In other
words, a few phrasal verbs or informal expressions can help you to get a high score in
IELTS Speaking.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (14)



Frida
y, February 1

1, 2011
IELTS Speaking Part 2: describe a foreign person Jay sent me this interesting IELTS question:

Describe a foreign person that yo
u like. You should say:
- where you met him/her
- why you like him/her
- and explain what you learnt from him/her
Some advice:
1. The easy choice would be to describe an English teacher. You could then talk about
your lessons and easily explain what you learnt.
2. I think it would be acceptable to describe someone you have never met. Just say
"I've never met the person I'm going to describe, but I hope to meet him/her one day".
3. If you do number 2 above, choose your hero. It's best to choose someone you know
a lot about. Give as much real information as possible. Do some Google research to
get ideas.
Finally, remember that this is a "describe a person" question. Hopefully you can use
some of the ideas from this lesson
. Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (17)


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Friday, March 11, 2011

IELTS Speaking Part 2: 1-minute preparation This week I've been thinking about different ways to use the 1
-minute prepar ation time.
Here's what I've learnt:
1. One minute is a very short amount of time! I found it just as difficult as my students
did.
2. A simple list is probably faster and easier than a dia gram or mind map.
3. You need to decide on your topic as quickly as possible. Then spend most of your
time making notes.
4. Try to write at least one key idea for each part of the question.
5. Don't write sentences, and don't waste time erasing "mistakes".
6. Try to use a topic you have already prepared.
7. Forget about grammar. Focus on answering the question.
8. Finally, fast preparation is a skill that you can practise. Why not train yourself by
making notes for a few different questions every day?
The following photo sho ws a part 2 question with my notes below. As you can see, I
couldn't write much in 1 minute, but I followed the advice above.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (12)

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Sunday, Mar
ch 06, 2011
IELTS Speaking: using the 1-minute preparation time Martin asked a great question: "What's the best way to use the 1-minute prepa

ration
time in part 2 of the speaking test?"
I must admit, I don' t have a good answer to this question (yet). I'm going to try some
different approaches with my students this week - hopefully I'll find some answers.
If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to share them in the "comments" area. I'll share
my ideas on Friday.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking, Questions / Advice | Permalink |
Comments (19)



Frida
y, April 01, 201

1
IELTS Speaking Part 2: describe a skill Describe a practical skill that you have learnt (e.g. cooking, driving).
You should say

• w

hat the skill is
• how you learnt it
• why you learnt it
• and how this skill has helped you.
Advice:
You need to make a quick decision, so I'd choose one of the given examples (cooking or
driving). Then try to expand on each point.
1. I'm going to talk about driving, which is a practical skill that I use almost every day.
2. I learnt to drive a car by taking lessons when I was 17. My parents paid for me to
have lessons with a professional driving instructor. I learnt by practising: first I had to
get used to steering, changing gears and using the mirrors, then we practised things
like reversing and parking. I also had to learn the highway code.
3. As a 17- year-old, I wanted to have the experience of driving a car, and I was fed up
with having to walk or take the bus or train whenever I wanted to go somewhere. I also
knew that driving would be an extremely useful skill.
4. Being able to drive has helped me in so many ways. The publ ic transport where I live
isn't very good, so I travel to work by car most days. Having a car makes my life much
easier when it comes to things like shopping or visiting family and friends. (Last week,
for example,...)
Note:
If you need to keep speaking, give examples for point 4.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (26)



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Friday, April 15, 2011
IELTS Speaking Part 2: something naughty you did
This has been a recent question in part 2 of IELTS speaking:

Describe something naughty you did when you were a child. Say
- what you did
- when you did it
- why you did it
- and explain how your parents felt about it.
This is a difficult topic for most people, so it's a good idea to prepare for it before your
test. If you can remember a real situation, use that. If you can't remember being
naughty, invent an easy story like my example below.
Example ideas:
1. I cheated in a test at primary school by looking at the answers in my book under the
table.
2. I was about ... years old, it was a ... lesson. Give some more background about the
lesson, the test, the teacher etc.
3. I hadn't studied for the test, I didn't want to fail and have to retake the test at
lunchtime. Give reasons why you didn't have time to study.
4. The teacher caught me and told my parents. Explain their feelings: disappointed,
angry, embarrassed. Explain the punishment e.g. they 'grounded' me for a week
(informal expression, meaning 'they didn't allow me to go out or see friends').
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (19)



Frida
y, April 29, 201

1
IELTS Speaking: an important conversation IELTS Speaking Part 2:

Describe an
important conversation you had.
IELTS Speaking Part 3:
What are the differences between men's and women's conversations?
W hat do you think are the characteristics of a good speaker?
For the part 2 question:
My advice is to speak about a conversation you had with your father or mother about
your education or career. If you are studying in a different country, describe a
conversation about the decision to study abroad. Then you can use ideas from the 'study
abroad' topic and the 'higher education' topic (you can find these topics in my Writing
Task 2 lessons).
For the first question in part 3, my advice is to use 'stereotypes':
"I think it depends on the people who are having the conversation, and it depends on the
situation, but most people would say that men talk more about sport or cars, whereas
women talk about their friends, family and relationships. Women are supposed to be
better at expressing their feelings, while men prefer not to talk about themselves."
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For the second question in part 3, use adjectives and examples:

"I think goo d speakers are confident and passionate about the subject of their speech.
They need to be interesting and engaging. I think a speaker's body language is also
really important. A famous example of a great speaker is Barack Obama; he seems to
be a naturally inspiring speaker, but I'm sure that practice and preparation are more
important than natural talent."
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (24)



Friday, May 20, 201

1
IELTS Speaking: 'questionnaires' topic IELTS speaking part 2:
Describe a time when you were asked to give your opinion in a questionnaire.
Advice:
Say t

hat your were given a questionnaire at the end of one of your school or
university courses. Say that the questions asked for your opinions about the teaching,
materials, facilities, level of difficult, how much you enjoyed the course etc.
IELTS speaking part 3: What kinds of organisation regularly conduct questionnaires?

All kinds of
organisations and companies use questionnaires to find out what people
think about them. For example, university lecturers often ask their students to answer
questions about their courses. Someone from a Starbucks cafe stopped me in the street
yesterday to ask me about my coffee drinking habits.
Do you think schools should ask children for their opinions about lessons?
On the one hand, it might be useful for teachers to get feedback from children about how
much they learnt and how enjoyable they found the lessons. However, children don't
necessarily know what's best for them, and it might do more harm than good to allow
them to give opinions about their teachers.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (15)



Frida
y, June 03, 2011
IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: describe a building Describe a modern building. You should say:

• where it is
• what it is used for
• and why you li

ke/dislike it.
Here's my example description of a building in Manchester:
1. I'm going to describe a modern building in Manchester. It's called the Beetham
Tower, and it's the tallest building in the city, with about 50 floors.
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2.
Although it's called the Beetham Tower, most people know this building as the Hilton
Hotel. In fact, the bottom half of th e tower is the hotel and the top half is apartments.
The apartments are expensive because the location and views make them very
desirable.
3. I'm not sure if I like the design of the building, it's just a huge glass tower, but i t
definitely stands out. It has become a famous landmark in the city. You can see it as
you approach Manchester, and it's an easy place to meet people because it's so
distinctive and easy to find. The most interesting thing about the Beetham Tower is that
there is a bar/restaurant on the 23rd floor which has spectacular views of the city; it's
definitely the best vantage point in Manchester because there are no walls, only huge
windows, so you can look out over the city in any direction. I'd recommend anyon e who
visits Manchester to go there and experience the view.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (22)



S
aturday, Ju

ne 04, 2011
IELTS Speaking: 'band 9' example Here's my 'band 9' example for yesterday's IELTS speaking question:
click here
to listen
These are som

e of the best words and phrases that I used. Look them up in a dictionary
if you're not sure what they mean:
• desirable location
• it stands out
• a famous landmark
• it's distinctive
• spectacular views
• the best vantage point
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (13)



Frida
y, June 10, 2011
IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: choosing a 'strong topic' Most people are good at talking about their studies, work, hobbies, health etc

. I call
these "strong topics" .
For the question below you can choose any topic you want, so choose something that
you find easy to talk about.
Describe something that was recently reported in the news.
You should say:
• what happened
• who was involved
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and why you found this news interesting


Exam
ple topic choices for the question above:
1. My strong topic could be "education", so I'd say that I read a news article about
universities using the Internet. Click here to see a recent article about this topic. 2.
If you like football, you could talk about the news that Barcelona won the Champions
League.
3. If

you have studied the "health" topic for IELTS writing, you could talk about schools
banning junk food. I did a quick search and found this article
about schools in Dubai
. Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (21)


Frida
y, June 24, 2011
IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: describe a lesson Speak for 2 minutes about the following topic.

Describe an interesting lesson tha
t you attended.
You should say
• where you attended this lesson
• what it was about
• and why you found it interesting
Here are some ideas for a description of a science lesson:
1. I'm going to talk about an interesting science lesson that I attended at secondary
school when I was 14 or 15 years old.
2. It was quite a long time ago, so I can't remember every detail, but the lesson was
about respiration. We learnt about how the lungs work, how we breathe, and how
oxygen passes into the blood. The science teacher also talked to us about the effects
of smoking on the lungs.
3. I found this lesson interesting because my science teacher, Dr. Smith, always
introduced new topics by showing us a video. We watched a short film about how
respiration works, and I found this much easier to understand tha n a science textbook.
The film showed diagrams of the lungs to explain the breathing process. Later in the
lesson we saw real photos of healthy lungs and lungs that had been damaged as a
result of smoking; they had turned black. I think the image of a smoker's lungs is the
reason why I remember this lesson.
I could also give more information about the teacher, his personality and why I liked him.
The key is to tell a story and add details until the time runs out.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (14)



Friday, July 08, 2011
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IELTS Speaking Part 3: adding details
These are the 3 techniques I use to create longer, more detailed answers:

1. Explain why
2. Giv
e an example
3. Explain the alternatives
Question:
Why do you think friendship is important?
Answer:
I think friendship is important for all sorts of reasons. (why?) We need friends to share
experiences with, to talk to, and for support. (example?) In my case, I like to meet up
with friends at the weekend to do something enjoyable, like see a film or go out for
dinner. I like chatting with my friends about what we've been doing during the week, or
about what's happening in the world. (alternatives?) Without friends to talk to, life would
be dull and boring; we would only have our families to talk to.
For another example of this technique, click here
. Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (8)


Friday, July 15, 2011
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: describe a film A student asked me this question:

"If the question asks me to describ
e a film, can I ask for a different question because I
don't like films and I never watch them?"
Here's my answer:
If the part 2 questio n is about something you don't like, you should try your best. The
examiner is not allowed to change the task card.
You probably have family, children or friends who watch films. You could say: "I don't
really like watching films, but my children love watching ....." Then describe the film that
your children like, say why they like it, and explain why you think it's a nice film for
children.
Choose a film now so that you are ready for this question. Search for a review of the film
on Amazon . Write down the ideas you find, and practise with a friend. Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (22)


Sa
turday, July 16, 2

011
IELTS Advice: describe your favourite... More advice about describing your favourite book, film or piece of music:
Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

1.
You can talk about any type of book (textbook, biography etc.). You only need to
describe a s tory if the question asks you to describe a 'novel'.
2. Many books are also films. It would be a good idea to prepare one description that
you can use for both.
3. Amazon.com
is great for reviews of books, films and music. Just search for a title, then go down the page to f
ind the reviews.
4. "

Steal" the best vocabulary from the reviews that you find.
5. Use Google. I searched for "my favourite film is" on Google and found this
'My Favourite Films' website. It's full of good ideas.
6. Try this Google search: "my favourite piece of music is"
7. You can describe
a book, film or piece of music from your country.
8. You can invent a story if necessary, but it's easier to tell the truth.
9. If you don't like books, pretend that your favouri te film is a book (and vice versa).
10. Remember to include adjectives to describe your feelings/opinions. Tell the
story of when you first read the book, saw the film or listened to the song, who
recommended it, why you like it etc.
NB. 'Piece of music' just means a song.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking, Questions / Advice | Permalink |
Comments (21)



Frida
y, July 29, 2011
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: artist or entertainer Th
e following question is a variation on the "describe a person" topic.
Describe an artist or ente
rtainer you admire
You should say
• who they are and what they do
• how they became successful
• how you found out about them
• and why you admire them
I've tried to write a general example description that might help you with some ideas. In
your description you must give the name of the person.
• I’m going to talk about a musician that I admire, called... He’s a singer who also plays
the guitar and writes his own songs. I think he recorded his first album about 10 years
ago, and he’s released several other CDs since then. •
He became successful after many years of writing songs and performing live in small venues
all over the country. Gradually
he built a following of people who liked his music. I think the key to his

success was one of his songs that was used on a TV advertisement. This meant that more pe
o
pl
e b e
ca
m
e aware of his music. •
I found out about... because one of my friends got tickets to see him in concert. I
hadn’t hear d

any of his music before, but I went along to the gig and really enjoyed it. After that I bought the first CD, and now I’ve got all of them.
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The reason I admire... is that he has worked hard for his success: it takes years of practice
to become a goo d singer a nd guitarist, and he spent several years playing to very small audiences before he be

came successful. I also like the fact that he writes his own music. I admire people who

have worked hard to get where they are . Note: I've underlined the best vocabulary. 'Gig' is an informal word for concert or
performance, but it's fine to u

se it in this context.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (35)
Friday, August 19,

2011
IELTS Speaking Part 2: environment problem Describ
e a problem that affects the environment in the area where you live.
You should say
- what the proble

m is
- what causes it
- and explain what you think could be done to solve it
Remember, the question asks you to talk about a problem in your local area, so don't
choose 'global warming'. These topics would be better:
• Air pollution caused by traffic and factories.
• Building new roads, houses, factories etc. destroys natural areas.
• Increasing amounts of litter and household waste.
Try searching for these topics on the Internet. I did a quick search for "litter on streets"
and found
this article
. Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (11)


Frida
y, August 26,

2011
IELTS Speaking Part 3: sports In the example answers below, I've underlined some of the phrases that examiners
wo

uld like. They might seem easy to understand, but they are the kind of natural phrases
that native speakers use. My answers are at band 9 level. 1. Why do you think sport is important?

I think sport is important for different rea
sons. For me, doing a sport is about having fun . When I play football, for example,
I forget about
everything else and just enjoy myself. Also, doing a sport helps you to keep fit and healthy, and it's
a good way t
o socialise and make friends.

2. Do you think famous sportspeople are good role m
odels for children?
I think that sportspeople should be good role models. Children look up to their favourite football players, like David Beckham for example, so I think that these people have an
enormous responsibility. They should try to be a good in
f
luence, and behave in the right way
. 3. Do you agree that sports stars earn too much money?

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In my opinion, it's fair that the best sportspeople earn a lot of money.
Being a top sportsperson requires hours of practice, and there are millions of sports fans
who are willing to pay to see them p

lay. If we don't want sportspeople to earn so much money, we shouldn't go to watch them.

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Friday, September 02, 2011

IELTS Speak

ing Part 3: 'wildlife' topic Here are some Part 3 questions and band 9 answers for this topic. I've underlined the
'ba

nd 7-9' vocabulary.
What effects do you think humans have on wild animals?
Humans have a huge impact on wild animals. We have destroyed a lot of natural habitats
, and many animals are in danger of extinction. Tigers an
d rhinos, for example, ar
e endangered species because of
humans. The pollution and waste that we produce also have an effect on animals. In some places there are no fish in the rivers.

What me
asures could we take to protect wildlife?
I think we need stricter rules to protect natural areas and the wild animals that live there. For example, we should stop cutting down trees in the rain forest. National parks are a
good idea bec

ause they attract tourists while protecting wildlife. Is it the responsibility of schools to teach children about protecting wildlife?

Yes, schools can pla
y a big part in educating children about this issue. Children should learn how to
look after t
he natural environment. I think schools already teach children about
endangered species and the destruction o
f rain forests, so hopefully future generations will do a better job of protecting wildlife
. Posted by
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omments (14)


Frida
y, October 07, 201

1
IELTS Speaking Part 3: 'parties' topic In part 2 of the speaking test you might be asked to describe a party
. Here are some part 3 questions that could follow that topic:

1. What types of party do people have
, and why are parties important?
People have parties to celebrate special occasions like birthdays, weddings, or the beginning of a new year. I think it's important to celebrate these things because th

ey
are landmarks in our lives. Parties are a good way to bring people together, and they're an opportunity to
let off some steam . 2. Why do you think some people like parties but others hate them?

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Most people like parties because they
have a good ti me at them - eating a nice meal, chatting to friends, or having a dance. People who don't like them might
find soc
ial situations difficult because they ar

e shy, or maybe they don't enjoy having to make small talk
with people they don't know. 3. Do you think parties will become more popular in the future?

No, I don't
think anything will change. People have always had parties, and I'm sure they always will in the future

. Humans need to socialise and enjoy themselves, and parties are one of the best ways to do that.

PS. I've underli
ned the band 7-9 phrases.
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Friday, October 21, 201
1


IELTS Speaking Part 1: laughing The following questions are taken from Cambridge IELTS 7, page 55. The aim in part 1
is to

give short, simple an swers. Don't worry about using 'difficult' grammar.
1. What kinds of thing make you laugh?
I laugh most when I'm with friends talking about funny things that have happened to us. I
also like watching comedians and comedy films.
2. Do you like making other people laugh?
Yes, it's a nice feeling when you can make someone laugh because you can see that
you've made them happy. It's great to share a funny moment with someone.
3. Do you think it's important for people to laugh?
Yes, of course. It's important to s ee the funny side of things; humour helps us not to take
life too seriously. I think that laughter is good for our health.
4. Is laughing the same as feeling happy?
It's not exactly the same because you can be happy without laughing, and sometimes
we laugh when something bad has happened; a sense of humour can help us to cope
with difficult situations.
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Frida
y, October 28, 201

1
IELTS Speaking Part 2: something that made you angry Describe a situation that made you angry. You should say

- when it happened
- what happened
- how you felt
Her

e are some ideas. Notice that I answer by telling a story, and that my ideas are not
'academic' or 'formal' because it isn't an academic topic. Study my answer carefully - it's
full of good words and phrases.
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Band 9 ans
wer:
A recent situation that made me angry was getting stuck in a traffic jam on the way to
meet some friends. It was last Sunday lunchtime, and I didn’t expect there to be much
traffic; people don’t work on Sundays, so the roads aren’t usually very busy.
Everything was going well until suddenly I saw a queue of cars on the road in front of
me. I had no choice but to join the queue and wait to get past whatever was causing the
delay. It turned out that it was caused by some roadworks, and it took me an extra 30
minutes to get past them.
Getting stuck in traffic congestion doesn’t usually make me angry, but this time it did,
mainly because I wasn’t expecting it and I knew that my friends were waiting to meet me
for lunch. I felt frustrated and powerless because there was nothing I could do to change
the situation, and I had no idea how long I would be sitting there waiting. When I finally
saw the reason for the congestion, I was relieved that I was close to getting past the
roadworks, but I still felt a bit stressed knowing that I was half an hour late.
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Frida
y, November 11, 2011
IELTS S

peaking Part 3: leisure activ ities Here are some questions that a student sent me, with example answers below.

1. What is the relationship b
etween leisure and the economy?
Well, people spend a lot of money on all sorts of leisure activities nowadays, so I think
leisure is a very important part of the economy of most countries. Leisure could be
anything that people do in their free time, such as eating out, going to the cinema,
watching a football match, or staying in a hotel. Millions of people are employed in these
areas.
2. How does the economy benefit from people's leisure activities?
The leisure industry makes a huge contribution to the economy. As I said before, it
keeps millions of people in employment, and all of these employees pay their taxes and
have money to spend on other goods and services. At the same time, most people
spend some of their earnings on leisure activities, and this money therefore goes back
into the economy.
3. Do men and women enjoy the same type of leisure activities?
Yes and no. I think both men and women enjoy things like eating in restaurants or going
to the cinema, but I'm sure there are other activities that are more popular with one
gender. For example, I think more men than women go to football matches.
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Friday, November 18, 20
11
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IELTS Speaking Part 3: verb tenses
In part 3 of the IELTS speaking test, you will probably get some questions about
the past
and the future. The examiner will be listening carefully to make sure you use the corr ect
tense.
• If the examiner mentions “50 years ago”, “when your parents were young” or “when
you were a child”, you should answer using the past simple.
• If the question asks you to predict, or if it mentions “in 50 years” or “in the future”, use
a future tense (will + infinitive).
Do you think people had easier lives 50 years ago?
Yes, maybe life was simpler and less stressful 50 years ago. The mobile phone
didn’t exist, so I suppose it w
as easier to forget about work at the end of the day because people
couldn't contact y
ou so easily. Do you think life will be more stressful in the future?

Yes, it proba
bly will be more stressful. As the world gets smaller, employees
will probabl
y have to travel to different countries more often and stay in touch with colleagues and clients all over the

world. There will also be more competition for jobs and the cost of living will
keep going u
p. Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (13)


Frida
y, November 25, 2011
IELTS S

peaking Part 3: 'emotions' topic The following questions

follow on from this topic. Do you think it’s good to show your emotions when you’re angry?

I think it depends on th

e situation and how you show your emotions. I find that if I’m
angry with a friend or someone in my family, it’s best to tell them what the problem is
and try to express how I feel. However, I don’t think it helps to argue with people when
you ’re angry; it’s better to control the anger and explain what’s wrong.
In your opinion, do women show their emotions more than men?
The stereotypical view is that women are more emotional, and in my experience there is
some truth in this; my mother, for example, tends to show her feelings much more
readily than my father. However, I’m sure that there are exceptions to the stereotype.
Why do you think men tend to show their emotions less than women?
Maybe it’s because of the way we are brought up. I think that boys are often taught from
an early age not to cry. Also, boys are aware that their friends might see it as a sign of
weakness if they show their feelings. Perhaps girls are brought up to be more sensitive
to their friends' feelings.
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Friday, December 02, 2011

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IELTS Speaking Part 2: describe a film/movie
In part 2 of the IELTS Speaking test, you might have to describe your favourite film
('movie' is American English). My
advice is to look for your film on amazon.com. You will
find reviews of almost any film, from The Godfather to Titanic . The only problem is that the reviews are often quite difficult or too detail

ed. I recommend
stealing a few ideas or a few bits of good vocabulary.
For example, here is some good vocabulary from a review of The Godfather :
- one of the greatest films ever made
- a masterpiece
- a brilliant story
- the actors' performances are outstanding
- it's compelling to watch
Make sure you can summari se the film's plot (the story). Try to remember where and
when you first saw the film. Explain how it made you feel and why you like it.
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Frida
y, December 09, 2011
IELTS S

peaking Part 3: competitions The following questions come from Cambridge IELTS 7. I've underlined some of th

e
good words and phrases in my answers.
1. Why do you think some school teachers use competitions as class activities?
I think teachers use competitions to motivate the children in their classes. I'm sure that teachers try all kinds of activities to
engage their pupils, and
competitions might be one of the best ways to
keep childr
en interested or get them excited. Children love winning things.

2. Is it a good thing to give prizes to chi
ldren who do well at school? Why?
It might be a good idea to encourage children to do well in games or sports, but I don't think we should give children prizes for their academic work. Chil

dren need to learn that the reason for studying is to learn useful th

ings that will help them in their lives. I don't like the idea of
children thinking that they
will only work hard if there is a prize. 3. Would you say that schools for young children have become more or less
competitive since you were that a

ge? Why?
I'd say that they have become more competitive since I was young. Children now have to take exams from a much younger age, so I think there is more of a focu

s on doing well in tests. Parents also seem to be getting more c

ompetitive; I think that many parents push their children
to do extra hom
ework rather than letting them play with friends. Posted by
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Frida
y, December 23, 2011
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IELTS Speaking Part 2: describe a meal
Describe a popular meal from your country that you like to eat.

You should say
- what the meal is
- why it'
s popular in your country
- and why you like it.
Here's some advice:
1. Your choice of meal is important because you need to be able to say a lot about it.
For example, you could choose a dish that people eat during a particular festival. 2. Spend some time on each of the 3 parts of the question. For the first part, don't just
give the name of the

meal; explain what it consists of and how it is made.
3. For the last part (why you like it), use some good adjectives, then tell a story about when you last ate that meal.
Explain whe
re you were and what the occasion was.
Prepare some ideas and try recording yourself. Keep practising until you are confident
that you would be able to answer this q uestion in an exam situation.
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Friday, January 06

, 2012
IELTS Speaking Part 2: describe a garden Describe a beautiful garden that you like. You should say

- where it is
- what you

can see there
- what people do there
and explain why you like it.
Here are some ideas:
1. The garden I'm going to describe is famous because it belonged to the French painter
Claude Monet. It's in a place called Giverny, which is in northern France, about an hour
away from Paris in the province of Normandy.
2. There are actually two gardens at the Monet house in Giverny: a flower garden, and a
Japanese inspired water garden. Apparently, Monet designed the gardens himself; he
even had the pond and the famous Japanese bridge made. After creating the gardens,
Monet painted some of the most well -known paintings in the world, such as those of the
waterlilies below the bridge on his pond.
3. Thousands of people visit the gardens at Giverny to see the magnificent scenes that
inspired M onet's paintings. Visitors can walk around the gardens and take pictures,
which is what I did when I went there.
4. I like Monet's gardens because they are such beautiful creations, and it's amazing to
see the 'real thing' having seen the famous paintings so many times.
To learn more about Monet's gardens, have a look at
this site
. Posted by
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Friday, January 13
, 2012
IELTS Speaking: another garden description Last week I described a famous garden. Martin, an IELTS teacher who often contributes
to the comments on this site,

sent me a description of his own garden. You might find it
more useful than my famous garden description!
Martin's descripti on: Today I'd like to describe my home garden, which I think is a beautiful o

ne and which I
like very much. The garden is part of my home's backyard, and my house is located in
the suburbs, about a 1 -hour drive from the city of San Francisco. There is a bi g tree right
in the middle of my garden, which is surrounded by a hot tub, a small water fountain,
several bushes, a section for vegetables, and different kinds of flowers.
This garden was actually one of the reasons why my wife and I chose to buy our house
because it had been beautifully maintained by the previous owner’s gardener and
landscaper. It’s been only 1 year since we bought the house and now we are taking care
of the garden ourselves. Even though we are not experts in gardening, we still try our
best to plant things that we like, such as roses and tulips, and we even grow our own
tomatoes.
Whenever family and friends come to visit us, we invite them to have a relaxing time in
our hot tub, and enjoy the view. So in other words, our garden has also become a kind of resort! It definitely requires lots of hard work to properly maintain the garden, but it gives
us a great sense of accomplishment to “decorate” it the way we like.
All in all, the garden is one of the best features of my home and it is a place where I can
relax after a long day of work or during the weekends.
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Frida
y, January 20

, 2012
IELTS Speaking: linking phrases don't impress A student asked me a really useful (and common) question the other day.

Student's question:
I'v

e gone through your speaking answers, and I rarely found linking phrases like "I
suppose I should begin by highlighting the fact that..." or "the point I'd like to begin with
is that..." . Don't you think such phrases are the sign of a high score?
Here's my answer:
Good question. No, I don't use those phrases because examiners are not impressed by
them. Even a beginner can learn linking phrases, and if it were that easy, everyone
would get band 9. The sign of a high score is 'real content' ( topic-specific vocabulary
), not memorised phrases.

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Friday, January 27
, 2012
IELTS Speaking part 3: rivers, lakes, sea 1. What do you think are the functions of rivers nowadays?
Rivers have

various functions. In the UK, they were probably more important in the past
because they were used for the transportation of goods, but I suppose this is still the
case in many parts of the world. Rivers can be used as a source of renewable energy in
the production of hydro-electric power, and they are also a source of fresh water for
drinking and irrigation. Leisure activities are another function: fishing, canoeing,
swimming, bathing... I'm sure there are many other things I haven't thought of.
2. What do you think of boats and ships as forms of transportation?
I'm not really a fan of boats and ships. If I'm going abroad, I like to get to my destination
quickly, so I prefer travelling by plane. Of course, ships are vital for the transportation of
oil and other heavy cargo.
3. Why do some people like to live near rivers, lakes or the sea?
Well, the view is probably a major factor; most people like to look out to sea, or across a
river or lake. I'd much prefer to look out of my window onto a natural landscape than an
apartment building in a city. Then there's the lifestyle: if you live by the sea, for example,
you can lie on the beach, go for a swim, or do water sports like surfing or waterskiing. I
definitely wouldn't mind living near a beach at some point in my life!
Note: These answers are less formal than the essays I write for the writing test, and I say
things like "

probably" or "I suppose" when I'm not sure about the facts.
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Frida
y, February 03, 2012


IELTS Speaking Part 1: emails and handwriting At work or in your studies, do you often write things?

Yes, I write a lot of emails as pa
rt of my job. I work for a company that has offices in
several countries, so we use email to communicate.
How often do you send e-mails?
I probably write between 5 and 10 wor k emails every day, and I send emails to friends or
family a few times a week.
Do you prefer to write by hand or on a computer?
It depends what I’m doing. I prefer the computer for most things because it’s faster and
you can save or copy things, but I still like making notes or writing ideas down by hand.
Do you think computers might one day replace handwriting?
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No, I think we will always write by hand as well. I think it’s an important skill, and schools
will contin
ue to teach children to write by hand before they learn to type.
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Frida
y, February 10, 2

012
IELTS Speaking Part 2: describe a business It would be a good idea to prepare some ideas for this question:

Describe a bu
siness that you would like to own or set up.
It doesn't matter what business you choose, and you don't need to tell the truth. Here are
some ideas:
• Choose something that you know about. For example, if you like buying clothes, say
that you would like to own a clothes shop. If you're a football fan, say that you'd like to
own a football club!
• Do some online research. Find the websites of companies you like, and take some
notes about what they do and why they are successful.
• Imagine what a typical day would be li ke if you worked in the business you have
chosen. What would you do in the morning, during the day, and in the evening? Telling a
story is a great way to extend your answer.
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Frida
y, February 24, 2012


IELTS Speaking Part 2: easier than you think Sometimes a question seems difficult, but you might be able to turn it into a different
topic. Take these questions for examp

le:
1. Describe a photo that you like.
2. Describe an important letter you received.
Many students panic when I ask them these two questions, but they are much easier
than you think. Here are some ideas:
1. You could describe a photo of your family on a special occasion (e.g. a birthday
party). This would allow you to talk about the members of your family and tell the story of
what happened at the party when the photo was taken. Alternatively, you could describe
a holiday photo of a place you visited. Then you can talk about the place and what you
did there.
2. If you have a job, you could describe the letter you received telling you that you got
the job. You could talk about the job interview, how you felt when you received the letter,
and what you now do in your job. On the other hand, if you are a student, you could say
that you received a letter confirming your place on your degree course.
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Friday, March 02, 2012
IELTS S
peaking: how to talk for 2 minutes Students often ask whether it's necessary to speak for the full 2 m

inutes in part 2 of the
speaking test. The instruction is: speak for between 1 and 2 minutes, so it's not strictly
necessary to speak for the full 2 minutes. However, my advice is that you should try to
keep speaking until the examiner stop s you.
Here are some tips to help you keep talking:
1. Go through the bullet points on the task card in order.
2. Try to develop each point, even easy ones. For example, if the first bullet point for the
topic "describe a person" is "who is it?", don't just say "I'm going to describe my father".
Add more information, such as your father's name, age, what he looks like, where he is
now, how often you speak to him...
3. Give examples and tell stories (click here for more advice about this). Posted by
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Frida
y, March 09, 2012
IELTS S

peaking Part 1: short, simple answers The first part o
f the IELTS S
peaking Test lasts around 4 to 5 minutes. The examiner
asks about 10 questions related to you, your daily life and your interests. Common topics
are hobbies, family, friends, food, music etc.
Part 1 questions are supposed to be easy, and the examiner must get through all of the
questions in 5 minutes or less. That's only about 30 seconds per question. If you try to
give long answers, the examiner will interrupt you. My advice is to keep Part 1 answers
very simple:
Do you prefer home-cooked food or food from restaurants?
I prefer home-cooked food because I think it's healthier and you know exactly
what you're eating. I also enjoy cooking for family and friends.
You don't need to say any more than this. Just answer the question with a full sentence,
give a reason, and maybe add one extra piece of information. Then stop speaking. Stop
with confidence and look at the examiner, ready for the next question.
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Frida
y, March 23, 2012
IELTS

Speaking: use real examples! To improve your IELTS speaking score, use good examples to extend your an
s
wers.
Real examples or stories about yourself are the best.
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Use examples in part 2 when you need to make your presentation longer. Use them in
par
t 3 to support your opinions.
Here's an example that helps me to extend a part 2 presentation about my mobile
phone:
"For example, yesterday I used my phone to call some friends to arrange a get -together
this weekend. Some of them didn't answer, so I either left a message in their voicemail
or I sent them a text. I also replied to a few emails while I was waiting in a queue at the
bank."
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Frida
y, March 30, 2012
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: which tense? - Can you use the pa
st tense when desc
ribing a person who is still alive?
- Which tense should you use when describing a person?
The answer to the first question is yes . You can say: "My father was always a good role model for me when I was growing up." This doesn't mean that
your father
is no longer
alive; it just means that you are no longer growing up!
The answer to the second question is it depends. As we saw above, you can use the
past tense, but it would also be easy to add the present and/or future tense: "My
father was always kind to me when I was a child, and he still helps me whenever I need something. I'm sure he will always be the

re for me." Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (13)


Frida
y, April 20, 201

2
IELTS Speaking Part 2: three tips Here are three quick tips for IELTS speaking part 2 (the short speech):

1. Use the 1 minute prepara
tion time well
Think about how you would answer the question in your own language, then write down
as many ideas as possible in English.
2. Give real examples
Say what you real ly think, talk about your real life, and give real examples. Examples are
really important; whenever you don't know what to say, give an example from your own
experience.
3. Don't worry about grammar
You haven't got time to think about passives or conditio nals. Focus on answering the
question - ideas and vocabulary.
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Friday, April 27, 201
2
IELTS Speaking Part 2: describe a website In Part 2 of IELTS Speaking, you might be asked to describe a website tha
t you us
e:
Describe a website that you often use. You should say:
• what type of website it is
• how you found out about it
• what it allows you to do, and why you find it useful.
Here are some ideas, with some of the band 7 -9 vocabulary underlined:
1. Facebook is a social networking website. It's a free website that allows you to keep in contact with friends or find people
you've lost
touch with. It's one of the most popular websites in the world, with millions of users in different countries.
2. All of my friend

s use Facebook. One of my friends sent me an email inviting me to
join. I signed up and I've been using it ever since. 3.
Facebook allows y
ou to keep up to date with what friends are doing. You have a profile page with information and
status updat
es so that you can tell everyone what you're doing. You can
post messages to othe
r people's pages. You can upload photos and videos. I find Facebook most useful for organising my life, keeping in touch

with
friends and storing photos . I think social networking websites have become part of everyday life.
Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (39)


Frida
y, May 04, 2012
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: take ideas from other topics Describe a time when you received some money as a gift. You should sa
y:
• who gave it to you
• what

the occasion was
• how you felt
• and explain what you did with the money.
If you think about some of the topics we have already prepared, the question above
should be quite easy.

Some ideas:
1. You could say that you received money fo r your birthday and took your friends out for
a meal. Take some ideas from this lesson
. 2.
You could say that you bought yourself a new phone (see this lesson). 3.
You could say that you used the money to pay for a holiday or trip, and use ideas
from this lesson .
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Note:
I'm not reco
mmending that you learn my answers word -for-word. Just try to take some of
my ideas and adapt them to your own answers.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (25)



Frida
y, May 11, 201

2
IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'accommodation' topic Here are some questions that I found on the official IELTS website,
ielts.org. The answers below are my examples. Remember to keep your part 1 answers short a

nd
simple. You don't need to show off in part 1.
1. Tell me about the kind of accommodation you live in.
I live in a house that has a living room, a kitchen, two bedrooms, a bathroom and a small
garden. It's not a very big house, but it's just right for me.
2. How long have you lived there?
I've lived there for about five years. It's the first house that I've owned; before that I was
renting an apartment.
3. What do you like about living there?
I like living there because I think the house reflects my personality: I decorated it myself,
I chose all the furniture, and everything is where I want it to be.
4. What sort of accommodation would you most like to live in?
If I could , I'd buy a bigger house near a beach or in the mountains, preferably
somewhere with a warm climate.
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Frida
y, May 18, 201

2
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'foreign culture' topic Describe a
foreign culture that you like. You sh
ould say
• what culture it is and how you know about it
• what differences there are between that culture and your own
• and why you like that foreign culture.
For this question, you don't need to discuss 'deep' cultural issues. Just choose a foreign
country that you have visited, and talk about anything that is different from your own
culture (language, food, customs, behaviour, typical activities etc.).
Feel free to share your descriptions in the comments area below this lesson. I'll post my
description (or I'll use the best one of yours) next week.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (41)

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Friday, May 25, 201
2
IELTS Speaking Part 2: foreign culture Here are some ideas for
last week's question. 1. Which culture and how I know about it
I'm going to t

alk about France and French culture. I know France quite well because it
was the first foreign country that I visited as a child. I've been on several family holidays
there, and I lived and worked in Paris for a while after finishing university.
2. Cultural differences
The first thing that comes to mind when I think about France is the bread! I love the fact
that French people buy fresh baguettes every morning, usually from small local bakeries
or 'patisseries'; it makes a change from the loaves of sliced bread that most of us buy
from the supermarket here in the UK. One slightly negative difference I noticed in Paris
is that Parisians don't seem to make friends with their work colleagues to the same
extent as we do here.
3. What I like about it
I really like the café culture in France. You can always find somewhere interesting to sit
and have a coffee and chat to friends or just watch the world go by. I actually put on a bit
of weight when I lived in France because I got into a habit of having a croissant or a
cake in every nice café that I found. Another thing I could m ention is that the last time I
went to France on holiday, I played a game called ‘boules’ every day. The game consists
in throwing metal balls as close to a target ball as possible. It’s the perfect game for a
relaxing afternoon when the weather’s hot.
Tip:
Notice that I included personal examples or experiences in my answers. It's easy to talk
for 2 minutes if you can tell a story or two.
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Friday, June 01, 2012

IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: formula phrases A student asked me whether the following formula is useful for speaking part 2

:
• I guess I could begin by saying something about (point 1) and I think I would have to
choose...
• Going on to my next point which is (point 2), I really need to emphasise tha t (explain
point 2).
• And now with reference to (point 3), the point I want to make here is that (explain point
3).
• And so finally, if I have time, in answer to the question of (point 4), really I should
mention that... So, are these 'formula phrases' a good idea? My answer is
no!
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As an English speaker and ex
-examiner, I find these phrases annoying. It's obvious that
they are memorised, and they do not address the question topic. Please don't expect the
examiner to be impressed by this kind of thing.
There are a couple of benefits to learning a formula: it gives your answer some structure,
and it might make you feel more confident during the test. However, the disadvantages
are greater:
1. Your focus is on the phrases you have memorised, when it should be on
answering the question
with relevant ideas. 2.
The examiner thinks that you are using memorised phrases because you are unable
to produce
good language spontaneously. In other words, your use of long formula
phrases suggests that your level of English is lower.
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Frida
y, June 08, 2012
IELTS Speak

ing Advice: record, transcribe,
analyse Here are some steps that you could follow when practising for the speaking test:

1. Ch

oose a real speaking test from one of the Cambridge books.
2. Record yourself answering one or all of the parts of the test.
3. Listen to the recording and transcribe it (write down everything you said).
4. Analyse the transcript. How could your answers be improved?
5. Take some time to prepare better answers for the same questions.
6. Try the same questions again! Record yourself, transcribe and analyse.
7. Repeat the proce ss a few times until you are happy.
Imagine if you did this kind of hard work every day for a month. I'm sure you'd be more
confident and better prepared than you are now.
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Frida
y, June 15, 2012
IELTS Speak

ing Part 3: explain, alternative, example In part 3 of the speaking test, you need to give longer, detailed answers. A good

way to
do this is by organising your answers according to the following steps:
1. Idea: answer the question directly.
2. Explain: give a reason or explain your answer in more detail.
3. Alternative: explain an alternative (e.g. the opposite) to your answer.
4. Example: give an example to support your answer.
5. Another idea: sometimes you think of another i dea while you are speaking. Just add it
on the end of your answer.
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You can give a really good answer without including all five steps, but you m
ight find it
useful to practise including all five, as I've done here:
Why do you think some people prefer to buy products from their own countries
rather than imported items?
(idea) I suppose it’s because those people want to support the economy of the country
they live in. (explain) If they buy something that was made in their own country, they
know that they are contributing to the salaries of workers within the same
country, (alternative) whereas if they buy imported items, a foreign company and its
employees will benefit. (example) For example, if I buy some meat that originates from a
local farm rather than a farm in another country, I’m helping one of my fellow citizens to
carry on in business. (another idea) Also, I think that trust is an issue; people might feel
that they can trust domestically produced items more than imported ones.
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Frida
y, June 22, 2012
IELTS Speak

ing Part 1: 'work' topic Here are some example questions with short, direct answers. Remember that part 1 is
like a warm-up; you

are not expected to give long, comple x answers for this part.
1. Do you work or are you a student?
I’m a qualified doctor, but at the moment I’m studying English so that I can work in this
country.
2. Do you enjoy your job?
Yes, I really enjoy my job. Ever since I was a child I have always wanted to be a doctor;
I’ve always wanted to be able to help people.
3. What's the best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is that I can make a difference in people’s lives. It’s a great
feeling to see someone recover after an illness because my colleagues and I were able
to help.
4. Do you prefer working alone or with others? Why?
In a hospital you have to work as part of a team. I’ve got used to working with others,
and I think you can achieve a lot more as a team than you would alone.
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Frida
y, June 29, 2012
IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: choose your topic quickly! One of the most important things to practise for IELTS speaking part 2 is choosing your
topic quickly. Take this q
ue

stion for example:
Describe a situation in which you were very polite. You should explain
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where the situation took place
• how you showed that you were p
olite
• and why you needed to be so polite.
It would be easy to waste your one-minute preparation time worrying about what
situation to choose. If you still haven't decided what to talk about when the examiner
asks you to start speaking, you'll be in real trouble!
Task:
Give yourself just 10 seconds to choose your polite situation. It doesn't really matter
what situation you choose; the key is to give yourself enough time to prepare some
ideas.
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Frida
y, July 06, 2012
IELTS S

peaking Part 3: comparing past and present In part 3 of IELTS speaking, you might be asked to compare the past with the prese

nt.
The examiner will be listening to your use tenses. For example:
Are there any differences between the types of people who were seen as
celebrities in the past and those who are celebrities nowadays?
Yes, I think there have been some big changes in the types of people who
become famous. In the past, before the invention of television, I suppose there were
very few n
ational or international celebrities; maybe kings and queens, military, political and religious leaders
wer
e the only household names. With the advent of TV and radio, performers such as actors and musicians became
mor
e well-known. However, we now seem to have
a co
mpletely new breed of celebrity as a result of 'reality' television programm

es; these are people who don't really have any special skills as performers, but who are famous fo

r just being themselves. Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (8)


Frida
y, July 13, 2012
IELTS S

peaking Part 3: 'politeness' topic Two weeks ago I showed you a part 2 question about a situation in which you were
polite
. Let's have a look at some related questions for part 3 of the test: In your country’s culture, how do you show that you are being polite?

We really v
alue politeness and good manners in the UK, and there are many types of
polite behaviour. One of the first th ings we learn as children is to say "please" and "thank
you". As adults, I think we are careful not to be too direct in the language we use. For
example, we would never say "Bring me the bill" in a restaurant because this kind of
direct instruction would sound rude. It would be much more polite to say "Could we have
the bill, please?".
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Are we less polite with members of our families than with people we don’t know?
I suppose it's normal to be a bit mo
re relaxed about politeness with family members.
Most peop le tend to speak in a more informal way at home; in the UK, we still say
"please" and "thanks", but it's fine to use colloquial language and things like nicknames
that you would never use with someone you didn't know.
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Frida
y, July 20, 2012
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: use what you know Don't worry if you get a question that you haven't prepared for. You can usually u

se
ideas that you prepared for a different topic. For example:
Describe a piece of advice that you gave (or that someone gave you)
Why not say that you advised your friend to visit London? Then you could use all the
good vocabulary from this lesson. Or you could use this lesson
to talk about advice that your father gave you. For exam
ple, say th
at your father told you to work hard. Then you
could use great vocabulary such as 'major influence', 'hard-working', 'role model', 'set a
good example', 'positive outlook on life'.
Think quickly during the one- minute preparation time: What can I use that I've already
prepared?
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Friday, July 27, 2012

IELTS S

peaking: add detail Many students worry too much about grammar. For speaking parts 2 and 3, it's

more
important to worry about the quality of your answers. The best way to improve the quality
of your answers is by adding detail.
Example:
Describe your best friend. Say when you met him/her.
Short answer about when we met:
I met my best friend at school when I was 11 years old.
Detailed answer about when we met:
I met my best friend at school when I was 11 years old, so we've known each other for ...
years. I remember we sat next to each other in my first science lesson at secondary
school, and we had to work together to do an experiment. We got on straight away, and
we've been friends ever since.
Notice that by adding more information I've also used more/better vocabulary and
grammar.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (24)

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Friday, August 03,
2012
IELTS Speaking: the examiner's attitude I sometimes hear from students who are worried that their examiner seemed rude or
angry in the

speaking exam. Maybe the examiner didn't smile or make much eye
contact, interrupted a lot, or kept looking at his/her watch. Does this mean that you will
get a low score , or that you should complain?
The answer is no! Don't worry, and don't think that you need to complain. The
examiner's attitude is not important at all, and you should ignore all of the things I
mentioned above. Focus only on answering the examiner's ques tions as well as you
can.
Remember: it's possible to have a very nice, smiling examiner who gives you a low
score. On the other hand, an examiner who seems impolite or disinterested might give
you a higher score than you expected!
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Frida
y, August 24,

2012
IELTS Speaking: how to feel more confident Here are some tips to help you feel more confident when you go for your IELT

S
speaking test:
• Be prepared: you should know exactly what to expect in the 3 parts of the speaking
test, and you should have read the suggestions on this website about how to answer.
• Lots of practice: a student who has practised answering all of the questions in all eight
Cambridge books, as well as the questions on this site, will feel much more confident
than a student who hasn't.
• Write it down: when studying at home, you have time to prepare 'perfect' answers to
practice questions; write your answers down, and ask someone to help you check and
improve them.
• Speak aloud: start by reading the answers you wrote down (like an actor uses a script),
then gradually stop using the script.
• Record yourself: this allows you to analyse the quality of your answers, as well as your
pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar.
• Focus on ideas : it's difficult to think about grammar when you are speaking, so I advise
students to stop worrying about grammatical structures, and focus on expressing good
ideas (which means good vocabulary).
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Friday, August 31,
2012
IELTS Speaking Part 2: describe a vehicle Describe a vehicle you would like to buy in the future. You should say

• what kind of vehicle it is
• what you woul

d use it for
• and why you would like to buy it.
Here's some advice (I'll give you my model answer next week):
1. Make your decision quickly. Most people will choose to describe a car, but if you're
feeling adventurous, it might be fun to choose an aeroplane (airplane) or a helicopter. It
doesn't matter if your choice isn't realistic.
2. Develop each point in detail. For the first bullet point, tell the examiner as much as
you can about the vehicle e.g. the make of the car, its colour, what it looks like outside
and inside, the gadgets it has inside etc.
3. Stories are the best ty pe of example: imagine where you would go in your new
vehicle, and what you would use it for. The benefit of choosing something adventurous,
like the aeroplane or helicopter, is that you are more likely to be creative and imaginative
in the rest of your answer.
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Frida
y, September 07, 2012
IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: describe a vehicle Describe a vehicle you would like to buy in the future. You should say

• what kind of vehicle it is
• what you woul

d use it for
• and why you would like to buy it.
Here's my sample answer:
• If I had the money, I’d like to buy my own helicopter. I recently saw a TV programme
about someone who flew around in his own helicopter, and I remember thinking that it
would be great to have one. The helicopter on the programme was a small, blue, two -
seater and it seemed quite easy to fly - that's the kind of thing I'd like to buy.
• Ideally, I’d use my helicopter instead of a car. First, I’d need to learn to fly it, but then I’d
use it to go on short trips or holidays. It would be fantastic to be able to avoid traffic
jams, and get everywhere in a fraction of the time it normally takes. I’d take friends and
family sightseeing, over cities or mountain tops, and maybe I could even use it to do the
shopping!
• The reason I’d like to buy a helicopter is that you can park one almost anywhere. You
don’t need to find a runway or an airport like you would for a plane. So I’d be able to park
my helicopter in my garden - if I had a bigger garden. Also, I’ve always been intrigued by
those helipads on the tops of tall buildings - I think it would be fun to land on top of a
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building. A helicopter probably isn’t a realistic choice of vehicle, but you neve
r know - I
might win the lottery!
PS. You should also have a look at Martin's sample answers in the comments area
below this lesson
. Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (12)


Frida
y, September 14, 2012
IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: TV programme or channel Yap asked me about the following question:

Describe a TV programme or ch
annel that you enjoy watching regularly.

• What it is ca
lled

 and what is it about?

• When do you usually watch it

 ?
• Why do you prefer it to other program
mes or channels?
Yap asked whether it would be acceptable to talk about ted.com as a TV channel.
I think it would definitely be acceptable
- just say tha
t it's an online TV channel. TED would be a
great choice for this topic.
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Frida
y, September 21, 2012
IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: TV channel Last week we looked at this question:

Describe a TV programme or ch
annel that you enjoy watching regularly.

• What it is ca
lled

 and what is it about?

• When do you usually watch it

 ?
• Why do you prefer it to other program
mes or channels?
Here's a sample description with the best vocabulary underlined:
• I rarely watch traditional television channels nowadays; I much prefer searching for interesting programmes or videos online. So, although it’s not a normal TV channe

l or
programme, I’d like to talk about a website which I think is kind of a modern version of a TV channel. It’s called TED, which stands for ‘Technolog

y, Entertainment, Design’, and it’s a great place to watch short talks and presentations about all sorts of


interesting topics.
• The good thing about the videos on TED is that I can watch them whenever I want. I
have ted.com saved as one of my favourites on my laptop, and I tend to visit the website every few days to check whether there is anything new. I often watch TED
videos on m
y

phone while I’m travelling to work on the train.
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The reason I like watching online videos on TED is that I learn something new every
time I watch one . The tagline for the TED website is ‘ideas worth spreading’, and this really
sums up the appeal of the site for me. Inst
ead of watching meaningless soap operas
and talk shows on TV, I’d much rather spend 10 m
inutes watching someone talk about a
breakthro
ugh in technology, science or healthcare. Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (15)


Frida
y, September 28, 2012
IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: main topics For part 2 of IELTS speaking, I encourage my students in Manchester to prepare ideas


for 6 main topic areas:
1. Describe an object (a gift, something you use etc.) 2. Describe a person (someone you admire, a family member etc.)
3. Describe an event (a festival, celebration etc.)
4. Describe an activity (e.g. a hobby)
5. Describe a place (somewhere you visited, a holiday etc.)
6. Describe your favourite (book/film/advertisement/website)
Most questions fit into one of these topics. For example, "Describe a river, lake or sea
which you like" is number 5 - you could describe a holiday by the sea, or a city with a
river.
Don't take the test without preparing some ideas for these topics first!
Posted by Simon in IELTS Spe
aking | Permalink | C
omments (61)

Sunday, September 30, 2012
IELTS A

dvice: preparing speaking topics On Friday I suggested preparing six main topics
for IELTS Speaking Part 2. But how should you prepare these topics? Where can you find good ideas?

I recommend doing two
things. First, have a look through the speaking lessons on this
site. Second, use the Internet to do some further research. For example, if you want a
good description of a famous person, look him/her up on Wikipedia and note down the
best vocabulary ideas.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking, Qu estions / Advice
| Permalink |
Comments (5)



Frida
y, October 05, 201

2
IELTS Speaking Part 1: negative answers How do you answer questions about a topic that you are not interested in? For examp
l
e,
many people have no interest in dancing, so what should they say?
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My advice: just tell the truth. It's fine to say you don't like something. Read my examples
below:

1. Do you like dancing?
No
, I don't like dancing. I'm not a big music fan, and dancing just makes me feel
uncomfortable and self -conscious.
2. Has anyone ever taught you to dance?
No, I've never been interested in learning to dance, so I've never taken any lessons or
asked anyone to show me how to do it.
3. Do you think that traditional dancing will be popular in the future?
I'm afraid I have no idea because I don't follow what's happening in the dancing world! I
suppose it will always be popular with some people.
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Frida
y, October 12, 201

2
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'difficult' questions Students tend to worry about 'difficult questions', but questions are often mu

ch easier
than they seem. For example:
Describe a law in your country.
Many students think they don't know anything about laws. However, there are some
easy examples that they could choose:
1. In many countries it is now illegal to use a mobile phone while driving. You could
start by talking about the popularity and benefits of mobile phones, and explain that
people want to be able to answer calls wherever they are. Then you could explain the
dangers of being distracted while driving; this law could reduce the number of road
accidents, and therefore save lives.
2. If you feel confident talking about the 'education' topic, you could choose the
'compulsory education' law. This is the legal requirement that children up to a certain
age must attend school. In the UK, for example, children are required by law to
continue in education until they are 16 years old. This is a good topic because you can
talk about the benefits of education.
Of course, you could choose a more obvious law (it is illegal to steal, carry a gun etc.)
but you might have more ideas and good vocabulary if you choo se a typical IELTS topic
like number 2 above.
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Friday, October 19, 201

2
IELTS Speaking: part 1, 2 or 3? It's important to know exactly what to expect in each part of the exam.
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The following quest
ions come fro m part 1, part 2 and part 3 of the speaking test.
Can you tell which part each question is from?
1. How often do you watch television?
2. How have television programmes changed since you were a child?
3. Describe a television programme that you enjoyed. 4. Which TV channel or channels do you prefer to watch? Why?
5. Do you think governments should control what TV programmes show?
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Frida
y, October 26, 201

2
IELTS Speaking Part 2: old building I've already done a description of a modern building
here, but the examiner might ask you to describe an old building. How can we adapt the 'modern building' descriptio

n?
Looking at the vocabulary I used to describe the modern building (famous landmark,
spectacular views, best vantage point etc.), it seems that we should choose an old
building which is tall or has great views of a city.
One possibility that comes to mind is the Empire State Building
in New York. It was built in 1931, so I think that would be old enough.


Can you think

of any other examples? If you choose a famous building, it will probably
have its own Wikipedia page. Do some research, and plan your description.
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Frida
y, November 02, 2012
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: old building description Describe an old building that you like. You should say:

• where it is
• what it is used for
• and why you li

ke it.
The answer below is adapted from the modern building description I wrote last year. Can you spot some of the vocabulary that I've recycled?

1. I'm going t

o describe a very famous building in New York: the Empire State Building.
People might not think of it as an old building, but the Empi re State Building was built in
1931, so I don't think it can be classed as new. It's located on Manhattan island and it's
probably the most distinctive and recognisable building when you look at New York's
skyline.
2. As far as I know, the Empire State Buildi ng is an office building, but visitors can go
up to an observation deck on the top floor, which is the 102nd floor. There's also a 360-
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degree observation area on the 86th floor. Apparently, the building makes more money

from the sale of tickets to the observation floors than it does from office rentals.
3. I think the Empire State Building is still one of the most impressive skyscrapers in the
world. It's such an iconic structure, and it's amazing to think that it was built around 80
years ago. The best thing about the building is the viewing deck on the top floor, which
offers spectacular views of the city; it's definitely the best vantage point in New York. I'd
recommend anyone who visits the city to go there and experience the view.
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Friday, November 09, 2012

IELTS S

peaking Part 2: event in history A student sent me this question from a recent IELTS test:
Describe an important event in his

tory. You should say
• when it happened
• wha t the event was
• and what effect you think this event had.
I think this is a really nice question. If you choose the right event, it should be easy to
talk for 2 minutes. Here are some suggestions:
• Don't talk about a personal event - that would be considered 'off topic'.
• Choose something that you know about - a recent event might be easier. For
example, you could choose the invention of the World Wide Web
or the election of Barack Obama
. •
Prepare this topic before your exam. If you like the two examples mentioned above,
click on the links and do som
e research.
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Friday, November 16, 2012

IELTS S

peaking Part 3: 'history' topic Questions in part 3 of the speaking test follow on from the topic you were given in part 2.
So, after last week's
historic eve

nt question, you might be asked some further questions about history and events. For example:

1. What do you think we can learn by studying
events of the past?
I think we can learn a lot by studying history. Just as individual people learn from their
mistakes, societies can learn from the mistakes made by previous governments or
leaders. For example, from what I've read in the newspapers, many economists are
looking back to the time of the Great Depre ssion, around 80 years ago, in order to
understand the financial crisis that is currently affecting many countries around the
world. Even if we don't always learn from mistakes, I think it's fascinating to study history
because it gives us an insight into who we are and where we come from.
2. What important events do you think might take place in the future?
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It's really difficult to predict what will happen in the future; most of the big, historic events
of the past would have be
en impossible to foresee. For example, I don't think that
anyone living 100 years ago could have imagined that people would one day walk on the
moon! If I had to guess what might happen in the future, I'd like to think that scientists
will invent cures for diseases like cancer, and w e'll all live longer.
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Frida
y, November 23, 2012
IELTS S

peaking: useful expressions In this lesson I want to draw your attention to a few useful expressions that I

used in last week's answers
. Maybe you could try using them in your own answers. 1. An alternative way to say "and":

- Just as individual
s can learn from their mistakes , societies can (also)... - Just as we need to exercise the body, we also need to exercise the mind.

2. A nice way to introduce
a personal example or opinion:
- From what I've read in the newspapers,... - From what I've heard / seen / experienced,...
3. Giving an opinion when y

ou're not sure:
- If I had to guess what might happen in the future, I'd like to think that... - If I had to give my opinion, I'd say...
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Friday, November 30, 2012

IELTS S

peaking Part 1: 'communication' topic Here are some more examples for IELTS speaking part 1. Remember to give shor

t,
easy, direct answers.
1. How do you usually keep in touch with members of your family?
I mostly keep in touch with my family by phone, and I've started using the Internet to
make video calls. I also try to visit members of my family in person as often as I can.
2. Do you prefer to speak to people by phone or by writing emails?
It depends on the situation. I use email and text messages to communicat e with friends,
but my parents prefer it if I phone them.
3. Do you ever write letters by hand? (Why / Why not?)
No, I don't write letters by hand because it's so much easier to send an email that will
arrive immediately.
4. Is there anything you dislike about mobile phones?
Well, I don't like listening to other people's conversations in public places, and I don't like
it when someone's phone rings in the cinema or during a lesson.
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Frida
y, December 07, 2012
IELTS S
peaking Part 2: ideal home Describe the ideal home that you would like to live in. You should say

• what your ideal home would look like
• where it

would be
• and why you would like to live there.
My advice for this topic is similar to the advice I gave for the vehicle
topic: 1.
Make a quick decision about the type of home you will describe.
2. Talk about

each bullet point in as much detail as you can.
3. Maybe choose something adventurous like a castle or an apartment on the top floor
of a skyscraper, even if it's not really your ideal home. You might find it easier to talk for
2 minutes about something more imaginative.
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Frida
y, December 14, 2012
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: ideal home Several people shared their descriptions of an ideal home in the comments below

last
week's lesson
. If you do some research online, you'll find lots of websites with pictures and descriptions of interesting homes.
Click here to see my favourite. "Perched on the edges of daunting precipices, these cliff and mountain homes ar

e some
of the scariest places you could possibly think to live. Some have survived for centuries
while others are (quite literally) on the brink of destruction."
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Friday,
December

21, 2012
IELTS Speaking Part 1: clothes 1. Are clothes and clothing fashions important to you? (Why/Why not?)
No, clothes

and fashions are not really important to me. I tend to wear clothes that are
comfortable and practical rather than fashionable.
2. What different clothes do you wear for different situations?
Well, I have to dress quite formally for work, so I wear a shirt and trousers. A t home I
prefer to wear jeans and a T -shirt, and on special occasions I might wear a suit.
3. Do you wear different styles of clothes now compared to 10 years ago?
No, not really, because I don't follow fashion. I think I have dressed in a similar way for
the last 10 years.
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4. Do you think the clothes we wear say something about who we are?
Yes, they pro
bably do. Some people are really careful about what they wear because
they want to be seen as stylish. Other people wear clothes that show wealth or status,
such as clothes by famous designers.
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Frida
y, January 11

, 2013
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'furniture' topic Think about what you would say for the following question. I'll share my ideas in next
week's less

on.
Describe a piece of furniture that you own. You should say
- what it is
- where you bought it
- how you use it
- and explain why you like it.
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Frida
y, January 18

, 2013
IELTS Speaking: describe a piece of furniture Here are some ideas for
last week's question: •
I'm going to talk about my favourite chair. It's a big, leather armchair that sits in my
living room
at home, just under my living room window.
• I didn't actually buy the armchair. One of my friends was moving house and was going
to buy some new furniture. I had always liked his leather armchair, so he said I could
have it if I managed to move it. The chair wouldn't fit in my car, and it was tricky to get it
out of my friend's apartment. I had to hire a small van to take the armchair home.
• Obviously I use the armchair for sitting! It's my favourite place in the house to relax,
read a book, watch TV or even do some work; the chair's arms are quite wide and flat,
so my laptop fits nicely on either of them. Last night I fell asleep in my armchair while I
was watching a film.
• The main reasons why I like this piece of furniture are that it's comfortable and it's in
the perfect position in my living room. The only drawback might be that I enjoy sitting in
the armchair too much, and sometimes I think it makes me lazy!
Remember to highlight any useful words or phrases that you found in my description.
Also, did you notice some of the strategies that I used to make the answer more
interesting?
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Saturday, January
19, 2013
IELTS Advice: speaking strategies Here are some of the strategies that I used in
yesterday's description: 1.
Try to develop each bullet point in detail. If you don't say enough for the first two or
three points, you'll find
yourself with too much time for the last point.
2. Tell a story! My second point tells the story of how I was given the chair by a friend,
and I could probably speak for 2 minutes about this point alone. When you tell a story
about something real that happened, you'll find it easy to keep talking. Stories are also
interesting for the listener (the examiner).
3. Add examples. In point 3, you can see that I added an example at the end ("last
night I fe ll asleep in my armchair while I was watching a film"). I could easily take this
example and develop it into another short story.
4. When describing an object, don't forget the simple things like size, colour (I forgot
that one!), shape, material, position (" just under my living room window").
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Frida
y, January 25

, 2013
IELTS Speaking Part 1: musical instruments For IELTS speaking part 1, remember to give short, simple answers. Answer the
question w

ith a full sentence and give a reason for your answer. Here are some example
questions and answers about musical instruments (from Cambridge IELTS book 6):
1. Which musical instrument do you like listening to most? (Why?)
My favourite musical instrument to listen to is the guitar. I like the fact that there are
different types of guitar, like classical, acoustic and electric. I love the variety of sounds a
guitar can make.
2. Have you ever learned to play a musical instrument?
I took some guitar lessons when I was younger and still have a guitar at home. I don't
play it much nowadays. I wish I had more time to practise.
3. Do you think children should learn to play an instrument at school?
Yes, I think it's a great skill and it's really enjoyable to be able to play a musical
instrument. All children should be given this opportunity.
4. How easy would it be to learn to play an instrument without a teacher?
It would probably be more difficult without a teacher. You need someone to show you
what to do and correct your mistakes. You need a lot of discipline to teach yourself.
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Friday, February 01, 2013

IELTS Speaking: a preparation technique A good way to prepare for IELTS speaking is to take one topic area and practise
possible questions fo
r all 3 parts. Here are some examples:
'Home' topic Part 1 - give short answers

1. Do you l
ive in a house or a flat?
2. What's your favourite room in your home? Why?
3. What would you like to change about your home? Why?
4. Would you like to move house in the future?
Part 2 - speak for 2 minutes
Describe an interesting home that you have visited.
Part 3 - give longer answers
1. What factors do you think are important when choosing where to live?
2. Compare life in a city with life in the countryside.
3. How do you think the design of homes will change in the future?
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Frida
y, February 08, 2013


IELTS Speaking Part 3: questions about the future When the examiner asks a question like the one below, you know that you are bein

g
tested on your ability to express ideas in the future tense.
How do you think the design of homes will change in the future?
Example answer:
I don't think there will be much change in terms of what houses look like from the outside. In this country, people still like traditional brick or stone houses. Having said
that, the des

ign of apartment blocks will probably continue to develop, with more and more experimental or futuristic buildings made of glass and metal. I
imagine that it will
be the insides of homes that change the most; houses
will no d
oubt be full of technological devices to make our li

ves easier. Maybe we'll have things like voice-controlled doors, lights and appliances.
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Frida
y, February 15, 2013


IELTS Speaking: if you don't know the answer How do you answer a question when you don't know anything about the topi
c?

T he r
e ar
e 2

things you can do:
1. Be honest and explain why you don't know
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2.
Guess, and tell the examiner that you are guessing
Example question:
How has techn
ology affected the kinds of music that young people listen to?
My answer, using both tips above:
(1) To be honest I don't really know the answer to that because I'm completely out of
touch with what young people are listening to, and I'm not a fan of pop music.
(2) Ho wever, I suppose that technology must have affected music. Maybe young people
are listening to music that has been made using computer software instead of real
musical instruments like the piano or guitar.
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Frida
y, March 01, 2013
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: 'team project' topic I decided to do some research for last week's
Describe a team project ques
tion. I typed
"it was a team project" into Google.
Here are 3 links to project descriptions that I found:
1) Project about software failures
2)
Student robotics project 3)
Barack Obama's speech You won't be able to use everything you read in these descriptions, but you shou

ld find
some good vocabulary ideas that you can copy:
• a team project with 3 members on each team
• It was quite a learning experience
• In the end, I think it was a successful project
• Our task was to...
• We had to collaborate
• The challenges were intense but fun
• a real sense of accomplishment
• It was more rewarding than I could have imagined
• They were proud of what we had done
• Success is a team project
• share the burden
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Friday, March 08, 2013
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: team project Describe a team project that you worked on. You should say:

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what it was
• what you did
• and how you felt about it.
Ex
ample answer (band 9): I’d like to talk about a team project that I was involved in during my final term at business
school. Ther

e were four of us on the team, and our task was to work with a local
company to research a new market, in a European country, for one of their products or
services. Our objective was to produce a report and give a presentation.
The first thing we did was split into two groups of two. We had been assigned a
company that produced a range of bicycle accessories, so two of us spent some time
getting to know the company while the other two researched the market and the
competitors in the target country, which was Germany. In the end, I think it was a
successful project because we managed to identify a possible gap in the market in
Germany for one of the company’s products. Our group presentation also went really
well.
Until that point, the course had been all about business theory, so it was quite a learning
experience to work with a real company. I felt a real sense of accomplishment when we
handed in our report and delivered our presentation, and I think all of us were proud of
what we had done.
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Frida
y, March 15, 2013
IELTS S

peaking Part 3: longer answers Here are 3 techniques to help you give longer, more detailed answers:

1. Keep aski

ng yourself "why?"
2. Explain the alternatives
3. Give an example
Question:
Do you think that school children should be encouraged to have their own ideas, or is it
more important for them to learn what their teachers give them?
Answer:
I think that we should definitely allow children to be creative and have their own
ideas. (why?) Children need to develop the ability to think for themselves and solve
problems (why?) because as adults they will not always have somebody to guide them
or tell them what to do. (alternatives?) If we don't allow children to have their own ideas,
they will be less successful in the adult world; they will be too reliant on
others. (example?) A doctor, for example, might encounter a situation that he or she
hasn't been trained for, but will still be expected to make a decision that could save
someone's life.
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Friday, March 22, 2013
IELTS S
peaking Part 3: more long answers Here are two more answers using the techniques I explained last week
: What do you think are the most important qualities for friends to have?

Maybe the mos
t important things are that friends need to share common interests and
be honest with each other. (why?) Friends are people we spend a lot of time with, so it
definitely helps if they enjoy doing the same activities or talking about the same topics as
we do, and of course we need to be able to trust our friends, so honesty is vital for a
good friendship. (alternatives / example?) I think I would struggle to become friends
with someone who didn’t have anything in common with me, or who wasn’t reliable or
trustworthy.
How important do you think it is for a person to spend some time alone?
I’d say that it’s essential to spend a bit of time alone, even if it’s just a few minutes a
day. (why?) When you have a few minutes to yourself, it’s a chance to take stock and
reflect on things. (why?) Most of us live such busy lives that our brains need time to
catch up every now and then. (example / alternatives?) Personal ly, I try to have a bit of
“me time” every day; I’ll go for a coffee or find a quiet place to sit and read the
newspaper. If I never had any time alone, I think I’d go mad!
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Frida
y, March 29, 2013
IELTS S

peaking Part 1: 'friends' topic In part 1 of the IELTS speaking test, remember to keep your answers short and sim

ple.
Here are some example questions and short answers:
1. Are your friends mostly your age or different ages?
Most of my friends a re about the same age as me because we met at school or
university. I've got one or two friends who are older or younger that I met through work.
2. Do you usually see your friends during the week or at weekends?
I tend to meet up with my friends at weekends because everyone's too busy during the
week. 3. The last time you saw your friends, what did you do together?
It
was one of my friends' birthday last weekend. Six of us went out for
a meal to
celebrate.
4. In what ways are your friends important to you?
I think it's important to have friends that you can talk to and share experiences with. My
friends make me laugh, but I know I can also rely on them whenever I need help or
support.
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Frida
y, April 05, 201
3
IELTS Speaking Part 2: a funny situation Think about this question and prepare some ideas:

Describe a funny situation that ma
de you laugh. You should say
- when this situation took place
- what happened
- how you reacted and why you found the situation funny.
Tip: The best way to answer this question is to tell a story. If you can't think of a real
situation, make one up!
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Friday, April 12, 201

3
IELTS Speaking: correct the mistakes Here are some sentences that students wrote about last week's
describe a f
unny situation
question. Try to find and correct the mistakes in each sentence. 1. Every person make happy at a one point or the other.

2. It was first time to go to the ce
ntre of the town from my village.
3. Nobody who were there stopped laughing include and me.
4. I’m going to talk about a funny but also e mbarrassed thing that I met.
5. As a child I was keen on the plays between the children with similar ages.
6. I could not held back laughter.
Tip:
Often, the best way to deal with grammar problems is by finding a completely different
(and simpler) way to e xpress the same idea.
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Frida
y, April 19, 201

3
IELTS Speaking Part 2: funny situation Describe a funny situation that made you laugh. You should say

- when this situation took place
- what happened
- how y

ou reacted and why you found the situation funny.
Here's my example answer. It's a true story!
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I'm going to talk about a funny thing that happened to me a couple of weeks ago. I
think it was a Saturday morning, a nd I was sitting having a coffee in a café near where I
live.
• I was on my own so I decided to read the newspaper while drinking my coffee. I must
have been quite engrossed in what I was reading because the time passed quickly,
and I suddenly realised that I needed to get going. What I didn't realise was that I had
been sitting with my legs crossed, and one of my legs had completely gone to sleep.
As I stood up to leave the café, I quickly became aware that my left leg was 'dead', but
it was too late; I started to fall. I thought I could catch myself on the table, but the table
tipped over and I fell to the floor in front of everyone in the café!
• I can remember being on my knees in the middle of the café, looking up at the staff
and customers around me. I felt really embarrassed and I expected the other people to
find it funny, but to my surprise nobody was laughing. They were all worried that
something really bad had happened to me! As I got up from the floor, I had to explain to
the whole café that I was fine. I was embarrassed at the time, but I laughed about it
later!
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Sunda
y, April 21, 2013


IELTS Advice: storytelling In Friday's
speaking lesson I described a funny thing that happened to me. I found it really easy to write my description because I told a true story. I wasn't worrying about
grammar or vocabulary

; I just told my story in a natural way.
The key to a high sp eaking score isn't your use of 'complex' grammar structures, big
words or idiomatic phrases. The key is to speak as naturally as possible, and real
examples or stories help you to do this.
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Frida
y, April 26, 201

3
IELTS Speaking Part 2: band 9 answer When I wrote my
funny situation description last week, I wasn't trying to use 'difficult' grammar or vocabulary. Maybe you read it and thought that it was too 'easy' t

o get a
band 9. If you thought that, you would be wrong!
Here's why my description would get a band 9 (according to the IELTS criteria):
1. Fluency and coherence
The fact that I told a story made my answer really coherent (clear and logically
organised). In terms of fluency, my description was written rather than spoken, so of
course there are no pauses or hesitations.
2. Lexical resource (vocabulary)
The description might seem simple, but it isn't. A wide resource of vocabulary is
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used
naturally and accurately . There are definitely some 'less common' and idiomatic phrases (e.g. engrossed, the time passed, I suddenly realised, get going, my l

eg was
dead, tipped over, to my surprise).
3. Grammatical range and accuracy
Unless you can find any mistakes, it would be difficult to give my description anything
less than 9 for accuracy. The range of structures used is also easily good enough to
impress the examiner.
4. Pronunciation
Hopefully this wouldn't be a problem as I'm a native speaker!
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Friday, May 03, 201

3
IELTS Speaking Part 2: describe a library Has anyone had the following question recently?

Describe a library that you visite
d? You should say
- where the library was
- what facilities it had
- why you went there
- and explain whether you found the library useful or not.
This qu estion might surprise you if you're not ready for it. However, I think it's actually
quite an easy topic. The easiest way to answer would be to talk about a school or
university library where you went to study for an assignment or exam.
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Frida
y, May 10, 201

3
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'library' topic Several students shared their descriptions of a library below
this lesson. Here are some sentences that contain mistakes. Can you correct them?
1.
There was

no any room to stay here for reading borrowed books.
2. I am going to talk about a library, where I used to go there every day during my
graduation years.
3. I was accustomed to be there always because I found it very useful.
4. It is one of the biggest library in my country. 5. I used to went there when I was the student as it was at a walking distance from my
campus.
PS. It's worth reading the descriptions by 'Librarian' and Martin below last week's lesson.
Both are really good.
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Frida
y, May 17, 201
3
IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'telephoning' topic Here are some part 1 questions and sample answers from Cambridge IELTS book 9.
Remem

ber to make your part 1 answers short and simple. Just give a direct answer,
followed by a reason or one extra piece of information.
1. How often do you make telephone calls?
I probably make three or four phone calls every day, usually just to make arrangements
with work colleagues or to speak to family and friends.
2. Who do you spend most time talking to on the telephone?
I think it would be one of my closest work colleagues. We often call each other rat her
than meeting face -to-face.
3. When do you think you'll next make a telephone call?
My family are expecting me to phone them as soon as I finish this exam. They'll want to
know how it went.
4. Do you sometimes prefer to send a text message instead of telephoning?
Yes. I prefer to send a text message when I'm arranging something simple, like a time to
meet someone. In those situations, a phone call isn't necessary.
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Frida
y, May 24, 201

3
IELTS Speaking: prepare by writing your answers Although this is a speaking test, a good way to prepare and practise is by writing

your
answers down. Here's a quick example:
Describe a recent journey.
I’m going to talk about a recent journey to London. It was a couple of weekends ago, and
I decided to visit the capital with some friends. I had never been before, so I wanted to go there to
do some sig
htseeing. I don’t have a car, but my friend does, so he
volunteered to drive. He had done the trip a f ew times before, so he knew the
way. Maybe it was a bad idea to travel by car because the traffic between Manchest

er and
London was terrible. We spent a lot of time sitting in traffic jams, which were due to roadworks
and minor accidents, a
nd it took us th e best part of an afternoon to get there...
Note:

The descrip

tion above is easy to understand, but it contains enough 'less common
vocabulary' (underlined) to impress the examiner.
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Friday, May 31, 201
3
IELTS Speaking Part 3: make it personal In part 3 of IELTS speaking, it really helps if you give personal examples:

1. Do you think it's i
mportant for people to have hobbies? Why?
Yes, I think people need to have hobbies because we all need to do things we enjoy in
our spare time. In my case, I find that playing football once a week with some friends helps me to relax, keep fit and forget about work. I think it's the same for everyone.
2. Can hobbies have any ne

gative effects?
Yes, if you spend too much time on your hobby, it can affect other parts of your life. I remember that
one of my friends sp
ent most of his time at university playing computer games instead of studying. In the end, he failed most of his exams.

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Frida
y, June 14, 2013
IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: 'street market' topic The following question comes from Cambridge IELTS book 9.

Describe an
open-air or street market which you enjoyed visiting. You should say:
- where the market is
- what the market sells
- how big the market is
- and explain why you enjoyed visiting it.
Task: Let's imagine that you have visited the Christmas market in Manchester. Write your
answer to the

question above using information fr om the websites linked below. Try to
'steal' some good vocabulary from the sites. I'll share my answer next week.
1. Official visitor w
ebsite for Manchester Christmas mark
et 2. Newspaper article about the market
3. Some reviews on a tourism website
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Frida
y, June 21, 2013
IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: describe a market Describe an open
-air or street market which y
ou enjoyed visiting. You should say:
- where the market is
- what the market sells
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- how big the market is

- and explain why you enjoyed vis iting it.
Here's my description. It includes several examples of 'band 7 -9' vocabulary that I took
from the websites I listed in last week's lesson.
• I’m going to describe a street market that I’ve enjoyed visiting many times in
Manchester. It’s the Manchester Christmas Market, and it comes to the city for about a
month from the end of November every year. The market stalls are spread across
several sites in the city centre, but the centrepiece is the large European market in
Albert Square next to the Town Hall.
• The Christmas Market stalls sell an array of Christmas gifts and mouth- watering food
and drink from all over Europe. It’s a great place to find handmade crafts such as
jewellery, ornaments, wooden toys and other souvenirs, but it’s the food and drink that
seem to be most popular. Probably the biggest seller is the ‘Gluhwein’, a hot, sweet
wine which is sold in a souvenir mug.
• The market was originally quite small, occupying just one of the central squares in
Manchester, but it’s grown quickly in recent years, spilling over into maybe five other
pedestrian streets and a few other squares. Apparently there are over 200 stalls now,
so it’s become a really big event attracting thousands of visitors.
• The main reason I’ve always enjoyed visiting the Christmas Market is the fantastic
atmosphere. When I went there last December, it didn’t matter how cold or wet the
weather was, Manchester seemed to come alive when the market opened; the streets
were bustling with people and there was a real festive feel to the city.
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Frida
y, June 28, 2013
IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: don't focus on linking A student asked me whether it would be a good idea to use the phrases below to
organ

ise last week's description
of a market: 1. I would like to start with the first point which is where the market is.
2.
Going o

n to my next point which is what the market sells, well...
3. With reference to the question of how big the market is, well... 4. As a final point, I would like to explain why I enjoy to visiting it.
Personally I do not recommend using phrases like these. While you won't lose marks for
using them, you won't gain marks either. But here's the problem: the time you spend
saying these linking phrases is time that you should be spending on the real content
of your answer. Focus on answering, not linking!

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Friday, July 05, 2013
IELTS S

peaking Part 1: 'toys' topic
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I've already done lessons about 'toys' for
part 2 and part 3 of the spe aking test, so let's try some part 1 questions about this topic. Notice that my part 1 answers are al

ways
short and direct.
1) Did you play with toys when you were a child?
Yes, of course. I loved playing with toys when I was a child; I think all children do.
2) What kinds of toys did you like?
As far as I remember, I mostly played with toy cars, planes and action figures from films
or cartoons. I also liked building things with Lego.
3) In your country, do boys and girls play with the same types of toys?
Not really. I think boys like the kinds of toys that I mentioned before, whereas girls play
with dolls. My niece, for example, doesn't like toy cars; she prefers dressing dolls in
different outfits.
4) Do you think that toys help children to learn?
Yes, I do. All toys encourage children to use their imagination and creativity. Even with
simple toys, children imagine situations and invent games and rules.
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Frida
y, July 12, 2013
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: describe a plant A student sent me this question from a recent test in Australia:
Describe a plant grown in your country

. You should say
- what the plant is
- where it is grown
- why you like or dislike it
- and explain why it is important to your country.
If you haven't prepared for this question you might find it difficult, so let's prepare in
advance. Do some research about plants in your country; my tip is to choose a plant that
produces some kind of food (a crop
). Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (39)


Frida
y, July 19, 2013
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: correct the mistakes There are some good descriptions of plants in the comments below last week's
less
on. But here are some sentences that need correcting:

1. It is the finest quality co
tton all over the world as a result it is being exported in high
prices.
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2.
As the result of mass planting of rice, it has more affordable price in market which
every resident can e njoy rice foods.
3. I get used to drinking cafe in the early morning.
4. Most charming thing about crop is that it changes its color from green to yellow .
5. India is one of the country which grows wheat on large scale.
6. These plants very small till they year or two.
7. Since I am belong the farming family, I do like the cotton plants very much.
8. It is so favourite to me that I can't start my day without a cup of tea.
9. Interesting enough, nutritionists examine Fat Choy and confirm that it has no
nutrition value at all.
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Frida
y, July 26, 2013
IELTS S

peaking Part 3: verb tenses In part 3 of the speaking test, it's common to get questions about the past and futu

re, as
well as questions about 'now'. The examiner will be listening to your use of verb tenses:
What types of transport are there in your town? In Manchester I think you can find
every for
m of transport apart from an underground system. You can drive a

round the city by car or get on a bus; there are even free buses that take people between the train stations. Manchester also
has a tram sys
tem, and of course there
are taxis too. How has
transport changed since y
our grandparents were young? Well, they had
cars, tr
ains and planes back then, and London already had the underground system, but I suppose the difference is that technology
has moved on. Having said that, the transport system
is not necessarily better no
wadays; people travel
a lot more, an
d I'm sure we spend more time stuck in traffic. What types of transport do you think we will use in the future?
I'm not sure, but hopefully
we'll have cars that dri
ve themselves and never crash. I think
we' ll probably fl
y more, and it might become normal to have your own plane. On the other hand, many cities
are buildin
g more bicycle lanes, so maybe we will use cars less for getting around towns and cities.
Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (16)


Friday, August 09,

2013
IELTS Speaking Part 2: recent topics New question topics are added every now and then. Here are two recent examples t
ha
t
students have asked me about:
• Describe a picnic or a meal that you ate outdoors.
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Describe a situation when yo u were la te.
Here are 2 tips to deal with new questions:
1. Try to adapt a topic that you have already prepared. For the 'picnic' topic, we could
use ideas from the birthday topic or the meal
topic. 2.
Choose something that you know a lot about (e.g. your job, your studies). For the
'late' topic, you could
describe arriving late for work or for a lesson.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (44)



Frida
y, August 23,

2013
IELTS Speaking: avoid these phrases In the speaking test, examiners
don't like it whe
n students use phrases like: - That's a very interesting question...
- It is my personal opinion th

at...
- Personally, I would have to say that...
- I am of the opinion that it depends on...
- To be honest, I personally believe that...
These phrases sound unnatural, and it is obvious to the examiner that the student has
memorised them.
So what should you do instead? My advice: just answer the question directly. Stop using
memorised phrases, and just get straight to the point.
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Sa
turday, August 24

, 2013
IELTS Speaking Advice: get to the point Yesterday I wrote that you should avoid using long phrases to begin your answ

ers. So
what should you use instead? Native speakers say things like:
- I think...
- I guess...
- Well,...
These words/phrases might seem less impressive, but you have to remember that
examiners are not impressed by the long phrases either! The important thing is to get to
the point of your answer.
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Comments (9)



Frida
y, August 30

, 2013
Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

IELTS Speaking Part 1: strange questions
In part 1 of the speaking test, the examiner will ask around 10 easy questions.
However,
students have reported some strange questions, such as:
1. Do you like parks?
2. Do you think different colours can change our moods?
3. When do people give flowers in your country?
Don't be shocked by these questions. Just give a simple answer with a reas on. Don't
worry about using fantastic grammar or vocabulary; just try to answer without hesitating.
For example:
1. Yes, I like parks because they are great places to relax. I think all cities need green
areas.
2. Yes, I think bright colours, like red, can make you feel energetic. Some greens and
blues can be more relaxing.
3. People give flowers on special occasions like birthdays or on Valentine's Day. In my
country, giving flowers is seen as romantic.
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Friday, September 06, 2013

IELTS Speak

ing Part 1: 'shopping' topic Here are some questions and sample answers for the 'shopping' topic. Remember that


part 1 answers need to be short, direct and simple.
1) Who does most of the shopping in your household?
There isn't one person who does most of the shopping. I'd say it's a shared responsibility
because we tend to go shopping together as a family.
2) What kind of shopping do you like doing?
I quite like shopping for presents for people's birthdays or for Christmas. My favourite
type of shop would have to be a bookshop.
3) Is shopping a popular activity in your country?
Yes, it's very popular. Saturday is the busiest shopping day, and lots of people treat
shopping as a kind of leisure activity, rather than s omething practical.
4) What types of shops do teenagers like best in your country?
I'm not an expert on teenage behaviour, but I guess they like buying clothes, music,
gadgets... that kind of thing.
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Frida
y, September 13, 2013
IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: describe a season
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Think about how you would answer this question:

Describe your favourite season in you r country. You should say
- when that season is
- what the weather is like at that time of year
- how that season is different from other seasons
- and why it is your favourite season.
Tip: try to adapt ideas from other topics that you have already prepared e.g. holidays,
hobbies, festivals etc.
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Friday, September 20, 2013

IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: favourite season Describe your favourite season in your country. You should say

- when that season is
- what the wea

ther is like at that time of year
- how that season is different from other seasons
- and why it is your favourite season.
Here's my sample answer:
• My favourite season in England is winter. A typical English winter would last around 4
or 5 months between November and March, but when I say that I like the winter, I’m
really thinking about the coldest month or two each year.
• During those really wintry months, the temperature drops below zero and it often
snows. Over the last few years we’ve had periods of quite heavy snowfall, to the extent
that roads have been blocked and schools have had to close. Last winter I remember
looking out of the window one morning and seeing everything covered in a layer of
white.
• Obviously the snow is what differentiates winter from the other seasons, but when it
doesn’t snow there isn’t much difference between winter, autumn and spring; winter is
just a bit colder.
• The reason I’ve chosen winter as my favourite season is because I like the snow. I
live near the countryside, and the landscape looks beautiful when everything is covered
in white. We also celebr ate Christmas and New Year in the winter, and these are my
favourite festivals.
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Sa
turday, September 21, 2013


IELTS Advice: good writing looks easy Yesterday's description of a season
might seem easy when you first read it. But don't be fooled -
it's full of great 'native speaker' phrases that mean it's easily at band 9 level. Can
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you spot the phrases that would surprise and impress the examiner? I'll answer
this
question myself tomorrow.
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Sunday, September 22, 2013
IELTS Vocabul

ary Here are some band 7
-9 phrases fro
m Friday's lesson: - a typical winter would last...
- when I say..., I'm reall

y thinking about...
- wintry months
- the temperature drops below zero
- we’ve had periods of quite heavy snowfall
- to the extent that...
- roads have been blocked and schools have had to close
- everything covered in a layer of white
- the snow is what differentiates winter from the other seasons
- the landscape looks beautiful
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Frida
y, October 04, 201

3
IELTS Speaking Part 2: future plans Describe a future plan which is not related to work or study. You should say

- what the plan is
- when you thought of the plan
- who is involv

ed in the plan
- and say h ow you think you will achieve the plan.
It's interesting that the question tells you not to talk about work or study. However, we
can use other easy topics that we have already prepared. For example:
• A plan to go on holiday or visit another city / country
• A plan to buy a present for someone
• A plan to start a new hobby
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Frida
y, October 04, 201

3
IELTS Speaking Part 2: future plans Describe a future plan which is not related to work or study. You should say

- what the plan is
- when you thought of the plan
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- who is involved in the plan
- and say how you think you will achiev
e the plan.
It's interesting that the question tells you not to talk about work or study. However, we
can use other easy topics that we have already prepared. For example:
• A plan to go on holiday or visit another city / country
• A plan to buy a present for someone
• A plan to start a new hobby
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (21)



Frida
y, October 11, 201

3
IELTS Speaking Part 2: adapt what you prepared In last week's lesson
I suggested using an easy topic that you have already prepared to answer a question about future plans.

Try the following task:
1. Read m

y description of a hobby by clicking here . 2. Write your answer to the 'future plans' question below by adapting (changing) my
hobby desc

ription. Use as much of the good vocabulary in my description as you can.
Describe a future plan. You should say
- what the plan is
- when you thought of the plan
- who is involved in the plan
- and say how you think you will achieve the plan.
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Frida
y, October 18, 201

3
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'future plans' answer Here's my answer to the future plans
question: •
I’m going to talk about a future plan that I have, which is to buy a good camera and to
become a bet
ter photographer. At the moment I’m just using the camera on my mobile
phone, but I’ve realised that it has its limitations.
• I thought of this plan when I was at a friend’s wedding a few weeks ago. I got some
great pictures of the bride and groom and their guests celebrating, but I did notice that
with my phone camera I wasn’t able to capture longer range photos, or photos in
darker conditions; the phone’s zoom and flash aren’t very good. Next time I’d like to be
able to capture a special occasion in higher quality images.
• Obviously this plan depends on whether I can save enough money to buy the camera
I’d like. Also, before making a decision about which camera to get, I’ll probably talk to a
friend who knows more about photography than I do.
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In terms of buying a camera, I’ll achieve this plan if I c an save some money! In terms
of becoming a better photographer, I think I’ll achieve that goal by experimenting with
my new camera and by learning as I go along.
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Friday, October 25, 201

3
IELTS Speaking Part 1: giving negative answers It's fine to give negative answers in part 1 of the speaking test. Here are s

ome example
negative answers for people who don't like sport:
1. What sports or physical activities do you regularly do?
Unfortunately I don't have time to do any sports or physical activities because of my
work commitments. I'd like to find more time for regular exercise.
2. Which sport or game would you like to be good at?
I'd like to be good at tennis. It must be great to be able to hit the ball as hard as you can
and watch it land exactly where you wanted it to.
3. Do you prefer watching or playing sports?
I don't watch much sport on TV and I'm not a big sports fan, so I think I would probably
enjoy doing sports more than watching them.
4. Do you think children should be encouraged to do more sport?
Yes, I think that sport is really important for children. Sports and games teach children to
play together and try their best.
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Frida
y, November 01, 2013
IELTS S

peaking Part 3: verb tenses In part 3, the examiner often asks a question about the past and a question a

bout the
future. For example:
1. Did people have more free time when your grandparent s were young?
2. Do you think the hobbies people have will be different in the future?
In the first answer, the examiner wants to hear some past tense verbs. In the second
answer, you will need to use a future tense:
1. When my grandparents were young, I think they had less leisure time. They
didn't have the gadg
ets we use nowadays, so they probably spent more time doing simple things. For example, nowadays we can cook meals in a microwave in less
than 5 minutes

, whereas in the past people had to cook everything themselves. 2.
No, I don't think hobbies will chan g
e much in the future. I'm sure people will still play
games and sports. On the other hand, maybe the Internet is changing the way we spend our free time. In the future, more and more people might have
onl
ine hobbies.
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Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (8)

Friday, November 08, 2013

IELTS S
peaking Part 2: noticing good language A few weeks ago I wrote an example answer about a
future plan. Maybe you read it and understood it, but did you really notice the good language that I used? Did you note
d

own the good vocabulary and try to use it yourself?
Good vocabulary:
• it has its limitations
• the bride and groom and their guests celebrating
• capture longer range photos
• photos in darker conditions
• capture a special occasion
• higher quality images
• depends on whether
• I’ll achieve that goal by experimenting
• learning as I go along
Grammar and coherence:
• Variety of tenses and verb forms: I'm going to talk about, I'm using, I've realised, I
thought, I'll talk, I did notice, I'd like to, before making, I'll achieve... if I can...
(conditional)
• Linking and organising: which, at the moment, but, a few weeks ago, next time,
obviously, this plan (referring back to a previous idea), also, in terms of
• No mistakes!
Read my description
again and highlight the words and phrases above. Hopefully you'll see why an examiner would give it a band 9.

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Frida
y, November 08, 2013
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: noticing good language A few weeks ago I wrote an example answer about a
future plan. Maybe you read it and understood it, but did you really notice the good language that I used? Did you note
d

own the good vocabulary and try to use it yourself?
Good vocabulary:
• it has its limitations
• the bride and groom and their guests celebrating
• capture longer range photos
• photos in darker conditions
Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests


capture a special occasion
• higher qual
ity images
• depends on whether
• I’ll achieve that goal by experimenting
• learning as I go along
Grammar and coherence:
• Variety of tenses and verb forms: I'm going to talk about, I'm using, I've realised, I
thought, I'll talk, I did notice, I'd like to, before making, I'll achieve... if I can...
(conditional)
• Linking and organising: which, at the moment, but, a few weeks ago, next time,
obviously, this plan (referring back to a previous idea), also, in terms of
• No mistakes!
Read my description
again and highlight the words and phrases above. Hopefully you'll see why an examiner would give it a band 9.

Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (10)


Frida
y, Novembe

r 22, 2013
IELTS Speaking Part 2: describe a conversation Here's a recent question that a few people told me about:

Describe an intere
sting conversation you had with someone you didn't know. You
should say
- who the person was
- where the conversation took place
- what you talked about
- and explain why you found the conversation interesting.
Remember that you don't have to tell the truth. If you have a true story, that's great. If
you don't, think about a conversation that you would like to have, or try to adapt a topic
that you have already prepared.
Feel free to share your ideas in the comments area.
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Frida
y, November 29, 2013
IELTS S

peaking: correct the mistakes Here are some sentences that students wrote about last week's
describe a conversation
q
uestion. Try to correct and improve them. 1. It was very interesting for me to have a conversation foreigner first time.
2. Few y
e

ars ago, when I was still a student, I and my friend meet a foreigner.
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3.
They asked me to have an interview that will broadcasted on TV, I felt so shy since I
never had a one like before.
4. I am going to talk about my conversation with unknown people which I found it very
interesting.
5. I was one of few passengers get on the bus.
6. Through our conversation, I knew that he is from the USA.
Click here to see my corrections. Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (30)


Frida
y, December 06, 2013
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: describe a conversation Describe an interesting conversation you had with someone you didn't know. You
should say

- who the person was
- where the conver

sation took place
- what you talked about
- and explain why you found the conversation interesting.
Here's my sample (band 9) answer:
• I’m going to talk about an interesting conversation that I had a couple of weeks ago in
a music shop. I was walking along one of the main shopping streets in the city centre,
when a large window displaying all sorts of musical instruments caught my eye. Out of
curiosity, I decided to go in and have a look around.
• The person I ended up speaking to was a shop assistant on the second floor, in the
area of the shop dedicated to aco ustic guitars. I hadn’t intended to speak to anyone,
but the assistant approached me in a friendly way and asked whether I had any
questions.
• I explained to the assistant that I hadn’t played the guitar for years, but that I
wondered what the differences were between the various acoustic guitars on show. He
talked to me about the different makes and models, whether they were factory or hand
made, the woods and varnishes used, the variation in sound quality, and of course the
price range.
• I found the conversation fascinating because the shop assistant was so
knowledgeable. It was obvious that he had a passion for the guitar, and he didn’t mind
talking to me even though I had made it clear that I didn’t intend to buy anything. He
even picked up and played three or four of the instruments to demonstrate the
differences in their sound.
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Sa
turday, December 07, 20

13
IELTS Vocabulary: good phrases
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Looking back at
yesterday's lesson , I'm surprised to see how many good phrases I used. Try making your own sentences with the phrases below. Check to see how
I
used them before you write anything.
- caught my eye
- out of curiosity
- I ended up (+ing)
- dedicated to
- I hadn't intended to.....
- approached me
- I wondered what..... were
- the various..... on show
- I found..... fascinating
- he had a passion for.....
- he didn't mind (+ing)
- I had made it clear that.....
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Friday, December 13, 2

013
IELTS Speaking: full test Here's what a full test looks like. All of the questions below come from recent tests and
have been sh

ared by students here or on my Facebook page.
PART 1 What is your full name? Can I see your ID? (this is
not part of the test)
1. Wher
e are you from?
2. Do you like the place where you live?
3. Do you work or are you a student?
4. What job do you do?
5. Do you like walking?
6. Do you think walking is important?
7. Do you think walking in the countryside is better than walking in the city?
8. What could be done to improve the experience of walking in cities?
PART 2
PART 3 1. In your country, how do people treat visitors?

2. Do you think hospi talit

y is less important than it was in the past?
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3. What are the benefits of staying with a friend when visiting a new place?

4. What are the advantages of staying in a hotel instead?
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Frida
y, January 03

, 2014
IELTS Speaking Part 2: using 'old' ideas You can often use 'old' ideas from a topic that you have already prepared to ans

wer a
new question. Take this question for example:
We haven't pre

pared for this question before, but I can think of a few previous topics that
might help us. Maybe you could describe a visit from a family member during a festival, or you could talk about a visit from a friend who is interested in the same
hobby
as you. Can you think of any other previous topics that we could use for ideas?

Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (44)


Frida
y, January 10

, 2014
IELTS Speaking Part 2: describe an old object We've prepared for the
describe an object question already, but it se
ems that the IELTS people have introduced a variation on this question:

Describe an old obj

ect which your family has kept for a long time. You should say
- what the object is

- where it came from


- how long it has been in your family
- and why your family has kept it.
Unfortunately we can't use our 'mobile phone' description! I'll share my answer next
week, but feel free to share your own ideas in the comments below.
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Frida
y, January 17

, 2014
IELTS Speaking: correct the mistakes
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The following sentences were written by students about the
describe an old object
question from last week's lesson. Try to correct and improve them. 1.
It has been kept since since the day of my parents got married.
2. Whenever m y friend came to visit me I feel proud to explain the history of this sword.
3. In that time did not available any colour television.
4. About the how long time it was held in my family I have to say, it was almost
forgotten for a while.
5. This old piece of item has been kept in my home for a long time.
PS. There are some really interesting descriptions in the comments below last week's
lesson. Thanks to those of you who shared them!
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | C
omments (36)



Frida
y, January 24

, 2014
IELTS Speaking Part 2: band 7-9 des criptions Today I'm going to reuse a video lesson that I made 3 years ago. Watch the vid

eo, then
try the exercise below it.
If you can't see the video, listen to the recording below. Click here to listen
The following sentenc
es describing an 'old object' (l
ast week's topic) are too simple. Use
the technique described in the video to improve them.
1. The clock is very old.
2. It is big and made of wood.
3. It has been in my family for a long time.
4. Everyone in my family likes the clock.
5. I hope my parents will give it to me one day.
I'll share my examples of improved sentences in tomorrow's lesson.
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Saturday, January

25, 2014
IELTS Vocabulary: band 7-9 descriptions Here are some suggestions for ways to improve the sentences in
yesterday's
exercise: 1. The clock is very old.
= The clock is

an antique; it's probably a collector's item.
2. It is big and made of wood.
= It is housed in a large wooden cabinet that stands nearly two metres tall.
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(The kind of clock I'm describing)
3. It has be
en in my family for a long time.
= It has been in my family for several generations.
4. Everyone in my family likes the clock.
= We've all become quite attached to the clock; it's like part of the family.
5. I hope my parents will give it to me one day.
= The clock is a real family heirloom, so hopefully I'll inherit it one day.
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Friday, January 31

, 2014
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'old object' example Here's my example description for the old object question. You'll hear me speak for
exactly 2 minutes until my alarm stops me.
Click here to listen
Notice that it doesn't sound like a perfect scripted presentation: you'll hear hesitations
and moments where I seem un

sure of what to say. This is normal for an unprepared
speech; the examiner is not expecting perfection.
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Frida
y, Februa

ry 14, 2014
IELTS Speaking Part 3: long answers Try using the advice in
this lesson to give long answers (3 to 5 sentences) to the following questions.
1) In your o

pinion, are newspapers important?
2) Do you think that newspapers will disappear as a result of the Internet?
3) What negative consequences might there be if newspapers did disappear?
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Friday, February 21, 2014

IELTS Speaking Part 3: add more detail In this lesson
I mentioned 3 techniques to help you give longer answers: ask yourself why, explain the alternatives, give an example.

Most studen
ts have no problem wi th the first step (explaining why), but they aren't so
good at giving alternatives or examples. Take the following question from last week's
lesson for example.
Question:
In your opinion, are newspapers important?
Example student answer:
Yes, in my opinion newspapers are very important (why?) because they give us
information about what is happening around the world. (why?) They are a vital source of
knowledge about education, technology, medicine and many other fields.
This is a good start, but let's try to raise the answer to band 9 level.
Example answer with 'alternative' and 'example':
Yes, in my opinion newspapers are very important (why?) because they give us
information about what is happening around the world. (why?) They are a vital source of
knowledge about education, technology, medicine and many other
fields. (alternative?) If newspapers didn’t exist, I think the quality of news coverage
would suffer because there would be fewer professional journalists. (example?) We
would have to rely, for example, on unpaid bloggers who do not have the budgets to
carry out detailed research before they write an article.
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Friday, February 28, 2014


IELTS Speaking Part 2: at home and in the test Is there a difference between the way you practise at home and what you do in the test?
Take this que

stion for example:
Describe a subject that you think should be removed from school education
programmes. You should say
- what the subject is
- why you think it is unnecessary for children to study it
- and explain what you would replace it with.
How would you plan and answer this question in the exam? What would you do to
prepare and practise your answer at home?
I'll give you my suggestions in tomorrow's lesson.
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Saturday, March 01, 2
014
IELTS Speaking Advice: how to practise part 2 Here's this week's video lesson:
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Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (17)

Friday, March 07, 2014
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: sample answer Here's the question we've been looking at in recent weeks:

Describe a subject that you think
should be removed from school education
programmes. You should say
- what the subject is
- why you think it is unnecessary for children to study it
- and explain what you would replace it with.
Here's my sample answer with band 7-9 vocabulary underlined:
• I’m going to suggest that art could be taken out of the school curriculum. In my experience, art lessons at school tend to include drawing, painting, and
the mak
ing of collages
using paper,
fabric and other household materials . •
There are a few reasons why I think that school art lessons are unnecessary. Firstly, I
don’t beli
eve that drawing and painting are essential skills that children will need when they leave school. Children might find these activities enjoyable, but
it’s unlikely that
they will need them in the working world .
Secondly, children can draw, paint and make collages in their own time at home; pare

nts can encourage this, and they can even join in. Finally,
remembering
my own art lessons at school, I don’t think we learnt any real art skills; the teachers left us to draw or create things, but they didn’t prov

ide much technical instruction.

Instead of art lessons, children could do more work on core subj
ects like maths, science or language. These subjects are more likely to
help children in later life
when they
enter the job market, and I think both children and their teachers would benefit if more time were devoted to them
. Posted by
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Frida
y, March 21, 2014
IELTS S

peaking Part 3: 'hospitality' topic As I'm currently on a work trip in another country (China), I thought it would be
appropriate t

o look at the following 'part 3' questions:
1. In your country, how do people treat visitors from abroad?
2. Do you think hospitality towards visitors is less important than it was in the past?
3. What are the advantages of staying with a friend compared to staying in a hotel
when visiting a foreign country?
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The advice in this lesson
will help to make longer, better answers. I'll show you my example answers next week.

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Frida
y, March 28
, 2014
IELTS Speaking: 'hospitality' topic 1. In your country, how do people treat visitors from abroad?
I think we treat visitors well.

People in the UK are very open-minded and welcoming, and
we enjoy the mix of cultures that immigration and tourism bring. Most UK cities, for
example, are really cosmopolitan, and you can meet visitors from every part of the world.
2. Do you think hospitality towards visitors is less important than it was in the
past?
In my city, maybe it’s true that hospitality is less important nowadays, but that’s only
because we are so used to seeing visitors from different countries, so we treat it as a
normal part of life and nothing too special.
3. What are the advantages of staying with a friend compared to staying in a hotel
when visiting a foreign country?
If you stay with a friend, you benefit from someone with local knowledge of the best
places to visit. You can also get to know the character and customs of the local people,
and for me, this is one of the most interesting aspects of a visit to another country. On
the other hand, if you stay in a hotel, you are forced to discover the new place on your
own, so it’s more of an adventure.
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Frida
y, April 18, 201

4
IELTS Speaking: if you don't know what to say In Sunday's
lesson I suggested answering in the following way if you don't know what to say:

"Well, I don't really know m
uch about... because..., but I suppose..."
In other words, you admit that you don't really know what to say, you explain why, then
you invent an answer anyway. Let's try using the formula above with an example.
Question:
What kinds of jobs might stop when the season changes?
Answer:
Well, I don't really know much about seasonal jobs because everyone works a ll year
round where I live, but I suppose that some jobs related to tourism must stop at the end
of the summer holiday period.
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Frida
y, April 25, 201
4
IELTS Speaking Part 1: home town Here are some part 1 questions and answers on the topic of 'home town'. Try changing
the answers to similar ones a

bout your own town or city. Keep your answers short,
simple and direct.
1. Where are you from?
I'm from Manchester, which is a city in the north west of England.
2. Do you like your home town? (Why?)
Yes, I like living in Manchester because it's where most of my friends live, and because
there are plenty of things to do there. The only thing I don't like is the weather.
3. Would you prefer to live somewhere else? (Why?)
For the moment I'm happy living here, but at some point I'd like to live in a country with a
warmer climate, and I'd like to live near a beach!
4. Do you think your home town is a good place for young people? (Why?)
Yes, Manchester has lots of things for young people, such as sports facilities, music and
cinemas.
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ents (33)



Frida
y, May 02, 201

4
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'teenager' topic Describe a positive experience that you had as a teenager. You should say
- what the positive experience was

- where

you were
- who you were with
- and explain why you found the experience positive
Try practising in the following way: First, note some ideas. Then record yourself
speaking for two minutes. Next, listen to the recording and write down what you said.
Finally, try to improve the written description.
Tip: choose an easy topic, like a new hobby or a holiday.
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Frida
y, May 09, 201

4
IELTS Speaking Part 2: memorise and adapt
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Memorising can be a good strategy for speaking part 2 because the same topics are

often repeated. Click here
to see the six main topic area
s that I tell my students to prepare first.
But memorising can be a risky stra

tegy unless you are able to adapt your answers to the
specific question. For example, if you prepared a description of a holiday, would you be
able to adapt it for this question
about a positive experience you had as a teenager? The smart way to study for part 2 is to prepare a f

ew key topics, then spend lots of time
practising ways to adapt what you prepared to other questions.
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Frida
y, May 16, 201

4
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'positive experi ence' answe

r Describe a positive experience that you had as a teenager. You should say
- what the positive experience was

- where

you were
- who you were with
- and explain why you found the experience positive.
Here's my sample answer, taking some of the ideas from this lesson . •
I’m going to describe the first time I visited England’s capital city, London, on a school
trip when I was

a teenager. I had never been to London before, and it was great to
share that experience with my school friends.
• The positive experience wasn’t confined to one particular place in London. As far as I
remember, I enjoyed the whole trip, from the coach journey to the visits to various
tourist attractions. We got off the coach near the Houses of Parliament, and so one of
my first memories was seeing the famous ‘Big Ben’ clock tower. We also visited the
Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square.
• As I said earlier, it was a school trip, and I think there were around thirty of us,
including two teachers. I was with a group of close friends, which made the experience
more enjoyable.
• What really struck me about London was that it was historic but modern and thriving
at the same time. It seemed to me to be a lively, fashionable and cosmopolitan place.
Coming from a relatively small town, the experience made me keen to visit more capital
cities in the future.
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Sa
turday, May 17, 2

014
IELTS Vocabulary: band 7-9 phrases There was some good vocabulary in yesterday's
speaking lesson. Here's a list of the phrases that I think would impress an examiner:

• it was gre a

t to share that experience
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The positive experience wasn’t confined to one particular place
• As far as I remember
• visits to
various tourist attractions
• one of my first memories was
• a group of close friends
• which made the experience more enjoyable
• What really struck me about London was
• historic but modern and thriving at the same time
• a lively, fashionable and cosmopolitan place
• Coming from a relatively small town
• the experience made me keen to visit more capital cities
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Frida
y, May 30, 201

4
IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'language learning' topic Try answering the followi
ng 'part 1' questions. Re
member to follow the rules in last
week's lesson
. 1.
Do you like learning languages?
2. How did

you learn the languages that you know?
3. Why do people learn more than one language?
4. Do you think that all children should learn foreign languages at school?
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Friday, June 06, 2014

IELTS Speak

ing Part 1: keep it simple Instead of correcting the grammar mistakes in the sentences below, try rewriting the
sentences in

an easier way.
1. I admire learning languages as communication bridges.
2. I also do general readings in my spare time.
3. Moreover, learning foreign languages helps us ta lk friendly.
4. It open more avenues for getting a better job.
5. Young age is the right time to learn multiple languages.
6. You can break many hurdles and expand your horizons.
7. As our knowledge in language expands, the better we can communicate.
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Sunday, June 08, 2014
IELTS G
rammar: easy sentences Here are my suggestions for the sentences in Friday's lesson
. Remember, the aim was to make the sentences as easy as possible.

1. I like le

arning languages because they help me to communicate with people from
other countries.
2. I do lots of reading in my spare time.
3. If you can speak the local language, it's easier to make friends.
4. Knowing a foreign language can help you to get a better job.
5. The best time to learn another language is when you are young.
6. Learning a foreign language opens your mind and expands your horizons.
7. The more you practise, the easier it becomes to communicate in a new language.
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Friday, June 20, 2014

IELTS Speak

ing Part 3: 'paragraph ' answers Here are my answers to the questions in last week's lesson.

1) Do you think that it's
important for people to go on holiday?
Answer using 'idea, explain, example' Yes, I think we all need to go on holiday at least once or twice a year. It isn’t
healthy to
wo
rk all year round without some time off to relax; we all need to take a break and
recharge our batteries from time to time. Last summer, for example, I went on holiday to
France for a couple of weeks, and it was great to leave all of my usual responsibilities
behind me. I came home feeling really refreshed and reinvigorated.
2) Why do you think some people prefer not to go abroad on holiday?
Answer using 'firstly, secondly, finally' I suppose there are different reasons why some people choose not to go abroad on
ho

lidays. Firstly, it’s usually more expensive to travel abroad than it is to stay at home. A
second reason could be that some people find it stressful to spend time in a foreign
country where they don’t speak the language, or where the y feel that they can’t easily
integrate with the locals. Finally, many people just love where they live, and don’t feel
the need to travel abroad.
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Frida
y, June 27, 2014
IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: family celebration Try preparing some ideas for this recent exam question:

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Describe a family celebration that you remember. You should say
- what you were celebrating

- who was pre
sent
- what you and your family did to make the celebration special
- and why you enjoyed the occasion.
I'll share my ideas next week.
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Frida
y, July 04, 2014
IELTS S

peaking: correct the mistakes Before I write my own sample answer to last week's question
, let's look at some sentences written by students.
Can you su
ggest corrections or improvements?
1. Each of us helped organised this event.
2. I promised myself to try and spend more time with them henceforth.
3. We were all happy that we had a chance to be next to each other.
4. Hundred of people came to her party to gave her special gift.
5. As for me, a celebration that I never forget is...
6. We arranged many things for enjoying.
7. Last month, my family hold a birthday party for my daddy.
8. We conduct party on our own house.
9. For celebrating this especial event all the family gathering together.
10. Going on my next point which is who was present and w hat I need to
emphasize here is that there were quite a lot of people.
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ts (29)



Friday, July 11, 2014
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: family celebration Describe a family celebration that you remember. You should say

- what you were celebrating
- who was pre

sent
- what you and your family did to make the celebration special
- and why you enjoyed the occasion.
Here's my sample answer:
• I’m going to describe my sister’s wedding day, which took place a few years ago i n the
town where I grew up. For my sister it was the biggest and most important day of her
life.
• I think there were around 100 people at the marriage ceremony, which was held in a
church. Even more people came to the party, or the wedding reception as we c all it,
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after the ceremony. Of course, most members of my family were there, as well as the
groom’s fa
mily and a collection of the bride and groom's friends and colleagues.
• To make the celebration special, we did what families normally do. My mother made
sure that the church and the reception venue were nicely decorated - there were
flowers everywhere! Obviously we all dressed for the occasion, and there were
bridesmaids, gifts, a huge wedding cake, and so on.
• I enjoyed the occasion because it was great to see my sister so happy on her big day.
The ceremony was perfect, and we all had a fantastic time at the reception. It’s rare for
me to see all of my family and friends together in one place, so that’s probably what
made the day so memorable for me.
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Saturday, July 12, 2

014
IELTS Vocabulary: for your notebook Did you write the good vocabulary from yesterday's lesson in your notebook? He

re are
the words and phrases that I think you should have noted down:
• took place a few years ago
• where I grew up
• the marriage ceremony was held in a church
• the wedding reception
• members of my family
• the bride and groom
• my mother made sure that...
• we all dressed for the occasion
• and so on (instead of "etc.")
• her bi g day
• we had a fantastic time
• it's rare for me to see
• what made the day so memorable
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omments (11)



Friday, July 18, 2014
IELTS S

peaking Part 1: 'reading' topic Here are some part 1 questions with example answers. Re
member to k
eep your part 1
answers short and simple.
1. Do you like reading?
Yes, I like reading a lot. I read all sorts of things, including novels, newspapers,
magazines, and online articles.
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2. Do you usually read for leisure or for work purposes?
Well, I have to do
a certain amount of reading as part of my job, but I probably read
more for enjoyment. I pick up a newspaper most days, and I usually have a book on the
go.
3. What was your favourite book or story when you were a child?
The first book that I remember really enjoying was '..........'. It only took me a few days to
read because I liked it so much that I couldn't put it down.
4. Do you think it's important that children read regularly?
Definitely. I think reading is possibly the most important skill that children learn. The
ability to read opens the door to all aspects of education.
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Saturday, July 19, 2

014
IELTS Vocabulary: nice bits of language! There were a few nice bits of language th
at you mig
ht have noticed in yesterday's
speaking lesson:
• all sorts of things
• a certain amount of
• I pick up a newspaper most days
• I usually have a book on the go
• I couldn't put it down
• opens the door to all aspects of education
These phrases made my answers sound very natural and "native -speaker-like". Try
using them in your own sentences.
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,
Vocabulary / Grammar |
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Friday, July 25, 2014
IELTS S

peaking Part 3: 'advice' topic Here are some recent questions from part 3 of the speaking test:

1. Is it better to get advi
ce from a friend or from a family member?
2. What would you say are the characteristics of a good adviser?
3. Should people make their own work and career decisions, or is it a good idea to ask
for advice about this?
Try answering these questions using the 'paragraph' method in this
lesson. Posted by
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Sa
turda y, July 26,
2014
IELTS Advice: topic research If you're preparing for a writing or speaking topic, I recommend doing an Interne

t search
for ideas first.
To find ideas for yesterday's speaking questions, I typed the phrase "what makes a good
adviser" into Google, and found this webpage . Look at some of the great language that we can steal from it:

turning to an

adviser
• a wise choice
• make decisions with more confidence
• the decision requires expertise
• use knowledge and experience
• make an informed decision
• some qualities are characteristic of good advisers
• trustworthy, someone you can trust
• possesses a strong base of knowledge
Remember: the key to high speaking and writing scores is good vocabulary, so topic
research is a vital part of your IELTS preparation.
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Comments (5)



Frida
y, August 08,

2014
IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'games' topic I was asked recently about the questions below. Can you suggest any answers

? Do you
think it's acceptable to talk about sports, or should we only talk about games like chess?
1. What games are popular in your country?
2. Do you play any games?
3. How do people learn to play games in your country?
4. Do you think it's important for people to play games?
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Friday, August 15,

2014
IELTS Speaking Part 1: games Here are my sample answers to last week's questions:

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1. What games are popular in your country?
Well, if we c
an consider sports as games, then football is definitely the most popular
game in my country, but we also love board games like chess.
2. Do you play any games?
Not regularly these days. I play the occasional game of tennis with my brother -in-law,
and I recently played a bowling game on the Nintendo Wii with my nephew. I was n't very
good at it.
3. How do people learn to play games in your country?
I think children teach each other to play games. I remember a friend at primary school
teaching me to play chess, for example.
4. Do you think it's important for people to play game s?
Yes, it's really important, especially for children. I think research has shown that play can
improve brain development, intelligence, creativity, and the ability to cooperate with
others.
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Frida
y, August 22,

2014
IELTS Speaking Part 2: describe a school Here's a recent question that a few students told me about:

Describe a school that you went to when y
ou were a child. You should say
- where the school was
- when you went there
- what the school and the teachers were like
- and explain whether you enjoyed your time there.
Tip: try telling a story for the last point e.g. talk about a particularly enjoyable event that
you remember.
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Friday, August 29,

2014
IELTS Speaking: correct the mistakes Here are some sentences that students wrote about
last week's topic. Can you improve them?

1. I am going t

o discuss about my primary school namely...
2. The atmosphere at school was very reliable.
3. One of important things I love my childhood at that school because...
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4.
Some times I was played cricket with my friends.
5. Teachers
and other staff were so much polite and generous to us.
6. The teachers were also very intelligent as well as they thought me how to learn.
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Frida
y, September 05, 2014
IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: 'school' topic Describe a school that you went to when you

were a child. You should say
- where the school was
- when you went there
- what the school and the teachers were like
- and explain whether you enjoyed your time there.
Here's my sample (band 9) answer:
• I’m going to talk about my primary school. The school was called ..... and it was in the
town of ..... . The location of the school was great because it was within walking
distance of our family home at the time. The route to school was all downhill, which
made it an easy walk in the morning, but a tiring journey on the way home in the
afternoon!
• I was a pupil at ..... school between the ages of 5 and 11 - the full 6 years of primary
education. From age 11 onwards, I went to a nearby secondary school.
• My primary school seemed like a big place at the time, but it was actually quite a
small school, with only six classes. I remember there being a large room called the
assembly hall, where the whole school gathered every morning to hear messages from
the headmaster. I also remember spending a lot of time on the playground and on the
sports field. I liked all of my teachers; they were caring but strict at the same time, and I
think they fostered a positive and fun atmosphere in the school.
• I have really fond memories of my primary school years, mainly because of the friends
I made and the fun I had. One of my most vivid memories is of performing in the school
play in my final year. I had to learn lines and play the part of a character in a traditional
children’s story. It was a nerve-racking experience, but it felt like my first real
achievement.
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Frida
y, September 12, 2014
IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: 'school' phrases In last week's description of a school, can you find the words or phrases that

have the
same meaning as those below?
1. not far from
2. came together
3. they created / promoted
4. happy memories
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5. clear / lasting memories
6. stressful
Can you ma
ke your own sentences to practise using the vocabulary from my
description?
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Frida
y, September 19, 2014
IELTS Speak

ing Part 3: 'advice' answers Here are my sample answers for the 'advice' questions from
this lesson: 1. Is it better to get advice from a friend or from a family member?

I think it
depends on the kind of advice that you need. Parents and grandparents
probably have more life experience than a friend, and so you might get a wiser or more
sensible answer from them. On the other hand, friends are less likely to become too
worried if you go to them with a problem. For example, I probably wouldn’t want to
burden my parents with a financial problem.
2. What would you say are the characteristics of a good adviser?
Well, firstly, a good adviser should be a good listener, someone who takes the time to
understand the situation before offering advice. Secondly, an adviser should try to be
objective, and avoid judging the person who is seeking help. Finally, I think the best
advisers have the ability to ask the right questions and encourage others to find their
own answers.
3. Should people make their own work and career decisions, or is it a good idea to
ask for advice about this?
I’d say that it’s a mixture of both things. Most of us talk to family, friends, teachers or
colleagues before we make career choices. However, I believe that the final decision
should rest with the individual; we all need to take ultimate responsibility for the big life
choices that we make.
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Frida
y, September 26, 2014
IELTS Speak

ing Part 3: answer structure Did you notice how I structured my answers in last week's lesson
? Answer 1

1. Answer th
e question - "it depends"
2. Explain one side
3. Explain the other side
4. Give an example
Answer 2
1. Firstly - first characteristic of a good listener
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2. Secondly
- second characteristic
3. Finally - third char acteristic
Answer 3
1. Answer the question - "it's a mixture of both things"
2. Explain one side
3. Explain the other side
Basically, I'm using Idea, Explain, (Example) or Firstly, Secondly, Finally , just as I do
when I'm writing main paragraphs for writing task 2. The more you practise using these
two patterns, the easier it becomes to give longer, more coherent answers.
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Friday, October 03, 201

4
IELTS Speaking Part 1: house or apartment? Here are some very common questions from part 1 of the speaking test. How wou

ld you
answer them?
1. Do you live in a house or an apartment?
2. Which is your favourite room in your home? Why?
3. Would you change anything about your home? Why / why not?
4. Would you like to move to a different home in the future?
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Friday, October 10, 201

4
IELTS Speaking: correct the mistakes Here are some sentences that students wrote below last week's
lesson. Can you corr ect the mistake(s) in each one?

1. I would wan

t the walls to be painted in bright colors, arrange the furniture with some
good interior designers.
2. If I am well off, I would like to move into much more bigger house.
3. If I had enough money, I will buy some more household appliances.
4. My favourite room is my living room because most of the time I spent in that room.
5. It goes without saying that I am quite passionate about my bedroom.
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Frida
y, October 17, 201

4
IELTS Speaking Part 1: sample answers
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Remember to keep your part 1 answers short and direct; the examiner will i
nterrupt you
if you don't. Here are my sample answers to the 'house or apartment' questions from two
weeks ago:
1. Do you live in a house or an apartment?
I live in a semi- detached house with three bedrooms in a suburb of Manchester. I've
lived there for just over a year.
2. Which is your favourite room in your home? Why?
I don't really have a favourite room. But if I had to choose, I'd say the living room
because that's where I go to sit and relax.
3. Would you change anything about your home? Why / why not?
Yes, I've been meaning to redecorate it since I moved in last year. It needs a new
kitchen, so that's what I'd change first.
4. Would you like to move to a different home in the future?
Yes, I'd definitely move again at some point if I could afford to. I'd like to live in the
countryside, or maybe in a different city or country.
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Sunda
y, October 19, 201

4
IELTS Vocabulary: less common alternatives Let's look at some of the vocabulary from Friday's
speaking lesson, and some interestin
g alternatives. The alternatives on the right are a bit less common, and might impres

s the
examiner if you used them.
1. with three bedrooms = a three-bedroomed house
2. in a suburb of Manchester = on the outskirts of Manchester
3. relax = unwind, put my feet up, wind down
4. it needs a new kitchen = it could do with a new kitchen
Note:
"could do with" is an informal way of saying "need" e.g. I could do with a drink, I could do
with some help, I could do with another few days to finish thi s project.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (16)



Friday, October 24, 201

4
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'indoor game' topic In this lesson
we saw some part 1 questions about 'games' and I mainly talked about outdoor sports in my answers.

Here's a re
cent part 2 question that forces you to talk about indoor games, rather than
outdoor sports:
Describe an indoor game that you enjoyed as a child. You should say
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- what the game was
- where you played it
- who played th
is game with you
- and why you liked it
What games do you think we could talk about?
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Frida
y, October 31, 201

4
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'indoor game' answer Describe an indoor game that you enjoyed as a child. You should say

- what the game was
- where you play

ed it
- who played this game with you
- and why you liked it
• As a child I enjoyed playing chess. I think chess is probably the best known board
game in the world. It’s a game for two players, and the aim is to defeat the other player
by taking his or her pieces and eventually trapping his King. This final move is called
checkmate.
• I remember that it was a classmate of mine at primary school who first taught me to
play chess. He had a small, portable chess set, and once I knew how each piece
moved, we started playing at break and lunch times; we played in our classroom or
outside on the school playground. Later my parents bought me my own chess set as a
birthday present so that I could play at home.
• I taught my younger brother to play, and at some point I joined the school chess club.
There I had the chance to hone my skills against s ome of the older pupils, and in my
final year of primary school I made it onto the school team. There were five of us on the
team, and we competed against children from other primary schools in the same town.
• I liked playing chess because I enjoyed the challenge of thinking ahead and trying to
outwit my opponent. I was probably seven or eight years old when I started playing,
and it seemed like a very mysterious and intellectual game at that time. Also, although I
loved winning, chess taught me to learn from my losses and to congratulate the person
who had beaten me.
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Frida
y, November 07, 2014
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: filling the 2 minutes Many candidates struggle to speak for 2 minutes because they answer the first t

wo or
three points on the task card too quickly. They only give a detailed answer for the final
point.
Look again at my sample answer in last week's lesson . Notice how I answer each point on the topic card in detail. Instead of answering the first point with just o
n
e sentence
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(e.g. "I'm going to talk about chess"), I added three more sentence
s describi ng the
game. I did the same for the questions about 'where' and 'who'.
The last point on the task card usually asks for your opinion (why?), and it's easy to say
more about this. However, if you want to fill the 2 minutes, I suggest that you practise
giving longer, more detailed answers to the first three points on the task card.
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omments (5)



Frida
y, November 14, 2014
IELTS S

peaking Part 3: 'community' topic The following questions come from Cambridge IELTS 9, page 103. Some of my students
f

ound the topic quite difficult, so I thought we could look at it here. How would you
answer?
1. What are some of the ways people can help others in the community? Which is the
most important?
2. Why do you think some people like to help other people?
3. Some people say that people help others in the community more now than they did
in the past. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
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Friday, November 21, 2014

IELTS S

peaking: correct the mistakes Here are some sentences that students wrote about the questions in last week's
less
on. Can you improve them by correcting the mistakes or by writing them in a more 'natural'
way?

1. I thin

k elderly frail single people's needs to be prioritised.
2. Helping people depends on situations and it can be done in vary ways.
3. I can mention two reasons in respond this question.
4. But now many people giving importance to community work.
5. I must admit that there is an high demand in life quality which cause people to focus
on themselves rather than the others.
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Frida
y, November 28, 2014
IELTS S

peaking Part 3: 'community' answers Here are my sample answers for the part 3 'community' topic:

1) What are some of the ways people c
an help others in the community? Which is
the most important?
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I think there are many ways to
help others in our local communities. For example, where
I live, some people volunteer to run activity clubs for children, or they help out in
residential homes for elderly people. Others give money, food or clothes to organisations
that support people living below the poverty line. In my opinion, there isn’t a scale of
importance when it comes to helping others; all forms of help are positive.
2) Why do you think some people like to help other people?
Most people get a good feeling when they help others, and they understand that we can
all experience difficult times in our lives when we might need support. For example, we
all grow old, and we all run the risk of losing our jobs or having a health problem that
affects our ability to look after ourselves. So, I think people help others because they
empathise with them.
3) Some people say that people help others in the community more now than they
did in the past. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
I disagree with that kind of opinion. It’s impossible to generalise about how much people
help in their communities from one generation to the next, so I don’t think we should try
to judge or compare how altruistic people are now or were in the past. There have
always been those who help others and those who don’t.
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Sa
turday, November 29, 20

14
IELTS Vocabulary: band 7-9 phrases Let's review the vocabulary that I used in yesterday's speaking lesson. Here are the
phrases that

I think would impress an exa miner:
• volunteer to run activity clubs
• help out (phrasal verb)
• residential homes for elderly people
• support people living below the poverty line
• there isn’t a scale of importance when it comes to helping others
• all forms of help are positive
• experience dif ficult times
• run the risk of losing our jobs
• people help others because they empathise with them
• It’s impossible to generalise about...
• from one generation to the next
• judge or compare how altruistic people are
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Vocabulary / Grammar |
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Frida
y, December 05, 2014
IELTS S

peaking Part 1: 'parks' topic
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Several students have had this topic recently.
How would you answer?
1. Do you like parks? Why / why not?
2. How often do you visit parks?
3. Why are parks an important part of many towns and cities?
4. What do you think could be done to make parks better?
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Frida
y, December 12, 2014
IELTS S

peaking P art 1: 'park

s' answers Here are my sample answers for last week's questions. Remember that part 1 answers
are suppose

d to be short and direct. You don't need to 'show off' in this part of the test!
1. Do you like parks? Why / why not?
Yes, I like parks because they're great places to relax or go for a walk. I think every city
needs some green space where people can escape from the crowds.
2. How often do you visit parks?
There's a park very close to where I live, so I probably go there once or twice a wee k if
the weather's nice.
3. Why are parks an important part of many towns and cities?
Parks are like an oasis where people get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
They are where people go to have lunch, to take some exercise, or to forget about w ork
for a while.
4. What do you think could be done to make parks better?
The parks in big cities are already really good in my opinion. If I think about the famous
parks in London, Paris or New York, I can't imagine what I would do to improve them.
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Sa
turday, December 13, 20

14
IELTS Vocabulary: from the 'parks' topic As I said
yesterday , you don't need to 'show off' in part 1 of IELTS speaking. However, I did use some nice vocabulary in my answers:

- every city n
eeds some green space
- people can escape from the crowds
- Parks are like an oasis
- get away from the hustle and bustle* of city life
- take some exercise
- forget about work for a while
- I can't imagine what I would do
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*hustle and bustle = busy activity, usually when describing a city

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IELTS Speaking, Vocabulary / Grammar |
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Frida
y, January 02

, 2015
IELTS Speaking Part 2: future aim Here's a question that I think is relevant at this time of year:
Describe an aim or goal that

you hope to achieve in the future.
You should say
- what the aim is
- when you hope to achieve it
- what you need to do to reach your goal
- and why this goal is important to you.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (36)



Frida
y, January 09

, 2015
IELTS Speaking: correct the mistakes The following sentences come from students' answers below last week's lesson
. Can you find and correct the mistakes?
1. My main goal

is to assign as a doctor.
2. I hope to achieve this goal as soon as possible by hard working.
3. Although the steps are hard but I am looking forward to them.
4. I have to get a high score in order to apply scholarship.
5. Getting in to my profession comes alwa ys very first.
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Frida
y, January 16

, 2015
IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'maps' topic A few students said they had this topic in a recent exam. How would you answer?

Let's
talk about maps...
1. Do you ever use maps?
2. When do people usually need to use a map?
3. Do you prefer electronic or paper maps?
4. Do you ever ask people for directions instead of using a map?
Remember to keep your answers short and simple. This topic might surprise you, but it
isn't difficult.
Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

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Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (31)


Frida
y, January 23
, 2015
IELTS Speaking: 'maps' answers Here are my sample answers for last week's questions about maps. Remember that

my
answers are short and simple because this is what the examiner requires in part 1 of the
test.
1. Do yo u ever use maps?
Yes. Whenever I go somewhere new, I plan my journey with the help of a map.
2. When do people usually need to use a map?
I imagine that some people use a map every day if they travel to different places for
work. Others might only use a ma p when they're on holiday.
3. Do you prefer electronic or paper maps?
I still prefer paper maps for a long journey; I like being able to open the map out on a
table and see the full journey ahead.
4. Do you ever ask people for directions instead of using a map?
Only if I'm really lost. Whenever I ask for directions, I find it difficult to remember what
the person said. So I prefer to find my own way.
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Frida
y, January 30

, 2015
IELTS Speaking: it's ok to lie! Students often ask me whether it's ok to lie or invent an answer in the speaking test. M

y
advice is that it's usually easier to tell the truth; however, sometimes your only option is
to make something up (to lie). Take this part 2 question for example:
"Describe a team project that you worked on"
If your job involves working in a team, this might be an easy question. But if you're still a
student, or you work alone, you might be stuck for ideas. You might need to invent
something!
Here's how you could adapt to the question above:
• Talk about a project or piece of work that you did alone, and pretend that other people
were involved.
• Go back to your school days and talk about something you studied, pretending that it
was a group project.
• Talk about an English lesson - most English teachers put their students in groups
from time to time.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (19)

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Frida
y, February 06
, 2015
IELTS Speaking: 'future aim' answer Last month I forgot to write a sample answer for the question below.

Describe an aim or goal that
you hope to achieve in the future.
You should say
- what the aim is
- when you hope to achieve it
- what you need to do to reach your goal
- and why this goal is important to you.
Here's my answer. Can you find any 'less common vocabulary' in it?
• I’m going to describe a future aim of mine, which is to write a book. I’d like to write a
novel, so the story or plot would be fictional, but it would probably be influenced by
some of my own experiences, ideas and views.
• Unfortunately I have no idea where to start or what my novel would be about, so I
can’t imagine achieving this aim until later in my life. Maybe it will be something that I
do as a hobby when I retire, or I might suddenly be inspired to start writing much
sooner. It’s just a vague objective at the moment.
• I think it must be extremely difficult to find the motivation to write a novel, so more
than anything I would need time, commitment and the passion to keep working until I
finished. I would probably need to set a goal of writing for a certain amount of time
each day, and of course I’d need a good idea for a story in the first place.
• This goal interests me because I’ve always wondered how people manage to create a
work of fiction from nothing; I’ve always wondered whether I could do the same, an d
whether I’d be capable of bringing a story to life. I’ve always enjoyed reading, and I’d
like to follow in the footsteps of my favourite authors.
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Saturday, February 07

, 2015
IELTS Vocabulary: future plans Here are the band 7
-9 phrases from
yesterday's lesson. Remember that I'm not trying to
use strange or difficult words; I'm trying to speak in a natural way, using 'native speaker'
collocations and phrases.
• a future aim of mine
• the plot would be fictional
• influ enced by some of my own experiences, ideas and views
• I might suddenly be inspired
• a vague objective
• time, commitment and passion
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to set a goal
• I’ve alway
s wondered how
• create a work of fiction
• bringing a story to life
• follow in the footsteps of my favourite authors
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Vocabulary / Grammar |
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Friday, February 13, 2015


IELTS Speaking: which part is the most important? Do the 3 parts of the speaking test carry equal weighting when your score is calculated,
or is one part more impo

rtant?
The simple answer is that the 3 parts are not scored separately; the examiner rates the
student's performance as a whole. In this sense, neither part is more important.
However, it's useful to think about the 3 parts like this:
• Part 1 is supposed to be quite easy (like a warm -up), so you won't get a high score if
you only do well in this part.
• Part 2 is when the examiner really gets a chance to assess how good you are. He/she
will now have an idea of what scores to give you.
• During part 3, the examiner is making his/her final decision. A good performance here
can boost your score.
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Friday, February 20, 2015


IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'collecting' topic Try preparing some short, easy answers to the following questions:

1) Have
you ever collected anything as a hobby? (What?)
2) What kinds of thing do people often like collecting?
3) Why do you think people collect certain objects?
4) Is there anything that you would like to collect in the future?
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Saturday, February 21

, 2015
IELTS Grammar: correct the mistakes
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Here
are some sentences that people wrote below yesterday's speaking lesson (about
'collecting'). Can you find and correct the mistakes?
1) There are a lot of things that people often are collect.
2) I think people often go to gather small things such as stamps .
2) Whenever I went in a vacation, I used this opportunity to buy another object.
3) Let me think, may be valuable watches which their prices increase by time.
5) People collecting things for many reasons for example they do it as a hobby.
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Vocabulary / Grammar |
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Frida
y, February 27, 2015


IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'collecting' answers Here are my sample answers to the qu
estions from last week.
1) Have
you ever collected anything as a hobby? (What?)
Yes. When I was younger I used to collect keyrings. I remember that my favourite was a
Lego man keyring that someone bought me as a present.
2) What kinds of thing do people often like collecting?
Some people collect cheap items like stamps, keyrings or toys. Others collect expensive
antiques, watches, jewellery or even cars.
3) Why do you think people collect certain objects?
Maybe they like the constant search for a new item, or they want to remember past
experiences. Others might like the feeling of organising and presenting what they own.
4) Is there anything that you would like to collect in the future?
Yes. If I could afford it, I'd love to have a collection of guitars in different colours, shapes
and sizes!
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Frida
y, March 06, 20

15
IELTS Speaking Part 3: follow on from part 2 Questions in part 3 of the speaking test are supposed to follow on from the t
opic of part
2. So, if the p
art 2 topic is a future aim
, you might expect some part 3 questions like these:

1. Do you th ink it'

s better to have clear aims for the future, or is it best to take each day
as it comes?
2. People often say that goal setting is necessary for success. Do you agree with this?
Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

Try preparing detailed answers to these questions using the 'longer answers' tec
hniques
in this lesson
. Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (11)


Frida
y, March 13, 2015
IELTS S

peaking Part 3: long answer technique Here's the technique that I recommend for giving long answers in part 3:

1. Answer the q

uestion directly
2. Explain why
3. Give an example
4. Explain the alternative / opposite
Here's an example using a question from last we ek's lesson:
Do you think that it's better to have clear aims for the future, or is it best to take
each day as it comes?
(Answer) I think it’s best to have a good idea of what you want to do with your life,
especially in terms of studies and career. (Why) Having aims allows you to plan what
you need to do today and tomorrow in order to achieve longer -term
objectives. (Example) For example, if you want to become a doctor, you need to choose
the right subjects at school, get the right exam results, and work hard at
university. (Opposite) Without a clear aim, it would be impossible to take the necessary
steps towards a career in medicine, or any other profession.
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Frida
y, March 20, 2015
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: 'prize' topic Here's a recent question that a few people told me about:

Describe a prize that you would like
to win. You should explain
- what the prize is for
- how you know about it
- what you would have to do to win it
- and why you would like to win this prize.
It should be easy to answer this question by adapting a topic that you have already
prepared. For example, you could describe a prize related to your studies, a work prize
(e.g. employee of the month!), a sport or hobby prize, or even a TV programme prize
(e.g. winning a holiday or a new car on a game show).
Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

I'll be interested to see what prize you would choose!

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Frida
y, March 27, 2015
IELTS S
peaking: complex structures? Students
often worry that they need to use "complex structures" in the speaking test. But
what is a complex
structure?
This website explains the difference between simple sentences, compound sentences and complex sentences. You'll notice that compound and complex sentences are
much
easier

than they sound! I'm sure you use them all the time without realising it.
Here's my advice: stop worrying about the need for "complex" grammar. Instead, focus
on expressing your ideas well. As you explain your ideas in detail, you will naturally
produce longer sentences which contain a variety of grammatical features.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (14)





Friday, April 03, 201

5
IELTS Speaking: correct the mistakes Here are some of the sentences that students wrote below
this speaking lesson. Can you correct the mistakes?
1. I would l

ike to win a Nobel Prize, which was one of my dreams for long time.
2. I had the chance for participating the first in this TV show game in 2013.
3. Although this will require a hard work but I believe it's worthy.
4. For my money, Prize can be given to a person due to his/her great effort.
5. If I won this scholarship, I will be the happiest person in the world.
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Friday, April 10, 201

5
IELTS Speaking: search the web for ideas Have you tried searching the Internet to get ideas for the "describe a prize" topi
c

from this lesson?
Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

I tried searching for ideas related to winning 'employee of the month'. I f
ound some
advice (and great vocabulary) on this website
. Here are some of the good phrases that they used. I've left a few gaps to encourage you to look carefully at some key w

ords.
How to win employee of the month:
• employers appreciate employees who take the _____
• meet all deadlines
• prove that you can be _____ o n
• understand your company's _____ values
• demonstrate good communication skills and a loyal work _____
• show ambition and initiative
• stand out from the _____
• go beyond your employer's _____
Do you think we can use some of this vocabulary for the prize
task? Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (15)


Frida
y, April 17, 201

5
IELTS Speaking: is accent important? People often ask whether their accent will affect their IELTS score. The simple answer is
no. Your scor

e for pronunciation depends on how clearly you speak and how intelligible
(easy to understand) you are.
So if accent is not important, what are the factors that affect pronunciation? I really like
the explanation on
this page
from the Warwick University website. They look at 5 key elements of pronunciation:

There are so

me great tips about improving your pronunciation near the bottom of the
page, but my favourites are: work on your mistakes, copy good models of speech,
record yourself, slow down, and try to sound interesting / interested!
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| Permalink | C
omments (18)



Friday, April 24, 201

5
IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'cooking' topic Here are some recent part 1 questions, with my example answers.

Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

1. Do you like cooking? Why / why not?
Sometimes. I like preparing
a special meal for family or friends who visit, but everyday
cooking is a bit boring; it's something that has to be done, but it's not really fun.
2. Who did the cooking in your family when you were a child?
My mother almost always did the cooking when I was young. I don't think she trusted my
father to make a nice meal.
3. Do you think that it's important to know how to cook well?
I'm not sure whether it's important to cook well, but I do think that everyone should know
the basics. It definitely isn't healthy to rely on pre -prepared meals or fast food.
4. Do you think that children should be taught cookery at school?
Yes, that's probably a good idea. If all children knew how to cook a few basic, healthy
meals, that would surely be a good thing.
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Frida
y, May 01, 201

5
IELTS Speaking Part 3: finish strongly! When I was an examiner, I remember that not many candidates performe
d well towards
the end of t
he speaking test. After trying really hard in parts 1 and 2, many people
seemed to run out of energy when they got to part 3.
So, how can you make sure that you finish strongly and do well in part 3?
I think the secret is to answer according to a simple 3-step formula: answer the question
directly, then explain in detail, then give an example (e.g. a personal experience). I've
included a fourth step in this lesson
, but the first 3 steps are the easiest to use. Note:
You need to practise consciously going through the 3 steps as you give an answer
(maybe yo
u could count the steps on your fingers). Otherwise, you'll go back to your old
technique of saying whatever comes into your head!
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (13)


Frida
y, May 08, 201

5
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'prize' answer Here's a question that I mentioned in a lesson
a few weeks ago:
Describ
e a prize that you would like to win. You should explain
- what the prize is for
- how you know about it
- what you would have to do to win it
- and why you would like to win this prize.
And here's my sample answer:
Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests


I’m going to talk about a prize that I would like to win, which is the ‘employee of the
year’ awar d at the company where I work. At the end of December each year, the
company directors give this award to a member of staff who has made an outstanding
contribution to the b usiness over the previous twelve months.
• I first heard about this prize during my training and orientation period just after I got
the job three years ago. It was early December and some of my colleagues were
discussing who might be awarded ‘employee of th e year’ later that month. I was
intrigued, and asked them to tell me more about the award.
• As I said, the prize is given for ‘outstanding contribution to the business’. We don’t
have an exact definition of what this means, but we assume that you have to ac hieve
certain standards, such as 100% attendance, good punctuality, meeting targets and
deadlines, good teamwork, and so on. I think the winner also needs to have done
something especially creative. For example, last year’s winner created a completely
new service for our clients.
• I’d like to win ‘employee of the year’ because it would mean that my work had been
recognised by the company directors, and this would definitely help me to progress in
my career. It would also give me a great sense of personal ach ievement.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (20)



Frida
y, May 15, 201

5
IELTS Speaking Part 3: 'presentations' topic Here are some questions that have recently appeared in part 3 of the IELTS speaking
t

est. How would you answer each one ? Remember that the examiner is expecting
longer, more detailed answers in part 3.
1. Do you like giving presentations?
2. Why do some people feel nervous about giving presentations?
3. What do you think people should do before giving a presentation?
4. How can visual aids help in a presentation?
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (23)



Friday, May 22, 2015

IELTS S

peaking: improve the sentences Here are some sentences that students wrote below last week's
lesson. Can you correct and improve them?

1. In my opinion

people afraid about people that they know more than them in their
presentation.
2. My mind often goes blind when starting a new slide.
3. I believe that realizing and utilizing visual aids highly can increase people's
concentration.
4. Of course, when people giving presentations to audiences in which it make them feel
a little bit of anxiousness. No matter you are confident people.
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5.
I think by preparing adequately towards presentations is the key to giving a good
presentat ion.
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Sa
turday, May 23, 2

015
IELTS Speaking / Grammar: improved sentences Here are my suggestions for improved versions of the sentences in yesterday's lesson.
Compare bot

h versions carefully to learn from the changes that I made.
1. In my opinion, people are afraid to give presentations when they think that members
of the audience might know more than they do.
2. My mind often goes blank when starting a new slide.
3. I believe that using visual aids can help to engage the audience.
4. Of course, giving a presentation can make people feel anxious, regardless of how
confident they normally are.
5. I think that adequate preparation is the key to giving a good presentation.
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Vocabulary / Grammar |
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Frida
y, May 29, 201

5
IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'study' topic Try answering these recent exam questions. Just give a short, direct answ

er and a
reason.
Let's talk about studying...
1. Do you like studying? Why / why not?
2. Do you prefer to study alone or with others? Why?
3. Where do you prefer to go when you need to study? Why?
4. How do you feel if someone disturbs you when you are studying?
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Frida
y, June 05, 2015
IELTS Speak

ing Part 1: 'study' answers Here are my sample answers to the questions in last week's lesson.

1. Do you like studying? Why / why not?
Yes, I like stu

dying because it's the best way to gain a deeper insight into any subject. I
like reading, learning from others, and trying to understand difficult concepts.
2. Do you prefer to study alone or with others? Why?
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I prefer to study alone because I need to be able to concentrate fully. Other people
are a
distraction.
3. Where do you prefer to go when you need to study? Why?
I like to find a quiet corner in my local library; being in an old building and surrounded by
books seems to help me to focus on my work.
4. How do you feel if someone disturbs you when you are studying?
It frustrates me because it breaks my concentration. I prefer to avoid distraction s by
going somewhere where nobody will interrupt me.
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Frida
y
, June 26, 2

015
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'film' topic As Wednesday's
lesson was about films, now is a good time to look at a similar speaking question:

Tip:
Try using so

me of the good vocabulary from the essay I shared on Wednesday. You
could even choose the next James Bond film
as your answer. Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (20)


Friday, July 03, 2015
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: 'film' answer
Here's my s

ample answer:
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I’m going to talk about a film that I’d like to see when it comes out later this year. It’s
the ne w James Bond film, an
d I saw in the news that it’s going to be called ‘Spectre’. I
think ‘Spectre’ refers to the name of the imaginary criminal organisation that James
Bond has to defeat in the film.
• As ‘Spectre’ hasn’t been released yet, I don’t know exactly what it will be about. But I
can guess that the hero, Bond, is going to be on a mission to save the world from an
arch-criminal as usual. I’m sure it will be similar to most of the previous Bond films, with
a plot line involving lots of twists and turns, and with Bond using his skills to defeat his
nemesis in the end.
• I first heard about this film when I was watching the news a couple of months ago,
and since then I’ve seen the official trailer on TV. There have also been various articles
in newspapers discussing the actors who have been cast to play supporting roles in the
film. The James Bond films are always big news here in the UK, probably because
Bond himself is an English character.
• I’d like to see ‘Spectre’ at the cinema because I’m sure it will be full of action scenes
and special effects, and I like the fact that Bond’s missions always take place in
spectacular locations in different parts of the world. Of course Bond films are totally
unrealistic, you could even say ridiculous. But they're alwa ys fast, entertaining and fun,
a bit like a roller-coaster ride!
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Sa
turday, July 04, 2

015
IELTS Speaking: did you notice? Did you notice the following things in the sample answer that I gave in yes

terday's
speaking lesson?
1. I tried to give a similar amount of detail for each of the 4 bullet points. If you can do
this, you'll find it easier to keep speaking for 2 minutes.
2. I used various different verb tenses. Can you find examples?
3. There's plenty of 'band 7-9' voc abulary. Can you find examples?
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Sunda
y, July 05, 20

15
IELTS Speaking: verb tenses and vocabulary In yesterday's lesson I asked you to find examples of verb tenses and good

vocabulary
in my sample answer
about a film that I would like to see. Here are examples of different verb tenses that I used:

• Future with 'going to':

it’s going to be called Spectre
• Future with 'will': I don’t know exactly what it will be about
• Present simple for the future: when it comes out later this year
• Present simple: I think Spectre refers to...
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Present perfect (active): I've seen the official trailer
• Present perfe
ct (passive): hasn't been released yet
• Past simple: I saw in the news
• Past continuous: when I was watching the news
Here are some examples of 'band 7- 9' vocabulary:
• when it comes out (meaning: when it is released)
• refers to the name of
• the imagina ry criminal organisation
• hasn’t been released yet
• on a mission to save the world
• an arch-criminal
• a plot line involving lots of twists and turns
• to defeat his nemesis
• the official trailer
• cast to play supporting roles
• James Bond films are always big news
• action scenes and special effects
• take place in spectacular locations
• unrealistic, you could even say ridiculous
• like a roller-coaster ride
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Frida
y, July 10, 2015
IELTS S

peaking Part 3: 'film' topic After last week's part 2 answer
, let's look at some part 3 questions about the same topic. Try answering the following questions:

1. Why do you t

hink people like watching films?
2. Do you think films have changed since you were a child? How?
3. As the technology for home viewing improves, do you think people will stop going to
the cinema in future?
Tip: Use the 'long answer' technique in this lesson
. Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (20)


Frida
y, July 31, 2015
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: 'local area' topic Practise answering the following part 2 question.

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Describe a change that you would like to see in your local area.
You should say

- what the change would be
- who wo
uld be involved in making the change
- how it would be done
- and why you would like to see the change happen.
Tip:
Go through the 4 bullet points, and see if you can give a roughly equal amount of detail
for each one, l ike I did in this answer
. Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (10)


Friday, August 07,

2015
IELTS Speaking: correct th
e mistakes Can you correct the mistakes in the sentences below, or rewrite the sentences to
improve the

m?
1. I would like to talk about a change in my local district which is building a
hospital.
2. I'd like to talk about the development in educatio n system which I really
hope to see next time in my hometown.
3. There would be some changes as building new high rises in the area.
4. The actual system is to blame of the chaotic traffic.
5. Moreover it is also environment friendly so I recommend for park.
6. Well, it's a very tricky question, let me think about that. I think our
community needs the park.
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Friday, August 14,

2015
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'local area' answer Describe a change that you would lik
e to see in yo
ur local area.
You should say
- what the change would be
- who would be involved in making the change
- how it would be done
- and why you would like to see the change happen.
Here's my band 9 sample answer:
• The change that I’d like to see in my local neighbourhood is the pedestrianisation of
the main shopping street in the town centre. I’d like to see traffic diverted around this
area in order to make it safer and more attractive for visitors and shoppers. Most of the
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traffic that clogs up the main street is just passing through the town, but it’s the local
people who ha
ve to put up with the congestion, noise and pollution.
• It’s the job of the local council to make changes like the one I’m suggesting. But
before the council does anything, there usually needs to be some pressure from local
people to bring a problem to light. So, perhaps we need a campaign by local residents
who want to see this change. Then the council might contract a town planner or an
architect to come up with some possible designs for a new road system.
• I’m not sure how exactly the process of creating a pedestrian street would work, but I
imagine that it would require detailed planning. Perhaps a bypass would need to be
built around the town centre first. This would give driv ers a faster alternative to driving
through the town, and it would allow the main shopping street to be blocked off and
pedestrianised.
• I’d like to see this change because it would really improve the quality of life of
residents in the town where I live. I can imagine the new pedestrian street having cafes
and restaurants with outdoor seating. It would be a safer and more pleasant place for
families to go shopping, and I’m sure this would have a positive knock -on effect on
local shops and businesses.
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Frida
y, August 21,

2015
IELTS Speaking Part 1: don't worry, just answer! "Do you work or are you a student?"

This is often the first questio
n that the examiner asks in the speaking test. It's an easy
question, but many people still worry about it.
Here are some of their worries:
• What should I say if I do both (work and study)?
• What if I normally work, but now I'm studying for the IELTS test?
• I've just moved to a new country. Which country should I talk about?
My advice is to stop worrying, and just explain your situation. For example: "I'm a
qualified doctor, but at the moment I'm studying English so that I can work here in the
UK."
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Frida
y, August 28,

2015
IELTS Speaking: a teacher's questions A teacher in China asked me to help with the following queries:

1) Can students ask the IELTS e
xaminer to repeat a question?
Yes. They can say something like: "Sorry, can you repeat that please?". It won't affect
your score if you do this.
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2) Can students ask the examiner to clarify a question?
Not in part
1 or 2. The examiner can only repeat the same question in part 1, and refer
you to the task card in part 2. In part 3, it's fine for students to ask for clarification e.g.
"Sorry, I'm not sure what you mean by that". The examiner is allowed to rephrase the
question in part 3. If you ask for clarification once, it shouldn't affect your score, but don't
do this too many times!
3) C an students ask the examiner to define a word?
Again, only in part 3. The student could say: "Sorry, could you explain what you mean
by... (unknown word)?"
4) Can students ask for more time to think?
I don't recommend doing that. Students lose marks for long hesitations, so it's best for
them to practise answering quickly.
5) Can students ask to miss a question in parts 1 and 3?
They can, but they will lose points, so I don't recommend doing this. It's always best to
attempt an answer.
6) Can students ask for a different topic in part 2?
No. They must take the topic card that the examiner gives them.
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Friday, September 04, 2015

IELTS Speak

ing: if you don't like the topic People often ask me what they should do if the examiner asks about a topic that they


don't like or don't know anything about. Take the topic of 'music' for example. This is an
easy topic for some people, but others find it difficult because they don't usually listen to
music.
Let's imagine that you don't like music and you don't know anything about it. How would
you answer the following questions in part 1 of the test? Try to give negative answers,
but make sure that they are still good answers!
1. Do you like music?
2. What kind of music did you listen to when you were young?
3. When was the last time you went to a concert?
4. Would you like to participate in a live music show?
Remember: You might not like a topic, but this doesn't mean you can't answer the
questions. IELTS speaking questions never require 'knowledge', only simple ideas and
opinions.
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Friday, September 11, 2015

IELTS Speaking Part 1: negative answers Here are my negative answers to the questions in last week's speaking lesson.

Remember: I'm imagining that I don't like (or know about) the topic.
1) Do you like music?
No, I don't really like music, and I don't listen to it. It's not something that I've ever been
interested in.
2) What kind of music did you liste n to when you were young?
I can't remember listening to much music as a child either. I suppose I must have heard
some traditional music at festivals or parties, but I didn't take much notice of it.
3) When was the last time you went to a concert?
I've nev er been to a music concert. Maybe I should try going to one; perhaps it would be
interesting to see an orchestra playing classical music.
4) Would you like to participate in a live music show?
No, definitely not. I don't play a musical instrument and I don't sing, so I can't imagine
that I'd ever find myself performing to an audience.
Note:
My aim here is to show you that you can answer questions about any topic - you don't need to like it or know anything about it. (I do like music by the way!)
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Frida
y, September 18, 2015
IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: describe a hobby "Describe a hobby" seems like an easy topic. However, students often have difficulty
speaking for

2 minutes when the topic is easy.
Here are 3 pieces of advice to help you to speak for 2 minutes. I'll use photography as
the hobby in my example answers.
1. Think about question words: What, when, where, why, who with:
• What: One of my hobbies is photography.
• When and where: I take photos on my phone almost every day, and I have a proper
camera that I use on special occasions. If I see something interesting or I want to
record a particular memory, I take photos wherever I am.
• Why: I take photos so that I have a record of the things I’ve seen or done.
• Who with: Most of my photos are of friends and family, but I also take pictures of
interesting things that I see.
2. Describe opinions and feelings:
I like photography because it’s a creative hobby and it makes you notice the world
around you. I love capturing special moments or unusual or beautiful images, and it’s a
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great feeling to be able to look back through my pictures and relive different
experien
ces. These memories usually cheer me up.
3. Tell a story related to the topic:
The last time I took photos on a special occasion was at my friend’s wedding a few
weeks ago. I got some great pictures of the bride and groom and their guests
celebrating. After the wedding I made an album of all the best pictures and sent it to my
friend as a present.
Task:
Try describing your own hobby using the 3 tips above.
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Frida
y, September 25, 2015
IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: describe a 'success' Here's a recent part 2 question that someone sent me. How would you answer?

Describe s
omething you did in your life that was a success.
You should say
- what you did
- when you did it
- what difficulties you faced
- and how you felt when you were successful
My advice: Try to adapt a topic that you have already pre pared (e.g. description of a
hobby), or talk about your work or studies.
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Sunda
y, September 27, 2015
IELTS Speak

ing: topics for video lessons I haven't been able to make any video lessons
for a while
, mainly because I've been in
the process of moving house. Now that I'm getting myself organised again, I'm planning
to start making a series of video lessons for the speaking test.
If you've taken the speaking test recently, please share your question topics (for all 3
parts) in the comments below. I'll then be able to make my lessons as up-to- date as
possible. Thanks!
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Friday, October 02, 201

5
IELTS Speaking: correct the mistakes
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Here are some sentences that people wrote in the "comments" below last
week
's speaking lesson.
Can you correct the mista
kes? 1.
After graduating high school, every my classmates and I also wanted to study in the
university.
2.

For 6 years I was studying in university in first year I chose my major and I was
frightening for many things.
3. I didn’t contact any friends of mine, shut off all social networks, totally devoted myself
to the preparation and even didn’t talk much to my parents every day.
4. It was very challenging because the exam given was very difficult, almost all
answers in the multiple choice questions are common.
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Frida
y, October 09, 201

5
IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'mathematics' topic Here are some recent exam questions that somebody shared here on the blog. As
usual, my part 1 sa

mple answers are short, direct and si mple.
1) At what age did you start studying mathematics?
I can't exactly remember, but it was probably in my first year at primary school when I
was 5 years old. I probably learnt simple addition at that age.
2) Do you like mathematics? Why / why not?
I do n't dislike maths, but I wouldn't say that I've ever really liked the subject either. I'm
happy to do simple calculations, but my brain can't cope with the complex stuff!
3) Is it necessary for everyone to learn mathematics?
Yes, I think it is. We all need a basic grounding in maths so that we can do daily tasks,
like managing our money, working out bills, and so on.
4) Do you prefer to use a calculator when doing mathematics?
It depends. I quite like exercising my brain with anything that's easy enough, bu t I use
the calculator on my phone for anything tricky.
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Frida
y, October 16, 201

5
IELTS Speaking Part 2: educational TV programme Here's a recent exam question that somebody sent me. How would you answer?

Describe an
educational television programme that you liked.
You should say
- what the programme was about
- when and where you saw it
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- how you found out about this programme
- and why you liked
it.
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Frida
y, October 23, 201

5
IELTS Speaking: correct the mistakes Here are some of the sentences that students wrote in the comments below last
week's
less

on. Can you correct the mistak
es? 1.
A few days ago, at the weekend occasion, An educational TV programme made me
interested i
n...
2. I watched a wonderful program which made me interested that program was related
to stress.
3. I was looking for a movie channel at my sister's house last night then I was appealed
by that one.
4. I'm the kind of person who take care of healthy issue a lot.
5. It provides many helpful guidances for graduat ed students who currently looking for
their desire careers.
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Friday, November 06, 2015

IELTS S

peaking Part 3: 'TV programme' topic After the part 2 question that I showed you in last week's lesson
, the examiner would ask you some related questions in part 3 of the test.

Here are some
part 3 questions about the 'educational TV programme' topic:
1. Do you think most people watch TV for education or for entertainment?
2. Should TV play a role in educating children? How?
3. How do you think TV viewing habits change as people get older?
Tip:
The secret to giving good answers in part 3 i s to follow three simple steps: 1) give a
direct answer 2) explain in more detail 3) give an example. There's also a 4th step if you
want to say even more. Look at this lesson
to see an example. Posted by
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Frida
y, November 13, 2015
IELTS S

peaking Part 3: 'TV programme' answers
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Here are my sample answers to the questions
that I shared with you last week. Notice
that I use the 3 or 4 steps that I recommended, and remember to note down any good
words or phrases that you find.
1. Do you think most people watch TV for education or for entertainment?
I think people watch TV primarily for entertainment. There are far more entertainment
programmes than educational ones, and in my experience most people treat television
as a form of relaxation in the evening. If I think about the most popular TV programmes
in the UK, such as talent shows like 'X Factor' or soap operas like 'Eastenders', the focus
is definitely on entertainment rather than education.
2. Should TV play a role in educating children? How?
Yes, it definitely should play a role in my opinion. Good children's T V programmes
should tell stories that contain some kind of lesson about how to behave or what is
morally right and wrong. Many of the traditional fairy tales, such as 'Cinderella', have
been made into TV programmes, and there is always a positive message in those
stories.
3. How do you think TV viewing habits change as people get older?
TV viewing habits obviously change a lot as we get older. While toddlers might watch
programmes about talking animals, teenagers prefer action and adventure or sports, and
as adults we start taking an interest in news and politics. My own preferences, for
example, have changed over the years - I would never have watched news programmes
when I was younger. I think it would be very strange if our viewing habits didn't mature!
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Saturday, November 14, 20

15
IELTS Vocabulary: from yesterday's lesson Here are the good words and phrases that I used in yesterday's speaking lesson:

• primarily

for entertainment
• peop le treat television as a form of relaxation
• talent shows
• soap operas
• the focus is on entertainment rather than education
• what is morally right and wrong
• traditional fairy tales
• toddlers
• we start taking an interest in
• my own preferences have changed over th e years
• I would never have watched news programmes when I was younger
• our viewing habits mature ('mature' is used as a verb)
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Friday, November 20, 2015

IELTS Speaking Part 2: describe a walk Tr
y preparing an answer for the following task:
Describe a long walk that yo u enjoyed.
You should say
- when you went on this walk
- where it took place
- what you saw while you were walking
- and explain why you enjoyed the walk.
Tip: Maybe you can use a to pic that you have already prepared e.g. description of a
holiday, or a city that you have visited.
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Frida
y, November 27, 2015
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: expand each point Many people find it difficult to keep talking for 2 minutes because they give very quick
answers to on

e or two of the bullet points on the task card.
Take last week's question for example:
Describe a long walk that you enjoyed.
You should say
- when you went on this walk
- where it took place
- what you saw while you were walking
- and explain why you enjoyed the walk.
It would be easy to answer the first two bullet points very quickly:
"Last summer I walked along a beach during my holiday in..."
The problem now is that we need to spend almost the full 2 minutes on the last two
bullet points. It would be better if we could expand on all four points, like I did in this lesson
. Task:

Can you inv
ent some more information to expand on the short answer that I gave above
(about walking along a beach last summer)? Try to invent as much as you can about the
"when" and the "where".
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Frida
y, December 04, 2015
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: expanded answers
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Last week we looked at the first half of a question:

Describe a long walk that you enjo yed.
You should say
- when you went on this walk
- where it took place
I explained that it would be easy to give a very short answer to these two points: "
Last summer I walked
along a beach during my holiday in..."
But we need to expand this answer to include more information about "when" and
"where". For example:
When I’m going to describe a walk that I enjoyed last summer
while I was
on holiday on the south coast of England. It was the first week of August, and we set

off on the walk on the first morning of the holid

ay just after breakfast, at around 9 o’clock . The walk took us the
whole mornin g and finished
at lunchtime.
Where As I mentioned, the walk took place on the south coast

of England. I was on holiday with my family in a place called Dorset, and w

e were staying in a rented house. Our aim was to walk
from the house to a place called Durdle Door beach. First we had to find the coast path, and then we
followed this path for several mil
es until we reached Durdle Door and finally
descended the
steep steps that led to the beach.
...
Durdle Door
Pos

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Frida
y, December 11, 2015
IELTS S

peaking Part 1: 'newspapers' topic Try answering the following questions. Remember to give a direct answer, give a
reason, then

stop! If you say more than this, the examiner will interrupt you.
1. How often do you read a newspaper?
2. Why do you think some people like reading newspapers?
3. Which other sources can people use to find out about the latest news?
4. Do you think that it's important to know about news from other countries? Why / why
not?
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Frida
y, December 18, 2015
IELTS S

peaking Parts 2 and 3: 'disagreement' topic Here are some exam questions that students have asked me about recently
:
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Part 2
Describe a di
sagreement that you had with another person. You should say
- who the other person was
- what the disagreement was about
- how you resolved it
- and what the result was.
Part 3
1. What disagreements do teenagers often have with their parents?
2. What do young children tend to argue about with each other?
3. Do you think that it's important to be polite?
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Frida
y, January 08

, 2016
IELTS Speaking: 3 simple tips Here are three simple tips that could make a difference to
your score:
1
. Be confident
Although you might be nervous, try to speak clearly and confidently. Smile and be
friendly* with the examiner. As you go into the exam, tell yourself that you have prepared
well and that you're going to enjoy the challenge.
2. Know that you are prepared
You will feel much more confident if you know that you have prepared and practised for
the test. You should know exactly what to expect. For example, have you prepared
some common topics (e.g. describe a place, a person, a hobby) for the short
presentation? Are you ready for a past and a future question in part 3?
3. Speak naturally
Try to enjoy a normal conversation with the examiner. Instead of worrying about your
grammar, listen carefully to the questions and try to give natura l answers. Most of the
questions are about you, your life and your opinions, so it's best to be open. I used to be
an examiner, and I always found the job more interesting when students spoke openly
about their opinions and experiences.
*Note: You are not marked on body language, but I'd still recommend that you try to act
in a friendly, confident manner.
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Frida
y, January 15

, 2016
IELTS Speaking Part 3: idea, explain, personal example Let's look at a sample answer u
sin
g the "idea, explain, example" structure. This time I'm
using a personal example in the last sentence.
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What disagreements do teenagers often have with their parents? Why?
(Idea / basi
c answer) Teenagers disagree with their parents about all sorts of things,
like the clothes they want to wear, whether they can go out with their friends, doing
homework, and how much help they give their parents around the house. (Explain
why) I think the teenage years are when we develop a sense of identity, and we want to
make our own decisions rather than follow other people's instructions. (Personal
example) I remember having disagreements with my own parents, usually about simple
things like getting up early in the morning, tidying my room, or doing the w ashing up!
Task:
Can you answer the following question in the same way?
Do you think that it's important to be polite?
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Friday, January 22

, 2016
IELTS Speaking Part 2: use and adapt main topics I've written before about the six main topic areas that I think you should prepare:

1.
Describe a person (family member, famous person...)
2. Describe a place (city, holiday...)
3. Describe an object (something you use, a gift...)
4. Describe an event (festival, celebration...)
5. Describe an activity (hobby, game, sport...)
6. Describe your favourite (book, film, website...)
You should also be prepared to talk about your job and/or your studies.
After preparing one main description for these seven or eight topics, you should then
practise adapting your descriptions to as many questions as you can.
Example:
Let's take the "disagreement" question in this lesson
as an example. Can we use one of the main topics above as our answer? Perhaps we could say that we had a family
disagr

eement about where to go on holiday, which gift to buy someone, or which film to
see at the cinema. Which topic would you use and adapt for the "disagreement"
question?
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (13)


Frida
y, January 29

, 2016
IELTS Speaking: video lesson I've just published the first of my video lessons for IELTS speaking. Yo
u
can watch it for
free on this webpage
. I'll publish another speaking video next Friday.

Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (11)


Frida
y, February 05, 2016

IELTS Speaking Part 1: next video lesson I'm in the middle of creating a video lesson about part 1 of the IELTS speakin

g test.
Before I publish it (this weekend), let me ask you four quick questions:
1. Do you know exactly what to expect in speaking part 1?
2. Do y ou know what the examiner expects from you?
3. Do you have a method for this part of the test?
4. Are you worried about any aspect of speaking part 1?
Feel free to share your answers in the comments below. Please think about part 1 only -
I'll cover parts 2 and 3 in later videos.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (18)



M
onday, February 08, 2016


New video lesson for IELTS speaking It's a bit later than I planned, but I've now published my latest video lesson.

In the
lesson, I give you some tips and example answers for part 1 of the speaking test.
There's also some interesting advice about 'strange' topics!
You can watch the lesson for free here
. Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (15)


Frida
y, February 12, 2016


IELTS Speaking Part 2: new video lesson I've just published a new video lesson at the bottom of
this webpage. In the lesson, I give s
ome tips for part 2 of th
e IELTS speaking test. I explain what to do
in the exam, but more importantly what you can do before the exam to prepare for the
most common topics.
Finally, the main aim of the lesson is to help you to prepare for the "describe a person"
topic. You'll see the language that I've prepared for this topic, and hear me give a
sample 2 -minute answer.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (6)




Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

Saturday, February 13, 2016
IELTS Speaking Part 2: vocabulary themes
If you didn't manage to watch the video lesson that I published yesterday, here's a quick
summary of the key ideas.
I
n the video, I look at the topic "Describe a person", which is one of the six main topics
in part 2 of the speaking test. Here are some possible questions in this topic a

rea:
• Describe a teacher
• Describe a famous person
• Describe a friend
• Describe a family member
• Describe a child
• Describe someone who helps people
• Describe someone who does something well
I then suggest that we choose an easy 'theme' e.g. a hard- working and friendly person.
We can prepare lots of good vocabulary for this theme, and hopefully use it to
describe any of the people in the list above.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (5)



Frida
y, February 19, 2016


IELTS Speaking Part 2: describe a place Later today I'll publish a video lesson about the part 2 topic "Describe a place"

. One of
my suggestions in the lesson is that you prepare some vocabulary 'themes'.
For example, here are some ideas for a description of an interesting city:
• lively, bustling, hectic, thriving
• cosmopolitan, multicultural
• fascinating, unique
• a special atmosphere
• sightseeing, entertainment
• an unforgettable experience
• enjoyed every minute
• the time flew by
• endless things to see and do
• it was over too quickly
The lesson contains more examples of 'theme' language, and you'll hear me giving two
full sample answers for two differe nt "Describe a place" questions.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (2)



Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

Saturday, February 20, 2016
New video les
son I've just published my next video lesson at the bottom of
this webpage. Look for 'speaking lesson 4'. In the lesson I give you some ideas and 2 full sample answe

rs for
the topic "describe a place".
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (3)


Frida
y, February 26, 2016


IELTS Speaking: new video lesson I've just published a video at the bottom of
this webpage (speaking lesson 5). In the lesson, I prepare some good vocabulary for the topic "Describe an object".

I decid
ed that a "smartwatch" would be a good object to describe, but I also prepared a
description of an old "inherited watch" just in case the question asks you describe
something old.
Here are some 'band 7 -9' phrases that I used in my "smartwatch" answer:
• functions and features
• fashion accessory
• synchronise it with your computer and phone
• calendar notifications
• check my appointments and work commitments
• at a glance
• track your exercise goals
• the ultimate in portable devices
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Friday, March 04, 2016
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: describe an event I'v
e now published my latest video lesson (speaking lesson 6) at the bottom of this webpage
. In the lesson, I look at 4 types of event: 1.
party
2. festival
3.

sports event
4. concert or musical event
Which type of event would you find the most difficult to describe? Can you think of any
vocabulary 'themes' that could be used to describe any event?
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (12)

Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

Friday, March 11, 2016

IELTS Speaking Part 2: describe an activity Today I'm working on a video lesson about the "describe an activity" topic. You
might be
asked to describe a hobby, sport or game, so it's a good idea to be ready for this topic.
My approach is to prepare ideas for one sport (e.g. swimming) and one game (e.g.
chess). I start with a simple idea, such as "swimming is healthy". Then I search for good
words and phrases related to this theme. For example:
"Swimming is healthy" theme:
• keep fit
• get in better shape
• a good cardiovascular workout
• feel refreshed, rejuvenated, invigorated
• gives me an energy boost
Can you think of any more words and phrases for this theme?
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (23)

IELTS Speaking Part 2: describe your favourite
Have you prepared a description of your favourite film, book and website? I'm

making a video lesson about these topics at the moment, and I'm trying to think of some
vocabulary
themes. For the favourite website topic, I think we can say a lot about the
features and t
he website's usefulness. For the film or book, we can describe the plot, but can you think
of any other vocabulary themes for these topics?
By the way, my video lesson about the "describe an activity" topic will be ready later
today. Because of
the delay I'll make it fre
e. Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (8)


Friday, March 18,

2016
New video lesson (free) You can now watch my latest video lesson here. I hope you find it useful.
Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (9)



Friday, March 25, 2016
IELTS S

peaking: review of tips Here's a quick review of my main tips for each part of the speaking test:
Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

Part 1
Keep it sim
ple; there's no need to show off in this part. Give a short, direct answer and a
reason for your answer. Then stop. If necessary, smile at the examiner to show that you
are ready for the next question; if you keep speaking, the examiner will interrupt you.
Answer using full sentences, and try not to hesitate; just say the first thing that comes
into your head.
Part 2
Before the exam, prepare ideas for the six main topics
. Focus on vocabulary, not grammar or linking. In the exam, try to note down as many ideas as you can duri

ng the
1-minute preparation time - hopefully you'll be able to use ideas that you have already
prepared. You don't have to cover all of the points on the task card, but it helps you to
structure your answer if you do. Say as much as you can for each point, and use a real
example or story at the end of your description if you need to fill time. Keep going until
the examiner stops you.
Part 3
Practise "3-step" answers: 1) answer the question 2) explain your answer 3) give an
example. There's also a 4th step
that you can sometimes use. By following these steps, you ensure
that your answ
er "moves forward" instead of becoming repetitive - most
people repeat the same ideas when they try to give a long answer, and the steps will
help you to avoid this.
PS. I'll publish my next speaking video in the next few days.
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Frida
y, April 01, 201

6
IELTS Speaking Part 2: recent question Here's a recent part 2 task that a student sent me:

Describe a family (not your own fa
mily) that you like. You should say
how you know this family
who the people in the family are
what the members of the family are like
and explain why you like this family.
For this task, you could choose your neighbours, a friend's family, or even a famous
family. If you have already prepared a description of a person, try to adapt and use some
of the same ideas.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (13)


Thursda
y, March 31, 201

6
New video lesson I've just published a new video lesson at the bottom of
this website. In th
e lesson, I prepare vocabulary ideas for the topic area "Describe your favourite" in
IELTS speaking part 2. I also gi

ve two full sample answers.
Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (18)

Friday, April 08, 201
6
IELTS Speaking Part 2: preparing vocabulary My main tip for speaking part

2 is to prepare good vocabulary for common topics. This is
what I've done in each of my video lessons
for this part of the test. On the task card, the last bullet point always asks you to explain

why. This is the best
part of the question in terms of vocabulary preparation. Let's take the "describe a family"
question as an example:
Describe a family (not your own family) that you like. You should say
- how you know this family
- who the people in the family are
- what the members of the family are like
- and explain WHY you like this family.
Here are some ideas for the "why" part of this task: • friendly, kind, caring, big-hearted
• supportive, always there when you need them
• good role models, they set a good example
• welcoming, great hosts, their door is always open
Can you think of any more words or phrases to add to this list?
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (15)


Frida
y, April 15, 201

6
IELTS Speaking Part 2: outside the main topics Recently I've made video lessons about the 6 main topic areas for IELTS speaking part
2:
1. Descr

ibe a person
2. Describe a place
3. Describe an object
4. Describe an event
5. Describe an activity
6. Describe your favourites
But what do you do if the task in your speaking test isn't related to one of these main
topic areas?
This will be the subject of my next video lesson. Before I publish the lesson, can you
remember seeing any questions that didn't seem to fit into one of the 6 main areas?
Please share your examples in the 'comments' below this lesson.
Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

Note:
Please only share questions from a real test that you had, or from one of the
official IELTS books. Don't use questions that you've found on the Internet, or that a
teacher or another student has invented. Let's stick to real, reliable questions only.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | C
omments (30)


Saturday, April 16,

2016
Students' questions, and the wrong advice Here are two questions that a student (Javier) ask

ed in a 'comment' this week:
1. Is it correct to use personal examples to support my ideas? Some teachers told me I
shouldn't, because these examples are not objective or universal.
2. I used your "firstly, secondly, finally" structu re in one of my body paragraphs, but I
was told that I gave too many ideas, which were not well -supported.
Javier was given the wrong advice by his teachers. Here are my answers:
1. Below every IELTS writing question it says: "Give reasons for your answer and
include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience ". The
question tells us to use our own experiences, and there is nothing in the examiners'
marking system that mentions the need for 'objective' or 'universal' examples.
2. If the question a sks for 'advantages', 'problems', 'reasons' etc., you need to give
more than one. So it's fine to give three and use a "firstly, secondly, finally" structure!
People often forget that the topic sentence gives the main idea of the paragraph, and
the three points in a "firstly, secondly, finally" structure are supporting ideas.
Why do so many teachers give the wrong advice about IELTS writing?
I'll try to answer this tomorrow.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (12)



Frida
y, April 22, 201

6
IELTS Speaking Part 2: adapting your prepared ideas If you've prepared the
six main topics well, you should be able to adapt and use your prepared ideas for most questions. Take the following question, for example:

Describe a
beautiful sky that you watched
I would adapt my description of London (main topic: describe a place). I already have
some good ideas: the spectacular views, the skyline, the iconic buildings, the landmarks
etc. I could simply add that I watched the sunset from a 'vantage point' overlooking the
city centre. This question now seems a lot easier!
Have another look through the topics that people shared in the comments below last
week's lesson
, and think about whether you could adapt your ideas from one of the six main topics.
Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

Note:
Not every qu
estion can be answered by adapting the main topics. I'll cover some
possible solutions to this problem in my next video lesson.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (12)


Saturday, April 23,

2016
Online speaking practice People sometimes ask whether I know anyone who offers online speaking practic

e
through Skype.
One of my colleagues has set up a service that works in a similar way to Skype lessons.
If you would like to try an online speaking lesson with a one -to-one teacher, email me
(ieltssimon@gmail.com) and I will forward your message to my colleague.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink


Friday, April 29, 201

6
IELTS Speaking: new video lesson (free) I've just finished my final video lesson for IELTS speaking part 2. In this lesson I talk
about quest

ions that don't seem to fit into the six main topic areas.
To watch the video lesson click here . Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (27)


Friday, May 13, 201

6
IELTS Speaking: what's most important? Here are some factors that might affect your speaking score:

• fluency, n

ot hesitating too much
• linking
• answer structure / organisation
• ideas
• vocabulary
• grammar
• pronunciation
But which of these factors are most important? I'll give you my answer in a free video
lesson that I'll publish this weekend.
Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

Tip:
I'm going to suggest that you focus on a different factor (from the list above) in
each of the 3 parts of the speaking test.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (25)


Sunda
y, May 15, 2

016
New video lesson (free) I've just published my last video lesson for IELTS speaking. In the lesson
I gi
ve you a
method for part 3 of the speaking test. I also summarise my advice for all three parts of
the test.
To access the video lesson click here . Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (16)

Friday, May 20, 201

6
IELTS Speaking: main tip for 3 parts In case you missed the advice at the end of the
video lesson that I shared last week, here's my main tip for each of the 3 parts in the speaking test:

Part 1
Focus on fluency
. You

don't need to show off with great vocabulary or grammar in this
part. Just try

to answer quickly, without hesitating. A short, simple answer is fine.
Part 2
Focus on ideas / vocabulary . This is your best chance to impress the examiner with
s ome nice lan

guage, especially if you've prepared for common topics in the way I
suggest in my video lessons.
Part 3
Focus on your answer structure . Use the 3 or 4 steps that I explained in last week's
video. This will force

you to give longer answers without r epeating yourself. You don't
really have time to think about good vocabulary or grammar; just worry about answering
the question by following the steps.
Note:
Notice that I don't recommend worrying about grammar or linking at any point in the
speaking test . Finally, if you forget every other exam tip, just remember one
thing: answer the question
! Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (19)

Friday, June 03, 2016

IELTS Speak

ing Part 1: negative answers
Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

Here are my negative answers to the questions in last week's
lesson : 1) What type of photos do you like taking?

Well, I don't usually take photos to be honest. I prefer to enjoy whatever I'm doing, rather
than stop to take a photograph.
2) What do you do with photos you take?
I rarely take photos, but if I occasiona lly use my mobile phone to take a picture of
something, I just leave the photo there; I don't do anything special with it.
3) When you visit other places, do you take photos or buy postcards?
I don't really do either. I leave it to my friends or other family members to take
photographs; I'm usually with someone who likes taking photos and can share them with
me later.
4) Do you like people taking photos of you?
No, I prefer not to be in photos. I always feel awkward when someone asks me to smile
for the camera, and I don't think I'm very photogenic.
Note:
It's usually easier to give positive answers, but it's worth practising some negative
responses just in case you get a topic that doesn't interest you. Whatever the question
is, the easiest way to answer is to tell the truth!
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (13)


Friday, June 10, 2016

IELTS Speak

ing: use what you know In parts 2 and 3 of the IELTS speaking test, you need to make quick decisions abo

ut
what to talk about. Always try to talk about a topic you have prepared or something you
know about. Here are some examples:
Part 2: Describe a law in your country.
Advice: Choose a typical IELTS topic like "guns". Explain why people in your country can/can't own a gun, and talk about the pros
and cons of t
his law. There is a chapter on
this topic in my ebook.
Part 3: What new law would you introduce to improve life in your country?
Advice: Choose an easy topic like "environment". Explain that the government could introduce new laws to reduce p
ollution from factories, cars etc.
Explain how this would
improve people's lives.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (9)

Friday, June 17, 2016

IELTS Speak

ing Part 1: a student's question
Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

Someone asked me this question:

I was asked to describe my living room in IELTS speaking part 1. What style of answer should I give for this question?

Let's see wha
t people think. How would you answer this part 1 question?
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (46)

Frida
y, June 24, 2016
IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: using the task card People often ask me whether it is necessary to talk about all of the points on the tas

k
card in speaking part 2.
The answer is no. You won't lose any marks for missing some of the bullet points on the
ta sk card. There's nothing in the examiner's marking scheme about covering every point.
However, I do still advise people to try to cover each point. Here's why:
• The points on the task card help you to structure your description.
• They help you to move forward, rather than getting stuck on one idea.
• The points are 'prompts' that remind you what to say next.
• The final point is often a 'why' question, which will allow you to express your feelings,
opinions and reasons using some good descriptive language. It would be a shame to
miss this point.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (6)



Frida
y, July 01, 2016
IELTS Speak

ing Part 3: long answer practice Try using the 'long answer' technique from
this lesson to answer the questions below (from Cambridge book 11).
1.
Do you th

ink there are too many game shows on TV nowadays? Why?
2. Do you think that people pay attention to adverts on TV? Why?
I'll show you my answers next Friday.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (15)



Frida
y, July 08, 2016
IELTS S

peaking Part 3: sample answers Here are my sample answers to the questions in last week's less
on. I've use
d the 'long answer' steps
that I always recommend for part 3.
Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

1) Do you think there are too many game shows on TV nowadays? Why?

(answer) Yes,
there are far too many game shows on TV for my liking. (explain) I
suppose the channels show these programmes because they are popular, and they
must be very profitable. (example) A good example is 'Who wants to be a millionaire?',
which has been sold to TV channels across the world. (alternative) Personally, I'm not a
fan of game shows, and I'd much rather watch a film or an original drama series.
2) Do you think that people pay attention to adverts on TV? Why?
(answer) Yes, I think we are all influenced to some extent by TV adverts, otherwise
companies wouldn't pay so much to have them shown. (explain) Advertisers are very
good at making us believe that their products or services will improve our lives in some
way. (example) For example, if you see an advert for a new phone, it plants a seed in
your mind, and you start to wonder about upgrading your old phone.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (8)


Saturday, July 09, 2

016
IELTS Speaking: opinion phrases Here are 3 good phrases that I
used when giv
ing my opinion in yesterday's speaking
lesson. Try using them in your own sentences.
• too... for my liking (e.g. the weather is too hot for my liking)
• Personally, I'm not a fan of...
• I'd much rather do A (than B)
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (15)



Frida
y, July 15, 2016
IELTS S

peaking Part 1: 'house' topic Examiners often begin the speaking test by asking about your home. Here are s

ome
typical questions and sample answers.
1) Do you live in a house or an apartment?
I live in a semi- detached house with three bedrooms and a small garden.
2) Which room do you like most in your house? Why?
My favourite room is the kitchen because it looks out onto the back garden, and it's on
the side of the house that catches the afternoon sun.
3) Is there anything about your house that you would like to change?
Well, it would be nice if it were a detached house so that we could have windows on the
wall that we currently share with our neighbours.
4) Tell me something else about your house.
Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

The previous own
ers convert ed the loft into an extra bedroom; that's the quietest room in
the house, and the best place to go to do some work.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (9)


Sa
turday, July 16, 2

016
Students' questions about IELTS speaking Here are some questions that people have asked me about the speaking test recently,


with my answer below each one.
1) Should we use synonyms instead of words that the examiner used in the
question? For example, if the question is "Do you think your weekends are long
enough?", should I use synonyms for 'weekend' and 'long'?
You probably won't have time to think of synonyms or paraphrasing in the speaking test.
Also, if you try to paraphrase words like 'weekend' and 'long enough', you are in danger
of giving a very st range answer (don't say "My Saturdays and Sundays are sufficiently
lengthy"!!). Just answer the question in a natural way e.g. No, my weekends are too
short. I wish they were longer.
2) Do we need to cover every point on the cue card in speaking part 2?
No, you won't lose marks for missing one or two of the points. However, the points are
there to help you structure your answer, so I recommend that you try to use them.
3) Is it possible that the examiner will only ask six questions in part 1?
No. In part 1 the examiner must ask all of the questions on his/her question sheet, and
there will be around 10 to 12 questions in total.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking, Questions / Advice | Permalink |
Comments (5)


Frida
y, July 22, 2016
IELTS S

peaking Part 1: 'music' topic Practise giving short, simple answers to the following questions. Remember that
negative ans

wers are fine too.
1. Do you like music? Why / why not?
2. What kind of music do you listen to? Why?
3. Has the music that you listen to changed since you were young?
4. Do you think older and younger generations prefer different types of music?
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (23)



Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

Sunday, July 31, 2016
IELTS Speaking Advice: general or personal?
Here's a useful question from a student called Tuan:

.....
In the book '
Complete IELTS', it says that in speaking part 3 the examinee should talk
about the subject in general, not in a personal way.
Example question: How popular is art as a school subject?
The book advises me to say this:
On the whole, I think most children enjoy art, although they do seem to go off it a bit
when they get older. I guess that's to be expected.
The book says I shouldn't say this:
Well, in my primary school, children loved it. I loved making things, for example, and in
my secondary school, students hated it; we couldn't see the point when we had so many
other things to do.
Simon, do you agree with this advice?
.....
Here's my reply:
The examiner just wants to hear a good answer. If the question is general rather than
personal, like the example above, it makes sense to answer in a general way. It seems
strange to go straight into a personal example about your own primary school.
Howeve r, there is nothing wrong with including a personal example after giving a
general answer. I tell my students to follow three steps when answering part 3 speaking
questions: first answer the question (in a general way), then explain your answer, then
support your answer with an example (which could be a personal example).
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (6)


Friday, August 05,

2016
IELTS Speaking Part 3: think 'paragraph' In part 3 of the speaking test, you should try to give
longer, deta
iled answers. A good
way to do this is to imagine that you are making a paragraph.
Remember the 'paragraph building' techniques that we use in writing task 2:
Idea, explain, example Start with a direct answer to the question, like the 'topic s
entence' in
a written paragraph.
Then explain your answer in more detail, and support your explanation with an example.
Try answering this question: Do you think that it's important for people to go on
holiday?
Firstly, secondly, finally Start with the direct answ
e
r, then explain it by giving two or three reasons, and maybe
an example too.
Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

Try answering this question:
Why do yo u think some people prefer not to go abroad
on holiday?
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (23)

Frida
y, August 12,

2016
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'hurry' topic Here's an interesting part 2 question that someone sent me:

Describe a time when you had to do so
mething in a hurry.
You should say
- what you were doing
- when this was
- why you had to hurry
- and explain how you felt at that time
If you can remember a real example of a time when you were in a rush recently, use
that. Alternatively, you could try to adapt a topic that you have already prepared (e.g.
attending an event or celebration - you could say that you were late).
Feel free to share your ideas in the 'comments' area below. I'll continue with this topic
next week.
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Friday, August 19,

2016
IELTS Speaking: 'hurry topic' mistakes Here are some sentences that people shared below last week's
lesson. Can you find and correct the mistake(s) in each sentence.
1.
I made a hu

ge mistake, which hardly made me miss the flight.
2. I was very hurry to get back to that restaurant.
3. I was so stressed, even I forgot something that I needed to bring.
4. I had two days for research the information.
5. I had applied this job when I was still in my previous job.
6. I forget my admit card in file at home and I realise it when I reached the bus stand.
7. I remembered when I was studied in 9 grades, there was a final exam and I forgot it.
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Frida
y, September 02, 2016
IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: 'hur ry' answ
er
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Let's return to the 'hurry' question that I showed you a few weeks ago:

Describe a time wh en you had to do something in a hurry.
You should say
- what you were doing
- when this was
- why you had to hurry
- and explain how you felt at that time
Here's my sample answer:
• I’m going to talk about a time when I had to hurry to get ready for a trip with some
colleagues while I was working in a previous job.
• It was a Monday morning about five years ago. A group of us had to catch an early
flight, and a senior member of our department had volunteered to drive us to the
airport. I was supposed to be ready and waiting to be picked up from my home at
5.30am, and my colleague had asked me to look out for his car so that he didn’t have
to ring my doorbell.
• The problem was that I overslept. I had set my alarm, but somehow I must have
turned it off and carried on sleeping. Suddenly, at 5.30am, my doorbell rang and I
looked over at my alarm clock. I immediately realised what had happened, and I sprang
out of bed and got dressed in record time. I splashed some water on my face, quickly
brushed my teeth, and put my shoes on without properly tying the laces. Then I picked
up my suitcase and coat, and left the house.
• I can still remember the moment when the doorbell woke me up and I saw the time: I
was filled with a sense of panic and fear as I realised that my colleagues were waiting
outside. Then, when I left my house and walked towards the awaiting car, I felt so
embarrassed because it was obvious that I hadn’t bee n ready on time.
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Sa
turday, September 03, 2016


IELTS Vocabulary: phrasal verbs I used several phrasal verbs (e.g. pick up, look out for, turn off, carry on) in my
descriptio

n in yesterday's lesson.
These verbs look easy, but they are good examples of the kind of natural, idiomatic
language that native speakers use. The tricky thing about phrasal verbs is that you have
to learn what each one means; you can't understand them by translating the individual
words.
For example, I used "pick up" to mean "collect" (I was waiting for my colleague to collect
me), but "pick up" can also mean improve, learn quickly, or receive. Have a look at this page
on a grammar website. Can you see why phrasal verbs might impress the examiner if you use them correctly?
Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking, Vocabulary / Grammar |
Permalink | Comments (6)
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Friday, September 09, 2016

IELTS Speaking Part 2: describe your feelings The last bullet point on the task card for speaking part 2 usually asks you to descri
be
your feelings. Often, this last point contains the word 'why' e.g. explain why you liked...
So, it's a good idea to prepare some good words and phrases that help you to express
your feelings in a more interesting way. Instead of saying "it was nice", why not say "it
was an unforgettable experience"?
Study idea:
Go back through my speaking lessons and search for full sample answers for part 2 (like
the one I wrote last Friday
). Go to the last bullet point in my answer, and copy any words or phrases that I use to express feelings.
For example:

- I was f

illed with a sense of panic and fear
- I felt so embarrassed
- What I liked most about..... was...
- I was amazed at how...
- I enjoyed learning. ..
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Frida
y, September 16, 2016
IELTS Speak

ing Part 1: 'free time at home' topic Try giving short, direct answers to the following part 1 questions. Remember to answer
with a full

sentence, and give a reason where relevant.
1) How much time do you spend at home?
2) Do you prefer to spend your free time at home or outside the house?
3) What do you do when you have some free time and you're at home?
4) Would you like to have more spare time to spend at home in the future?
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Frida
y, September 23, 2016
IELTS Speak

ing Part 1: 'free time at home' answers Here are some example answers for the question
s that I shared last week. Rememb
er to
focus on fluency in part 1. Try not to hesitate; just say the first thing that comes into your head.

1) How much time do you spend at hom
e?
Obviously I sleep at home, but I don't spend very much time at home during th e day,
because I'm usually busy with work.
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2) Do you prefer to spend your free time at home or outside the house?
During the day I prefer to be
out of the house, so I like visiting family or meeting up with
friends. But I do like relaxing at home in the ev enings.
3) What do you do when you have some free time and you're at home?
I usually sit and watch some TV or a film, or I listen to some music. I also like sitting
outside if the weather is nice.
4) Would you like to have more spare time to spend at home in the future?
No, not really. I get bored if I'm at home for too long. In the future, I imagine I'll still prefer
to go out and do things rather than stay indoors.
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Friday, September 30, 2016

IELTS Speak

ing: 3 parts, same topic Some topics can appear in all 3 parts of the IELTS speaking test. Below you can see an
exam

ple using the topic of clothing. Have a look at my main tip
for each part before you practise answering.

Part 1
1) Are clo

thes and clothing fashions important to you?
2) What different clothes do you wear for different situations?
3) Do you wear different styles of clothes now compared to 10 years ago?
4) Do you think the clothes we wear say something about who we are?
Part 2
Describe a piece of clothing that you like wearing. You should say
- what the item of clothing is
- where and when you bought it
- when you wear it
- and explain why you like wearing it.
Part 3
1) For which jobs are people required to wear a uniform in your country?
2) Do you think people are treated differently when they are in uniform?
3) What are the advantages of making children wea r uniforms for school?
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Friday, October 07, 201

6
IELTS Speaking Part 2: prepare a 'theme' In my
video lessons for IELTS speaking part 2, I recommend that
you prepare vocabulary 'themes' for common topics. Let's look at an example.
Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

Describe a piece of clothing that you like wearing. You should say
- what the item of clothing is

- where and when you bought it
- when y
ou wear it
- and explain why you like wearing it.
The first idea that came into my head was to describe my coat. And the first idea that I
had about this coat was to say that it is useful or practical. So my 'theme' is useful /
practical, and I've brainstormed other words and phrases related to this theme.
Ideas related to the theme of a useful / practical coat:
• functional
• multipurpose
• hard- wearing material
• lightweight material
• various pockets
• a detachable hood
• waterproof
• it keeps me warm
• it comes in handy when…
• it’s perfect for carrying my…
• it folds up small enough to fit into my bag
Maybe you could brainstorm ideas in the same way, using the theme of
a comfortable or stylish piece of clothing.
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Friday, October 14, 201

6
IELTS Speaking Part 2: clothing answer Describe a piece of clothing that you like wearing. You should say

- what the item of clothing is
- where and when you bought it
- when y

ou wear it
- and explain why you like wearing it.
Here's my sample answer, using the vocabulary from last week's
lesson
: •
I’m going to describe a coat that I often wear at the moment. The coat is dark blue in
colour, a
nd it’s made out of a lightweight, waterproof material, which makes it perfect
for wearing at this time of year here in the UK. It also has a detachable hood, which I
used yesterday when it was raining, and various pockets on the outside and on the
inside.
• I bought the coat last year at the beginning of autumn when the weather started to get
colder. It was easy to buy because I had had the exact same coat before; my old coat
was starting to look a bit worn out, so I decided to buy a new version. As I knew which
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size I needed, I simply went online and found the best offer; I bought it through a
shopping
website, and it was delivered to my house a few days later.
• As I said, I’m wearing this coat a lot at the moment. It’s my everyday coat for going to
work or for when I go out shopping or for any other reason.
• The reason why I like this coat is that it’s so practical and functional. It’s waterproof
and it keeps me warm, but it also comes in handy for carrying things like my phone,
wallet, loose change, a pen, and even a notebook; I tend to fill my pockets with
whatever I can. It even folds up small enough to fit in my bag when I don’t need it.
Note: I missed out the words 'multipurpose' and 'hard -wearing material'. Can you
suggest how we could add these words to the des cription?
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Frida
y, October 21, 201

6
IELTS Speaking: you can't get a high score in part 1 On a recent course, some of my students were surprised when I told them to give
short, easy answers
in part 1 of the speaking test. One student asked: "But how can we get a band 7 with these answers?"

My answer is: you can't
! Part 1 of the speaking test is supposed to be easy, and the best
thing you can do in this part of the test is demonstrate fluency by answering without
hesitation.
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Friday, October 28, 201

6
IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'names' topic This is an interesting set of questions from Cambridge IELTS book 11:
Let's talk about names...

1) H

ow did your parents choose your name?
2) Does your name have any special meaning?
3) Is your name common or unusual in your country?
4) If you could change your name, would you?
Remembering the advice that I gave last week , try answering these questions (aloud) without hesitating too much. It's fine to give negative answers or to say that

you don't
know the answer, but you should still explain why.
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Friday, November 04, 2016

IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'name' answers Here are some sample answers for the 'name' questions that I shared last week.
Notice
that most of these answers are negative ones; it's completely acceptable to answer in
this way.
1) How did your parents choose your name?
To be honest, I'm not sure how they chose it; I've never asked them. I suppose it was
just a name that they both liked, and maybe they thought it suited me.
2) Does your name have any special meaning?
It might do, but I don't know what that meaning is; I've never looked it up. Maybe I'll
google it later today; you've made me curious to find out!
3) Is your name common or unusual in your country?
Yes, it's quite a common name. I remember that there were two other people with the
same name as me in my class at school.
4) If you could change your name, would you?
No, I definitely wouldn't. My name is part of my identity now, and it would feel strange to
suddenly change it. I don't think my friends and family would like that either.
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Frida
y, November 11, 2016

IELTS S

peaking Part 2: no need for eye contact When answering questions in parts 1 and 3, most people naturally make eye contact
wi

th the examiner (although it doesn't matter if you don't).
Howe ver, in part 2 you don't need to worry about eye contact at all . It's more important
to look at the question and the notes you made.
Remember: the examiner will not reduce your score for lack of eye contact, but
he/she will reduce your score if you don't answer the question well.
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Frida
y, November

25, 2016
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'proud' topic Here's another interesting part 2 task:
Describe something you did that ma

de you feel proud of yourself.
You should say
- what you did
- when you did it
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- why you felt proud of what you had done
- and explain how you felt when this happened.

Eas
y topics to choose could be: an academic achievement, a new job or achievement at
work, doing well in a competition, an achievement related to a hobby, an act of kindness
etc.
Before practising a full answer, you could prepare some good vocabulary on the theme
of 'achievement' or 'feeling proud'. Try searching for other words and phrases related to
these two ideas.
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Friday, December 02, 2016

IELTS S

peaking: improve the sentences Here are some sentences that people wrote in the 'comments' area below last week's
s

peaking lesson. Can you improve them by correcti ng mistakes or making other
changes?
1. That day is very special to me as I had won a great achievement.
2. I was proud that my hard work had been paid off well.
3. When I know that I got pass with distinction I never forget that day.
4. I had a short attention spand and lost interests in things quite easily.
5. I made the dream come true after concurred several difficulties.
6. I looked for an English teacher who would help me to correct my autobiography due
to I never write it in English before.
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Friday, December 09, 2016

IELTS S

peaking Part 2: vocabulary resources If you're preparing ideas for a question or topic area for part 2 of the speaking t

est, I
recommend starting with one or two key words or ideas. In my video lessons I call these
key ideas "themes".
When you have a theme, you can then search for good vocabulary related to that theme.
Here are two resources that will help you:
1. A thesaurus will give you synonyms and similar words. I use the thesaurus on my computer, but you'll easily find one online if your computer doesn't have a bu

ilt-in
dictionary.
2. The Oxford Collocation Dictionary will show you words that are often used together with your chosen word; so you'l

l be be able to use your words correctly in longer
phrases.
Let's use the 'proud' topic in this lesson as an example. First, I'll choose two "the
m
e" words: proud and achievement .
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From my
thesaurus , here are som e other words to describe being 'proud': - pleased

- glad
- deli

ghted
- overjoyed
- thrilled
And from the collocation dictionary, some phrases with the word 'achievement': - a great / major / outstanding / remarkable / tremendous achievement

- my proude
st achievement
- a feeling of achievement
- a sense of achievement
This is just the beginning of my 'theme preparation', but I'm already starting to gather
some nice vocabulary for m y description. In next Friday's lesson, I'll show you how I
include these ideas in a full answer.
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Frida
y, December 16, 2016
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: 'proud' answer Read my full answer to the 'proud' task below. If you have time, note down the good
wor

ds and phrases that you find.
Describe something you did that made you feel proud of yourself.
You should say
- what you did
- when you did it
- why you felt proud of what you had done
- and exp lain how you felt when this happened.
One of my proudest achievements was completing my undergraduate degree at the
university of ….. (name). The key moment that I remember was when I received my final
exam results; I was delighted to have passed with bett er scores than I expected.
I graduated from university in …… (year). As far as I recall, we received our final exam
results in May and the graduation ceremony was in July. Our exam scores for individual
course modules were posted on the noticeboard in the corridor of the university
department, and I remember getting into the lift in the department one morning, knowing
that I would soon see my results.
The particular moment when I really felt overjoyed and proud of what I had achieved was
when I saw my exam results on the department noticeboard. This was the precise point
in time when I realised that I had passed and that my hard work had paid off. I was
proud because I had overcome some setbacks earlier in the course, and I had proved to
myself that I could achieve my goals.
As I approached the department noticeboard I felt really nervous but also excited; I knew
that the moment of truth was just seconds away. And when I saw my final exam results I
was surprised, thrilled and relieved all at the same time. I didn’t shout out with joy, but I
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think I probably clenched my fist and said “yes” to myself. I certainly remember walking
back down th
e corridor with a spring in my step, feeling elated and knowing that four
years of study were finally over.
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Friday, January 06

, 2017
IELTS Speaking Part 3: 'home' topic Let's have a look at some part 3 questions from Cambridge IELTS book 11. I've
answered th

e first one for you. How would you answer questions 2 and 3?
1) How easy is it to find a place to live in your country?
Well, it depends on how much money you are able to spend and where exactly you want
to live. Of course, if you have the money, it’s very easy to find a place to live. However,
house prices have been on the rise in recent years, and it is becoming difficult for young
adults to buy their first homes, or even to pay rental prices in some areas, particularly in
central London.
2) Do you think it's better to rent or to buy a place to live in?
3) Do you agree that there is a right age for young adults to stop living with their
parents?
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (
31)


Friday, January 13

, 2017
IELTS Speaking Part 3: 'home' answers and structure Here are my answers to questions 2 and 3 from last week's lesson:
2)
Do you think it's better to rent or to buy a place to live in?
I think it’s better to buy your own home if you can afford to do that. Buying your own
home is a better investment in the long term, because you can sell the home and
perhaps even make a profit on it. The alternative is to pay rent to a landlord who can ask
you to leave at any moment.
3) Do you agree that there is a right age for young adults to stop living with their
parents?
I’m not sure what the ‘right’ age would b e, but I do agree with the principle that young
adults should try to live alone if they can. For some people, the right age is when they
get their first full-time jobs and can afford to pay rent, and for others it's when they start
university and move into a hall of residence with other students. This was what
happened in my case; I moved out of the family home at age 18 when I started
university.
Let's look at how I structured the above answers.
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Answer 2

Three sentenc es: 1) answer 2) explain 3) alternative
Answer 3
Three sentences: 1) answer 2) explain 3) personal example
As usual, I try to use the technique shown in this lesson to build longer answers. Posted by
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Friday, January
20,

2017
IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'chocolate' topic A student sent me the following part 1 questions from a recent IELTS test. How would
you answer t

hem?
1) Do you like chocolate? Why / why not?
2) What type of chocolate do you prefer? Why?
3) When do you usually eat chocolate?
4) Do people give chocolate as a present in your country? When?
Remember that it's ok to give negative answers if you don't like chocolate. Or you could
just pretend that you do!
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Frida
y, January 27

, 2017
IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'chocolate' mistakes Here are some of the answers that people wrote below last wee
k's lesson. Can you
c
orrect the mistake(s) in each sentence?
1. I like white and milk Chocolate, cause dark chocolate is taste bitter for me, I like
sweet one.
2. I adore all kind of chocolates and the reason behind this interest is that when I was
young, my father was always giving me chocolate as a prize for the good behavior.
3. I'd love all types of chocolate, but my favourite one is dark.
4. I am certain that I detest dark chocolate: it does not exite my palate.
5. I'm into chocolate just like most people. You know, it is hardly forgotten when you
have got access to it.
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Sa
turday, January

28, 2017
IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'chocolate' answers
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Here are my sample answers for the 'chocolate' topic. Remember that your priority in
s
peaking part 1 is to demonstrate fluency by giving answers that are short, direct and
natural, without hesitating too much.
1) Do you like chocolate? Why / why not?
Yes, I love chocolate. I like the taste, the texture and the feeling that you get when you
eat it. And it goes really well with my favourite drink, coffee.
2) What type of chocolate do you prefer? Why?
I prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate, because it has a stronger taste. I also like
chocolate when it's in a cake, and I love drinking hot chocolate too.
3) When do you usually eat chocolate?
I try not to eat too much, but I probably eat or drink something that contains chocolate
every couple of days.
4) Do people give chocolate as a present in your country? When?
Yes, it's very common to give boxes of individual chocolates as a gift. You can give
chocolates on any special occasion really: birthdays, Valentine's day, Easter, Christmas,
and so on.
Note:
To see my corrections for the sentences in yesterday's lesson, look in the "comments"
area below that lesson.
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Friday, February 0

3, 2017
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'busy' topic Here's a recent question that someone sent me:

Describe a time when you were re
ally busy. You should say
- when this was
- why you were so busy
- how you managed the situation
- and explain how you felt at the time.
Here are three topics that you could choose for this task: 1) finishing a work or study
project 2) preparing a big event like a wedding 3) going on a trip or holiday.
I'll show you my answer next week.
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Friday, February 10, 2017


IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'busy' answer
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Describe a time when you were really busy. You should say

- when this was
- why you were so busy
- how yo
u managed the situation
- and explain how you felt at the time.
Here's my full band 9 answer to this question:
• I’m going to talk about the time I left a university assignment until the last minute and
had to work flat out to get it finished. This was about ten years ago when I was doing
my Master’s degree.
• I had to do several 3000 -word assignments for the modules on my Master’s course,
but I remember that there was one in particular that I really struggled with. I had been
procrastinating and putting it off for weeks, and in the end I left myself just two days to
get the whole assignment done. This included finding and reading relevant books and
articles, deciding on my thesis and assignment title, and producing a final draft wh ich
had to be handed in to the department office before the deadline.
• The pressure of such a close deadline actually forced me to manage the task in a
really efficient way. My first step was to decide on the general area that I wanted to
write about, and t hen I limited myself to just ten research sources. I printed the most
relevant pages, highlighted the key paragraphs and made some notes to summarise
and synthesise the ideas that I found interesting. Finally, I just started writing the main
body of the as signment, and I wrote the title and the introduction last.
• I had mixed feelings at the time. I was annoyed with myself for leaving it so late to
get started on the assignment, but I was relieved and quite impressed with myself
when I managed to complete th e final draft so quickly. It was also quite stressful and
tiring to have to find articles, do photocopying and then write everything so quickly. I
wouldn’t want to go through that again!
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Sa
turday, February 11

, 2017
IELTS Vocabulary: less formal for speaking In the speaking test, you can use conversational (less formal) phrases that yo

u wouldn't
use in the writing test. Here are some examples from yesterday's lesson:
• leave something until the last minute
• work flat out (meaning: work hard without stopping)
• get something finished
• get something done
• one in particular that I really struggled with
• put something off (meaning: avoid doing it)
• in the end
• have mixed feelings about
• get started on something
• to go through it again (meaning: to do or experience something again)
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I also used some good words and phrases that would be suitable for both speaking
and
writing (i.e. this vocabulary is not informal): •
procrastinating
• producing a

final draft
• complete the final draft
• the pressure of such a close deadline
• manage the task in an efficient way
• I limited myself to just ten research sources
• summarise and synthesise
• I was relieved and quite impressed with myself
The vocabulary in the two lists above might not seem 'diff icult', but it's the kind of natural
"native-speaker" language that will impress the examiner. That's why I gave the answer
a band 9.
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Vocabulary / Grammar |
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Frida
y, February 17, 2017


IELTS Speaking Part 2: recent questions Here are three recent questions that someone sent me:

1. Describe
a café that you have been to.
2. Describe an important event in the history of your country.
3. Describe an occasion when you spent some time with a child.
How would you answer these questions? Can we use any ideas from topics that we
have previously prepared?
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Friday, March 03, 2017
IELTS S

peaking Part 3: 'reading' topic Here are some questions from Cambridge IELTS 11. Each of my answers contains three
sentences and

follows the method suggested in this lesson
. Are the any occasions when reading at speed is a useful skill?

Personally,
if I’m reading something interesting, I don’t like reading too quickly because I
feel that I don’t properly absor b the information. However, it can be useful to skim
through things when you don’t really want to read them, or when you just need to find
one particular piece of information. For example, I read at speed when I'm checking a
household bill or a letter from the bank.
Are there any jobs where people need to read a lot? What are they?
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Well, researchers obviously need to read a lot, and I suppose that politici
ans, journalists
and other professionals who need to know about current affairs read a lot too. Having
said that, I think most workers read hundreds of emails every week. In my previous job,
for example, I had to check internal staff emails at least twice a day.
Do you think that reading novels is more interesting than reading factual books?
Why is that?
Bo th types of book can be equally interesting in my opinion. A good novel can transport
you to another world where the characters in the book become almost real. On the other
hand, factual books can give you fascinating insights into anything from psychology to
ancient history.
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Friday, March 24, 2017
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: 'cafe' topic Let's prepare an answer for the question below.

Describe a café that you have bee
n to.
You should say
- where it is
- why yo u went there
- what you ate or drank
- and explain why you liked or disliked the café.
If you've seen 'Speaking lesson 4' in my video course
, you will already have some good vocabulary for describing a restaurant and the staff in a restaurant e.g. welcoming

,
inviting, warm, approachable, attentive, nice atmosphere, make you feel at home... I'm
sure we can use some of these words and phrases to describe a café.
I'll show you my answer next week.
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Frida
y, March 31, 2017
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: 'cafe' answer Describe a café that you have been to.

You should say
- where it is
- why you went there


- what you ate or drank
- and explain why you liked or disliked the café.
Here's my sample band 9 answer:
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I’m going to describe a café that I go to maybe once a week. It’s just down the road
from where I live, near M anchester, so it’s really convenient for me to walk down there
for a coffee or a bite to eat, and t o use the wifi.
• The last time I went to this local café was on Friday afternoon. I was trying to do some
work at home, but I found myself getting distracted by little jobs around the house. So I
decided to have a change of scenery; I put my laptop in its bag and made the short
walk to the café, where I spent the next few hours getting all of my work done. With a
nice cup of coffee and just the right level of background noise, I found it much easier to
concentrate.
• Over the course of the afternoon, I drank two cups of coffee and a glass or two of
water. The café owner takes a lot of pride in making the best ‘flat white’ coffee in the
area, so that’s what I tend to drink. If I remember correctly, the second coffee that I
ordered was a decaf, because I try to avoid drinking too much caffeine in the afternoon.
I didn’t have anything to eat on that occasion, but I do sometimes have one of the
home-made cakes that they sell.
• There are a few reasons why I like going to my local café. I suppose the main reasons
are the coffee, the free wifi and the friendly staff. However, on Friday I also managed to
sit at my favourite table near one of the windows, and the café wasn’t very busy. So the
atmosphere and noise level were just right, and I was able to focus on my work without
distractions for most of the afternoon.
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Frida
y, April 14 , 201

7
IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'holidays' topic Here are some recent part 1 questions that a student shared. Try to answer each
ques

tion using just one sentence: give a direct answer and a reason.
1. Do you like holidays? Why / why not?
2. Do you prefer to travel or stay at home during holiday periods? Why?
3. What do most people do during their holidays in your country? Why?
4. When do you prefer to take your holidays? Why?
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Frida
y, April 21, 201

7
IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'holidays' answers Here are my sample answers for the questions that I asked you to look at last week. As
usual, my par

t 1 answers are short and simple.
Remember that the priority in part 1 is to answer "fluently", not to show off your best
language (you can do that in parts 2 and 3).
1) Do you like holidays? Why / why not?
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Yes, I love holidays because I get the chance to take a break from work, to rel
ax and
unwind, and to spend time with my family.
2) Do you prefer to travel or stay at home during holiday periods? Why?
If I can I prefer to travel. It's nice to get away from everything and to have a change of
scenery. Also, I like v isiting new places and doing some sightseeing.
3) What do most people do during their holidays in your country? Why?
During the summer especially, I think most British people go somewhere hot and sunny,
to escape from the British weather!
4) When do you prefer to take your holidays? Why?
I like taking my holidays just outside the main summer season, which is July and August.
If you go on holiday in May, June or September, everything is cheaper and places aren't
so crowded with tourists.
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Frida
y, April 28, 201

7
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'happy' vs 'laugh' Can you see a difference between the two tasks below?

1. Describe

an experience or situation that made you happy . 2. Describe an experience or situation that made you laugh.
Do you think you could talk about passing an exam for the
second task ab
ove?
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Friday, May 05, 201

7
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'happy' vs 'laugh' Last week I asked you about the difference between the following tasks:

1. Describe

an experience or situation that made you happy . 2.
Describe an experience or situation that made you laugh. The first task is easy because you can describe any positive situation or exp

erience e.g.
passing an exam, a special occasion, some good news, or even a time when someone
told you a joke or a funny story.
The second task is a bit more specific. If you describe a positive experience like passing
an exam, the examiner might not be convinced that you've understood the question
properly. Did you really laugh when you passed the exam? Was it funny? I think the
examiner would be expecting you to describe a funny situation like I did in this lesson
. Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (10)
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Friday, May 12, 2017
IELTS Speak
ing Part 3: longer answers Do you remember my advice about how to give longer answers in part 3?

• Answer the ques

tion directly
• Explain your answer (ask your self why)
• Give an example
• Mention an alternative or opposite answer
Example question Do you think the seasons still influence people's behaviour?

Example answ
er (direct answer)
Yes, I do think the seas
ons still affect how we behave. (explain
how) We still wear different clothes depending on the weather, and clothes shops
change what they sell according to the season. We also adapt our habits and daily
routines according to the time of year. (example) For example, people in my country like
to eat outside in their gardens in the summer, but we can't do that during the other
seasons. (opposite) On the other hand, I don't think we notice the change in seasons
when it comes to food; the big supermarkets import food from aroun d the world, so most
people don't buy seasonal fruit and vegetables any more.
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Friday, May 19, 201

7
IELTS Speaking Part 1: robots and shoes! I was looking through the recent questions that student
s share here, and
I noticed some interesting part 1 questions that I haven't seen before:

'Robots' topic:
1. What

do you think of robot s?
2. Did you watch any cartoons related to robots in your childhood?
3. Do you like the idea of robots helping you at home or driving your car?
'Shoes' topic:
1. Do you like to buy expensive shoes?
2. When you buy shoes, do you prefer convenience or style?
3. Why do you think some people buy many pairs of shoes?
4. Have you ever bought shoes online?
Has anyone else had these topics in the speaking test? How would you answer these
questions?
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Friday, May 26, 2017

IELTS Speaking Part 1: strange topics, easy answers Don't worry if the questions in part 1 of the speaking test seem strange. Just gi
ve a
direct answer and a reason as usual. For example:
'Robots' topic:
1. What do you think of robots?
I think robots are a clever idea. I'd love to have a robot that could speak to me and do
things for me!
2. Did you watch any cartoons related to robots in your childhood?
I can't remember watching cartoons with robots, but I remember that I liked the robots in
films like Star Wars.
3. Do you like the idea of robots helping you at home or driving your car?
Yes, definitely. It would be great to have a robot helper at home, and I like the idea of
driverless cars - I think driving would be safer if cars were controlled by robots.
..........
'Shoes' topic:
1. Do you like to buy expensive shoes?
No. I tend to buy average-priced shoes because I'm more interested in comfort than
expensive brands.
2. When you buy shoes, do you prefer convenience or style?
I mainly look for comfort and convenience. But obviously I consider the style too,
because I do choose shoes that match the clothes I wear.
3. Why do you think some people buy many pairs of shoes?
I suppose they either like following the latest fashions, or they want a pair of shoes to
match all of the different clothes or outfits that they have.
4. Have you ever bought shoes online?
No, I haven't. I always like to try shoes on before I buy them, to make sure that they fit
properly and feel comfortable.
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Friday, June 02, 2017

IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: 'good service' topic A student sent me this recent exam question:

Describe a ti
me when you received good service in a restau rant or cafe.
You should say
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- when this was
- what kind of restaurant or ca
fe you were in
- why you were there
- and why you thought the service was good
I think I've already written some sample answers (about a restaurant and a cafe) that
could easily be adapted to this question. Can you find those answers here on the blog?
Try searching the blog using the method suggested here
. Posted by
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Frida
y, June 09, 2017

IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: 'theme' vocabulary One of the suggestions that I make in my
video lessons is that you prepare "theme" vocabulary for IELTS speaking part 2. Let's look at a theme that could help us with

the
task below.
Describe a time when you received good service in a restaurant or cafe.
You should say
- when this was
- what kind of restaurant or cafe you were in
- why you were there
- and why you thought the service was good
We could use the "friendly" theme from speaking lesson 4 in my video course. Here's the
vocabulary that I suggested for that theme:
"Friendly" theme (e.g. staff in a restaurant)
• welcoming, inviting
• warm, approachable
• polite, thoughtful, attentive
• great atmosphere
• make you feel at home
• the service was excellent
• nothing was too much to ask
• an unforgettable evening
Can you write a description that includes all of the words and phrases above?
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Frida
y, June 16, 2017
IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: 'good service' answer Last week I gave you a list of "theme" vocabulary for the question below.

Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

Describe a time when you received good service in a restaurant or cafe.
You should say

- when this was
- what kind of res
taurant or cafe you were in
- why you were there
- and why you thought the service was good
Here's my sample answer with the theme vocabulary underlined:
• I’m going to talk about the service we received in a restaurant where a friend of mine
celebrated his birthday last Saturday evening.
• My friend had decided to book a table in a local Italian restaurant for the party. It was
a small, family-run place, but this made it feel all the more wel coming and inviting. The
atmosphere was great and the serv
ice was excellent. •
As I mentioned, I went to the restaurant because a friend had invited me to celebrate
his birth
day there. There were about ten of us there - mostly people I’ve known since
univers ity - and it was really nice to catch up with them and chat about what we had all
been up to since we last got together.
• The service was good because the restaurant staff and owners really made us feel at home. From the moment we walked in, the waiters
wer
e polite, approachable and attentive; nothing w
as too much to ask. They brought out a cake with candles and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to my friend, although we hadn’

t
asked them to do this, and the restaurant owners kept checking whether we were
happy with eve rything, which was thoughtful of them. All in all, the delicious food, good company and friendly service made it an unforget

table evening. Posted by
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Frida
y, June 23, 2017
IELTS Speak

ing Part 3: 'customer service' topic Let's have a look at some part 3 questions that might follow on from the part 2 task t

hat I
answered last week . Try using the method shown in this lesson
when a
nswering. 1. How important is customer service for you?
2.
What can c

ompanies do to improve their customer service?
3. Why do you think employees sometimes don't provide good customer service?
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Frida
y, June 30, 2017
IELTS Speak

ing Part 3: answer, explain, example My sample answers below all follow a 3-step structure: answer, explain, example. I
sometime
s

add a 4th step that you can see here , but the first 3 steps are the most important. Practise answering all part 3 questions in this way.
1) How important is customer se
rvice

for you?
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(Answer)
Customer service is really important for me because I like to feel welcome and
valued as a customer. (Explain) If companies want us to use their products or services, I
believe they should treat us well and therefore encourage us to return. (Example) For
example, I have a favourite cafe where I like to go, and the friendly staff are the main
reason that I’ve become a loyal customer.
2) What can companies do to improve their customer service?
(Answer) I think managers need to train their employees to deliver great customer
service. (Explain) There are lots of things that staff members can do, such as ensuring
that customers are greeted in the right way, their problems are handled quickly, and they
are asked for feedback. (Example) For example, the staff in my favourite cafe greet
customers as soon as they come through the door, and they always check that we are
happy before we leave.
3) Why do you think employees sometimes don't provide good customer service?
(Answer) When employees’ treatment of customers isn’t good, I think it’s usually
because they are unhappy doing their jobs. (Explain) This might be because they are
treated badly by their managers, or because they haven’t been encouraged to take pride
in their work. (Example) I remember in my first ever job, for example, I didn't like the
work that I was given, and so I probably wasn’t as thoughtful or attentive as I should
have been when I had to speak to customers.
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Frida
y, July 07, 2017
IELTS S

peaking Part 3: finish strongly! By the end of speaking part 2, many IELTS candidates are exhausted and just want t

he
exam to end. Consequently, they don't do as well as they could in part 3.
Ever since I noticed this problem as an examiner, I've told my students to make sure that
they master the 3-step (or sometimes 4-step) method that I s howed you last Friday
. Practise answering as many questions as you can using the "answer, explain, e

xample
(alternative)" method. If you can get into the habit of following these steps, you'll finish
the speaking test strongly and make a good final impression on the examiner.
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Friday, July 14, 2017
IELTS S

peaking Part 1: five simple rules Part 1 of the IELTS Speaking test is supposed to be easy. You don't need to give
'difficult' answers, a

nd you should try to avoid making mistakes.
Here are five simple rules for Speaking Part 1:
1. Keep your answers short, then stop with confidence.
2. Answer the questions using full sentences.
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3.
Use words from the examiner's question in your answer.
4. If poss
ible, give a reason for your answer.
5. Don't forget to say "yes" or "no" when necessary.
Here's an example to illustrate these points:
Do you like parks?
Yes, I like parks because they are great places to relax. If you live in a city, a park is
often the only place where you can escape from the noise and the traffic.
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Frida
y, July 21, 2017
IELTS S

peaking Part 1: 'numbers' topic In last week's speaking lesson I gave you 5 simple rules for your part 1 answers. Here
are som
e more example ans
wers in which I follow those rules:
1) Do you have a favourite number or a number that is special to you?
Yes, my favourite number is... because it's the day I was born on, and it's my lucky
number.
2) Do any numbers have special importan ce in your country?
Yes. The number 7, for example, is supposed to be a special number in my country. It
appears in so many places, like the seven days of the week, the seven main notes in
music, and the seven ages of man that Shakespeare described.
3) Are you good at remembering numbers? Why / why not?
No, I'm not very good at remembering numbers. I don't think it's necessary to learn them
by heart; I just save them on my phone.
4) What numbers do people often have to memorise?
The most important number to remember on a daily basis is the pin number for your
bank card. Without this you can't pay for anything or get cash out.
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Friday, August 04,

2017
IELTS Speaking: the importance of part 2 Students often ask me what will happen if they do badly in part 2 of the speaking t

est. Is
it still possible to get a high score?
Yes, in theory, it is still possible to get a reasonably high score (maybe band 7) if you do
badly in part 2, but you would need to giv e excellent answers in part 3. In practice,
candidates rarely recover from a bad part 2; I don't remember anyone who made a mess
of part 2 but suddenly did a fantastic part 3.
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My advice:
You should cons ider part 2 as the core of your speaking test. It's yo ur best
chance to show how good your English is, and it's the examiner's best chance to listen
carefully to your use of language. In fact, it's probably the point at which most examiners
get a clear idea of what score to give you.
The good news is that you can prepare for part 2. Click here
to get started! Posted by
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Friday, August 11,

2017
IELTS Speaking: real opinions and experiences Some students are worried about expressing their real opinions in the speaking t

est.
They think that the examiner might disagree and therefore give a lower score.
Don't worry about this. The examiner only cares about your language. Express your opinions, talk about your interests, and give examples from your own experien

ce. The
examiner will find 'real' opinions and experiences more interesting than general,
superficial answers.
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Frida
y, August 18,

2017
IELTS Speaking: 3 parts, same topic A useful way to practise IELTS speaking is to work on one main topic that might appear
in a

ll three parts of the test. For example, take the topic of "television":
Part 1 questions:
1. Do you like watching television?
2. How much time do you spend watching TV programmes?
3. What types of programmes do you prefer? Why?
4. Do you think it's bad for children to watch television?
Part 2 task:
Describe a television programme that you enjoyed watching. You should say
- what type of TV programme it was
- where you watched this programme
- what the programme was about
- and why you enjoyed watching it.
Part 3 questions:
1. Why do you think television is so popular among people of all ages?
2. Do you think people will watch less television in the future?
3. Do you see television as being educational or just a form of entertainment?
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Friday, August 25, 2017
IELTS Speaking Part 3: analyse my answer
If you've read my advice about how to answer part 3 questions, you'll be able to ana
lyse
the answer below. Can you comment on the way I've organised or "built" the answer,
and point out any good vocabulary and/or grammar? You should find several verb
tenses, for example.
Do you think people will watch less television in the future?
Yes, I do think people will watch less television in the future, although that doesn't mean
that they will watch fewer programmes or spend less time looking at screens. What I
think will happen, and it's already happening, is that people will watch things on the
Internet, through websites like YouTube. To use a personal example, I used to watch TV
in the evenings, but now I often choose to stream videos, films and TV series through
my computer instead.
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Friday, September 01, 2017

IELTS Speak

ing Part 1: finish my sentences How would you finish my answers to the questions below?

1) Do you like watching television
?
Yes, I like watching television, especially in the evenings, because.....
2) How much time do you spend watching TV programmes?
On an average day, I watch..... and..... , so I probably watch about.....
3) What typ es of programmes do you prefer? Why?
My favourite types of programmes are..... and..... because.....
4) Do you think it's bad for children to watch television?
Maybe too much television would be a bad thing, but I think that.....
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Frida
y, September 08, 2017
IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: be ready to adapt If you've prepared ideas for the six main topic areas in part 2, are you also ready to
adapt those ideas if the topic is slightly different?

For exampl
e, if you've prepared a description of a family member, would you be able to
use some of the same ideas to describe a famous person? Or if you've prepared a
description of a film, would you be able to use some of the same ideas to describe a
book or an advertisement?
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My tip: when preparing the topics, think about
'theme la nguage' and then think about how you could adapt your ideas for similar tasks.
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Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (4)

Frida
y, September 15, 2017
IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: 'countryside' topic Here's a recent question that a student told me about:

Describe an enjoyable day
out in the countryside that you had.
You should say
- where you went on this day out
- who you were with
- what you did
- and explain why you enjoyed the day
Feel free to share your ideas in the comments area below this lesson. I'll continue with
this topic next Friday.
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Friday, September 22, 2017

IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: 'countryside' vocabulary Before we try the 'countryside' task that I shared in last week's lesson
, let's see if we can find some good ideas to help us. There are plen
ty of tourism websites w
ith descriptions
of places to visit in the countryside, so we should be able to "steal" some nice phrases.
I searched online for descriptions of a real place that I've visited, called the "Tissington
Trail". Here are some words and phrases that I found:
• following the route of a former railway line
• transformed into a recreational trail
• ideal for walkers, cyclists and horse riders
• mostly flat, with a few dips and gentle inclines
• passes through a picturesque / charming village
• takes you through a historic railway tunnel
• an eerie sound installation in the tunnel
• the whistles and clunks of a steam train
• tearooms and picnic areas
• a dramatic limestone ravine
• stunning scenery
• fantastic views
• an abundance of colourful wild flowers
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a feeling of peace and tranquility
• breathe in
the fresh air
• traffic-free, and away from the hustle and bustle
I'll try to use some of these phrases in my full answer.
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Frida
y, September 29, 2017
IELTS

Speaking: correct the mistakes The following sentences were written by students below
this lesson, and describe an enjoyable day in the countryside. But can you find and correct the mistake(s) i

n each
one?
1. If I have chance to go there, I love to visit there again soon.
2. I took too many beautiful pictures on my camera. 3. It's about 80 km far from the city. 4. I am going to talk about one day that I have spent in the countryside on May.
5. It was a countryside near to my city, where some relatives were living there.
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Vocabulary / Grammar |
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Frida
y, October 06, 201

7
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'countryside' answer Describe an enjoyable day out in the countryside that you had.

You should say
- w

here you went on this day out
- who you were with
- what you did
- and explain why you enjoyed the day
Here's my sample answer for the task above. I've tried to use most of the phrases
from this lesson . I’m going to describe a recent trip to a lovely place called the Tissington Trail. The
Tissington Trail is a path or track t

hat follows the route of a former railway line through
beautiful countryside in the county of Derbyshire, here in the UK. The old railway line
was taken up many years ago, and it was transformed into a recreational trail that is
ideal for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
I went to the Tissington Trail because we had some family members, my brother and
sister-in-law and their daughter, staying with us over the weekend. They had come up to
Manchester from London, and they wanted my wife and me to take them somewhere
where they could breathe in some fresh countryside air and get away from the hustle
and bustle of the city.
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To reach the trail
we had to park in Tissingto n itself, which is a charming, picturesque
village. We hired some bicycles there and set off along the trail. It was an easy ride
because the trail is mostly flat, with just a few gentle dips and inclines, and we were able
to enjoy the stunning scenery as we passed through areas of woodland, a dramatic
limestone ravine, and grassy meadows that were covered with colourful wild flowers.
The part of the day that I enjoyed the most was when we cycled through a historic
railway tunnel on our bicycles. The tunnel has been fitted with a sound installation that
plays eerie steam train noises as you pass through it; we all loved the idea that the
sounds transport you back in time, and that you feel like you’re on an old steam train
with its whistles and clunking machinery. It was a really nice day out, and we all enjoyed
relaxing in the village tearoom at the end of our bike ride.
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Friday, October 13, 201

7
IELTS Speaking Part 3: 'countryside' topic After the part 2 task about the countryside
, the examiner would move on to some related questions in part 3.
How would yo
u answer the questions below?
1. What advantages does living in the countryside have, compared to living in a city?
2. Have areas of countryside in your country changed since you were a child?
3. Do you think that visits to the countryside should be something that schools offer to
their children?
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Frida
y, October 20, 2

017
IELTS Speaking Part 3: 'countryside' answers Here are my sample answers to the questions that I shared last week.

1. What advantages does living in the countrys
ide have, compared to living in a
city?
I think there are some clear advantages to living in the countryside. First, with the clean
air and lack of traffic or industry, countryside areas are much healthier places than the
average city. Another benefit would be the sense of community that comes with living in
a small village where everyone knows each other. Finally, it seems to me that the pace
of life in the countryside is slower, and the people are more laid back and f riendly,
compared to the hustle and bustle and the stress of city life.
2. Have areas of countryside in your country changed since you were a child?
No, they haven’t changed very much where I live. The reason for this is that countryside
areas close to Manchester tend to be protected, and so construction is not allowed. For
example, I live quite close to an area called the Peak District, and nothing seems to have
changed there since I was young; the hills, paths and woodland areas are just as they
were.
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3. Do you think that visits to the countryside
should be something that schools
offer to their children?
Yes, I think it’s a great idea for schools to take children on trips to the countryside,
especially if those children live in a large town or city. A visit to the countryside can be
both relaxing and educational; children can go for walks in the fresh air, and at the same
time see animals and plants that they may never have seen before. If schools don’t offer
this opportunity, some children will never see l ife outside the city.
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Frida
y, October 27, 201

7
IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'health' topic Let's have a look at some questions from Cambridge IELTS book 12. I've answered

the
first two questions; can you answer the others in the same simple, direct way?
1. Is it important to you to eat healthy food?
Yes, I prefer to eat healthy home -cooked food, rather than fast food or pre -prepared
meals, because I want to stay fit and healthy as I get older.
2. If you catch a cold, what do you do to help you feel better?
I usually take paracetamol tablets, and I sometimes buy a nasal spray or cough
medicine. It also helps to stay at home and relax.
3. Do you pay attention to public information about health?
4. What could you do to have a healthier lifestyle?
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Friday, November 03, 2

017
IELTS Speaking: pauses and hesitations A student asked me for advice about avoiding pauses and hesitations in the spea

king
test. So here are some tips:
• First, don't worry too much about this. It's normal, even for native speakers, to pause
or hesitate to some extent. The more you worry, the more likely you are to hesitate.
• Don't "overthink". If you're thinking about grammar, linking or using "difficult" words,
you're more likely to hesitate. Just focus on answering the question with the first idea
that comes into your head.
• Slow down. Many candidates speak too quickly; hesitation or repetition occurs
because their brains can't work fast enough to keep up.
But here's the main piece of advice: practise! Make yourself a collection of IELTS speaking questions (from this site or from the
Cambridg
e b

ooks), and practise answering them without hesitating.
Visit this website for more IELTS Practice Tests

And don't just practise this once. Go through your list of questions many times (every
day if nece
ssary), and you'll find that you gradually improve, both in terms of the quality
of your answers and in terms of fluency and lack of hesitation. Maybe you could even
record yourself, perhaps once a week, so that you can analyse your own performance.
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Friday
, November 10, 2017
IELTS Speak

ing Part 1: 'rain' topic Here are some part 1 questions that a student sent me. I haven't seen this topic bef

ore,
so it's a good one for us to practise.
1) Do you like rain? Why / why not?
2) Do you think that rain affects people's mood?
3) Does it often rain where you live?
4) Have you ever been caught in the rain without a coat or umbrella?
Can you give a short, simple, direct answer with a reason for each question, without
making any mistakes? Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (19)


Saturday, November 11, 20

17
IELTS Grammar: 'rain' topic mistakes The following sentences were written by students below yesterda
y's lesson. Can y
ou
correct or improve them? 1. Yes, I like when it rains. Because it makes the weather awesome.
2. People say environment affects mood and I am with this.
3. After few seconds it started raining and I was beaten heavily.
4.
Taichung, my city only rain in summer. 5. I don't like the rainy day, when it is dropping on my face, let me feel sticky.
6.
I've got caught in the rain several times so far as I got nothing to cover me at that time.
Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking, Vocabulary / Grammar |
Permalink | Comments (13)


Frida
y, November 17, 2017
IELTS S

peaking Part 1: 'rain' answers Here are my answers to the 'rain' questions from last Friday's lesson. Remember: there's
no need to show o
f

f in this part of the speaking test, so short, simple answers are best.
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1) Do you like rain? Why / why not?
No, not at all. It rains far too often in Manchester, where I live, and I'm fed up of it; I wish
we had more sun!
2) Do you think that rain affects people's mood?
Yes, definitely. I think rainy days and grey skies can be a bit sad and depressing
. Where I live, people are much more cheerful when the sun comes out.
3) Does it often rain where you live?
Yes, unfortunately it does. As I said, Manchester is known for bein

g a rainy place; you can't trust the weather here, because it can cloud over and start raining at any m

oment. 4) Have you ever been caught in the rain without a coat or umbrella?
Yes, many times. Just last week I went out without an umbrella a
nd got soaked
; I did have a coat on, but it didn't really help.

Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (9)

Sa
turday, November 18, 20

17
IELTS Advice: part 1 speaking technique Did you notice how I answered each question in yesterday's lesson? Her
e's the first part
of e
ach of the four answers:
- No, not at all.
- Yes, definitely.
- Yes, unfortunately it does.
- Yes, many times.
After answering with these short phrases, I then explained my answers in more detail,
using full sentences.
I think this is a nice technique that you could try. Start with a short "yes or no" answer
(e.g. yes I do, no we don't, yes it certainly is...), and then explain your answer fully.
Perhaps this technique will give you a few extra seconds to think before you give your
full answer.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking, Questions / Advice | Permalink |
Comments (6)


Friday, November 24, 2017

IELTS S

peaking Part 2: place of entertainment A student sent me this recent exam question. How would you answer it?

Describe a
place of entertainment (e.g. theatre, cinema, sports centre) that you would
like to have where you live. You should say
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- what this place would be
- where it
should be
- whom it would be for, or who would use it
- and why you think this place of entertainment is needed
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (20)


Friday, December 01, 2017

IELTS S

peaking Part 2: 'sports centre' answer Reading t
he comments below last week's lesson, I can see that almost everyone chose to describe a sports centre. So here's my sample 'sports centre' description:

• T

he place of entertainment that I wish we had close to where I live is a sports centre.
My ideal sports centre would have a gym, swimming pool, indoor and outdoor football
pitches, courts for tennis, badminton and squash, and an all-purpose area for things
like gymnastics and circuit training.
• I can think of the perfect place for this facility: There’s a disused piece of land just
down the road from where I live, where an old warehouse was knocked down. It’s near
to the main road and the train station, so it would be easy for people to get to. There
are plans to build houses on this plot of land, but I think a sports centre would be much
better for local residents.
• The good thing about a sports centre is that everyone can use it. There could be
sports lessons and clubs for children and teenagers - things like swimming lessons and
football team practice sessions. I’m sure many adults in my local area would join the
gym, use the pool, and book the courts for games of tennis or badminton. The centre
could even hold sports events, such as competitions, that would attract spectators as
well as participants.
• I think we need a good sports centre where I live because people currently have to
travel to the next town if they want to find some of the facilities, activities, lessons and
clubs that I’ve mentioned. I think a sports complex would give young people, in
particular, something fun and productive to do in the evening and at weekends. Playing
sport keeps people healthy and makes them feel happy, so I think a sports centre
would brighten up my local area and improve our quality of life.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (2)



Frida
y, December 15, 2017
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: plant, flower or tree Her
e are two tasks that are similar to a recent exam question:
1) Descri
be a plant, flower or tree that is famous or important in your country.
You should say
- what type of plant, flower or tree it is
- where it grows or is usually seen
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- how it is used in y
our country
- an d why it is famous or important
2) Describe a plant, flower or tree that you like.
You should say
- what type of plant, flower or tree it is
- where it grows or is usually seen
- when you first saw it
- and why you like it
The two tasks are almost the same, so let's choose the same plant, flower or tree for
both. Which one would you choose to describe? You'll see my choice next week.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (9)


Frida
y, December 29, 2017
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: planning time In part 2 of the speaking test you are given 1 minute to plan some ideas before you s

tart
speaking. Most people find it difficult to prepare good ideas in such a short time.
But what would happen if you had 5 minutes or even 10 minutes to plan your ideas?
Would the extra planning time help you to prepare a much better answer? I think it
should.
When practising at home, it's useful to experiment with the amount of planning time that
you give yourself. For example, I'm going to give myself 10 minutes to plan ideas for
the
describe a plant
task. I'll show you my plan in tomorrow's lesson. Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 30, 20

17
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 10-minute plan Yesterday I suggested that you try giving yourself more time to plan your

part 2 answers.
I tried giving myself 10 minutes to prepare ideas for the task below.
Describe a plant, flower or tree that is famous or important in your country.
You should say
- what type of plant, flower or tree it is
- where it grows or is usually seen
- how it is used in your country
- and why it is famous or important
Here's my 10-minute plan:
• Oak tree, specifically the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest, a famous tree, tourist
attraction, perhaps 1000 years old, huge trunk and branches.
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Oaks grow all over the country, in parks etc., a common tree in England. Major Oak in
Sherwood for est near Nottingham, unusual to see one so large, wide and thick.
• Oak furniture, building beams, strong, reliable wood e.g. I have an oak table and
wardrobe at home. Major Oak is a tourist attraction, people visit to marvel at it e.g. I
went there on a school trip as a child.
• Oaks symbolise history, strength, solidity, reliability, often used in building names e.g.
Oak House. Major Oak was supposedly Robin Hood’s hideout, one of the biggest of
this type of tree, old, historic, mythical status, legendary, Britain’s favourite tree,
important to the local tourism industry.
Notice that I took ideas from this reading task. I'll use the plan above when I give my f
ull sample answer in next Friday's lesson.
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Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (12)


Frida
y, January

05, 2018
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'tree' description Here's the question that we've been looking at recently:

Describe a plant, flower or tree t
hat is famous or important in your country.
You should say
- what type of plant, flower or tree it is
- where it grows or is usually seen
- how it is used in your country
- and why it is famous or important
And here's my answer, using the plan from this lesson
: •
I’m going to talk about oak trees, and I’ll also describe a specific example of a famous
oak tree called the Major Oak
. This is a huge tree in Sherwood Forest; it’s thought to
be around 1000 years old, and I’d probably say that it’s the most impressive tree that
I’ve ever seen.
• Oaks are very common in England; they can be seen in fields and areas of woodland
in the countryside, but they are also commonly found in parks and gardens in towns
and cities. The Major Oak is in Sherwood Forest, which is near Nottingham. It stands
out from the other oak trees because its trunk and branches are so wide and thick.
• The wood from oak trees is used to make furniture; for example, I have an oak table,
wardrobe and various other pieces of oak furniture at home. Oak is a strong and
reliable wood that has traditionally been used in construction, for beams and other
parts of the framework of h ouses and other buildings. The Major Oak obviously hasn’t
been used in this way; it’s a tourist attraction that people visit and marvel at. For
example, I went to see it on a school trip as a child.
• The oak tree is important in England because it symbolises history, strength and
reliability - probably because of its traditional role in construction. The Major Oak is
famous for a completely different reason: it was supposedly Robin Hood’s hideout, so it
has a kind of legendary or mythical status because of the stories that are associated
with it. For this reason, and because of its age and unusual size, the Major Oak has
become known as Britain’s favourite tree.
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Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (5)


Frida
y, January 12
, 2018
IELTS Speaking Part 2: three grammar points Let's look again at the description of a tree that I shared in last Friday's
le
sson. I've already listed the good vocabulary from the description
here, so let's focus on
grammar. Here are three grammar points from my description:
1) I used a

variety of verb tenses
• Future: I'm going to talk about / I'll also describe
• Present simple: This is / they are / I have / it symbolises
• Past simple: I went, it was
• Present perfect: that I've ever seen
2) I also used some passives • Present: it's thought to be, they can be seen, they are commonly found, wood is
used, stories are associated with it
• Present perfect: has traditionally been used, hasn't been used, has become known
3) I used pronouns to refer back to nouns already used
• a tree called the Major Oak. This is..., it's thought to be... •
Oaks are very common... they can be se
en... •
Sherwood Forest , which is •
a wood that has tradi
tionally been used •
The oak tree is important... because it symbolises... its traditional role •
The Major Oak is famous... stories tha
t are associated with it Posted by
Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (0)


Frida
y, January 19

, 2018
IELTS Speaking Part 3: status symbols Do you know what a "status symbol" is? Here are some questions that you coul

d try
answering.
1. In yo ur country, what possessions are considered "status symbols"?
2. Do you think we place too much importance on possessions?
3. Do you think things were different 50 years ago?
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (12)




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Saturday, January 20, 2018

IELTS Speaking Advice: if you don't understand What would you do if you didn't understand the phrase "status symbols" (see yester
day's
questions)? Would you guess, or would you ask the examiner?
The good news is that it's fine to ask the examiner for a bit of help in part 3 of the
speaking test (but not in parts 1 or 2) . So here's what you could say:
"Sorry, I'm not sure what you mean by status symbols."
The examiner will then try to ask the question in a different way, and the fact that you
didn't und erstand these two words won't affect your score.
Posted by Simon in IELTS Speaking, Questions / Advice | Permalink |
Comments (12)



Friday, January 26

, 2018
IELTS Speaking: 'status symbols' answers Here are the questions from last Friday, with my sample answers below. Notice tha

t all
of my answers contain three sentences.
1) In your country, what possessions are considered "status symbols"?
2) Do you think we pl ace too much importance on possessions?
3) Do you think things were different 50 years ago?
1) Answer, examples, explain:
The typical status symbols in my country are things like big houses, expensive luxury
cars or sports cars, and anything made by certain brands. For example, a new Ferrari or
a Rolls Royce or a Rolex watch would definitely be considered status symbols. I
suppose the reason why these possessions are seen in this way is because you have to
be very wealthy to buy them, so they show other people that their owner is rich and
successful.
2) Answer, explain, example:
Probably, yes. Many people are obsessed with showing off their new mobile phone or
wearing the latest fashions. I think it's a problem for teenagers because there's a lot of
peer pressure to follow fashion or buy the latest gadget that their friends have got.
3) Answer, example, further explanation:
Yes, maybe people were less materialistic, and I think they bought things that lasted
longer. For example, my grandparents always talked about how they repaired things
rather than throwing them away. Maybe brands and advertising weren't as powerful as
they are now.
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Friday, February 02, 2018

IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'public transport' topic A student sent me the following exam questions. How would you answer them?
1.
Do you us
e public transport? Why / why not?
2. Which type of public transport do you prefer? Why?
3. How good is the public transport where you live?
4. Do you think people shou ld use public transport more? Why / why not?
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Frida
y, February 09, 2018


IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'public transport' answers Here are my answers to the questions that I showed y
ou last Friday:
1) Do yo
u use public transport? Why / why not?
These days I mostly drive, and the main reason is that my usual journeys are much
faster by car. For example, the half-hour drive that I do twice a week would take me
three times as long by train and bus.
2) Which type of public transport do you prefer? Why?
I definitely prefer the train. I like being able to stroll up and down, and on some trains I
can book a seat with a table and a socket, so that I can do some work.
3) How good is the public transport where you live?
It's quite good. There's a train station not far from my house, and it's a direct line straight
into the city centre. There are lots of bus routes too, and there's even a tram network in
the centre of Manchester.
4) Do you think people should use public transport more? Why / why not?
Yes, as long as it's convenient for them. Public transport is obviously more
environmentally friendly than private cars, so we could reduce air pollution by using it
more.
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Friday, February 16, 2018


IELTS Speaking Part 2: public transport We looked at some part 1 questions about public transport
last week, so let's continue with the same topic but in part 2 of the test.

Try speakin
g for 2 minutes about the following:
Describe a time you travelled by public transport. You should say
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- what type of public
transport you used
- where you travelled from and to
- what you did during the journey
- and explain how you felt about travelling in this way
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Friday, February 23, 2018


IELTS Speaking Part 2: tell an anecdote An anecdote is a "short amusing or interesting story about a real incident" (accord

ing to
my computer's dictionary). If you can think of an anecdote in part 2 of your speaking test,
you'll find the task much easier.
Exercise:
Look again at t he 'public transport' task in last Friday's lesson
. Can you think of an amusing or interesting story about a time you used public transport?
Advice:

For a

dvice about telling anecdotes, have a look at
this website
. Example:

My public transport anecdot
e will be about a train journey that I took for work reasons. I
was expecting a nice, relaxing trip, but the train filled up with football fans going to a big
match. I'll share my full answer next Friday.
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Friday, March 02, 2018
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: public transport anecdote Describe a time you travelled by public transport. You should say
- what type of

public transport you used
- where you travelled from and to
- what you did during the journey
- and explain how you felt about travelling in this way
I've tried to give my answer (below) in the form of an 'anecdote':
I’m going to describe a train journey that I took last year between Manchester and
London. I’ve made the same journey many times, but I’ll never forget this particular time
because something happened that I wasn’t expecting.
It was a Sunday morning and I was due in London that afternoon. There was no traffic at
all as I drove in to Manchester, and I was expecting a nice, peaceful trip on a half -empty
train. But my first surprise came when I tried to print my prepaid ticket at one of the ticket
machines: there wasn’t a reserved seat number on my ticket, which meant that I would
have to find an available seat. I was still wondering about this when I heard loud voices
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and singing coming from
the main statio n concourse. Suddenly I realised what was
happening - I was going to be on a train full of football fans travelling to a big match!
Luckily I managed to find a seat before the train filled up. However, the noisy fans made
sure that I couldn’t concentrate on any work; I couldn’t even read the newspaper without
being interrupted by laughter, singing and football stories. In the end, I just sat and
relaxed with a cup of coffee, watching and listening to the excited fans.
All in all, it wasn’t a bad journey; I love travelling by train and at least I had a comfortable
seat so that I could sit back and relax for a couple of hours. I would have preferred a
quieter trip, but the football fans were all friendly and good-natured, so I can’t really
comp lain. Even so, I made sure that I avoided them on the way home later that day!
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Friday, March 09, 2018
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: useful vocabulary Here's a list of useful vocabula
ry from las
t week's 'journey' description. First, some collocations:

took a journ

ey, made a journey
• a bad journey •
a peaceful trip, a quieter trip •
a half-empty train •
a prepaid ticket •
an available seat •
loud voices •
the station concourse •
football fans •
a big match •
find a seat •
noisy fans, excited fans, friendly fans, good-natured fans •
a comfortable seat And some nice phrases for stories:

I'll never forget this particular time •
something happened that I wasn't expecting •
It was a (Sunday) morning •
I was due in (London) •
But my first surprise came when... •
I was still wondering about this when... •
Suddenly I realised what was happening •
Luckily I managed to •
In the end, I just...
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All in all, it wasn't (a bad journey) •
I would have preferred •
Even so, (I made sure that...) Try using some of the phrases above when telling your own stories.

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Frida
y, March 16, 2018
IELTS S
peaking Part 3: common question types Here are 3 common question types that the examiner could ask you:

1. Compare a

nd contrast
2. Give an opinion
3. Imagine
For example, if the topic is 'cities', the examiner might ask:
1. How is lif e different in cities compared to rural areas? (compare )
2. How do you think life in big cities could be made easier? (opinion )
3. What do you think cities will be like in 50 years time? (imagine)
In my answers below I've underlined a few 'markers' that show comparisons, opinions
and future predictions.
1. Firstly, the cost of living in cities is much higher. Housing is much more expensive in cities compared to rural areas; everything costs more. I think life in cities is more
difficult. There are more people, so th
ere's more c
ompetition for jobs. Life is a
lot slower in rural areas, everyone knows each other and there's a sense of community. I don't think rural areas experience the social problems that you find in cities, like crime
and homelessn

ess.
2. In my opinion cities need to be well-planned. Good public transport can definitely make life easier because there are so many people and it can be really stressful ju

st to
move around. Public areas like parks are also important because people need space to relax, and I think
citie
s should be made into healthier places to live and work. 3. I imagine cities will be less polluted because we'll have electric cars and better public
transport. More people might
work from home so
maybe cities won't be so busy. But I think there will probably

still be problems because more and more people are migrating
to cities. So I'm not so optimistic about issues like crime, homelessness and unemployment.

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Frida
y, March 23, 2018
IELTS S

peaking: read, record, compare Try this exercise:
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First, take one of my sample answers for any speaking question (part 1, 2 or 3). For
example, you could use the first a
nswer in last Friday's lesson
. Read my answer a few times and try to remember it.
Next, hide my

sample answer and try to answer the question yourself, using as much of
my answer as you can remember. Record yourself giving the answer.
Finally, listen to the recording and compare your answer with my original answer. Did
you make any mistakes or miss anything? If you have time, transcribe the recording so
that you can analyse your answer more closely.
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Friday, March 30, 2018
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: 'ideas' practice In this lesson
I suggested that you spen d some time thinking
of ideas for writing task 2. You could follow the same advice for speaking part 2: take a list of questions, and spend
some time br

ainstorming ideas for each one.
For example, here's a short list of speaking part 2 tasks:
• Describe a ha ppy childhood memory.
• Describe a present that you received as a child.
• Describe a food that you enjoyed eating when you were a child.
• Describe a favourite toy that you had when you were a child.
• Describe a game that you enjoyed playing as a child.
Notice t hat all five questions are about the topic of "childhood" - it might help to focus on
one main topic area. Don't worry about giving full answers for now; just spend some time
noting down your ideas and memories.
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| Comments (2)



Friday, April 06, 201

8
IELTS Speaking Part 3: "For example..." In part 3 of the speaking test, you should try to give longer, more detailed answers.

A
great way to do this is by giving an example.
However, I've noticed that students often forget to give an example, even when I've just
told them to answer using the three steps: 1) direct answer 2) explain 3) give an
example.
Here's the solution to this problem: when answering in part 3, force yourself to say the
words "for example". When I force my students to say these words, they always manage
to find an example, and the result is that they always give better answers. Try it: just
force yourself to say the words "for example", and see what happens.
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Friday, April 13, 2018
IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'art' topic
How would you answer the following questions, which come from Cambridge IELTS
book
12 (test 8)?
1. Did you enjoy doing art lessons when you were a child?
2. Do you ever draw or paint pictures now?
3. When was the last time you went to an art gallery or exhibition?
4. What kind of pictures do you like having in your home?
Remember: One sentence is enough. Just give a direct answer and a reason.
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Frida
y, April 20, 201

8
IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'art' topic, negative answers Have a look at my answers to the four questions below. My aim was to demonstrate that
it's fine to

give negative answers in part 1 of the speaking test.
1. Did you enjoy doing art lessons when you were a child?
No I didn't. I was never very good at drawing or painting, and I found art lessons quite
slow and boring. I preferred language and science lessons.
2. Do you ever draw or paint pictures now?
No, I don't draw or paint these days, because there's never any need for me to create art
at work, and I still don't enjoy art as a hobby.
3. When was the last time you went to an art gallery or exhibition?
I honestly can't remember the last time I went to any kind of art exhibition; I'm not much
of an art fan, and I tend to go to music concerts, the cinema or the theatre instead of art
shows.
4. What kind of pictures do you like having in your home?
I don't have any paintings or artistic images in my home, but I do have photos of family
members and some nice photos of landscapes on the walls to brighten the place up.
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Frida
y, April 27, 201

8
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'art' topic We looked at some part 1 questions about 'art'
in last Friday's le
sson, so let's look at the same topic in part 2 of the speaking test.

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Describe a piece of art (a painting, drawing, sculpture or decorative object) that yo
u
like. You should say
- what the piece of art is
- where and when you saw it
- what it looks like or what it shows
- and explain why you like this piece of art.
Tip:
Maybe you're worried that you don't like a rt or you don't have any ideas for this topic. But
the task doesn't tell you to describe a famous piece of art. It would be fine to describe a
picture that you drew yourself, or perhaps something that a child (a family member) drew
at school.
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Frida
y, May 04, 201

8
IELTS Speaking Part 3: conditional questions There's only one conditional question among the part 3 discussion topics in Cambr

idge
IELTS book 12:
What would life be like if people didn't have to work?
This question is asking you to imagine a different reality. Some teachers call this type of
sentence a 'second conditional' (if + past simple + would + infinitive).
Can you answer the question with at least one correct conditional sentence?
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Friday, May 11, 201

8
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'maths lesson' topic A student wrote to me this week to tell me that he was given the following part 2 task in
his IELTS speaking test:
Describe so

mething important that you learned in a maths lesson at primary school.
The student who wrote to me found this task difficult. What do you think? Has anyone
else had this task in a recent exam?
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Frida
y, May 18, 201

8
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'maths lesson' answer Here's the task that I showed you last week:
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Describe something important that you learned in a maths lesson at primary sc
hool.
And here's my sample answer:
• I’m going to talk about learning the multiplication tables for the numbers 1 to 12, which
I remember doing in the penultimate year of primary school, when I was maybe 9 years
old. As children, we called these the ‘times tables’.
• As far as I remember, we started with the number 2, and we learnt to multiply this
number by each of the numbers from 1 to 12. Our teacher taught us to go through the
tables speaking aloud; for example: 1 times 2 is 2, 2 times 2 is 4, 3 times 2 is 6 etc. We
gradually worked our way through the tables for all of the numbers, and we learnt the
answers by heart. I think the teacher also gave us regular tests to make sure that we
had learnt the tables properly.
• I’m not sure whether I really understood at the time why it was important to learn the
‘times tables’ by rote. But I think I enjoyed the challenge, and I was keen to get good
marks in our tests. I also liked my teacher and wanted to do well for her.
• Many years later I realise how important it is to have the basic multiplication tables
ingrained in my mind. It’s useful to be able to do quick calculations without having to
think. Recently, for example, I needed to multiply 6 by 7 for some reason - I can’t even
remember why - and the answer 42 just popped into my head. Another instance that I
can think of is when I’m calculating bill payments, earnings and savings over a 12-
month period, and I find myself using the ‘12 times table’. In these situations, I’m glad
that my primary school teachers were so insistent about learning to multiply by heart.
Note:
I didn't have the full question, so I decided to tell a story in my own way. Did you learn
any useful words or phrases from my description?
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Sunda
y, May 20, 2

018
IELTS Vocabulary: from speaking part 2 Here's a list of the good phrases from Friday's speaking lesson. See if you can us

e them in your own description of a maths lesson.


multiplication tables •
times tables (informal) •
the penultimate year •
as far as I remember •
we gradually worked our way through •
learnt the answers by heart •
learn by rote •
keen to get good marks •
ingrained into my mind •
do quick calculations without having to think •
the answer just popped into my head
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another instance that I can think of •
bill payments, earnings and savings over a 12-month period •
teachers were so insistent about
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Frida
y, May 25, 201

8
IELTS Speaking: how to prepare Here's a quick summary of my advice for IELTS speaking preparation.
Part 1

Make yourself a list of p

art 1 questions. Practise going through the full list, giving a
simple one-sentence answer for each question. Record yourself and listen to your
answers. A im to answer without hesitation to demonstrate fluency. If you repeat this
process every day, you should see improvements.
Part 2
Prepare sample answers in written form for the six main topic areas
. Ask a teacher or native English speaker to help you to improve your descriptions, by correctin

g mistakes
and adding better vocabulary ideas. Practise those six descriptions until you can
'perform' them without needing to read your notes. Record yourself, analyse your
performance and keep practising and perfecting until you have really mastered the six
topics. Then move on to other less common topics and try to do the same.
Part 3
Make you rself a list of part 3 questions. Practise going through the list, giving 3-step answers
. Force yourself to give a direct answer, explanation a
nd example every time. When this way of answering starts to feel easy and natural, because you've created a


habit, you can experiment with
4-step answers . Record
yourself, analyse your answers and repeat the process. Don't move on to any new questions until you feel that you'v

e
'mastered' your original list.
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Frida
y, June 08, 2018
IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: 'saving money' topic Here's a recent exam topic that a few people told me about:

Describe a time when you saved
up some money to buy something special.
You should say
- what you wanted to buy
- why you wanted it
- how you saved your money
- and explain how you felt when you finally bought the item.
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I've written several lessons about the 'describe an object' topic,
here, here and here for example. Maybe you could take som
e of my ideas and adapt them to the task above.
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Frida
y, June 15, 2018
IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: ideas for last week's topic Last Friday I asked you to think about the topic
below.
Descr
ibe a time when you saved up some money to buy something special.
Here are some ideas from one of my video lessons (speaking lesson 5 on
this webpage
). In the lesson I describe a 'smartwatch' and suggest the following vocabulary 'themes':

Electronic watch 'features' th
eme
• smartwatch
• synchronise with phone / computer
• contacts, photos, emails
• store music
• receive notifications
• search the web
• it responds to voice commands
• make ‘contactless’ purchases
• track exercise goals
• fashion accessory
Electronic watch 'useful' theme
• various features and functions
• organise my life
• work, appointments, social life
• check calendar at a glance
• set reminders and notifications
• practical, functional, convenient
• the ultimate in portable devices
• instant access to…
• couldn’t live without it
I'm sure you could use some of this vocabulary to describe "something special that you
saved money to buy".
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Friday, June 22, 2018

IELTS Speaking Part 3: money topic Here are some part 3 questions that could follow on from the part 2 topic that we sa
w in
a lesson
two weeks ago: 1.
Why is it important for people to save some of their money?
2. In your

view, should children be taught how to manage money?
3. Do you think that girls are better at saving money than boys?
Try to answer with a minimum o f three sentences: answer, explain, example.
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Saturday, June 23, 2
018
IELTS Grammar: correct the mistake
s Here are some sentences that people wrote below yesterday's lesson. Can you cor

rect
the mistakes or ch ange the sentences to improve them? 1.
By giving some pocket money to a kid for a fixed period of time can help with planning and being responsible for the choices.
2.
Personally, Everyone should set money aside just because it will help them to achieve their lo
ng-term goa
ls. 3. I have always reminded by my parents to save something for the rainy day.
4.
One should manage financial well so as to get the things they want. 5. It is also said that save something for rainy days.
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Simon in

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IELTS Vocabulary: if you use an idiom...
Look at these two phrases from yesterday's lesson.
Are they correct? •
save something for the rainy day •
save something for rainy days The answer is no. Both phrases contain a mistake.
The c
orrect form is this: save (something) for a rainy day If you use an idiom, you need to
get it exactly right. Even a sma
ll mistake in an idiomatic expression makes it sound strange and completely wrong.


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Frida
y, June 29,

2018
IELTS Speaking: pronunciation In the IELTS speaking test, 25% of your score is for pronunciation. Many st
u
dents
confuse 'pronunciation ' with 'accent'. These are not the same thing!
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Nobody expects you to speak with a perfect British English accent. In fact, the examiner
will not judg
e your accent at all.
Your pronunciation score is based on these things:
• clarity (speaking clearly)
• speed ( not too fast, not too slow)
• word stress •
sentence stress •
intonation (the rise and fall of your voice)
I
t's not easy to improve these things quickly or through deliberate practice. Good
pronunciation is usually the result of lots of listening and copying. My tip is: stop worrying
about your accent, and focus on speaking clearly.
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Frida
y, July 06, 2018
IELTS S

peaking Part 3: 'money' answers Here are my (band 9) sample answers to the 'money' questions that I shared a few
w

eeks ago.
1. Why is it important for people to save some of their money?
In the long term I think it's important to save for retirement, but it's also a good idea to
have a certain amount of money saved so that you can deal with unexpected problems
in the less distant future. For example, I've learnt to put some money aside for car
repairs, and this came in useful recently when I needed to have my car's brake pads
changed. If I hadn't had savings, the cost of getting my car repaired could have sent me
into the red.
2. In your view, should children be taught how to manage money?
Not at school, no. I believe it's the job of parents to gradually teach children that kind of
thing, or perhaps there's no need for anyone to teach children about money because
they learn about it naturally as they grow up. For example, I remember being given
money to buy sweets or an ice cream when I was a child, and I soon learnt what I could
afford and what I couldn't.
3. Do you think that girls are better at saving money than boys?
I've never thought about that before. I don't see any reason why girls would be better
savers than boys or vice versa. I suppose it depends more on the personality of each
individual and what their interests are. For example, a child who likes cheap toys might
not think about saving, whereas a child who wants to buy something expensive, like a
bike or a games console, might summon the willpower to save up!
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Sunday, July 08, 2018
IELTS Vocabulary: from the 'money' topic
Here are some good phrases from the answers in Friday's speaking lesson:

in th
e long term
• save for retirement
• have a certain amount of money saved
• deal with unexpected problems
• in the less distant future
• put some money aside (= save some money)
• to come in useful
• be in the red / go into the red (be / become overdrawn)
• there's no need for
• I remember being given money
• I don't see any reason why
• or vice versa
• summon the willpower
Note:
The phrase 'in the red' means overdrawn (i.e. your bank account is showing negative
numbers). Do you know what the opposite of 'in the red' is? Click here
to find out.
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Frida
y, July 13, 2018
IELTS S

peaking: advice about grammar and vocabulary It's difficult to think about grammar when you're trying to speak. I think it's much easier to
improve your

vocabulary score than your grammar score.
Remember:
• Grammar is o nly 25% of your speaking score.
• If you are thinking too much about grammar, you will lose fluency.
• If you try to use memorised grammatical structures, your speech will not sound
'natural'.
• You will not avoid small grammar mistakes unless you have lived in an English
speaking country for many years.
I've taught many students who have achieved a score of 7 or higher, and they all made
small grammar mistakes. They got their high scores because we focused on vocabulary,
ideas, opinions and fluency.
Have a look through my speaking lessons, and you'll notice that the focus is usually on
vocabulary.
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nts (6)

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Friday, July 20, 2018
IELTS Speaking: a tip for each part
Here are three tips, one for
each part of the speaking test.
Part 1: stop and smile
For part 1 of the speaking test, you need to get used to giving short answers. Many
students find it difficult to stop speaking, and the examiner is forced to interrupt. My tip is
to give your answer then stop and smile, showing the examiner that you are ready for
the next question.
Part 2: tell a story
In the context of speaking part 2, a story is simply a long example to illustrate a point
that you have made. If you’re describing a person, for exampl e, you could tell a story to
illustrate why you like him/her. People find it easy to keep speaking for longer when they
have a story to tell.
Part 3: include an ‘if...’ sentence
Look at technique number 2 in this lesson . The 'alternatives' technique helps you to say more, and it also encourages you to add a conditional 'if...' sentence, which m

ight help
your grammar score.
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Frida
y, July 27, 2018
IELTS S

peaking Part 1: 'walking' topic Remember to keep your part 1 answers short and 'to the point'. Here are my exa

mple
answers for some questions about walking:
1. Do you like walking?
I'm not one for going on really long walks in the countryside, but I don't mind walking
when I'm in a town or city, for example when I'm sightseeing in a new place.
2. Do you think walking is important?
Yes, I think it's important to be active, and walking is the most basic physical activity that
we can do.
3. Do you think walking in the countryside is better than walking in the city?
Personally, no. As I said before, I like walking in the city, especially if it's somewhere
with a lot of history like London or Paris.
4. What could be done to improve the experience of walking in cities?
I suppose the main issues are space and safety. Pavements need to be wide enough to
accommodate lots of pedestrians, and we need safe places to cross the street.
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Friday, August 03, 2018
IELTS Speaking: how examiners decide on scores
Here's a rough guide to how examiners decide what scores to give in the speaki
ng test.
At least, this is how I used to approach scori ng when I was an examiner.
I'll look at part 1 of the speaking test today, and then I'll cover parts 2 and 3 over the
weekend.
Speaking Part 1 Examiners are aware that part 1 questions are quite easy, and that candidates wi

ll only
be able to give relatively short answers. Therefore, they are not expecting to hear any
"super -impressive" language at this stage.
Instead, I believe that examiners are getting an overall impression of the candidate's
ability in the following areas: pronunciation, avoiding mistakes in simple / easy
sentences, answering without too much hesitation, speaking fluently without too much
repetition.
Tip: Candidates perform better if they focus on answering fluently. Easy answers are
fine; just make them as fluent and natural as possible.
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Saturday, August 04

, 2018
IELTS Speaking: scoring (continued) Continuing from yesterday's lesson, here's my quick guide to how examiners judge
c

andidates' performance in part 2 of the spe aking test.
Speaking Part 2 Part 2 gives the examiner a chance to really
listen to the candidate
's English. When I
was an examiner, I used to imagine that I had my eyes closed (of course I didn't actually
close them) so that I could concentrate only on what I was hearing.
In this part of the test, the examiner can judge all aspects of performance. But above all,
I believe that part 2 is the candidate's best chance to impress the examiner in one key
area: vocabulary (lexical resource). In order to give a high score, the examiner needs to
hear some 'less common' and 'idiomatic' vocabulary. In simple terms, this means that
candidates need to use some phrases that a native speaker might use in a normal
conversation.*
Tip: Part 2 is your best chance to impress the examiner with good language. But I don't
mean 'complex grammar' and lots of fancy linking words. Focus on giving an interesting
and detailed description that contains a range of relevant words and phrases.
*I'll say more about 'less common' and 'idiomatic' vocabulary next Friday.
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Sunday, August 05, 2018
IELTS Speaking: scoring and part 3
Let's consider what an examiner might be thinking during part 3 of the speaking test.

Speakin g Part 3 After part 2 of the speaking test, the examiner probably has a pretty good idea of t

he
candidate's level. Part 3 is useful because it allows the examiner to probe a little deeper
to make sure that he/she is right. For example, if the examiner is unsure about what
score to give for grammar, he/she might choose a question that requires the candidate
to compare the past with the present (i.e. using different tenses), or a question that
requires the candidate to imagine something (perhaps using a conditional).
When I was an examiner, I used part 3 as an opportunity to push candidates a little
harder. I tried to get them to open up, express themselves, and explain their opinions. In
other words, I was giving them a final chance to impress me with some good English.
This is what you should tr y to do.
Tip: Don't let your energy or effort level drop after part 2. Do your best to leave a good
impression on the examiner. This technique
will help you. Note:
I'll come back to yesterday's point about 'less common' and 'idiomatic' vocabulary
in next Friday's less
on.
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Frida
y, August 10,

2018
IELTS Speaking: less common and idiomatic Last
week (see lessons from Friday to Sunday) I gave you an overview of how
examiners score IELTS spea
king tests. I also said that I would explain the idea of 'less
common' and 'idiomatic' vocabulary in more detail.
First some simple definitions:
• 'Idiomatic' is defined in most dictionaries in this way: using, containing, or denoting
expressions that are natural to a native speaker.
• 'Less common' must therefore mean 'less commonly used by learners of
English', not 'less commonly used by native speakers'.
In othe r words, 'less common' and 'idiomatic' basically mean the same thing: phrases
that native speakers naturally use, but English learners don't often use.
This is why I tell people that examiners are not looking for 'big' or 'difficult' words. They
are looking for phrases and collocations.
Click here to see a lesson in which I highlighted the kind of native -speaker
phrases that an examiner might like to he

ar in a speaking test.
And remember: Understanding these phrases isn't the same as being able to use
them yourself.
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Friday, August 17, 2018
IELTS Speaking: phrases for giv
ing your views
If you go back through my speaking lessons, you can probably make a useful list of

phrases that introduce your views. Here are some 'opinion' phrases from recent lessons,
and maybe you can search for more.
• I'm not one for... (meaning 'I don't really like...')
• I don't mind...
• Yes, I think it's important to...
• Personally, no. (answering a 'do you think' question)
• I suppose the main issues are...
• In the long term I think...
• I believe...
• I've never thought about that before.
• I don't see any reason why...
• I suppose it depends on...
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Friday,
August 24

, 2018
IELTS Speaking: 'photos' topic Here's a useful study technique for IELTS speaking: find questions on
one topic for
all three

parts of the test. For example, let's take the 'photos' topic:
Part 1 questions
1. What type of photos do you like taking?
2. What do you do with photos you take?
3. When you visit other places, do you take photos or buy postcards?
4. Do you like people taking photos of you?
(I've answered the above questions here
) Part 2 task

Describe a ph
otograph of you that you like. You should say
- where the photo was taken
- what you were doing when it was taken
- who took it
- and explain why you like the photo.
Part 3 discussion
1. Why do you think people like taking photos of themselves and others?
2. Do you think it's ever worth hiring a professional photographer?
3. What are the advantages of taking photos on a mobile phone instead of on a normal
camera?
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Friday, August 31, 2018
IELTS Speaking Part 2: what is the 'real' topic?
Have another look at the part 2 task below.

Describe a ph otograph of you that you like. You should say
- where the photo was taken
- what you were doing when it was taken
- who took it
- and explain why you like the photo.
Now think about this:
What is the real topic of this task? Is it pho tography or photographs?
The answer is no. I think you'll probably talk about a holiday, a special event, or
perhaps an activity or a hobby. One of these topics will be your real topic.
Tip: Don't let the word "photograph" dominate your thinking. If you do that, you'll start to
worry that you don't know enough "photography" vocabulary. Instead, focus on the
holiday, event or activity.
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Friday, September 07, 2018

IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: describe a photo As I said in last Friday's lesson, the task below isn't really about a photograph. It's about
whatever is in
the p

hotograph (e.g. an event).
Describe a photograph of you that you like. You should say
- where the photo was taken
- what you were doing when it was taken
- who took it
- and explain why you like the photo.
Let's imagine that we are going to describe a graduation photo - a photograph of you
on the day of your university graduation ceremony.
See if you can include the following phrases in your description:
• graduation ceremony
• professional photographer
• traditional academic dress / outfit
• wore a gown / robe and cap / hood
• holding my certificate
• made myself and my family proud
• the culmination of several years of hard work
• achieved my dream
• a landmark, a key moment, a pivotal moment
• marks the end of a stage in my life
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reminds me of my university da ys
• brings back happy memories
• remember feeling elated, overjoyed
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Frida
y, September 14, 2018
IELTS Speak

ing Part 3: follow the steps (in your head) When answering questions in part 3 of the speaking test, you should have three (or
m

aybe four) steps that you follow.
Practise checking off these steps in your head as you answer:
1. Give a direct answer to the question
2. Explain with a reason or reasons
3. Give an example (e.g. a personal example)
4. Explain the opposite or an alternative (you don't always need this step)
For example, here's a question from a recent lesson: Why do you think people like taking photos of the

mselves and others? Here's my answer, following the first three steps above:
(Direct answer) I think the m

ain reason why people take photos of themselves and their friends and family is to collect memories. (Explain)
What I mean i
s that photos are like souvenirs that remind us of special moments in the past; people like looking bac

k over their lives and seeing what they were doing or how young they looked at a part

icular time. (Example)
My niece
is a good example; she takes 'selfies' whenever she goes somewhere interesting, and she loves to look through them with her friends.
Task:
My answer is already long enough, but can you add the fourth step?

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Frida
y, September 21, 2018
IELTS Speak

ing Part 3: four-step answer Let's try using all four of the steps that I recommended in last Friday's
lesson. Here's another question from IELTS speaking part 3, with my answer below it.
Do you think it's ever worth hiring a professional photographer?
(Direct answer) Yes, for certain special

occasions I definitely think it's best to pay a professional to take photos.
(Explain) A profe
ssional photographer is likely to have a better camera and related equipment, and you would hope that the end result will be
a
set of stunning photographs.
(Personal example) Thinking ba
ck to a wedding that I attended last summer, I remember that the photographer knew exactly what he

was doing, and he took some great pictures of the bride, groom and guests.
(Opposite or
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alternative)
Without a pa id professional, you would have to rely on a friend or family member to take photos, and I think this would be risky. I don't think you can trust an
amateur when it's a once
-in-a-lifetime event.
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Friday, October 05, 201

8
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'describe a photo' answer Describe a photograph of you that you like. You should say

- where the photo was taken
- what you were doi

ng when it was taken
- who took it
- and explain why you like the photo.
Here's my full answer using the vocabulary ideas from this lesson
: •
The photograph that immediately comes to mind when I think of one that I like is my
university
graduation photo. It was taken just before the graduation ceremony that
marked the end of my undergraduate degree. You can’t see anything in the
background of the photo, but it was actually taken in the students’ cafe next to the hall
where the ceremony was held.
• In the photo, I’m wearing the traditional clothing for university graduates: a black gown
and an academic cap, which is often called a mortar board. I’m also holding my rolled -
up degree certificate. Obviously this was a formal portrait photo, and so I was standing
still, smiling and looking into the camera.
• The person who took the photo was a professional photographer. He had been hired
by the university to set up in the cafe and take photos of graduates before the
ceremony. He had a white screen, some lighting devices, and an assistant who took
payments and collected our details.
• The reason why I like my graduation photo is that it reminds me of a pivotal moment in
my life. Being presented with my degree certificate at the graduation ceremony was the
culmination of four years of hard work, and it marked the end of the ‘education’ stage of
my life. I had achieved my objectives and made my family proud, and I knew that the
next step was to look for my first proper job. Whenever I look at the photo it brings back
happy memories , both of my university days and of the relief and contentment that I felt
on my graduation day.
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Frida
y, October 12, 201

8
IELTS Speaking Part 2: three sample questions If you
're looking for more topics to practise, here are three speaking tasks that a student
sent me. Ho
w would you answer?
1. Describe a quiet place that you visited. You should say
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- where it was

- when you wen t there
- what you did there
- and explain why it was so quiet
2. Describe a time when you were scared. You should say
- when it happened
- where you were
- why you were frightened
- and explain how you felt after this experience
3. Describe something that a friend has done but you haven't done. Say
- what your friend did
- where and when your friend did this
- how you felt about your friend's experience
- and explain why you would (or wouldn't) like to do what your friend did
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Friday, October 19, 201

8
IELTS Speaking: correct the mistakes Here are some sentences that people wrote below last Friday's speaking lesson
. Can you find and correct the mistake(s) in each one?
1.
I am gonna tell you about a book center at the downtown. 2. It was a marvellous experience that I wish I could repeat it soon.
3. At last, I feel that the staff are quite responsible.
4.
Initially, everything was ok, no special. 5. That's my first time visited church.
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Simon in

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Frida
y, October 26,

2018
IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'singing' topic How would you answer these questions from Cambridge IELTS book 12?

1. Did you enjoy sing

ing when you were younger?
2. How often do you sing now?
3. Do you have a favourite song you like listening to?
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Friday, November 02, 2018

IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'singing' answers Here are my sample answers to the 'singing' questions that I shared last week.
Rem
ember: there's no need to show off in part 1. It's more important to demonstrate
your fluency at this stage. Try to give short, simple answers without too muc h hesitation.
1. Did you enjoy singing when you were younger?
No, I was never much of a singer. I remember that I was always a little shy and
embarrassed when it came to singing in front of others.
2. How often do you sing now?
I don't sing in public, but I do sometimes find myself singing along to songs if I'm
listening to music in the car. Perhaps this happens once a week or less.
3. Do you have a favourite song you like listening to?
No, not at the moment. I used to have favourite songs when I was a teenager - when I
was discovering new music - but these days I prefer to listen to a variety of music, rather
than a particular favourite tune.
4. How important is singing in your culture?
It seems to be really important these days. TV programmes like 'X Facto r', which are
basically singing contests, are hugely popular at the moment. So many young people
dream of being famous singers.
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Sunday, November 04, 2

018
IELTS Vocabulary: paraphrasing practice Pa
raphrasing = expressing the same idea in a different way.
Here are som
e phrases from Friday's speaking lesson. Can you find a different way to
express each idea?
1. I was never much of a singer.
2. I was always a little shy.
3. This happens once a week or less.
4. I prefer to listen to a variety of music.
5. Singing contests are hugely popular at the moment.
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Friday, November 09, 2018

IELTS Speaking: paraphrasing examples Here are some easy examples of paraphrasing, using five sentences from last Frid
ay's
speaking lesson:
1. I was never much of a singer =
I didn't really like singing when I was younger
2. I was always a little shy =
As a child I wasn't very outgoing
3. This happens once a week or less =
I do this perhaps once every week* at most
4. I prefer to listen to a variety of music =
I like all kinds of music
5. Singing contests are hugely popular at the moment =
Singing competitions seem to be all the rage**
* We could write "every 7 days", but this sounds a little less natural
** all the rage = an idiomatic expression meaning "very popular"
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Frida
y, November 23, 2018
IELTS S

peaking: two pronunciation tips Here are two tips regarding pronunciation.

1) Improving your pronunciation score
in the speaking test
This is an exercise that you could do maybe once a week: Try recording yourself as you
answer some IELTS speaki ng questions, then listen to the recording and analyse just
one feature of pronunciation. For example, you could focus on intonation: Did your voice
sound flat and boring, or did you manage to show interest and enthusiasm? If possible,
ask a native speaker to give the same answers, and listen to the rising and falling of his
or her voice. Try to copy that intonation.
You could do a similar thing for other aspects of pronunciation e.g. individual sounds,
word stress, connected speech and sentence stress.
2) The importance of pronunciation in language learning
In my opinion, pronunciation is perhaps the most overlooked 'secret' to learning a new
language. As a serious language student, you'll learn to recognise and produce sounds
that don't exist in your own language. You'll try to copy the connected speech, word
stress, sentence stress and intonation patterns that native speakers use.
And as you become better at doing these things, the language starts to open up and
welcome you in. Your listening skills improve, you find it easier to chat to native
speakers, and your repertoire of phrases grows effortlessly. The best language learners
(children) all know this secret!
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Friday, November 30, 2018

IELTS Speaking Part 3: think in terms of paragraphs In part 3 of the speaking test you should try to give longer, detailed answers. A g
ood way
to do this is to imagine that you are making a paragraph.
Remember the 'paragraph building' techniques that we use in writing task 2:
Idea, explain, example Start with a direct answer to the question, like the 'topic sentence' in a writ

ten paragraph.
Then explain your answer in more detail, and support your explanation with an example.
Try answering this question: Do you think that it's important for people to celebrate
their achievements?
Firstly, secondly, finally Start with the direct answer, then explain it by giving two or three reasons

, and maybe
an example too.
Try answering this question: Why do you think some people prefer not to tell others
about their achievements?
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Friday, December 07, 2018

IELTS S

peaking Part 3: example answers Last Friday I asked you to try answering th
ese two ques
tions: 1. Do you think that it's important for people to celebrate their achievements?
2.
Why do you think some people prefer not to tell others about their achievements? 1) I'll answer using an "idea, explain, example" structure:
Yes, I definitely think people

should celebrate whenever they are successful in some area of life. I think the celebration is important because it marks the end of a period

of effort, and so it's a chance to enjoy the moment, to take stock of what you have
achieved, and to s
hare the achievement wit
h others. This is why, for example, universities have graduation ceremonies, which encourage students to celebrate

together and to take pride in what they have done.
2) I'll answer using a "firstly, secondly, finally" structure:
I imagine that people have different reasons for keeping their achievements to
themselves. One reason could be that some people don't like to show off or draw
attention to themselves. Other people perhaps don't value their own accompli

shments because they are
constantly
aiming at even bigger goals. Finally, I suppose that many of us are so busy that we don't stop to savour the moment; maybe we need to slow down
and enjoy our successes.

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Saturday, December 08, 2018
Students' questions: deviating from the topic (speaking)
A student asked me the following question:

In speaking p art 2, do we have to answer the question exactly as it is, or can we change
the topic a little? For example, the tas k is "describe a gift that you made for someone",
but I have never made a gift. Can I talk about the time I made a birthday cake with my
roommate to celebrate her birthday?
Here's my answer:
I think your birthday cake answer would be fine, because you made it and it's almost like
a gift. Just make sure that you explain the situation at the beginning of your answer. For
example, you could introduce your answer like this: "I can't remember ever making a gift
myself, but I did recently make a birthday cake for my roommate, so I'll describe this."
Try to stay as close to the question as possible, and introduce your answer very clearly if
it deviates a little bit from the stated task. You must show the examiner that you
understand the task, and that you are not s imply making a mistake.
Of course, the other alternative is to invent something. It's ok to make something up - the
examiner won't know!
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Frida
y, December 14, 2018

IELTS S

peaking Part 2: describe a house Try preparing ideas or a full answer for this topic:
Describe an

interesting house or apartment that you have visited.
You should say
- where the house or apartment was
- who lived there
- what it looked like on the outside and/or inside
- and explain why you found this house or apartment interesting.
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Friday, December 21, 2018

IELTS S

peaking Part 2: what is wrong? Last Friday I asked you to look at this task:
Describe an

interesting house or apartment that you have visited.
Before I show you how I would answer, I have to say something about one student's
response. This is how the student began answering the task:
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Well, living in an apartment is an overgrowing trend not only in my country b
ut all over the world. We have our own apartment which is really awesome. By the way, I would like
to talk about a new apart
ment/flat that I have rec
ently visited. Can you see what is wrong with the way this answer begins?

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Friday, December 28, 2018

IELTS S

peaking: work or study? These are common questions at the start of the speaki
ng test:
1. Do y

ou work or are you a student?
2. Do you like your job / course? Why / why not?
Example answers:
1. Before I came to England I was working as an accountant, but at the moment I'm
studying English because I hope to do a Master's here.
2. Yes, I really like my job because it's interesting and I work with a great team of
people. OR: Yes, I enjoy studying English, but my real aim is to do a Master's and then
find a job in an international company.
Note:
Don't ask the examiner: "Do you mean in my country or h ere in England?" - it doesn't
matter. Don't worry if you have a job and study at the same time - you can mention both.
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Frida
y, January 04

, 2019
IELTS Speaking: which part is the most important? Do the 3 parts of the speaking test carry

equal weighting when your score is calculated,
or is one part more important?
The simple answer is that the 3 parts are not scored separately; the examiner rates the
candidate's performance as a whole. In this sense, neither part is more important.
However, it's useful to think about the 3 parts like this:
• Part 1 is supposed to be quite easy (like a warm -up), so you won't get a high score if
you only do well in this part.
• Part 2 is when the examiner really gets a chance to assess how good you are. He/she
will now have an idea of what scores to give you.
• During part 3, the examiner is making his/her final decision. A good performance here
can boost your score.
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Friday, January 11, 2019

IELTS Speaking Part 2: interesting house Let's return to the part 2 task below.

Describe an interesting house or a partment that you have visited.
You should say
- where the house or apartment was
- who lived there
- what it looked like on the outside and/or inside
- and explain why you found this house or apartment interesting.
If I were working on this topic with students in a lesson, we would begin by preparing
some good vocabulary ideas. I would ask my students to develop some vocabulary
'themes'.
For example, if we imagine that we are describing an apartment, perhaps a key theme
could be that it is modern. Now we can develop the 'modern' theme:
• up to the minute
• contemporary
• fashionable, cool, trendy
• decor, lighting, furniture
• open -plan
• colours and their effects e.g. relaxing, soothing
• materials e.g. glass, metal, granite
• rooms e.g. kitchen, living room
• gadgets, appliances
• windows, heating
• remote control, digital, phone app
• overall feeling e.g. sharp, clean, efficient, spacious
Try using some of these ideas to describe the inside of a modern apartment and to
explain why you like it.
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Frida
y, January 18

, 2019
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'interesting house' a nswer Describe an interesting house or apartment that you have visited.

You should say
- w

here the house or apartment was
- who lived there
- what it looked like on the outside and/or inside
- and explain why you found this house or apartment interesting.
Here's my sample band 9 answer, using ideas from last week's lesson
:
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I’m going to describe an apartment that I recently visited in the c ity centre of
Manche ster. The apartment was on the 10th floor of a brand new block that has just
been built. This building is on the edge of the main commercial area of the city, and the
apartment overlooks several of Manchester’s busiest shopping streets.
• Nobody was living in the apartment when I went there, because it had only just been
put on the market. I went to see it with a friend who is thinking of moving to
Manchester; he wanted to view some different properties, and I decided to go along
and see w hat the newest apartments were like.
• From the outside, the apartment was in a tall, shiny glass building - nothing too
remarkable. On the inside, as far as I remember, there weren’t many different colours:
the walls were an off -white colour, the floors were done in whitish tiles, and the kitchen
appliances were all silver metal coloured. I think the kitchen surfaces were made from
dark grey granite. The main feature, in terms of the look of the apartment, was the
huge floor -to-ceiling window in the living room, which allowed the sunlight to flood in.
• Although the white and silver decor wasn’t really to my taste, I did like the fact that
the apartment seemed so cool, clean and spacious. I particularly liked the open -plan
kitchen and living room, which had all sorts of gadgets that could be operated by a
mobile phone app. For example, I learnt how to use the app to control the lighting,
heating, blinds, security cameras and even the cooker. I found it fascinating that the
apartment contained so much up-to-the-m inute technology, and that everything
seemed to be connected via wifi. It felt like I was taking a glimpse into the future.
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Friday, January 25, 2019
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'apartment' vocabulary review
Did you note down the following phrases from last week's
answer ? Maybe you can reuse some of them in your own descriptions.

brand new •
on the edge of the main commercial area •
the apartment overlooks... •
put (something) on the market = to advertise something for sale •
to view properties •
to go along with someone = to go with someone / to accompany •
nothing too remarkable = nothing special •
as far as I remember •
an off -white colour •
floors were done in whitish tiles •
kitchen appliances, kitchen surfaces •
dark grey granite •
the main feature •
in terms of the look (= the appearance) of the apartment •
floor -to-ceiling windo w

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allowed the sunlight to flood in •
white and silver decor •
wasn't to my taste •
cool, clean and spacious •
open -plan kitchen and living room •
all sorts of gadgets •
operated by a mobile phone app •
I found it fascinating that •
up-to-the-minute technology •
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Friday, February 01, 2019

IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'age' topic How would you answer the fo
llowing questions (fro
m Cambridge IELTS 13)?
1) Are you happy to be the age you are now?
2) When you were a child, did you think a lot about your future?
3) Do you think you have changed as you have got older?
4) What will be different about your life in the future?
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Friday, February 08, 2019


IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'age' answers Here are my sample answers for the questions that I shared last week.

1) Are you happy to be the a
ge you are now?
Yes, I'm quite happy at m y current age, although I wouldn't mind going back to when I
was younger. It would be nice to relive some of my memories from childhood.
2) When you were a child, did you think a lot about your future?
Not really. I remember thinking about the near future - about exams and things in the
year ahead - but I didn't worry too much about adulthood.
3) Do you think you have changed as you have got older?
Yes, in some ways I'm a completely different person now, compared to when I was
younger. I think my personality has changed quite a lot, and I'm more open and relaxed.
4) What will be different about your life in the future?
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Who knows? Hopefully, my life won't change much over the next decade or so, but
after
that I can't really imagine or predict.
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Frida
y, February 15, 2019


IELTS Speaking Part 3: ideas and opinions Having ideas and opinions is important for IELTS Speaking Part 3. Even if your gra

mmar
is excellent, you will not get a high score if you don't know what to say.
For example, do you have an opinion about whether governments should protect
old buildings?
Here are some possible ideas / opinions:
• Historic buildings are part of a country’s heritage.
• Old buildings are often considered to be works of art.
• Th ey give character to cities, and attract tourists.
• We identify countries by architectural symbols, like the pyramids in Egypt.
• Governments should spend money on looking after historic buildings.
• They need regular repairs and maintenance.
The sentences above come from my
'Ideas for IELTS Topics' ebook
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Saturday, February 16

, 2019
IELTS Advice: don't ask the examiner questions In the speaking test, some candidates try to involve the examiner in the conversation.
For example:
Examine

r: Do you like cooking?
Student: Not really, I prefer eating in restaurants. And you?
You should definitely not do this! In fact, the only time that you might need to ask a question is if you don't hear what the
examiner s

aid. Just say: "Sorry, can you repeat that please?"
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Friday, February 22, 2019

IELTS Speaking Part 3: "it depends" Many students answer questions in IELTS speaking part 3 by saying "it depends".

" It depends" is not a full answer. You need to say what it depends on, and why. Example question:

Do you think it's important t
o find a job that you love, or is it more important to earn a
good salary?
Don't say:
"It depends. Some people prefer to find a job they love, but other people want to earn a
good salary." (This answer just repeats the question)
Do say:
"Personally, I'd prefer to do a job that I really enjoy; as long as I earn enough to live
comfortably, the salary is less important. However, I can see the benefits of doing a job
that you don't like if it pays well. With a good salary, you can probably do more enjoyable
things in your free time."
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Friday, March 01, 2019
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: educational TV programme Describe an educational television programme that you liked.

You should say
- what the program

me was about
- when and where you saw it
- how you found out about this programme
- and why you liked it.
Here's my band 9 answer. Can you see any 'less common' vocabulary?
• I’m going to talk about one of my favourite educational TV programmes, which is a
nature documentary called ‘Planet Earth’. There were eleven episodes of this
programme, and each one featured a different habitat on Earth, such as mountains,
caves, deserts and jungles. The aim of the ‘Planet Earth’ series was to take the viewer
into those habitats, using spectacular footage of interesting animals, plants and
landscapes.
• I first saw ‘Planet Earth’ on television when it was broadcast by the BBC several years
ago. I think it was shown every Sunday evening, which was the perfect time to watch a
fascinating nature programme. Then, a few years a ago, somebody bought me the
DVD box set of the whole series as a Christmas present, and I watched the episodes
again.
• I found out about this TV programme because it was advertised repeatedly in the
weeks before it was first aired. The TV trailers were really eye- catching because they
showed incredibly beautiful images of nature. I also recognised the voice of the
narrator of the programme, the well-known naturalist David Attenborough. It was these
trailers that persuaded me to watch the first episode.
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What I liked most about the ‘Planet Earth’ series was its stunning photography and its
global scop e. For example, in the “Fresh Water” episode, they showed us the giant
salamander in Japan, crocodiles in the river Nile, and river dolphins in the Amazon. I
was amazed at how they had managed to film such interesting creatures in so many
locations. I enjoyed learning about strange animal species, and the programme opened
my eyes to the hidden wonders of our planet.
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Frida
y, March 08, 2019
IELTS S

peaking Part 3: one last effort! By the time they reach part 3 of the speaking test, many IELTS candidates

just want to
finish and go home. They've used up all of their energy doing the other parts of the test,
and they're happy to have finished the 2 -minute talk in part 2. As a result, not many
people do really well in part 3.
Here' s my tip: Save one last effort for part 3. It's your best chance to leave a good
impression on the examiner and perhaps push him / her to give you that extra half band
that you need.
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Friday, March 15, 2019
IELTS S

peaking Part 1: 'neighbours' topic Here are some part 1 questions from Cambridge IELTS book 8, with my sample
answers. H

ow would you answer these questions?
1. How well do you know the people who live next door to you?
I know my neighbours quite well. They're really nice people, and I always stop to talk
whenever I see them.
2. How often do you see them?
I see my neighbours at least a few times a week. We usually see each other when we're
leaving for work in the morning or coming home in th e evening.
3. What kinds of problem do people sometimes have with their neighbours?
I think the most common problem is probably noise. It's difficult to live next to people
who have a dog that barks at night, or who play loud music.
4. How do you think neighbours can help each other?
Neighbours can do little things like watching your house if you go on holiday or taking a
delivery if something arrives by post when you're not at home. I think these little favours
are a good way for neighbours to help each other.
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Friday, March 22, 2019

IELTS Speaking: not academic or formal People doing the academic IELTS test are often misled by the word 'academic'. T
hey
think that they need to speak in a formal way using academic words.
But look at the following speaking questions / tasks:
- Do you like music?
- What's your favourite colour? Why?
- Describe a café you have been to.
- Describe a present you gave someone.
- Do you think it's more important to love your job or to earn a good salary?
I hope it's clear that these questions are not really formal or academic. So, instead of
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Friday, March 29, 2019
IELTS S

peaking Part 3: technology and society Here are some interesting questions from test 2 in Cambridge IELTS 13. How would you
answer them? (
Tip.

Remember the steps: answer, explain, example)
1. How much has technology improved how we communicate with each other?
2. Do you agree that there are still many more major technological innovations to be
made?
3. Could you suggest some reasons why some people are deciding to reduce their use
of technology?
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Frida
y, April 05, 201

9
IELTS Speaking Part 3: 'technology and society' answers Here are my 3
-step (answer, exp
lain, example) answers to the questions that I showed
you last Friday:
1. How much has technology improved how we communicate with each other?
I'd say that technology has made communication faster and easier, but I don't think it
has improved the quality of communication between people. I mean, it's so easy to send
a text message or write a comment on social media these days, but maybe you could
say that our conversations are quite superficial compared to the way people
communicated in the past. For example, I remember writing long, detailed letters to
friends and family members when I was younger, but I tend to just send quick messages
from my phone nowadays.
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2. Do you agree that there are still many more major technological innovations to
be made?

Of cou
rse! People are working on all sorts of new technologies as we speak, and I'm
sure that there will be technological advances and breakthroughs for as long as human
societies exist. Personally, I'm fascinated to see what happens with self- driving cars and
other types of artificial intelligence over the next few decades.
3. Could you suggest some reasons why some people are deciding to reduce their
use of technology?
Yes, I think the main reasons are that people feel overwhelmed or that their use of
technology is becoming unhealthy. Some people have realised that all the devices and
applications that they use are making their lives more complicated and stressful than
necessary. Others might see themselves becoming addicted to checking their phones,
or wasting too much time on their social media pages. I try to limit my own use of my
phone and laptop because I want to spend more of my time in the 'real world' than on
the Internet.
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omments (8)


Frida
y, April 12, 201

9
IELTS Speaking Part 2: I'm going to talk about... I noticed a comment from someone who didn't like the phrase "I'm going to talk about"
(at the beg

inning of a part 2 description). He/she described "I'm going to talk about" as
an old -fashioned template phrase.
Is this true? Is it an old-fashioned template phrase? The answer is no!
I'm going to talk about is neither old-fashioned nor part of a template. It is simply a
natural way to begin your description. As a native English speaker, I would use this
phrase without thinking twice about it.
Tip: In the speaking and writing tests, it's best to use short, simple phrases for linking
and organising your ideas. Stop worrying about these phrases, and focus on what
comes after them: your answer and the 'topic vocabulary' that you use to express your
ideas.
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Friday, April 19, 201

9
IELTS Speaking Part 2: essential preparation It's impossible to prepare for
every questio
n that you might get in the speaking test, but
what are the essential things to prepare for?
Here's my list of essentials: 1. Favourites: Don't go into the test without knowing what your favourites are. Prepare to talk about your favourite book, film, music, and website.
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2.
People: Be ready to talk about a famous person and a member of your family. 3. Activities
: Have you prepared some ideas about a hobby? Can you describe a typical day in your life?

4. Events: Try to reme
mber some special moments in your life, such as birthdays, festivals and weddings.

5. Places: Yo
u need to be able to talk about where you live. Also, think about the places you have visited, what you did there, and why you liked or didn't lik

e them.
6. Things: Can you talk about the things you use every day, something you would like to buy, or a present that you received?

Remember th
at in part 2 you are always asked to "describe" . Make sure you prepare
some good adjectives for each topic, make sure you can talk about your opinions and
feelings, and think about some examples or stories to make your descriptions more
interesting.
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Sa
turday, April 20,

2019
IELTS Speaking Advice: tell stories At the end of yesterday's lesson I mentioned that you could prepare some e

xamples or
stories to make your descriptions more interesting (for speaking part 2, and maybe part
3).
When speaking in our own languages, we tell stories all the time. For example, you
might tell a member of your family about what happened at work today, or you might tell
your friends about a film you saw last night.
The ability to tell a story in English is a sign that you are becoming a proficient user of
the language. Test yourself: try telling a story in English now. Start with something easy,
like "what I did yesterday".
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Friday, April 26, 201

9
IELTS Speaking Part 1: stop and smile! In part 1 of the speaking test you need to give short, direct answers. When you'

ve given
your answer, you should stop and wait for the next question.
The problem is that many candidates keep speaking, even when they have already
given a good answer. Sometimes it's because they feel nervous about leaving a moment
of silence. As they keep speaking, they start hesitating and repeating themselves,
making the answer sound worse and worse. A further problem is that the examiner has
to interrupt the candidate in order to move on to the next question.
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The solution that I practise with my students is this:
stop and smile! W hen you've
answered the question, stop confidently and smile at the examiner to show that you're
ready for the next question. If you can do this, part 1 of the speaking test will go more
smoothly.
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Saturday, April 27,

2019
IELTS Advice: smiling won't help your score, but... Regarding the advice that I gave yesterday (stop and smile), I just want to clarify that
there are no m

arks for body language in the spe aking test. The "stop and smile" idea is
simply a way to show the examiner that you're ready for the next question in part 1 of the
test.
So, smiling won't help your score, but it can help with the "flow" of questions and
answers in part 1.
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| Permalink |
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Frida
y, May 03, 201

9
IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'travel habits' topic Remember that Part 1 questions a

re supposed to be easy. Just give a simple answer
and a reason.
1. What form of transport do you prefer to use? Why?
I prefer to travel by car because it means that I have my own space. Also, the buses and
trains in my city are usually overcrow ded; my car is much more comfortable.
2. How much time do you spend travelling on a normal day?
I probably spend about an hour and a half travelling to and from work. I travel during the
rush hours, so there is quite a lot of traffic.
3. What do you do while you are travelling?
I usually listen to the radio or a CD. In the morning I like to listen to the news to find out
what is happening in the world.
4. Do you ever have problems with transport?
Yes, as I said, I get stuck in traffic on my way to and from work. I used to get annoyed by
traffic jams, but now I'm used to them.
A few important points:
• In the answer to question 4, can you see the difference between "I used to" and "I'm
used to"?
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Notice the good vocabulary: 'have my own space', 'overcrowded', 'to and from work',
'rush hour', 'find o ut what is happening in the world', 'get stuck in traffic'.
• If the examiner asks a question that you have already answered, just say "as I said"
and repeat your answer.
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Friday, May 10, 201

9
IELTS Speaking: advice about errors Today I want to share some advice from another IELTS teacher that I found in the
'

comments' area below this lesson . First, here's the question from a student called Vishaal:

Please guide me on ho
w I can reduce the grammatical errors in my speech. Although I
reduced these errors significantly in writing, I'm still making quite a few mistakes during
the speaking.
And here's the advice from the teacher, sjm (thanks again!):
The only real way is to sit with a native speaker, and ask them to stop you every time
you make a grammar error, and give you a correction. You then repeat the correct
ver sion back to them.
It is time consuming, but eventually your error rate should drop. The problem with
speaking is that errors are often 'fossilised' in the mouth, which means that you are so
used to saying them that your mouth has 'memorised' them. You need to almost
'reprogram' your mouth.
An extra tip from me (Simon):
Vishaal's issue is very common, and I completely agree with sjm's advice. But if you
don't have a private teacher or native speaker who can help in the way that sjm
suggests, your best solut ion is probably to become better at copying. Instead of trying
to translate ideas from your own language, or trying to construct sentences using your
knowledge of English grammar, aim to build your sentences using phrases or 'chunks' of
language that you know to be correct (because you have seen or heard them being used
by native speakers).
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| Permalink | C
omments (5)


Frida
y, May 17, 201

9
IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'website for work' topic Let's think about the following task from Cambridg

e IELTS 13. Which website would you
choose, and why?
Describe a website you use that helps you a lot in your work or studies.
You should say
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- what the website is

- how ofte n you use the website
- what information the website gives you
- and expl ain how your work or studies would change if this website didn't exist.
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Friday, May 24, 201

9
IELTS Speaking Part 2: website for work or studies Let's consider some ideas for the task below.

Describe a
website you use that helps you a lot in your work or studies.
You should say
- what the website is
- how often you use the website
- what information the website gives you
- and explain how your work or studies would change if this website didn't exist.
If you were thinking of choosing Google as your website, here's a suggestion: maybe it
would be more interesting to describe
Google Scholar
instead. This is a great tool for university
students.
Here ar
e some ideas that you could use in your description:
• a free academic search engine
• it searches scholarly sources, such as academic publishers
• easy to use - the same interface as normal Google
• it finds article titles and provides bibliogra phic information
• e.g. author, journal, year of publication
• it finds both restricted and publicly available articles
• it provides links to related articles
• you can search by year of publication
• bookmark articles to read later
If you've used Google Scholar as a student (or teacher), try using the above ideas to
create your description. Don't forget to add your own examples, experiences or stories to
make the description more personal.
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Friday, May 31, 201

9
IELTS Speaking: correct or improve Here are some sentences that people wrote about the
website for work topi c. Can you correct the mistakes and/or improve the sentences?
1.
In the age of the internet, there are a plethora of options.
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2.
If this website doesn't exist, then definitely my study would be affected. 3. If YouTube will cease to exist, I find myself struggling to find the much-
needed information.
4.
I think it won't be possible for me to be more update and skilful if there would be nothing like Youtube.
5.
Life also wouldn't be so easier and flexible like now than before when we used to depend much on CDs.

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Frida
y, June 07, 2019
IELTS Speak
ing: if you don't understand What should you do if you don't understand a question in the speaking test? Here are
my tips:
Part 1

In part 1

, the examiner is not allowed to help you, but he/she can repeat the question.
Just say: "Sorry, can you repeat the question please?" If you still don't understand the
second time, try to say something related to the topic or any of the words that you heard.
Try your best, then focus on the next que stion.
Part 2
You are given a task card with the question written on it, so you shouldn't have any
problems in this part. If there is a word that you don't understand on the task card, don't
ask the examiner - he/she is not allowed to help.
Part 3
In this part of the test, the examiner is allowed to rephrase the question. If you don't
understand, just say something like: "Sorry, can you explain that question in a different
way please?"
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Friday, June 14, 2019

IELTS Speak

ing: slow down! While you may be marked down by the examiner if you
hesitate too of
ten, there's
nothing wrong with speaking a bit more slowly and carefully.
In my experience, many students speak too quickly and this causes several problems. If
you s peak too quickly, you're more likely to make grammar and pronunciation mistakes,
and you'll probably lose clarity and coherence. If you slow down, you'll have more time to
think, to pronounce words clearly, and to correct yourself if necessary.
One more ti p: Have you ever practised pronouncing words very very slowly? For
example, can you pronounce every individual vowel and consonant sound in the word
"slowly" (s...l...ow...l...y)? I've tried this with students and they are not usually very good
at it - they find it easier to rush the pronunciation of words. Native speaker children, on
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the other hand, love pronouncing slowly and do it very well, so maybe it's some
thing that
adult language learners should practise more!
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Frida
y, June 21, 2019
IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: 'bad service' topic Here's a recent exam task that a student sent me. How would you answer? Feel fre

e to
share your ideas in the comments area below this lesson.
Describe a time when you were not satisfied with a service.
You should say
- what the service was
- who provided it
- what happened
- and explain why you were unhappy with the service.
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Frida
y, June 28, 2019
IELTS Speak

ing Part 2: 'bad service' answer Here's the task that I showed you last week:
Describe a time when you were n

ot satisfied with a service.
You should say
- what the service was
- who provided it
- what happened
- and explain why you were unhappy with the service.
And here's my band 9 sample answer:
I’m going to describe a time when I experienced poor service from staff in a restaurant.
This happened a couple of months ago, when some family members, who live abroad,
came to stay. We decided to visit a nearby town, and at some point everyone was a little hungry, so we thought we would have a bite to eat.
The first restaurant that we came across looked perfect. It had plenty of empty tables -
we hadn’t booked in advance - and we were all happy with the menu. But as soon as we
walked through the door, things started to go wrong, and we weren’t at all impressed
with the attitude of the staff.
After standing around for a few minutes waiting for someone to greet us, I managed to
attract the attention of a waitress who told me that we had come into the restaurant
through the wrong door. So, I went over to the main door, only to be told by the manager
that there were no tables free for a party of our size - there were eight of us. I could see
several free tables with four seats, so I suggested simply moving two of these tables
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together. But the manager was adamant that this was impossible; our only option was
to
divide the family and sit at two separate tables.
By this time, some of my family members were getting fed up. The restaurant was half
empty, yet we were being treated as if they didn’t need customers. We decided we didn’t
want to sit at separate tables or stay in a place where we felt unwelcome. We left, feeling
disappointed by how dismissive the restaurant manager had been, and fortun ately we
found a much friendlier place to eat just around the corner.
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S
aturday, Ju

ne 29, 2019
IELTS Vocabulary: from yesterday's answer Here's a list of some good phrases that I used in yes
terday's sample speakin
g answer.
Notice that some of the phrases are perfect for the speaking test, but a little too informal
for a written essay.
• experience poor service
• have a bite to eat (informal)
• come across something (meaning 'find by chance')
• book i n advance
• as soon as we walked through the door
• things started to go wrong (informal)
• not at all impressed with
• the attitude of the staff
• standing around (informal)
• attract the attention of someone / attract someone's attention
• only to be told that
• a party of our size
• to be adamant that
• our only option was to
• getting fed up (informal)
• being treated as if
• where we felt unwelcome
• we left feeling disappointed
• to be dismissive
• a much friendlier place
• just around the corner
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Vocabulary / Grammar |
Permalink | Comments (3)


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Sunday, June 30, 2019

IELTS Advice: stories and 'natural' linking Did you notice that my sample answer in Friday's speaking
lesson was a story? When telling stories, native speakers use lots of 'natural' linking words and phr
ases.
Have a look at the following examples from my description:
• This happened (referring to previous sentence)
• and at some point
• so
• It (referring to the restaurant previously mentioned)
• But as soon as
• and we
• After standing around for a few minutes
• So, I went
• so I suggested
• But the manager
• ; our only option was
• By this time
• yet (meaning 'but in spite of that')
• We decided
• and fortunately
Notice that I didn't use any of the typical linking words that people learn (Moreover,
Furthermore etc.). Those lists of typical linking phrases won't help you to get a higher
score. Try to practise 'natural' linking instead!
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Comments (5)



Frida
y, July 05, 2019
IELTS S

peaking Part 1: 'future' topic Here's a useful part 1 topic from Cambridge IELTS book 14:

Let's talk
about the future...
1. What job would you like to have ten years from now?
2. How useful will English be for your future?
3. How much travelling do you hope to do in the future?
4. How do you think your life will change in the future?
How would you answer these questions? Remember to give a direct answer and then
explain it with a reason.
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Friday, July 12, 2019
IELTS Speaking Part 1: 'future' answers
Here are my sample answers to the questions that I showed you last Friday. I've
pret
ended to be a scientist instead of an English teacher!
1. What job would you like to have ten years from now?
I’d like to think that I’ll be doing the same job in ten years’ time. I like being a scientist, so
I can’t imagine changing profession.
2. How useful will English be for your future?
English is essential in my field of work; most of the research that is being done in this
area is published in English, so I read articles and papers in English every day.
3. How much travelling do you hope to do in the future?
I’d like to see more of the world, so it would be nice to be able to travel extensively at
some point, maybe when I’m retired.
4. How do you think your life will change in the future?
Hopefully I’ll make progress in different areas of my life, for example at work and in
terms of my home life. I’m also interested to see what new technologies come along in
the next decade or two.
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Frida
y, July 19, 2019
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: making 'difficult' questions easy Sometimes the part 2 task looks difficult but there's an easy way to answer. Here are
three exampl

es:
1) Describe something that you collect.
Most students panic because they don't collect anything. But this question is easier than
you think. If your hobby is listening to music or reading books, just tell the examiner that
you collect CDs or novels. You could talk about your "collection" of clothes or shoes.
Everyone has a collection of something, even if you don't call yourself a collector.
2) Describe an important decision that you made.
Easy. Just talk about the subject you chose to study or the career you decided to
pursue. If you moved to live/study in a different country, you could talk about that.
3) Describe an important letter you received.
Use the answer you gave for number 2 (with a few small changes). Talk about the letter
you received confirming your place on a university course, or confirming a successful job
application.
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Friday, August 02, 2019
IELTS Speaking Part 3: 'lessons' topic
The following answers are at 'band 9' level. Which words and phrases help my a
nswers
to get such a high score?
1. What do you think makes a good lesson?
I think a good lesson is one that is interesting and engaging. By 'engaging' I mean that
the students should feel involved in the lesson; they should feel that they are learning
something new that is relevant to them. In my opinion, a lot depends on how the teacher
delivers the content of the lesson in a way that students like. My favourite teacher at
university us ed to involve the students by making us teach some of the lessons
ourselves.
2. Do you think it's better to have a teacher or to teach yourself?
Well, there's no substitute for a good teacher. I think you can teach yourself, but you can
learn a lot more quickly with the guidance of a teacher. For example, when learning a
language, you really need someone to correct your mistakes; you can get the grammar
and vocabulary from books, but books can't tell you where you're going wrong.
3. Do you think the traditional classroom will disappear in the future?
I don't think it will disappear, but it might become less common. I think more people will
study independently, using different technologies rather than sitting in a classroom.
Maybe students will attend a lesso n just once a week, and spend the rest of their time
following online courses or watching video lessons.
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Frida
y, August 09,

2019
IELTS Speaking Part 1: giving negative answers It's completely a
cceptable t
o give negative answers in part 1 of the speaking test. To test
whether you can do this, try giving negative answers to the questions below. Keep your
answers short and simple as usual. The first one is done as an example.
1) What type of photos do you like taking?
Well, I don't usually take photos to be honest. I prefer to enjoy whatever I'm doing, rather
than stop to take a photograph.
2) What do you do with photos you take?
3) When you visit other places, do you take photos or buy postcards?
4) Do you like people taking photos of you?
(Questions taken from Cambridge IELTS book 11)
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Friday, August 16, 2019
IELTS Speaking Part 3: 'nice home' topic
How would you answer thes
e questions (from Cambridge IELTS 14)?
1. Why do some people buy lots of things for their home?
2. Do you think it is very expensive to make a home look nice?
3. Why don't some people care about how their home looks?
Tip: Try to give three -sentence answers: direct answer, explain, example.
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Friday, August 23,

2019
IELTS Speaking Part 2: past, present, future? Several people have asked me about a technique that some teachers recommend f

or
part 2 of the speaking test: the 'past, present, future' technique, or 'PPF'.
Before I give you my opinion about this technique, I'd like to hear from you.
- Has anyone been taught to use this PPF idea?
- How exactly did your teacher suggest that you use it?
- Did it work for you?
- What benefits and drawbacks do you think this technique has?
Note:
Please remember that techniques like this are just suggestions, not rules. If your teacher
is saying that you must use three tenses in your part 2 answer, he/she is wrong.
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Friday, August 30,

2019
IELTS Speaking Part 3: 'nice home' answers Here are some sample answers for the 'nice home' questions that I asked you to look a

t
two weeks ago. The questions come fro m Cambridge IELTS 14.
Note: I try to answer in a natural and slightly informal way, but with some good 'topic
vocabulary'.
Why do some people buy lots of things for their home?
I think there could be a couple of different reasons for this. Some people like to surround
themselves with beautiful objects and furnishings to brighten up their lives, while others
buy lots of devices that are supposed to save time. In my own home we have examples
of both types of object: we have things like ornaments and pictures because they look
nice, and we have useful gadgets, like a small vacuum cleaner that we recently bought.
Do you think it is very expensive to make a home look nice?
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No, definitely not. Basic furniture isn’t expensive these days, especially now that we
have
shops li
ke Ikea. I know plenty of people who have furnished and decorated their
homes really nicely without spending too much money. Personally I also like the
minimalist look: some basic furniture, light colours and not too much clutter.
Why don't some people care about how their home looks?
Maybe they just see their homes as a base - somewhere to eat and sleep - rather than a
reflection of their tastes or personalities. And many people are just too busy with work
and life outside the home to worry about furniture and decorations. A friend of mine, for
example, doesn’t seem to care about the way his house looks, but this is because he’s
almost never there; he travels for work and spends more time in hotel rooms than in his
own house.
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Sa
turday, August 31

, 2019
IELTS Speaking Advice: my view on the 'PPF' idea In this lesson
I asked for your views on a technique that some students and teachers are using: they use three verb tenses (past, present, future - PPF) to organise their spea

king
part 2 answers. In other words, they begin by answering in the past tense, then they
mo ve to the present and into the future.
Here's my view on this:
I'm not a fan of this PPF technique because it encourages you to go into the speaking
test with a 'grammar mindset'. Your brain is focusing on verb tenses instead of more
important things: the task, the bullet points, your ideas, and the vocabulary that you're
going to use to express those ideas.
If there's one thing that I stand against as an English / IELTS teacher, it's the 'grammar
mindset' and the idea that you can impress the examiner with 'complex structures'.
I'm a 'vocabulary mindset' teacher. I want my students to focus on the 'true content' of their answers, rather than gr
ammar tricks.
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Friday, September 06, 2019

IELTS Speak

ing Part 1: negative answers Here are some
negative answe
rs to the 'photography' questions that I showed you a
couple of weeks ago. The questions come from Cambridge IELTS 11.
1) What type of photos do you like taking?
Well, I don't usually take photos to be honest. I prefer to enjoy whatever I'm doing, rather
than stop to take a photograph.
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2) What do you do with photos you take?
I don't real
ly do anything with the occasional photos that I take. They just stay on my
phone and I forget to save them or upload them to my computer.
3) When you visit other places, do you take photos or buy postcards?
Neither. As I said, I prefer to enjoy myself, so I tend to let other people take photos. I
used to buy and send postcards when I was younger, so maybe I should go back to
doing that.
4) Do you like people taking photos of you?
As a child I was always a bit shy when it came to having my photo taken, so I would
have said that I didn't like it. These days, if someone wants to take a photo of me, I don't
mind at all.
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Friday, September 13, 2019

IELTS Speak

ing: when to worry about tenses In a recent lesson I explained why I'm not a fan of the 'PPF technique' for part 2 of the
speaking test. I believe that candidates should focus on giving a good description in p

art
2, instead of worrying about verb tenses.
If the examiner wants to test your use of verb tenses, he/she can do this in part 3 of the
test, by choosing certain questions.
Here are some typical 'tense' questions from speaking part 3:
- Do you think _____ is different now, compared to when you were a child?
- Did your teachers _____ when you were at school?
- How do you think _____ will change in the future?
Listen carefully for these 'tense' questions in part 3. The examiner will be listening
closely to the verbs that you use in your answers!
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Frida
y, September 20, 2019

IELTS Speak

ing Part 3: verb tenses When answering the two questions below, you should be aware that the examiner is
expec

ting to hear some different verb tenses.
1. Do you think films have changed since you were a child? No, I don’t think films have change
d mu
ch since I was a child. When I was younger I enjoyed
watching action films, and the Hollywood formula for this type of film seems to be the same today. For example, I
liked the original ‘Supe
rman’ films, and superheroes
are still a popul a
r subject for film-makers.
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2. As the technology for home viewing improves, do you think people will stop
going to the cinema in future?

No, I don’t think that people will stop going to the cinema. People can already buy fantastic home viewing equipment, but it still

feels more special to share the experience of watching a new film with a theatre full of people. I don't
think that tec
hnology will be able to replicate that cinema atmosphere.

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Frida
y, September 27, 2019
IELTS Speak

ing Part 3: opinions about the future In part 3 of the speaking test, the examiner might ask for your opinions about what will
happen in the f

uture.
For example, here are two questions from Cambridge IELTS 14 ( test 4). How would you
answer them?
1. Will large shopping malls continue to be popular, despite the growth of internet
shopping?
2. Do you think that some businesses (e.g. banks and travel agents) will only operate
online in future?
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Frida
y, October 04, 201

9
IELTS Speaking Part 3: future 'opinion' answers Here are two sample answers that include opinions about the future:

Will large shopping malls continue to b
e popular, despite the growth of internet
shopping?
I can’t see shopping malls disappearing any time soon, so yes, I think they will definitely
continue to attract shoppers. We already have internet shopping, with websites like
Amazon now mainstream, but the large shopping centres in my city are still packed with
people. The Trafford Centre near Manchester, for example, is hugely popular, and I think
this is because it offers more than just shopping. It’s a place where families go for a day
out, to have lunch or to visit att ractions like Sea Life or Legoland, and naturally they will
browse the shops and buy things there too.
Do you think that some businesses (e.g. banks and travel agents) will only operate
online in future?
I’m sure they will, and I think this is already happ ening. I’m pretty sure that there are
online-only savings accounts, and there are travel websites like Airbnb that have no physical presence on the high street. I imagine that more and more services will only be
available online; this seems to be the way that things are going.
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Friday, October 11, 2019
IELTS Speaking: vocabulary review
Let's look at some of the useful vocabulary from the answers that I shared in las
t
Friday's lesson
: •
I can't see shopping malls disappearing*
(I can't se
e... happening = I don't think... will happen)
• any time soon
• attract shoppers
• mainstream = popular / used or done by most people
• packed with people*
• hugely popular
• it offers more than just...
• and naturally they will
• browse the shops
• I'm pretty sure that...*
• no physical presence on the high street
• the way that things are going*
Note:
The phra ses with a star (*) are great for the speaking test, but a little too informal for a
written essay. Would you have known this?
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Frida
y, October 18, 201

9
IELTS Speaking Part 2: describe a book Let's start work on a new tas

k, which comes from Cambridge IELTS 14:
Describe a book that you enjoyed reading because you had to think a lot.
You should say:
- what this book was
- why you decided to read it
- what reading this book made you think about
- and explain why you enjoyed reading this book.
Which book would you choose to talk about? I'll give you my ideas next Friday.
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Friday, October 25, 201

9
IELTS Speaking Part 2: ideas for 'describe a book'
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In last Friday's
lesson I shared a task that asks you to describe a book. To prepare for this description, let's choose a book and 'steal' some ideas from an online
summary /
review.
I'm currently reading a book called 'Atomic Habits'. I found a summary and a review of this book on Amazon (see below), so I'll steal some ideas and use them in my answer
ne

xt Friday. Maybe you could prepare ideas, in the same way, for a book that you've
read.
Here's a quick summary from Amazon:
People think when you want to change your life, you need to think big. But world -
renowned habits expert James Clear has discovered another way. He knows that real
change comes from the compound effect of hundreds of small decisions – doing two
push -ups a day, waking up five minutes early, or holding a single short phone call. He
calls them atomic habits.

In this ground-breaking book, Clear reveals exactly how these minuscule changes can
grow into such life-altering outcomes. He uncovers a handful of simple life hacks, and
delves into cutting- edge psychology and neuroscience to explain why they matter. Along
the way, he tel ls inspiring stories of Olympic gold medalists, leading CEOs, and
distinguished scientists who have used the science of tiny habits to stay productive,
motivated, and happy.
And here's a customer review (there are many others on Amazon):
I feel lucky to have found this book. It's the only self -help book that I've thought,
afterwards, was worth reading. It's had a dramatic positive impact on my life. It's well
researched, well reasoned, and well written. A self -help book that actually makes a
significant, an d long-lasting difference. I'm going to keep re -reading it.
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Frida
y, November 01, 2019

IELTS S

peaking Part 2: less common vocabulary Here's a list of 'less common' vocabulary from the descriptions in last Friday's lesson
. If I can use these phrases in my description (next Friday), I'll be able to give my

self a band
9 for vocabulary!
• atomic habits
• a world -renowned expert •
the compound effect of hundreds of small decisions •
a ground-breaking book •
minuscule changes •
life-altering outcomes •
life hacks •
cutting- edge psychology •
he tells inspiring stories •
the sc ience of tiny habits
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productive, motivated and happy •
a dramatic positive effect on my life •
well researched, well reasoned, and well written •
makes a significant and long -lasting difference Quick exercise:
Take just three of the phrases above, and try to use
them in full sentences. S hare your sentences in the 'comments' below.

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Frida
y, November 08, 2019
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: 'describe a book' answer Describe a book that you enjoyed reading because you had to think a lot.

You should say:
- what this book wa

s
- why you decided to read it
- what reading this book made you think about
- and explain why you enjoyed reading this book.
Here's my band 9 answer, using vocabulary from last week's lesson
: •
I’m going to talk about a book that really made me think, and that has had a positive
effect on my life. The name o
f the book is ‘Atomic Habits’, and it’s about the
compounding effect that small decisions and minuscule changes can have on people’s
lives.
• I decided to read Atomic Habits after seeing an interview with the book’s author,
James Clear, who is a world-renowned expert in the field of habit formation. In the
interview, he told inspiring stories and revealed some simple life hacks that can make
people more productive, motivated and happy. I found the whole idea of the ‘science of
tiny habits’ fascinating, and so I bought the book straight away.
• While reading the book, I was forced to confront my own habits and behaviours. I
realised that I’m nowhere near as productive as I could be, but that some small tweaks
to my routine could make a significant and long-lasting difference. The book also gave
me a framework to understand how good habits are formed and how bad habits can be
broken. It has encouraged me to analyse my own habits accordingly.
• I thoroughly enjoyed reading Atomic Habits because I thought it was well researched,
well reasoned and well written. The author’s ideas and advice aren’t simply his
opinions; they are taken from cutting-edge research and real success stories. I enjoy
reading books that change my way of thinking in some way or give me practical, li fe-
altering ideas, and this was definitely one of those books.
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Friday, November 15, 2019

IELTS S

peaking Part 2: start with vocabulary ideas
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The
model answer that I shared last Friday was at band 9 level, mainly because of the range of words and phrases that it contained.

But I didn't spo ntaneously invent those words and phrases; they came from
my research into the topic. I searched for good ideas, made a list of topic vocabulary, and then built my description around the phrases on that list.

I'm not su
ggesting that you can do this in your test, but it's the best way to prepare topics
at home.
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Frida
y, November 22, 2019
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: describing how you felt Faye asked a good question below last Friday's lesson:
Can you give some suggestions on how to answer the question "how you felt about
something" in speaking part 2?
My suggestion is to start with a simple adje

ctive (e.g. happy) and prepare a theme
around this word. There's an example of theme preparation here,
and I used this technique in several of the speaking lessons on my
video course website. Task:
Let's prepare a 'happy' theme together. To be more p
recise, imagine that you have to describe how you felt
when you p
assed an important test. List some ideas, and share them in the comments below.
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Frida
y, November 22, 2019
IELTS S

peaking Part 2: describing how you felt Faye asked a good question below last Friday's lesson:
Can you give some suggestions on how to answer the question "how you felt about
something" in speaking part 2?
My suggestion is to start with a simple adjective
(e.
g. happy) and prepare a theme
around this word. There's an example of theme preparation here,
and I used this technique in several of the speaking lessons on my
video course website. Task:
Let's prepare a 'happy' theme together. To be more p
recise, imagine that you have to describe how you felt when you passed an important test. List some idea

s, and share them in the comment
s below.
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Friday, November 22, 2019

IELTS Speaking Part 2: describing how you felt Faye asked a good question below last Friday's lesson:
Can you give some suggestions on how
to answer the question "how you felt about something" in speaking part 2?
My suggestion is to start with a simple adjective
(e.
g. happy) and prepare a theme
around this word. There's an example of theme preparation here,
and I used this technique in several of the speaking lessons on my
video course website. Task:
Let's prepare a 'happy' theme together. To be more p
recise, imagine that you have to describe how you felt when you passed an important test. List some idea

s, and share them in the comments below.
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Simon in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (6)

Friday, November 29, 2019

IELTS S

peaking Part 3: 'difficult jobs' discussion How would you answer these questions (from Cambridge 14, test 3)?

1. What are t

he most difficult jobs that people do?
2. Why do you think some people choose to do difficult jobs?
3. Do you agree or disagree that all jobs are difficult sometimes?
Tip: Try to think about giving answers that contain three sentences: answer, explain,
example.
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Frida
y, December 06, 2019
IELTS S

peaking Part 3: 'difficult jobs' answers Here are my sample answers to the questions in last Friday's lesson. Can you find

any
useful vocabulary in my responses?
What are the most difficult jobs that people do?
I think jobs can be hard for various different reasons. Some professions, such as concert
pianist or surgeon, are difficult in the sense that they require a high level of skill that
must be developed through many years of study and practice. On the other hand, jobs
like police officer, firefighter or soldier might not require such high skill levels, but they
are known to be extremely stressful and sometimes traumatic.
Why do you think some people choose to do difficult jobs?
I suppose we all want to do something meaningful. For some people, this means
achieving a great ambition that takes years of hard work. People who choose dangerous
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jobs might do so for altruistic reasons or because they feel it's their duty to contribute to
society.
Do you agree or disagree th
at all jobs are difficult sometimes?
I would have to disagree with that. I think we all feel that our jobs are difficult or stressful
at times, but in the grand scheme of things we have nothing to complain about. A tight
deadline or a lost computer file are really just minor inconveniences when compared with
the horrors of war that soldiers face, or the life-and-death situations that paramedics see
every day.
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Saturday, December 07, 20

19
IELTS Vocabulary: 'less common' phrases Here's a list of the 'less common' phrases that I used in yesterday's speaking answers.
Notice that

I'm highlighting phrases and collocations, not individual 'big' words. •
are difficult in the sense that •
they require a high lev el of skill •
that must be developed through many years of study and practice •
might not require such high skill levels •
they are known to be extremely stressful and sometimes traumatic •
do something meaningful •
achieving a great ambition •
for altruistic reasons •
it's their duty to contribute to society •
in the grand scheme of things •
a tight deadline •
minor inconveniences •
the horrors of war that soldiers face •
life-and -death situations
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Sunda
y, December 08, 2

019
IELTS Advice: examples bring your answers to life! Examples are important because they bring your answers to life*. They mak

e your
message clearer and your answers more real.
Look at the examples that I used in my 'difficult jobs' answers in Friday's speaking
lesson. Without these examples, my answers would be boring and abstract.
• concert pianist
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surgeon
• police officer
• firefighter

• soldier
• paramedic
*Look up the phrase "bring something to life". What does it mean?
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Frida
y, December 13, 2019
IELTS S

peaking Part 1: simplify Your priority in part 1 of the speaking test should be to demonstrate
fluency, not di
fficult
grammar or vocabulary. You'll speak more fluently if you keep your part 1 answers
simple.
Here are some examples of how I would simplify students' answers.
Note: the students' answers contain some mistakes.
Student's answer:
Logically people from different generation will have taste variation. Depending upon the
maturity, music stars of their own age, impact of g lobalisation as well as technological
development in music industry will divide younger and older generation.
My simplified answer:
Of course, people from different generations have different tastes in music. Popular
music changes all the time, and most of us are influenced by whatever style of music is
popular when we are growing up.
Student's answer:
Yes, I am fond of music. It is simply the medicine for my mind. When I am stressed,
music remove stress. When I am happy, music inspires me to be more. It always in the
centre of all my parties with friends. When I am sad, music takes me out glue and move
forward.
My simplified answer:
Yes, I love music, mainly because it helps to put me in a better mood. When I'm
stressed or sad, music picks me up and puts me in a positive frame of mind.
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Friday, December 20, 2019

IELTS S

peaking Part 2: describe a festival A common topic for the short presentation (IELTS Speaking Part 2) is "describe an
important festival in y
ou

r country".
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My advice is to look for a description of your festival on Wikipedia. Copy the best parts of
the description and ma
ke small changes if necessary. As an example, I've copied a
short description of Christmas from Wikipedia.
Describe a festival: Christmas Christmas is an annual holiday that, in Christianity, commemorates the birth of Jesus
Christ.
Popular cu

stoms of the holiday include gift -giving, music, an exchange of greeting cards,
church celebrations, a special meal, and the display of various decorations; including
Christmas trees, lights, nativity scenes, and holly. In addition, Father Christmas (known
as Santa Claus in some areas) is a popular figure in many countries, associated with the
bringing of gifts for children.
Over the Christmas period, people decorate their homes and exchange gifts. In some
countries, children perform plays re-telling the events of the Nativity, or sing carols that
reference the event. Christmas, along with Easter, is the period of highest annual church
attendance.
A special Christmas family meal is an important part of the celebration for many, and
what is served varies greatly from country to country. In England and countries
influenced by its traditions, a standard Christmas meal includes turkey, potatoes,
vegetab les, sausages and gravy, followed by Christmas pudding, mince pies and fruit
cake.
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Frida
y, January 03

, 2020
IELTS Speaking: two types of hesitation If you look at the 'fluency and coherence' column of the band descriptors, you'll

see the
following:
• Band 7: may demonstrate language-related hesitation
• Band 8: hesitation is usually content-related
Do you understand the difference between these two types of hesitation? Here's how I
would summar ise them:
• Language -related hesitation: the candidate pauses because he/she is struggling with
vocabulary or grammar.
• Content -related hesitation: the candidate pauses to think about his/her answer to the
question.
Tip: Try recording yourself as you answer some IELTS speaking questions. Listen to the
recording and pay attention to your hesitations. Ask yourself whether you paused to find
language or to consider your response to the question.
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Friday, January 10, 2020

IELTS Speaking: three students' questions Here's part of a recent lesson on my
member site. You'll see me answering three questions about the IELTS speaking test.
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Simon
in IELTS Speaking | Permalink | Comments (3)

Frida
y, January 17

, 2020
IELTS Speaking Part 2: describe a place In part 2 of the speaking test, you might have to describe a place. There are s

everal
possible questions about places. Fo r example:
1. Describe a place you have visited.
2. Describe a historic place.
3. Describe a holiday.
4. Describe a place you would like to visit.
5. Describe somewhere you have lived or would like to live.
My advice is to prepare a description of one place that you coul d use to answer all of
these questions. Then search the Internet for some good vocabulary.
For example, here are some ideas I found to describe London:
• Adjectives: it's exciting, busy, hectic, cosmopolitan, multicultural, unique. It's historic
but modern a t the same time, it's a thriving, prosperous city, it's fashionable, lively,
fun...
• Activities: London is famous for its history, culture, art, museums. Tourists go there
to see Big Ben, The Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square etc. You
can get a fantastic view of the city from the 'London Eye'. It's also famous for its
theatres and shows in the West End, its shops, restaurants and nightlife. There are
endless things to see and do.
• Negatives: London is expensive, crowded, stressful, polluted. The underground
system is dirty, travel is overpriced and unpleasant. The cost of living is high (shopping,
house prices etc.), the locals are always in a hurry and can be unfriendly, there are
social problems (like you can find in most big cities).
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Saturday, January

18, 2020
IELTS Speaking: a recorded example Describe an interesting place you have visited.

You should say:
• where it is
• what you

can do there
• and why you think it's an interesting place.
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Here's an example description of a place I've visited. I've used the voc
abulary from
yesterday's lesson to describe London.
Listen to the recording while following the vocabulary (see yesterday's lesson). Then you
could practise your own description of L ondon using the same vocabulary. Keep
practising until you're happy. click here
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Friday, January 24, 2020

IELTS Speaking: where to fi
nd official videos Most people don't know that there are videos of IELTS speaking tests on the off

icial
website ielts.org. The site also shows you the official score that each candidate was
given.
Here's a quick guide to finding the videos:
I'v e been using three of these videos in the speaking band descriptors lessons on
my member site
. We've been analysing the speaking performances of Tina (band 5), Alexandra (band 7)
and

Khush (band 8). All three candidates could improve their speaking scores if they
followed some simple advice!
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omments (10)


Frida
y, January 31

, 2020
IELTS Speaking Part 3: 'technology' topic 1.
What technology or equipment is used in most workplac
es nowadays?
2. Does technology help workers or make their lives more difficult? 3. What effect does new technology have on employment?
1. Tip: give a list of different technologies, then talk about one in detail:
In most workplaces people use equipment such as computers, phones, printers, fax
machines and photocopiers. I think the computer is probably the most essential piece of
equipment because we rely on it for almost everything: communicating by email, writing
reports, organising dat a, and finding information on the Internet.
2. Tip: talk about the positives AND the negatives:
Technology definitely helps workers because it makes many tasks so much easier. For
example, email is such a useful tool for communication between employees in different
offices, or even in different countries. On the other hand, technology can make life more
difficult, especially when it goes wrong. It causes a lot of stress when the Internet is
down or a computer crashes.
3. Tip: give the good effects AND the b ad effects:
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I think technology is often responsible for people losing their jobs. Machines
have
replaced people in areas like manufacturing and agriculture, and whenever a new
technology is introduced, there are redundancies. At the same time, jobs might b e
created thanks to a new technology; for example, there would be no computer
programmers if the computer hadn't been invented.
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Friday, February 07, 2020
IELTS Speaking / Grammar: a mixed conditional
Somebody asked me about this sentence from last Friday's speaking lesson
: •
There would be no com
puter programmers if the computer hadn't been invented. The student asked me why I didn't follow the normal third conditional 'rule' a

nd write "there would have been" instead of "there would be"? Did I make a mistake?
The answer is no, I didn't make a mistake. I wrote a mixed conditional
sentenc
e on purpose. Can you see why? I'll explain in tomorrow's lesson.

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Frida
y, February 14, 2020


IELTS Speaking Part 3: use adjectives Look at the following question and my sample answer, in which I've highlighted th

e
adjectives. What do you think are the characteristics of a good speaker?
I think good speakers are confident
and passi
onate about the subject of their speech. They need to be interesting
and engagin
g. I think a speaker's body language is also really
important. A famous example of a great speaker is Bar
ack Obama; he seems to be a naturally
inspiring speaker, but I'
m sure that practice and preparation are more important than natural t

alent. Note:
Can you see how the adjectives bring my answer to life?

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Frida
y, February 21, 2020


IELTS Speaking Part 2: using the prompts An IELTS teacher asked me the following questions:

Is it compulsory for candidates to a
ddress all of the prompts on the cue card? What
happens if candidates ignore the prompts but speak well about the topic anyway? And
what happens if the candidate misunderstands the question and speaks about a different
topic?
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Here are the answers that I gave the teacher:

I tell my st udents to use the prompts because they help you to structure your answer.
However, it is still possible to get a very high score even if you don't address all of the
points e.g. if you speak well about the topic but miss the last point or two. I don't
recommend ignoring the points completely, because there's a danger that you'll go off
task if you do that.
If you misunderstand the question and give an unrelated answer, I'm afraid you'll get a
very low score. The reason is that candidates could memorise a perfect answer if off-
topic answers were allowed.
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Friday, February 28, 2020


IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'day out' topic Let's look at a new speaking topic:

Describe a day out that you
enjoyed recently. You should say
- where you went
- whom you went with
- what you did that day
- and why you enjoyed the day out.
Note: When we talk about a "day out", it means that you went somewhere for leisure
purposes. I wouldn't talk about anything related to work or studies here.
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