Category Archives: IELTS Speaking (all)

IELTS speaking model answer – Enjoyed doing as a child

IELTS speaking model answer Enjoyed doing as a child

Describe something you enjoyed doing as a child

This section of the site is for model answers on Part Two topic cards. If you have a topic card that you would like a model answer too, just send it to us through the contact page.

It is good practice to read the model answer aloud, ideally while recording yourself. Then play back the recording, listening closely to your pronunciation (particularly your intonation) and the speed at which you are speaking.

Describe something you enjoyed doing as a child.

You should say:

  • what you did
  • when you did it
  • if you still do it.

You should also say why you enjoyed doing it.

Click the play button below to listen to the topic card answer.

Model answer:

Well the thing I probably enjoyed doing more than anything else as a child, or at least from when I was about 6, was riding bikes. I had a new or secondhand bike every year or so and they always got faster and bigger as I grew. I remember my first bike had training wheels on the side so I didn’t fall over while I was learning!

As I got a little older – about 10 or so – I used to go out on my bike with some friends most weekends and evenings. I used to get to school on my bike as well, and we would call in at each others houses and ride in a group to school. The most exciting time was when I was 14, when three of my closest friends and I all went away overnight cycling with a tent on the back of the bicycles. It seemed like such an adventure, and we must have cycled over 60 kilometres that weekend! We had a great time just cycling around and then we set up the tent in the field and spent the night. The only problem was my friend had an accident and destroyed his bike, so his parents had to come and pick him up.

For my 15th birthday I had a bike with 15 gears, which, at the time, was very unusual. It was much faster than any of my friends’ bikes so I started to go out a lot on my own and later on I got a job delivering newspapers where again I used my bike a lot.

I stopped cycling when I was about 18 and I haven’t really gone back to it although I probably should. It’s very good for health and fitness. The only problem is the other road users don’t always watch out for bikes and it can be a little dangerous especially on busy roads. I’m not sure it would be so easy to have fun with a bicycle now as it was when I was a child because of the traffic on the roads these days.

Mostly I enjoyed it because it was a chance for me to get out of the house and be a little bit independent. It was a lot of fun playing with friends who also had bikes, so there was a very social side to it as well.

Giving and justifying opinions for IELTS speaking

Giving and justifying opinions for IELTS speaking

The IELTS speaking test is like most conversations.  If you give an opinion, you should justify it, and if possible, offer a reason, solution or speculation.

For example:

I don’t think people should automatically be entitled to three holidays a year. [END]

Saying only the statement above is NOT SUITABLE FOR IELTS. You need to expand your argument by supporting your opinions like this:

“I don’t think people should automatically be entitled to three holidays a year, because companies may need their labourAs I see it, two holidays a year is acceptable, with any additional days off acting as an incentive for overtime.”

Whenever you state an opinion, either in the speaking or the writing test, ask yourself why. This will often lead you to thinking of how to justify what you have said.


Extend this candidate’s answer, justifying the opinions and giving examples where you see an asterisk (*)

Giving and justifying opinions for IELTS speakingNew Zealand is a great place to study.*1 There is so much to do.*2 There are a lot of international students, especially in the major cities like Auckland and Christchurch, which can sometimes make it difficult to practise your English.* 3 My advice would be to live in a homestay – that’s the best way to improve. *4 Some international students think that New Zealand is boring.*5 Personally, I agree with something my friend told me years ago – only boring people get bored. After all, there’s no point in travelling abroad if everything is the same as in your home country.*6 It can be quite exciting to discover some of the cultural differences between nations anyway.* 7 I don’t really think much of the food though.*8 I much prefer food from my own country. *9 Overall, though, I’ve really enjoyed the experience here.*10

Show how *1 could have been expanded New Zealand is a great place to study. As an English-speaking country with some well-known universities, you can get a good education here.


Show how *2 could have been expanded There is so much to do – it’s the home of so many extreme sports, such as bungy jumping and skydiving


Show how *3 could have been expanded There are a lot of international students, especially in the major cities like Auckland and Christchurch, which can sometimes make it difficult to practise your English. I often find myself spending the evenings talking to friends in my language!


Show how *4 could have been expanded My advice would be to live in a homestay – that’s the best way to improve. That way everything has to be in English, and you find yourself learning so much more because it’s almost 24 hours a day.


Show how *5 could have been expanded Some international students think that New Zealand is boring. I think that’s probably because they are so used to cities where entertainment is laid on every night, they don’t really need to think about entertaining themselves.


Show how *6 could have been expanded Personally, I agree with something my friend told me years ago – only boring people get bored. After all, there’s no point in travelling abroad if everything is the same as in your home country. The whole point of an international education is to learn something about the world, to see how about people live.


Show how *7 could have been expanded It can be quite exciting to discover some of the cultural differences between nations anyway. For example, I’ve never heard of people cooking food under the earth before like they do with a hangi.


Show how *8 could have been expanded I don’t really think much of the food though – it’s a little too greasy for me.


Show how *9 could have been expanded I much prefer food from my own country, but I guess that’s mostly because it’s what I’ve grown up with, what I’ve become accustomed to.


Show how *10 could have been expanded Overall, though, I’ve really enjoyed the experience here. Of course, I’ve learned better English from being here, but I also feel I’ve become more mature and have a more open-minded view of the world.


Now practice!

Respond to the following statements and expand your answer as much as possible.

There are no model answers for these exercises.

  1. There is no need to settle into a career until the age of 30.
  2. Visa regulations should be relaxed for foreign students.
  3. People who cause traffic accidents should not be allowed to drive again.
  4. Single-sex classes make learning easier.
  5. Nobody should eat meat.

Tips for the day of your IELTS speaking test

Tips for the day of your IELTS speaking test

So the day has finally arrived – it’s test day! Depending on the test centre you are taking your test in, you might have the speaking on a different day to the other parts of the test or at the beginning or end of the same day. Whenever your speaking assessment is, here are some useful tips for the day of your IELTS speaking test.

Tip 1: Know the procedure on test day

You can make the whole test a lot less stressful by knowing in advance what you will be required to do. As the format will be slightly different depending on your test centre, you should always ask first, but here is a common breakdown of the speaking test section.

  • You will arrive at the test centre and be registered using your ID (passport, ID card etc).
  • The test administrator will check your identification, take a photo and scan your fingerprint.
  • You will be given a piece of paper with your candidate number on. Keep this safe as you will need it a few times throughout the day.
  • You will be escorted to a waiting area.
  • In SOME test centres, you will be given an approximate time for your speaking assessment. In other test centres, you simply need to wait until your name or candidate number is called.
  • The examiner will call you out of the waiting room. Your fingerprint will be checked again, as well as your ID.
  • Your personal belongings (bags, mobile phones – even watches!) will be locked in a separate room. You will keep only your ID and the piece of paper you were given when you first registered.
  • The examiner will take you to the testing room and conduct the test.
  • After the test, you will be escorted back to collect your belongings, and then escorted away from the other candidates (you will not be allowed to talk to other candidates until they have also finished their test)

As mentioned, there will be slight differences depending on your test centre – if you have anything to add, please post it in the comments section below!

Tip 2: Get your brain thinking in English before you start!

As soon as the day begins when you have you have your speaking test, you need to get your brain thinking and responding in English. That means avoiding conversations with people in your native language if possible – take some English music or a podcast in English with you and put headphones in when you’re waiting, unless there is an opportunity to speak English to other people.

Tip 3: Don’t study IELTS textbooks while you wait

Trying to cram as much as you can in the last few minutes before the test very rarely helps, and often leaves you more panicked and nervous. Ideally, take your own note book with some vocabulary, or even just an English novel or non-IELTS related book.

Tip 4: Talk to the examiner when you are first called for your test

Don’t wait until you are in the exam room to break the ice with the examiner (break the ice means to get the conversation started between two people when they first meet). The examiner might not say much to – they have to think of the administration steps to get you ready for the test – but saying a quick hello and asking the examiner how they’re day is going is a great way to help you start building a relationship with the examiner, and helping you when it comes to starting the test.

Tip 5: Dress comfortably

You will get no extra points for wearing a suit or formal dress and you certainly don’t lose points for wearing your favourite old jeans, so dress in clothes that you feel comfortable in. Keep in mind that test day can be quite long, and you don’t know the temperature of each of the rooms you will be in (the waiting room, the test room, the queue to register) so make sure you have something to keep you warm that’s easy to hold or put in a bag if it’s too warm.

Tip 6: Take a snack

From the time you queue up to register to the time you have finished the speaking test, you could have been on the go for up to 5 hours, so although you might not be hungry as you head to the test centre, it’s important to take a snack with you keep you going. Ideally this should be something healthy (some fruit, for example) and plenty of water to keep your brain hydrated. Although there may be a vending machine of something similar at the test centre, you can’t rely on it!

Tip 7: Remember why you are there

It is common to get nervous and stressed on test day, but just remember why you are taking the test. You are NOT there to make the examiner like you or to pass a job interview. You are just there to demonstrate your level of English, so be prepared to talk and be realistic about making mistakes (even in your native language, you are likely to hesitate or express yourself a little poorly at times during a 14 minute conversation with a stranger in a formal situation!).

Tip 8: Remember why the examiner is there

Let’s be honest – if the examiner wasn’t being paid, they wouldn’t be in the exam room asking you questions. For examiners, it is a paid job and absolutely nothing personal. And where does the examiner get paid from? Your test fees, which makes you the employer! Also keep in mind that within 10 minutes of your test, once you have left the room and the examiner has decided on your level, he or she will likely never think about you again. So don’t worry about ‘making a fool of yourself’ or making ’embarrassing mistakes’ – the examiner will talk to at least half a dozen candidates that day.

We hope these tips help, but if you have any other tips that have worked well for you, please post them in the comment section below!

6 tips for making notes in Part 2 speaking

6 tips for making notes in Part 2 speaking

Here’s an example of a topic card used in Part Two of the IELTS speaking test:

Describe your favourite leisure activity. You should say:

  • what it is
  • how often you do it
  • when you first started doing it.

You should also say why it is important to you.

Using the preparation time

When the examiner hands you the topic card, you will also be given a piece of paper and a pen or pencil to make some notes before you begin talking. You have one minute to prepare what you are going to say. There are a number of common errors that candidates make in this preparation time, as shown below.

Common error #1 – telling the examiner you are ready to begin

The examiner will tell you when your 1 minute preparation time is up – you should NEVER tell the examiner you are ready before that time. You are wasting valuable time that you could use thinking of relevant points or vocabulary, and most people that start early do not finish the full two minutes of speaking.

Common error #2 – writing sentences

The one minute preparation time should be used to get ideas and make notes, not write complete sentences. With only 60 seconds to prepare, you do not have time to write complete sentences.

Common error #3 – making no notes

Some candidates spend the whole 60 seconds simply reading the topic card and thinking about what they are going to say, not making any notes at all. The problem here is that as soon as you begin to start talking or if you become a little nervous, the good ideas that you had seem to disappear, leaving you with no backup.

Common error #4 – not pacing the notes

As you can see from the topic card above, there are four sections – three bullet points and one final sentence. You are required to speak for two minutes, so divide that by the number of ‘sections’ on the topic card and you have 30 seconds per part. When making notes, try to add something for each of the 4 parts and do not move on to the next part until you think you have spoken for 30 seconds or you truly have nothing left to say.

Common error #5 – reading from your notes

Don’t be be tempted to ‘read’ your answer directly from the note paper, and this will have an impact on your pronunciation (most people read differently to how they naturally speak). Keep your head up, looking at the examiner for the majority of the time, and only glance down to scan your notes.

Common error #6 – not being flexible with your notes

Do not worry if you decide to change a little of what you have planned. It is much better to keep the conversation natural than stick rigidly to something that you are not so comfortable with. In addition, remember that the IELTS test is a communication test – it is not a memory test. If there is a fact you cannot remember, then tell the interviewer. You can show your English ability just as well by explaining that you do not know something. For example: ‘I’m not really sure when I began doing this, but I’m sure I was very young’ is just as good an answer as giving a date.

Practice your note taking skills

Now practice making notes on the topic cards below.

Describe a friend who is very important to you.


You should say:

  • who they are
  • how you met
  • what they are like

You should also say why they are important to you.


Describe a hotel you have stayed in.

You should say:

  • where it is
  • what facilities there are
  • when you stayed there

and say whether you would recommend it to a friend

IELTS speaking model answer – Describe a piece of equipment

IELTS speaking topic card model answer – Describe a piece of equipment

Describe a piece of equipment

This section of the site is for model answers on Part Two topic cards. If you have a topic card that you would like a model answer too, just post the title in the comments sections below.

IELTS speaking model answerIt is good practice to read the model answer aloud, ideally while recording yourself. Then play back the recording, listening closely to your pronunciation (particularly your intonation) and the speed at which you are speaking.

Describe a piece of equipment

You should say:

  • what it is
  • what you use it for
  • how often you use it.

You should also explain how to use it

Model answer (click the audio bar above to hear a recording):

Well, I’ve been asked to talk about how to use some equipment, so I’m going to talk about something you may well be familiar with – a laptop computer. I use mine mostly for e-mails but also for word processing, especially when I’m writing reports or something for work. I find I can organise my ideas more clearly than with the traditional pen and paper. Although I do take it with me most days, I don’t actually use it for very long at a time because the power doesn’t last for more than a few hours if it’s not plugged in. Like most people, I use my phone for most smaller tasks so although I have my laptop, it’s not always on.

Now, the first step in using a laptop is quite obvious – you have to turn it on. This can take quite a while depending on the model. What you do next depends on your particular reason for using it, but I’m going to talk about connecting to the Internet. After making sure that the laptop is on, you need to click the wifi signal icon to connect to a wireless network. Of course, you don’t need to do this if you have already connected to that network before as your computer will remember and automatically connect you. If it’s your first time connecting, most places will then ask for a password. Once you’ve entered that, it can take up to a minute to connect, but then you should see a small notice on the screen telling you that you are now online – you know, connected to the Internet. Finally, simply type in the website address you want, or if you are just surfing then type the word or words in the search bar.

It’s not at all difficult to use, but some people still have difficulty.

IELTS speaking model answer – How to cook a meal you like

IELTS speaking topic card model answer – How to cook a meal you like

Describe how to cook a meal you like

IELTS speaking model answerThis section of the site is for model answers on Part Two topic cards. If you have a topic card that you would like a model answer too, just post the title in the comments sections below.

It is good practice to read the model answer aloud, ideally while recording yourself. Then play back the recording, listening closely to your pronunciation (particularly your intonation) and the speed at which you are speaking.

Describe how to cook a meal you like

You should say:

  • what it is
  • when you eat it
  • what you need to make it.

You should also explain how to make it.

Model answer (click the audio bar above to hear a recording):

Well, I’m not actually a very good cook so I can only manage basic dishes like eggs and bacon, but the one thing I do like to make is called Welsh Rarebit. It’s a traditional snack made by people in my hometown, but I think there are different recipes for it in a lot of different towns in Wales and even in other countries.

There are two reasons I like cooking this dish – it’s fairly simple to create and only takes a few minutes before it’s ready to eat! A lot of people I know have it for lunch, especially in the winter when you can eat it with a stew or thick soup, but it’s actually one of those dishes that you can eat at any time of the day. I often have it for breakfast, especially in the colder months, because it gets you warm quickly!

Basically, Welsh Rarebit is cheese on toast, but with a few modifications that really make the difference. The main ingredients I use are flour and eggs, mixed in with the melted cheese. The trick is to make sure that the mixture of flour and egg is mixed well but not for too long. When it’s mixed through, put it on the stove and start heating it, slowly adding the grated cheese. You can add as much cheese as you like – personally, I like to have a lot, so that the egg and flour mix is about 50% of the total and the cheese is the other 50%.

At this point, you need to toast your bread. You can add a few spices to the mix. I use a lot of black pepper and a little paprika – I really like the taste of paprika, but as I said, I don’t cook often so rarely use it. When the toast is ready, pour the mixture on to the toast and grill it for a few minutes until the top turns brown. You can also add some more cheese to the top too – I always do!


Giving longer answers in IELTS speaking

Giving longer answers in IELTS speaking

Giving longer answers in IELTS speakingThis post focuses on a formula you can use to help you keep speaking fluently during the IELTS speaking test, especially in Part 2 (the topic card), and follows on from this post about longer answers in the speaking test.

Consider the following question. How could you expand your answer?

Do you think traditions are important?

Now read the candidate’s response below, and answer the questions that follow.

Yes, I do because they give us a sense of connection with the past. This is important because it can bring people together and remind us of the history we share. However, I believe traditions should also be flexible. They should reflect not only the past but also the present. Only by doing this can any tradition continue to have relevance today.

  1. Why does the speaker think traditions are important?
  2. Why is it important to have this connection?
  3. What qualification does the speaker make?
  4. Why is this qualification important?

Read the next section for the answers.

The answers for the four questions above give examples of the formula you can use to expand your topic.

FORMULA + Why + So + But + Then

In the exercise above, this is:

Why? connection with the past
So? brings people together
But? should be flexible
Then? continue to be relevant

Looking at this formula in more detail, you can break your answer down into these sections:

Why? Why do you feel that way about the question? Why is this your opinion?

So? This can also be thought of as So what? Maybe the opinion presented in the first step (why?) is true, but what impact does it have? What’s the positive result of your opinion that makes you believe it?

But? Are there any parts of your opinion that could be considered wrong by other people, or anything that needs to be taken into account?

Then? If the point you raised in the previous section happened, what would be the effect?

Now let’s apply the formula to another question

Example 1:

Do you think smoking should be banned?

Yes I do (WHY? why do you think that?) because of the significant health risks cigarettes present (SO? so what if they have health risks?) This can have an effect on not only the smoker, but also those people in the nearby area who then suffer from passive smoking, as well as on tax payers in general when smokers require additional medical treatment. (BUT? is there anything that needs to be considered from another point of view?) Of course there is the issue of having the freedom to act how you wish, and banning cigarettes could create an illegal trade (THEN? What would happen if the ‘but’ section occurred?) This could then potentially lead to rising crime and more pressure on the police.

Example 2:

Because we are now in a digital age, do you think we should therefore stop following traditional customs?

It can be argued that traditional customs can co-exist alongside more modern culture (WHY? why do you think that?) Both traditional and modern cultures are important as a reflection of history and society (SO? so what if they are important?) We should find ways that the two forms can support each other. (BUT? is there anything that needs to be considered from another point of view?) There are times when modern and traditional cultures are in conflict. (THEN? What would happen if there was conflict?) Digital culture must be considered paramount as traditional culture should not be a handicap to development.

Talking about your hometown in IELTS speaking

Talking about your hometown in IELTS speaking

Once of the more common questions in Part One of the IELTS test is to talk about your hometown. A common student error is to give short answers which do not show the examiner your real abilities, especially with regards fluency.

Talking about your hometown in IELTS speakingHere are three examples of points you could make about your hometown. All of the places below are describing areas in New Zealand!

Talking about your hometown #1

I’m from Henderson, a suburb to the west of Auckland. Although it can be a little quiet, it’s only 20 minutes from the city centre. There are a couple of interesting things about Henderson. UNITEC College has a building there, although it’s not their main campus. It is also one of the places in the North Island where a lot of movies are shot – in fact, some sections of the Lord of the Rings were filmed only a few minutes away from my house!

Talking about your hometown #2

I’m from Invercargill, the southernmost city of New Zealand. It’s an interesting place because there’s so much history there. The area was first settled by sheep farmers driving sheep from Dunedin. It was actually named after William Cargill, a Scotsman involved in the administration and settlement of the local region. When it was first constructed, the city was famous for wide streets and beautiful buildings such as the railway hotel and the water tower.

Talking about your hometown #3

Wellington, where I’m from, is the capital city of New Zealand, although a lot of people think it is Auckland. It is set between a magnificent harbour and rolling green hills – the city itself is very hilly. There four different areas within then city, but my favourite is the Lambton quarter, which has the most concentrated shopping area in New Zealand. There are lots of things to do and see when you visit, but it can sometimes depend on the weather. In fact, the area is famous for being very windy and is often called ‘Windy Wellington’.

IELTS speaking practice test 4

IELTS speaking practice test 4

IELTS speaking practice test 4

This section of the site is for you to try a complete IELTS speaking test. The timing of each section is automatic and follows the standard IELTS pattern. Ideally, we recommend speaking aloud when answering the questions and recording yourself, so you can play it back later and listen to your pronunciation, grammar and content.

Looking for more speaking practice opportunities? Our complete membership course has membership plans which include Skype tutorials where we can take a practice speaking assessment and give you feedback on your fluency, pronunciation and much more! Click here to enrol now.

IELTS speaking practice test 4

Part 1

“Do you work or are you studying?”

Show answerWell, I’m actually a trained physiotherapist, but at the moment, I’m studying. I have taken a few weeks off my normal job to prepare for this IELTS test, but then as soon as I get the result I need I’ll be going back to work.

“Do you enjoy your job?”

Show answerOh yes, very much. I only graduated 2 years ago, but since then I have been working in a hospital in the city. I think it’s a fascinating job – you get to meet so many different people and it’s great to be able to help them with their health. Of course, there are times when it can be very hard work, but it’s so rewarding, and it suits me much better than an office job! I’d like to continue in my current occupation, but I would like to move to the UK to work, mostly because I think there are more opportunities there.

“What do you find difficult about your job?”

Show answerWell, of course in my job I find there a lot of people that often need quite a lot of help, but often there isn’t enough funding, so it can be very difficult when we cannot treat people as well as we could have if money was no problem. The of course there are some people who find a lot of the things we are trying to help them with can be very painful, so they can become quite depressed and it can be hard work both for the physiotherapist and the client.

“Let’s move on now to talk about food. What is your favourite kind of food?”

Show answerHmm… Well, I like most things. I really enjoy pizza, but also more traditional foods. In my country we have dish called pierogi, which is kind of a baked dumpling. You can fill it with almost anything, but I really like it when it has mashed potato and beef, as well as some cabbage. It’s delicious! If I’m not really in the mood for cooking though, I eat a lot of fruit. The one thing I’m not very keen on, though, is spinach. I really don’t like the taste!

“Do you cook much yourself?”

Show answerNo, not really. I’m not a very good cook and I don’t enjoy cooking, so I often have takeaway foods for the convenience. When I go back to visit my family, we often all help in the kitchen which is OK because it’s quite a sociable thing to do, but I wouldn’t really bother for myself. I do cook very simple things for breakfast – just something basic like an omelette or something on toast.

“Do you prefer home cooked meals or eating out?”

Show answerThat depends on what kind of food. If it’s more traditional, then I would definitely prefer a home cooked meal. My mum makes a lot of excellent dishes, and I really like the roast dinners she makes. However, if it’s something with a more international flavour, like a curry, I would prefer to eat out – home cooked curries never quite taste the same to me!

“Do you prefer to write letters or send emails?”

Show answerThat depends on whom I am writing to. If it’s to a close friend or family member, I would choose to write a letter. I think it’s much more personal. Having said that, though, I don’t always have the time, and then there’s the added work of getting a stamp and then dropping the letter into a post box, so I often don’t bother and end up sending a quick email instead.  If it’s for work or something more formal, I would always send an email because it’s really useful to be able to keep a record of what I have sent.

“How often do you send letters or emails?”

Show answerWell, as I mentioned, I don’t often send letters, but I send emails every day, especially when I’m at work. I suppose on a busy day I could send up to 40 emails to different people, and then I also spend some time chatting to friends on the internet as well. I’m not a very quick typist, so it can take some time for me to send a message, but I like that it checks my spelling for me!

“Do you prefer to receive letters or emails?”

Show answerWell, if it’s from a friend then I like to receive letters, but I don’t really mind. It’s nice to receive message from people and it doesn’t really matter what form it’s in. To be honest, though, I would prefer to speak to people on the phone – for me, it’s a much better way to communicate because a lot of what people mean comes through in how they say things, and you don’t always get that feeling when you are writing.  

Part Two

Talk about an achievement you are proud of.
You should say:

  • What it is
  • How it happened
  • Where you were when you achieved it

You should also say why you are proud of this achievement.


Show answerI think the achievement that I’m probably the most proud of is actually one that many people have also achieved, but it was reaching the summit of Mount Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan. I think it stands at nearly 4000 metres high, and was one of the most challenging physical activities I have ever done. I was visiting a friend who was working in Japan and he had always wanted to climb the mountain so I thought I would go with him, although at the time I had no idea it would be so hard.

We took a bus about half of the way up, so that’s probably why I thought it would be a lot easier than it was. The bus dropped us off at about 10 p.m., with the plan that we would climb overnight and reach the summit in time for sunrise. For the first few hours, it was quite easy going, but by about 2 a.m., the paths became considerably steeper and it was becoming more difficult to breathe – I think the air was starting to get thin.

By about 4 a.m., we had about 2 hours before sunrise and we still had a long way to go, but each step was getting harder and harder, and that’s when my friend decided he couldn’t go any further so he stopped, but I felt that although it was hard I really wanted to reach the top, so I carried on. With about half an hour to go before sunrise I could see the summit, but each step was a challenge, just to keep going. Near the summit there was a particularly difficult section and I fell. Although I didn’t really hurt myself, it knocked my remaining energy out of me and I thought I wasn’t going to make it in time. However, after a few minutes to get my breath back, I decided that having got so close I would finish it. For the last hundred metres, I was actually crawling on my hands and feet and making such slow progress, but just as the first light of sunrise came I was only about 10 metres from the top.

I was really proud of myself because I’m not really very fit at the best of times, but I really wanted to make the summit. I still have the photograph that I took from the summit, looking down on the clouds as the sun rose.

Part Three

“What are the advantages and disadvantages of encouraging children to be competitive?”

Show answerWell, of course it can be difficult with children because it can be very hard to grow up in a highly competitive environment, but I think the most significant advantage is that it prepares them for the realities of life, and that sometimes you will be successful and other times you may not. It teaches them that it is possible to lose gracefully and demonstrates the importance of trying, but it can also teach them to be good winners. Of course, the disadvantages include the fact that some children may feel like they have failed if they aren’t successful in competition.

“Does material wealth equal success?”

Show answerI would say that it is often used as an indicator of success because it is quantifiable – that is, we can compare people and see which person has more money, and therefore conclude that the richer person is the more successful. In reality, of course, success comes from many sources, most of which cannot be counted or compared. Happiness, for example, is a far better marker of true success, but as it cannot be exactly ‘measured’ it is often overlooked. For me, success would mean having good friends, a close family and a job that challenges me and that I enjoy – the size of the house I live in or the amount in my bank account are not as relevant. Having said that, however, I would say that money can mean success in business terms – obviously a company that makes no money and is permanently in debt cannot be said to be successful.

“Do you think that society has become to consumerist?”

Show answerHmmm… well, that’s a very general statement and there are definitely some people that do not fit into this description, but I suppose on the whole that’s probably true. Although many countries now try to recycle a lot of waste, we live in a society where goods or not designed to, or even expected to, last very long. Take the average computer, for example – what is new today we can almost guarantee will be obsolete in less than 5 years. People buy mobile phones that last only a year or so before they are outdated and are rejected in favour of the newer model. Even those purchases that are more common and day-to-day show little regard for their impact on the environment. Even if you buy a single hamburger you have a mountain of packaging, paper, bags and napkins that need to be thrown away.

How is success measured in your culture?

Show answerThat’s a difficult question to answer, but I suppose that in many respects it is measured in financial terms, or at least in terms of you possessions such as your car or house. But amongst friends, success is measured differently. Amongst my friends, for example, we would agree that we are successful because we have achieved most of the goals we set ourselves. A happy marriage, a good job and future prospects – these are the things that are generally considered the mark of success. Our wealth is only related to success in that it allows for more choices in life, such as good holidays, a good education for our children and good health care for all of us.

“What kinds of people do you admire?”

Show answerOf course there are public figures that have done a lot for society in general – scientists and researchers for example, or even great educators and thinkers like Einstein. Then there are also the more ‘immediate’ role models to be admired such as parents and friends. For me, however, it is people who refuse to give up regardless of the odds. Perhaps a good example of this would be Mark Inglis, a mountain climber and sportsman.

Despite losing both legs below to frostbite when on a climbing expedition, he continued to push himself and achieved some extraordinary feats. He is a champion cyclist and skier, and with the help of two prosthetic has continued his climbing career. IN 2006, he actually reached the top of Mt Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. He achieved all these amazing feats and has also toured around different countries inspiring people with disabilities to have high expectations, not to give in. For me, this is the kind of person I can strongly admire.

Talking about people in the IELTS speaking test lesson 3


Talking about people in the IELTS speaking test lesson 3

Before starting this lesson, make sure you have completed Lesson 1 and Lesson 2.

Talking about people in the IELTS speaking test lesson 3

Learning synonyms is a good way to enrich your English vocabulary, and this will help you achieve a higher IELTS band score. The two columns below contain two lists of adjectives.

Try to match up a word from column one with a synonym in column two, in ten minutes or less.


Column One

1   amusing

2   diligent

3   easy-going

4   fearless

5   generous

6   intelligent

7   loyal

8   optimistic

9   passionate

10 creative

11 rational

12 utopian

Column Two

a dedicated

b idealistic

c funny

d kind

e enthusiastic

f inventive

g faithful

h relaxed

i logical

j intrepid

k positive

l clever

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  1. amusing = funny
  2. diligent = dedicated
  3. easy-going = relaxed
  4. fearless = intrepid
  5. generous = kind
  6. intelligent = clever
  7. loyal = faithful
  8. optimistic = positive
  9. passionate = enthusiastic
  10. creative = inventive
  11. rational = logical
  12. utopian = idealistic

Now practice in a complete sentence.

Finish the sentences below with an appropriate adjective from Part One.

1. In order to be a successful artist you need to be __________.

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2. John is such a _________ student, he studies for four or five hours every night.

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3. Dogs are man’s best friend because they are so _________.

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4. Sandra’s grandfather is really __________ , he bought her a car for her birthday.

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5. In an ___________ world there wouldn’t be any suffering or unhappiness.

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6. Sharks are naturally ___________ , they have no predators and killing is instinctive.

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7. Maxine is so __________ about Italian movies, she’s decided to study Italian.

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8. Mathematics requires a ___________ process of thinking.

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9. In New Zealand you can enjoy an __________ lifestyle.

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10. It is better to be an ___________ person – it is a much happier outlook on life.

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11. We watched a very _____________ comedian on TV last night.

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12. Albert Einstein was an extremely ___________ scientist and mathematician.

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