Category Archives: IELTS Speaking (all)

IELTS speaking practice test

IELTS speaking practice test 1

IELTS speaking practice test 1

IELTS speaking practice test 1

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 1

Part 1


“Do you enjoy cooking?”

Show answer“Well, no, not really – I’ve never been very good at it. I don’t really have the patience for all the preparation that needs to be done, and I really don’t like the cleaning up afterwards. Occasionally, if I have friends coming over, I might make make a few simple dishes, but it seems to take me much longer than it does for other people. Most of my friends are much better in the kitchen, so I normally buy the ingredients and they do the cooking!”

“Do you prefer home cooked meals or fast food?”

Show answerHmm…that really depends on what mood I am in. If I have to get dinner, I often choose fast food, but I really enjoy eating a home cooked meal with vegetables. It’s much healthier, and you can easily get bored of fast food. There aren’t many different take away options near where I live, so after pizza, burgers or chips, the only other choice is home cooked food. I suppose one the main reasons I prefer food cooked at home is that it’s the only way to have the kind of traditional food I grew up with as a child.

“What would you typically eat for lunch? ”

Show answerWell, if I’m at work, I don’t have a lot of time so I might only have something quick like a sandwich or some noodles. Some days I might not even have anything for lunch – I know that’s not good for you, but there isn’t always the opportunity to sit down and have a break and something to eat. Weekends are different though – I like to have a large lunch and a smaller dinner, so I might go out and meet friends in a restaurant or get a take away. The only problem is that after eating a large lunch I often get tired in the afternoon and end up falling asleep!

“Let’s talk about photographs. Do you take many photographs?”

Show answerI used to have my camera with me most of the time, talking all kinds of photographs of the garden. the house – even the dog. But recently I haven’t really bothered. In fact, I can;pt remember the last time I took a photograph since I came back from holiday. I went to New Zealand for two weeks and took so many photographs! I like to keep all my pictures together in an album; it helps me remember what I did and where I was. I even have a photograph album I started when I was 12, although cameras have improved a lot since then!

“Do you enjoy looking at photographs?”

Show answerOh, yes – as I mentioned, I used to take a lot of photos to remind of places I’d been or things I’d seen, and it’s nice to look back through them every now and again. The only problem is I get bored looking at other people’s photographs. A friend of mine recently returned from a long holiday in Europe and brought back over one thousand photographs he had taken! Well, it took over an hour to look through them as he spent about five minutes on each one explaining where it was and who he was with. I was very interested in the beginning, but after about 20 minutes I wasn’t really concentrating. I think photographs are very personal and I don’t show anyone mine because they mean more to the person who took them than to anyone looking at them.

“Do you prefer photographs of people or places?”

Show answerErmm… I suppose that depends on who is in the photos. If it’s people I know, then I don’t mind looking at photographs of people, but I’m not that interested in seeing pictures of people I’ve never met. Generally, though, I’m much more interested in landscapes. They don’t have to be recognisable or historic places – just so long as they are a little artistic. Unfortunately, I’m not very good at taking any kind of photo, but a friend of mine takes excellent pictures of places. She took photographs of her grandmother’s house – it’s a small cottage in the country – and the angles she took the pictures from, as well as the sunlight and shadows, made the pictures really interesting. She’s actually entered a competition with those pictures, so I guess they must be good.

“When do you mostly take photographs?”

Show answerWell…I..I used to take photos all the time, but as I said, I don’t take as many these days. I suppose the two occasions where I still take pictures would be my holidays and special events, like my brother’s birthday party. A few months ago, a friend of mine got married and I must have spent half the day taking pictures of the bride and groom as well as the venue. I am planning to put the pictures into an album to give them for their first wedding anniversary.

“Now let’s talk about transport. Do you often use public transport?”

Show answerVery rarely – I live a little way out of the main routes to the city, so the public transport system isn’t really very convenient for me. The local council have a scheme where you drive to a large car park and the bus will take you the rest of the way into town – I think it’s called the ‘Park and Ride’ – but I haven’t used it yet. But it’s not only that public transport doesn’t really get near my home, it’s also so expensive. I know running your own car is not cheap, but for me to get to work and back using the bus would cost almost as much as using my own car, but without the convenience.

“Do you often walk anywhere?”

Show answerActually, I have recently started to walk a lot more than I used to. My nearest shop – it’s only a local convenience store but that’s where I do my basic shopping – is only about one kilometre away. I used to drive, but now I walk whenever it’s not raining just so I get some exercise. I have a dog, so he comes with me for the exercise too – I think it does both of us some good! Like most people, though, I could do with walking even more – perhaps as far as the town, although that’s over 5 kilometres.

“Have you ever been on a long journey?”

Show answerErr…yes, I have. I suppose my longest journey would be travelling to England to visit relatives last year. It’s a 14 hour flight from here, and it was the longest I have ever been on an aeroplane. The journey out was fine – I thought it would be quite boring, but it was one of the newer aircraft with a movies, television and computer games available, so there was lots to do. The return trip wasn’t so good though – there was a young child sitting in the row in front of me, and for most of the flight he was crying and screaming. I don’t suppose he was much older than three. So that wasn’t so good for me, although I did feel sorry for the parents – they look so tired by the time we landed!

“Do you prefer to travel alone or with other people?”

Show answerWell, there are benefits to both travelling with others and travelling solo. With other people around, the trip can be more fun, and you get to share experiences and talk about them with people that have seen and done what you have. On the other hand, I like the independence of travelling by myself. I choose when I stop, where I eat, where I go – and this is often better than having to get your travel companions to agree before you do anything. I guess the ideal way to travel would be with someone else who also likes to be independent sometimes, so you can travel together but also spend some time alone.

Part Two


Talk about a business you would like to start.
You should say

  • what it would be
  • where it would be
  • who your customers would be

You should also say why you would like to start this business.
Show answer“Well, I’ve never really thought about becoming self employed, but if I did run my own company I think it would be something in the healthcare industry. I think it could be rewarding to run a retirement home for the elderly. I’m a nurse, so it would be a good way for me to continue using my training. Ideally, it would be somewhere in the country – I don’t really like big cities, and a relaxed rural atmosphere would be good for the residents, I think. It would have to be quite near some facilities though – shops, a swimming pool, things like that. Oh, and there would have to some type of public transport nearby.
Um… of course, the people using the home would be elderly, at least 65 years old, but they wouldn’t have to be rich. I’d like to make the home profitable, but not be exploiting the residents and charging so much that only rich people can come. As I mentioned, my experience as a nurse would be valuable, but I’d also be interested in this because the elderly are very often overlooked here. In my culture, most families look after older relatives and retirement homes are very rare, although they are increasing. So if I was to run this kind of business I would try and make it as homely as possible so that people enjoy living there.”


Part Three


“What are the advantages and disadvantages of running your own business?”

Show answerWell, one of the main advantages would be the freedom that comes with being self employed. Choosing your own hours of work and the areas you will focus on would clearly have a great appeal to some. But then, of course, this has to be balanced with the consideration that you are never far from work when you are your own boss. The expectations are likely to be higher, and people often spend considerably more time on their business when they are self employed. The pressures are also different; an advantage of running your own business is that you are not pressured by peers or bosses to perform. This, of course, can also become a negative point if that means you are not driven to keep working.

“What makes a successful business person?”

Show answerHmm, that’s an interesting question. If you were to look at some of the world most successful business people – people like Richard Branson for example – I think there are a number of key elements that can be identified. They are entrepreneurial but also have the courage to follow an idea through, no matter how strange it may first seem. Of course, there is also the ability to make money, but successful can also be other means, not just the financial profit. Bill Gates, though apparently ruthless in business, is very generous in charity. Richard Branson has regular parties for all his staff and welcomes them personally to his mansion. To my mind, this is what makes success.

“Do you think technology will affect the way we do business?”

Show answerOh definitely. In fact, I think technology has been affecting the way we interact in business for quite some time. Consider the use of video phones in conference calls and emails for communication and placing orders. As another example, courier companies can send a package from one continent to another and see not only the exact moment it was delivered, but also who signed for the package. Technology will continue to affect the way we do business as confidence increases with regards purchasing online. Over recent years, secure payments made on a website have allowed business to be transacted not only in the volume of sales and business done, but also in the markets now reached. Technology has made it cost effective to sell a single product to a customer thousands of miles away. Technology has also allowed us to present our product more visually – in the days of print media only, a black and white photograph was the most common method of promoting goods and services , but now we have websites, flash media, social networking sites likes Facebook and Youtube and many other platforms for people to promote their business.

“What makes a good employer?”

Show answerI think one of the fundamental aspects of being a good employer would be the ability to motivate people, to get the best out of those that work for you. I think a large part of that would be recruiting the right kind of employee, choosing people that you think will fit well in the team but also be able to use their own initiative. In my experience, one of the worst kinds of employer are those that micromanage – they can’t leave you alone to complete a task without looking over your shoulder This leads to people not being able to take pride in what they do, and in many cases leads to a high staff turnover.

“Do you think life would be better if we all worked less?”

Show answerOh yes, definitely. I mean, although many people may enjoy their work, I think it is important to maintain perspective – that you work to live, not live to work. You are lucky if you find and can keep a job you enjoy doing; but even so, it should not interfere with the more important aspects in life – family, relationships, friendships. If the working week was reduced from 5 days down to say, three, or even four days, people would find time to do more of the things they often think about doing but don’t get round to. I think most people – well, certainly me – would get out more if I could have three days away from work rather than just the weekend. Look how excited most people get when we have a long weekend because of a holiday on Friday or Monday, for example.

Tips for the IELTS speaking test

Tips for the IELTS speaking test

On this page are tips and hints for speaking in the IELTS test. If you have a question or a tip that you think would benefit others, let us know using the message form at the bottom of the page.

*Note that the speaking test is the same for the General Training and Academic Module test

 

Start the assessment straight away

Tips for the IELTS speaking testWhen the examiner collects you from the waiting room and takes you to the test room, the test hasn’t officially started. However, it is human nature for the examiner to begin the assessment from the time you meet, so a brief ‘Hello’ or ‘Are you having a busy day?’ as you are walking to the test room will give a good first impression.

Self correction

If you realise you have made a mistake with something you have said, don’t ignore it – stop, correct yourself and move on. For example: ‘My friend have visited…sorry, I mean my friend has visited…this  place a number of times, and he….’. You don’t lose points for errors that you self correct.

Changing levels of formality

One of the areas that the examiner will be assessing you on is your ability to change the level of formal language you use from Part One to Part Three. To help, think of the sections of the test in this way and use vocabulary and structures appropriate to the situation:

  • Part One: a conversation between two old friends – informal, relaxed, friendly
  • Part Two: a presentation to work colleagues you know – semi formal, relaxed but also professional
  • Part Three: a job interview – present yourself very formally, avoiding informal structures and use a wide range of academic grammar.

Finding opportunities to speak English

One of the hardest sections of IELTS to practice is the speaking, often because you may have limited or no opportunities to speak. The other problem is that you may work or live in an English speaking environment but end up having the same conversations that don’t really help for the more formal sections of the test.

  • Speak to yourself: One of the best methods to practice speaking is – surprise surprise! – to speak aloud. It doesn’t matter if there is anyone listening, and ideally you can record yourself and play it back, listening to the pronunciation and intonation and improving where you can.
  • Call freephone numbers: In many countries, there are companies that have freephone numbers. Give them a call and ask questions about their product. The advantage of this method is that you cannot really predict what you may be asked, so it helps you to think on your feet. Of course, if it all starts going wrong you can always hang up the phone!
  • Join online groups:  There are lots of online groups where people arrange to speak together (generally via Skype). It’s a good idea to join in, but make sure you have set rules. Here are some pointers if you are arranging a Skype conversation with someone to practice your English:
    • have fixed times to start and finish – 10 minutes is a good length, at least at first.
    • have a set topic to talk about before you start the conversation (use an IELTS style topic – Task II writing topics make for good discussion!)
    • share the speaking time – don’t dominate the speaking and don’t let anyone else do so either. Agree on a set number of seconds or minutes that someone will speak for before you start the conversation.
    • Don’t share any overly personal details – it’s good to meet people online especially if there is a good purpose, but there’s no reason why someone you have just spoken to would need a phone number or email address.

IELTS speaking model answer – Your favourite way to relax

IELTS speaking model answer Your favourite way to relax

Describe your favourite way to relax

IELTS speaking model answer Favourite way to relaxThis 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 your favourite way to relax.

You should say:

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

You should also say how it relaxes you.

Model answer:

Without doubt, the way I prefer to relax is by playing computer games. Well, not so much computer games as my Xbox. I’ve always loved that kind of thing, but I bought my Xbox about six or seven months ago and I’ve hardly stopped playing it – I think it’s almost an addiction! The games can be quite expensive, so you need to save up, but the graphics are so good and some of the best games can take weeks to finish, so I suppose it doesn’t work out to be too bad.

Anyway, I normally rent games from the video shop. I get a couple of games a week, but if I really like it then I’ll go to the games shop and buy it rather than keep renting it. I play most nights unless I’m going out with friends, or have a lot of homework. Even then, I try to squeeze in a half an hour after my studies. Some nights though, especially at the weekend, I can play for hours at a time.It’s probably not good for my eyes focusing on the television too long.

For anybody watching me play, they would probably be surprised to hear me say it relaxes me because I can get pretty angry if I keep failing at some part of a game. The reason it relaxes me is a little different though – it allows me for a short time to be somewhere else, to forget about my studies or this IELTS test or anything serious.

After playing games for a while, I often find things like my homework are a lot less complicated than I thought. I think it’s important to have some time to yourself, away from everything and everyone else.

IELTS speaking model answer – A teacher that inspired you

IELTS speaking model answer  – A teacher that inspired you

Describe a teacher that inspired you

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.

IELTS speaking model answer A teacherTalk about a teacher that inspired you

You should say:

  • who it was
  • when it was
  • what they taught you

You should also say why they inspired you

 

Click the play button below to listen to the topic card as you read

 

Model answer:

It might sound strange, but the teacher that really gave me something to aim for was my language school teacher. I’ve only been in New Zealand for four months, and when I first came I was very nervous about everything. He was my first teacher, and he made the whole environment welcoming just by doing simple little things. For example, there were 14 of us in his class and by the end of the first lesson he had remembered all of our names. I thought that was quite impressive considering there were students from lots of different nationalities, and that meant lots of different pronunciations of names!

He taught me general English at first, covering all the normal parts of learning a new language, and he had a great way of explaining difficult grammar points in a way that made it easy to remember, and he used a lot of very clear examples. When I went to the IELTS class he taught me writing skills, which I found very difficult at first. I improved quickly though, because he encouraged us to work hard. Actually, he was quite strict – he didn’t tolerate lazy students.

I’m not that interested in the subject of teaching and wouldn’t really consider becoming a teacher, but he’s certainly a good role model for anyone who is thinking of following it as a career. He was always well prepared and had a clear topic for every lesson, so we left the room feeling that we’d achieved something every day.

When he was teaching the writing class, preparing us for IELTS, he made the whole process much clearer than I had imagined it could be. He broke the lessons down into individual sections, such as how to write a good introduction or conclusion, and the importance sections of a sentence.

One of the most inspiring aspects of his teaching style would definitely be the way he made us appreciate that it was only by practising that you could hope to become more proficient. I suppose it was because of him that I was inspired to take this test, because I want to prove both to myself and to my teacher that I have been able to improve.

IELTS speaking model answer – A subject you enjoyed

IELTS speaking model answer – A subject you enjoyed

Describe a subject you enjoyed at school

IELTS speaking model answer A subject you enjoyedThis 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 a subject you enjoyed at school.

You should say:

  • what it was
  • when you studied it
  • who taught you

You should also say why you enjoyed it.

Model answer:

Well, I was never very fond of school so it’s difficult to say. I was never very strong academically, so I enjoyed sport more than anything. I didn’t do very well in formal exams, and the sports classes never seemed to have too many formal tests! I liked most things we did in the sport classes, but I preferred the outside ball games – especially soccer. In my school you had to join in at least once a week, normally on Friday afternoons. I did that right up to the end of high school, and I don’t think I ever missed a game, although a lot of my friends left early so they could have a longer weekend.

In our school, there were three sports teachers. Mrs Brownslow mostly took classes for the girls, but the boys either had Mr Hendricks or Mr Smith. I suppose it was Mr Smith that I liked best – he was the soccer teacher. He was always encouraging of anyone that made an effort, but he wasn’t very friendly to those students that just stood around doing nothing.

There are quite a few reasons why I enjoyed it, apart from not having to worry about academic exams on a Friday afternoon. I suppose the main reason is that I was good at it, and I think it’s easier to enjoy something you have ability in. There was normally a good atmosphere in the class and we had quite a good soccer team – I remember we won the annual competition against other local schools three times while I was in the team! Another reason I looked forward to those lessons was that after an hour or so of running around I always felt refreshed, and I seemed to have more energy. I guess that’s why I’m still quite active now, although I don’t play soccer.

These days I just go jogging in the mornings, but it still helps give me the energy I need for the day. I can’t imagine not doing any exercise – I think it’s a great way to start the day and of course it’s good for your overall health to do something like that as often as possible.

IELTS speaking model answer – A place you would love to visit

IELTS speaking model answer  – A place you would love to visit

Describe a place you would love to visit

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 a place you would love to visit.

You should say:

  • where it is
  • what you can do there
  • what is special about it.

You should also say why you would like to go there more than anywhere else.

Model answer:

IELTS speaking model answer A place to visitWell, I love travelling so there are many places I would really like to go to, but perhaps the place I would love to go to most is the South Island. I’ve been in New Zealand for nearly two years and I still haven’t been. The only time I could have gone was last Christmas, but it’s more expensive at that time of year. As for the things you can do there, the list is endless. There are the Sounds – you know, Milford Sound, Marlborough Sound. You can go on a boat tour across quite a few of them. Then there are all the extreme sports. I think the South Island is the first place bungy jumping was set up commercially.

Ideally, I’d love to rent a car and just drive around, stopping to do some of those sports. I much prefer to drive rather than go by bus because you can decide where you want to stay and how long for. As for what makes it special, that’s easy if you’ve seen The Lord of the Rings movies – the scenery! It must be one of the last remaining unspoilt areas on earth! I hope that doesn’t change.

I suppose that’s why it would be the place I want to visit more than anywhere else – because it probably won’t stay like that forever.
Just to take a tent and some food, drive around and then camp when it gets dark – that sounds like a perfect place to visit to me.

IELTS speaking model answer – The best holiday you have had

IELTS speaking model answer – The best holiday you have had

Describe the best holiday you have had

IELTS speaking model answer Best holidayThis 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 the best holiday you have ever had.

You should say

  • where it was
  • when you went
  • who you went with.

You should also say why it was your best holiday.

Model answer:

Well, definitely the best holiday that I can remember was actually only a few months ago, not long after I arrived in New Zealand. I went camping at Mangawhai Heads a couple of hours north of Auckland. We went there for the Labour weekend holiday, so it was quite busy, but the atmosphere was great.

The lady at the campsite told us about a beach we could go to – it wasn’t signposted, but it was down a dirt road with lots of potholes. When we got to the beach I was amazed – the sand was stunningly white and there was hardly anyone there at all! I’ve always loved going to the beach – I used to go most weekends in the summer when I was a child – but this beach was so much cleaner.

Anyway, on this trip I went with a couple of friends from my language school. We’re from different countries but all in the same class, so we all speak about the same level of English. There are quite a few reasons why I think it was the best holiday I have ever had. As I mentioned, I love the beach and this beach was just perfect. And then there was the opportunity to get out of the city and see some of the rest of New Zealand.

The people we met there were so friendly! There was a Kiwi family camping next to us and they invited us to come to their barbecue. We weren’t very prepared, but they seemed to have everything. On top of that, it was the perfect opportunity to practise my English, which is always good.

IELTS speaking topic card model answer – An important friend

IELTS speaking model answer – An important friend

Describe a friend who is important to you.

IELTS speaking model answer - best friendThis 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 a friend who is important to you

You should say:

  • where you met
  • how long you have known him / her
  • why you are friends

You should also say why he or she is important to you

Model answer:

Well, I’d like to talk about someone I’ve known for a long time. He actually used to be my next-door neighbour, but I didn’t really get to know him until we went to school together. We used to study in the same English class when I was at high school, so I guess I’ve know him for about…it must be seven years now.

He was always a much better student than me – he let me copy his homework quite a few times, but that’s not really how we became friends. To be honest, it’s hard to say exactly why we are friends – we don’t share the same interests, apart from basketball. He’s happy to spend his evenings in front of a computer playing games while I’d rather watch a movie. Sometimes I think I’m a television addict!

Anyway, despite our differences, he’s a very genuine person. I mean, he’s honest and direct, and that means we can have some very interesting conversations on all types of subjects.

As I mentioned, he was always a better student than me and he seems to know a lot about the world, so we can spend hours just chatting. I think that’s important in a friend, but to add another reason, I would have to say that he is very generous. I don’t necessarily mean with money, I mean that he’s a very giving person who goes out of his way to make people feel comfortable. I think that’s mainly why I feel he is important to me.

Anyway, I imagine we’ll be friends for a long time.

Talking about places in the IELTS speaking test

Talking about places in the IELTS speaking test

talking-about-placesA topic that has recently been used a few times in Part 2 of the speaking test asks you to describe a place, so this short exercise will give you some practice in extending a description of a place using adjectives.

Complete the text using words from the list:

tropical | peaceful | amazing | breathtaking | humid | serene | rugged | lively | packed | mountainous | friendly | clear | spectacular | hilly | green | sun-drenched

“Well, one place I love in New Zealand is Tongariro National Park. You can do the Tongariro circuit – you walk right around the mountains, staying in huts. It takes about three days. The views are absolutely (a)___________ – on a (b)___________day you can see all the way to Mount Taranaki in the west. It can be extremely hot, yet as with any (c)___________ environment, the temperature can drop incredibly quickly, so you have to be prepared. At weekends or holidays, it can get a little crowded, and some nights the huts are (d)___________, but everyone is so (e)___________. I must have said ‘Hello’ a hundred times a day when I was there! ”

Scroll down to see the answers:

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Well, one place I love in New Zealand is Tongariro National Park. You can do the Tongariro circuit – you walk right around the mountains, staying in huts. It takes about three days. The views are absolutely (a) breathtaking – on a (b) clear day you can see all the way to Mount Taranaki in the west. It can be extremely hot, yet as with any (c) tropical environment, the temperature can drop incredibly quickly, so you have to be prepared. At weekends or holidays, it can get a little crowded, and some nights the huts are (d) packed, but everyone is so (e) friendly. I must have said ‘Hello’ a hundred times a day when I was there!

Talking about people in the IELTS speaking test lesson 2

Talking about people in the IELTS speaking test lesson 2

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

When talking about people, you will almost certainly need adjectives describing personality. Are the following adjectives positive, neutral or negative?

  • indecisive
  • open-minded
  • impatient
  • careful
  • trustworthy
  • selfish
  • optimistic
  • sociable
  • attentive
  • cheerful
  • ambitious
  • spontaneous
  • sensitive
  • hardworking
  • reserved
  • aggressive
  • impolite
  • moody
  • lazy
  • generous
  • caring

Be careful though! Some words can be positive, negative or neutral depending on context.

Now practice – use the words above to complete the sentences below:

He’s so (1)___________ – it can take him ages to make up his mind, but he loves parties and meeting people. He’s much more (2)___________ than me.

Show answers
(1) indecisive (2) sociable

He has good qualities, but sometimes he can be a little boring. He always has to consider things carefully before doing them. I’m a lot more (3)___________ – I just go ahead and do things and think about the consequences later.

Show answer
(3) spontaneous

I think we first became friends because he’s so (4)___________. You know, one of those people that always smiles no matter what. I can’t stand (5)___________ people – you never know what they are going to be like from one day to the next.

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(4) optimistic (5) moody

If I was talking about someone who had a great impact on me, it would probably be my father. He doesn’t like to be the centre of attention – it’s not that he’s shy, just a little (6)___________, but he’s so (7)_________. I can’t remember the last time he took a long holiday.

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(6) reserved (7) hardworking

I liked the job, but I didn’t like my boss. He would never listen to any new ideas or consider new ways of doing things, and I think someone in his position should have been a lot more (8)___________.

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(8) open-minded

Since moving to another country, my character has changed quite a lot. I am an only child, so I suppose I was a little bit (9)___________, but since living in a flat with others, I’ve learned to share and think a little more about other people. That’s something I’ve learned from one of my flatmates – she’s a really (10)___________ person who always asks if I’ve had a good day and has time to talk if I’m feeling down.

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(9) selfish (10) caring

I recently met an old friend of mine, someone I had known at school, and we decided to go for lunch. Well, he spent the whole time telling me about his business plans, and how he was going to become more successful than anyone else. I suppose he’s just (11)___________ but he seemed really (12)___________, talking about how he was going to dominate the market and there was no room for anyone with a conscience. I don’t think I’ll meet up with him again.

(11) ambitious (12) aggressive

Here’s a complete answer from a Part Two topic card about someone the speaker has known for a long time:

Talking about people in the IELTS speaking test lesson 2“Well, I’d like to talk about someone I’ve known for a long time. He actually used to be my next-door neighbour, but I didn’t really get to know him until we went to school together.

We used to study in the same English class when I was at high school, so I guess I’ve know him for about…it must be seven years now. He was always a much better student than me – he let me copy his homework quite a few times, but that’s not really how we became friends.

To be honest, it’s hard to say exactly why we are friends – we don’t share the same interests, apart from basketball. He’s happy to spend his evenings in front of a computer playing games while I’d rather watch a movie. Sometimes I think I’m a television addict! Anyway, despite our differences, he’s a very genuine person. I mean, he’s honest and direct, and that means we can have some very interesting conversations on all types of subjects.

As I mentioned, he was always a better student than me and he seems to know a lot about the world, so we can spend hours just chatting. I think that’s important in a friend, but to add another reason, I would have to say that he is very generous.

I don’t necessarily mean with money, I mean that he’s a very giving person who goes out of his way to make people feel comfortable. I think that’s mainly why I feel he is important to me.

Either way, I imagine we’ll be friends for a long time.”

 

Now take a look at lesson 3 for describing people in the IELTS test