Talking about the internet
How will the Internet affect our lives?
The “perspectives technique” for generating ideas (see 6th October) can also be useful in the IELTS speaking test. Here’s an example:
How do you think the Internet will affect our lives in the future?
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.
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.
Schools and universities might also use the Internet to provide courses, so online learning will probably become a normal part of life.
Talking about politeness
In your country’s culture, how do you show that you are being polite? We really value politeness and good manners in the UK, and there are many types of polite behaviour. One of the first things 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?”.
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 more relaxed about politeness with family members. Most people 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.
Talking about status symbols
In your country, what possessions show a higher status or position in society? In my country, people who are wealthy tend to buy big houses and cars. Certain makes of car such as Mercedes or Ferrari are status symbols. They let other people know that you are important or powerful. People who want to give this impression often wear expensive designer clothes, or watches by brands like Rolex.
Do you think we place too much importance on possessions?
Probably, yes. Some 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.
Do you think things were different 50 years ago?
Yes, maybe people were less materialistic. I think they bought things that lasted longer; my grandparents talk about how they repaired things rather than throwing them away. Maybe brands and advertising weren’t as powerful as they are now.
Talking about toys
1. Do you think it’s important for boys to 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.
Talking about Technology at work
1. What technology or equipment is used in most workplaces nowadays?
2. Does technology help workers, or does it make their lives more difficult?
3. What effect does new technology have on employment?
1. Advice: 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 data, and finding information on the Internet.
2. Advice: 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. Advice: give the good effects AND the bad effects:
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 be created thanks to a new technology; there would be no computer programmers if the computer hadn’t been invented.
Talking about lessons
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 used 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 lesson just once a week, and spend the rest of their time following online courses or watching video lessons.
Talking about sports
In the example answers below, some of the phrases that examiners would like to hear have been underlined. They might seem easy to understand, but they are the kind of natural phrases that native speakers use.
1. Why do you think sport is important?
I think sport is important for different reasons. 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 to socialise and make friends.
2. Do you think famous sportspeople are good role models 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 influence, and behave in the right way.
3. Do you agree that sports stars earn too much money?
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 play. If we don’t want sportspeople to earn so much money, we shouldn’t go to watch them.
Talking about wildlife
The band 7 vocabulary items and collocations have been underlined.
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 and rhinos, for example, are 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 measures 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 because they attract tourists while protecting wildlife.
Is it the responsibility of schools to teach children about protecting wildlife?
Yes, schools can play a big part in educating children about this issue. Children should learn how to look after the natural environment. I think schools already teach children about endangered species and the destruction of rain forests, so hopefully future generations will do a better job of protecting wildlife.
Talking about parties
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 they 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?
Most people like parties because they have a good time at them – eating a nice meal, chatting to friends, or having a dance. People who don’t like them might find social situations difficult because they are 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.
Talking about leisure activities
1. What is the relationship between 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.
Talking about emotions
Do you think it’s good to show your emotions when you’re angry?
I think it depends on the 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.
Talking about transportation
What types of transport are there in your town?
In Manchester I think you can find every form of transport apart from an underground system. You can drive around 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 system, and of course there are taxis too.
How has transport changed since your grandparents were young?
Well, they had cars, trains 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 nowadays; people travel a lot more, and 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 drive themselves and never crash. I think we’ll probably fly more, and it might become normal to have your own plane. On the other hand, many cities are building more bicycle lanes, so maybe we will use cars less for getting around towns and cities.
Talking about advice
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.
Talking about community
1) What are some of the ways people can help others in the community? Which is the most important?
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.
Talking about history
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 Depression, 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?
It’s really difficult to predict what will happen in the future; most of the big, historic events of the past would have been 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 we’ll all live longer.
Talking about competitions
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 children interested or get them excited. Children love winning things.
2. Is it a good thing to give prizes to children 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. Children need to learn that the reason for studying is to learn useful things 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 age? 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 focus on doing well in tests. Parents also seem to be getting more competitive; I think that many parents push their children to do extra homework rather than letting them play with friends.
Talking about rivers, lakes and seas
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!
Have an opinion!
Now, when you get the idea, how do you prepare for this kind of test? Well, you need to have an opinion on wide range of different topics. Here is a list of most common topics for you to think about. Just go over them, think of what do you have to say on those issues, think of which words you will use. Then record yourself saying a couple of sentences on each of those topics and listen to what comes out. Think of what you could have done better. This should get you ready for the Discussion part.
So think about:
- Main industry in your country now, how it will develop in the future
- Pollution affecting ecology
- Popular transportation in your country
- How to have better public transport
- How your country has been improved
- City you are living in, it’s advantages and disadvantages
- Your country’s weather, main season
- Your country’s animals, in what ways are they used.
- Piece of equipment that you consider very important, why, how did you start to use it.
- Computers – their advantages and disadvantages, whether people of different genders and ages use them more or less
- Food in restaurants, why and when we eat there, what are pros and cons of eating in a restaurant
- Celebrities in your country
- Idols – who chooses them, why copy them, etc.
- Favorite holiday in your country
- Who does the shopping
- Where do you like to shop and when
- What do you shop for
- Who does house works, which work in the most important, why
- How do you like spending your time
- Favorite movies (films), do you watch them on TV or in cinema?
- Would you like to act in movies? Why not?
- Where you like to spend your vacation
- Study or work, where, what do you like most about your job, what do you dislike about your job
- Your future plans
- Your hobbies
- Do you think free time is important and why
- What did you study at university
- Which subject is your favorite
- Which subject you don’t like
- What do you want to do in the future
- Your favorite food
- Greatest success in your life
- Design of your apartment, like, dislike, why
- What room do you like most, what you do there most, what it looks like
- Your favorite sportsmen
- Favorite TV program
- Most interesting time in your life
- Things that were important in your life
- Your favorite song or piece of music
- Book – what about, how did it influence you
- Doll or some other toy, who gave it to you, on what occasion, what did you do with it
- Who is your best friend
- Where and when did you meet
- What do you like the best about him/her
- What have you done together? Explain the reasons of your good friendship
- What do the children think about friendship? What about the adults? Compare them.
- Who cannot be a good friend of yours? Tell the properties of such a person
- Can people, opposite in personality, be good friends?
- What do you value and not value in people
- Friendship through internet, good and bad sides
- How can a visitor travel in my country
- How did my grandparents travel in the past
- Will the travel method change in the future
- Traveling in group compared single traveling
- What kinds of holidays exist
- Where people prefer to go on vacation
- Applications that have positive effect on growth of tourism
- Why boys and girls chose different toys
- Why toys are good for kids
- Negative influence of toys, educational side of toys
- What kind of music do you like,
- Why we should teach music to our kids
Extra Examples for IELTS Speaking Part 3
1. Tell me about the types of food that people eat in your country.
2. How are the eating habits now in your country different from eating habits in the past?
3. How healthy is your country’s food?
4. Why do you think different cultures have different table manners?
5. How may eating habits change in coming decades?
1. How are education priorities today different from those in the past?
2. What is your opinion on the way languages are taught in schools?
3. How can the type of school you go to affect career success?
4. What changes do you think will happen in the classroom in the near future?
1. Is water pollution a problem in your country?
2. What are some of the causes of water pollution?
3. What can individuals do to try and ensure water is kept clean?
4. Do you think problems with the cleanliness of water will improve in the future?
Influence of television
1. How popular is watching television in your country?
2. Tell me about the types of programme that are generally on television in your country.
3. Why do people like watching television?
4. Do you think state or private television is better?
5. What effects can watching television have on children?
Influences on the young
1. What type of people influence the young in your country?
2. Why it is important to have role models?
3. Do you think the education system in your country influences young people’s behavior?
4. What type of people (parents, teachers, friends etc.) are best to influence young people’s behavior?
5. What do you think young people will be most influenced by it the future?
1. What types of leisure activities are popular in your country?
2. Why it is important for people to have time for leisure activities?
3. Why are some activities more popular than others?
4. Are the types of leisure activities that are popular today the same as those that were popular when your parents were young?
5. What types of leisure activities may become more popular in the future? Shopping
1. Is shopping a popular activity in your country
2. How have shopping habits changed over recent years?
3. To what extent do you think advertising affects the way people shop?
4. Do you think shopping habits are likely to change in the future?
1. What types of sports are popular in your country?
2. What are the benefits of playing a sport?
3. Do you think the types of sport that are popular will change in the future?
4. How can sports bring people from different countries closer together?
1. How do most people travel long distances in your country?
2. Have the types of transport people use changed much over the last few decades?
3. What kinds of improvement have there been in transport in your country in recent years?
4. Do you think transport is likely to continue to improve in the future?