IELTS Speaking Tips
This topic will almost definitely come up on the test. In IELTS Speaking Part 1 the examiner will either ask you about your work/study or about where you live.
So there is a 50% chance that it will come up at the beginning of the speaking test and a pretty good chance after that it will come up in part 2 or 3 of IELTS speaking.
My #1 tip for the speaking test is to be as specific as you can. Real places, people and experience. That will help your fluency and bring out more good vocabulary.
Avoid giving general, easy answers where you repeat the same vocabulary and ideas. Those answers will bore the examiner to death and lower your vocabulary and fluency scores.
Read below for some sample question and answers based on my experience as an examiner as well as a video of me answering the questions as best I can!
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Can the Examiner Answer the Questions? Listen and find out!
In my answers, I tried to be as specific and natural as possible, while still showing off a little bit.
Don’t give general, weak answers – name specific places, talk about real situations, give great examples.
This will help to improve your fluency because your speaking will have clear points and structure.
It will also improve your vocabulary score by expanding the range of subjects that you talk about.
IELTS Speaking Model Answer: Where you Live
Let’s talk about where you live.
Do you live in a house or an apartment?
Right now I just moved into a brand new apartment on the outskirts of the city to save some money so I can afford the fee for this test. It’s a cozy studio and I share it with a family of 5 so it ends up being a bit too cramped for my liking. It’s only temporary and I expect I’ll move out as soon as I win the lottery or get hitched with someone rich. I don’t really fancy living in a big house but this living situation is also far from perfect.
What kind of home would you like to have in the future?
I’m not that bothered about the type of home I’ll have in the future as long as it’s stuffed full of the things I like. It would be great to have a robot on hand to help with the cleaning up and lots of windows with decent views. The location is key too. Somewhere central would be ideal for me because I don’t like lazing around the house. I like having lots of things to get up to at night.
What do you like most about where you live?
Where I’m living at the moment I really appreciate the convenience. There’s a supermarket just below my apartment that I can pop into quickly if I run out of something. It’s also a fairly quiet area – lots of families and older people live around there so I don’t have to deal with loud music or difficult neighbours. The other thing that suits me is the gorgeous views. From my balcony I look out over a river, nearby villas, a working-class neighbourhood, and some high-rises in the distance.
Have you lived in your current city for a long time?
Yeah, a bit longer than I’d like to be honest. I’ve been here the last 8 years. I’m keen on moving to a new city, somewhere with a touch of culture where I can integrate fully with the locals. I feel isolated now even though my life here is very comfortable. I reckon I’ll try out a new spot in the next few years if I get the chance.
What would you improve about your current city?
There’s a lot of room for improvement where I live. Traffic drives me up the walls. The streets are packed during rush hour so I’d get rid of all the cars if I could. People could still get around by motorbikes, bicycles and on foot. And more music venues. There isn’t much of a music scene so I’d open some small theaters where promoters can bring in the live acts that we lack now.
What’s the neighbourhood like where you live?
My neighbourhood is a mix of foreign expats, primarily from Korea, Japan and the West, and the local Vietnamese. It’s a good deal in the end – lots of different cuisine from all over the world but nothing too pricey. It’s also relatively quiet for a big city because my area is outside the hub of the city. Like many neighbourhoods in Vietnam, there is a lot of contrast – grotesque, tasteless mansions living side by side with cramped family homes.
brand new apartment new place
outskirts of the city suburbs, outer districts
afford the fee be able to pay
cozy studio small apartment
share it live with
bit too cramped not enough space
get hitched get married
don’t really fancy don’t like
living situation where you live
far from perfect not ideal
I’m not that bothered don’t care about
stuffed full of got lots of
on hand available
cleaning up tidying up
decent views good views/scenery
central in the middle of
lazing being lazy
get up to do
I really appreciate am grateful full
pop into quickly go to
run out of something not have anymore
deal with handle
difficult neighbours annoying neighbours
gorgeous views spectacular views
look out over can see
villas small mansion
working-class neighbourhood poorer neighbourhood
high-rises in the distance syscrapers far away
to be honest frankly
I’m keen on I like
a touch of culture some culture
integrate fully part of
locals local people/residents
try out try
new spot new location/place
if I get the chance get the opportunity
room for improvement space to get better
drives me up the walls makes me crazy
packed full of
rush hour traffic heavy period
get rid lose
get around go around
music venues music spaces
music scene the culture around music in a location
bring in find
live acts live bands
lack don’t have
good deal good opportunity
nothing too pricey cheap
relatively quiet fairly calm/quiet
hub central area
a lot of contrast lots of differences
tasteless mansions ugly big homes
One Last Thing…
There’s one other point I want to make about IELTS speaking. A lot of students ask me about moving up to band 7 or 8 for vocabulary.
Let’s take a look at exactly what that means. In the band desriptors, to get to band 7+ you need to have lots of nuanced, specific, flexible meaning (in terms of both vocabulary and grammar).
Take a look at this answer again:
I’ve been here the last 8 years. I’m keen on moving to a new city, somewhere with a touch of culture where I can integrate fully with the locals.
That phrase is really flexible because I don’t just say that it has culture. I say a touch of culture, which means a little bit and is a very specific phrase.
I don’t just say integrate – I say integrate fully, which means completely.
If you use simpler vocabulary you might say something like this:
I’m keen on moving to a new city, somewhere with more culture where I can integrate with the locals.
This does not communicate the same depth of meaning and you will not be able to get band 7+.
Comment your own answers below for feedback!