Updated Aug 1, 2017


IELTS Part 2 and Part 3 Topics and Questions

Page 135


671.  A Time You Borrowed Something  (Sep, 2015)  (Probably no longer used)

672.  Someone in the News  (Sep, 2015)  (Probably no longer used)

673.  Waiting for Something  (Sep, 2015)  (Probably no longer used)

674.  A Long Walk  (Sep, 2015)  (Probably no longer used)

675.  Noise  (Sep, 2015)  (Probably no longer used)



FQ = frequent question = a question that has frequently been reported = a question that is probably in the examiner's question book

* = my guess at a question


671.  A Time You Borrowed Something  (Sep, 2015)  (Probably no longer used)

Describe a time when you borrowed something.

               You should say:

what you borrowed

who you borrowed it from

what you used it for (how it was useful to you)

how long you borrowed it for

and explain why you borrowed it. *



  • If the last line is, "and explain why you borrowed it" then an obvious reason for borrowing it is to use it! That is assumed to be the case so it is unnecessary to say that. Most likely, that last line wants you to say why you borrowed it instead of buying one.

  • Notice that the use of "it" is referring to a singular object. But, if you want, you could choose to describe borrowing money, (which is an uncountable noun), by saying "a sum of money", which can be referred to as "it".

  • Of course, a very common thing for people to borrow is a book from a library.


Possible follow-up questions:

  • Do you often borrow things?


Part 3

Lending and Borrowing

See also any similar questions from the Part 3 of Topic 587, Page 118

See Note 1

  • What are some examples of the things that people in your country typically borrow from others?  FQ See Note 2

  • Who do they more often borrow from, their family or their friends? FQx2

  • Are there some things that people borrow from family members but don't usually borrow from other people? FQ

  • What kind of friend will lend you things?

  • Do people often lend things to (or borrow from) strangers?

  • Why do people borrow things? FQ

  • Do you think it's right to borrow things?

  • How long do people usually keep the things that they have borrowed before they return them? FQ

  • How long do you think is a reasonable length of time for a borrower to keep a borrowed item? FQ

  • (Similar to above) Do you think there should be a time limit on how long a borrower keeps the borrowed item? FQ

  • Do you think a person can damage their relationship with another person if they borrow something for a long time?

  • Do you think there's much difference between borrowing small (inexpensive) things and big (expensive or important) things?

  • What would you do if you borrowed something expensive that broke while you had it?

  • Do you think borrowing ever leads to disputes between people? FQx2

        People's Feelings about Lending       

  • Do you think people usually feel comfortable borrowing (or lending) things?

  • Can you suggest why some people are reluctant to lend things to other people?

  • Do you think there are any things that are not acceptable for people to lend or borrow? FQ 

  • What would you lend to a friend, and what would you not lend to a friend?

  • Would you say it's suitable to borrow someone else's shoes or clothes?

        Returning Borrowed Items

  • What would you do if a friend didn't give back something that they had borrowed from you?

  • (Similar to above)  How would you feel if a friend didn't give back something that they had borrowed from you?

        Lending and Borrowing Money

  • How do you feel about borrowing and lending money?

  • What do you think are the differences between borrowing a thing and borrowing money?

  • Do people in your country prefer to borrow money from banks, or to borrow it from elsewhere?

  • Do you think there are any differences between borrowing money from family members and borrowing it from friends? FQ

  • (Similar to above) What do people usually borrow from their family rather than from their friends? FQ

  • Many people are reluctant to lend money or valuable things. Can you suggest why? FQ

  • How do people borrow a large sum of money?

        Habitual Borrowers

  • How do you (or, people) feel about someone who frequently borrows things?

  • If someone habitually borrowed from you, would you continue to lend to that person?

  • What would you do if a friend wanted to borrow something from you that you didn't want to lend?

        Asking Permission Before Borrowing

  • What sorts of things do students at school often borrow from other students?

  • Before you borrow something (such as a pen), do you think it's always necessary to ask permission? FQx2

  • What are some other suitable questions to ask when you want to borrow something? FQ

        Alternatives to Borrowing

  • What choices do people have if they do not want to borrow something?

  • Which do you think is better, to buy something or to borrow it?

  • What are the differences between buying something and borrowing something?

  • (Similar to above) In what situations do you think it is more suitable to borrow something rather than buy it (or, buy one)?

  • What are some examples of things that people (in your country) prefer to buy rather than borrow?

  • Can you think of examples of things that some people pay to borrow?  See Note 14

  • What are the advantages of paying to borrow something rather than buying it? 

        Borrowing from Libraries

  • What are the benefits of borrowing books from a library?

  • Which do you think is better, to borrow books from a library or to buy good-quality second-hand books? FQ

The Quality of Products

See also any similar or related questions from the Part 3 of Topic 541, Topic 438, Topic 386 and Topic 9

Companies Borrowing Things


672.  Someone in the News  (Sep, 2015)  (Probably no longer used)

Describe someone who is often in the news and who you would like to meet.

               You should say:

who this person is

why they are in the news

(possibly) what you would say to this person *

and explain why you would like to meet this person.




  • This seems to be a repeat of of Topic 342.

  • The third point is, at the moment, unknown. However, no matter what this third point is, you should include in your answer what you would say to, or ask this person. After all, if you met this person, you wouldn't just sit there and smile, saying nothing!

  • "In the news" does not necessarily mean "in the news on TV". This person might have been only in the news in a newspaper.

  • It is possible that the word, "often" is not used in the first line. If that is the case, you can either choose to talk about someone who is often in the news or you could talk about a person who was in the news only once or not very often.  But try to make it an example that is so recent that it is more or less the same as now. If the person was in the news only once, several weeks ago, it would be more suitable to say this person was in the news, not is in the news. So such an examples would probably not be a suitable example to use, although it might be acceptable to some examiners.

  • The most common example of people who are "often in the news" is political leaders. They are sometimes in the news every day. However, although most of the "news" concerns politics and related serious topics, there is also "entertainment news", "sports news", "business news" etc. If you choose to talk about a pop singer, movie star or sports star, for example, you should specify in your answer that you read or saw this person in the "entertainment news" or the "sports news" or similar words (while at the same time being careful not to reveal that you have read these notes!)

  • Not everyone who is "famous" or well-known is frequently in the news. Many famous people are well-known mainly because they are in books, learned about at school etc.

  • Not everyone who is "in the news" is a good person or a person who has done something good. Quite often, bad people are in the news. Or it could simply be someone who is not especially good or bad but someone who has done something interesting or unusual.

  • A newsreader on TV or the radio, no matter how "famous", is not "someone in the news". Those people deliver the news to the viewing or listening audience and are part of the news program, but they themselves are not the subject of news reports, which is what, "in the news" means.

  • Only use the words, "want to meet" if you have an active, strong and frequent desire to meet this person. The most suitable wording to use is, "would like to meet" (if I could, or if I had the chance).


Possible follow-up questions:


Part 3

See also the Part 3 of Topic 342.

People in the News

The News

The News Media


673.  Waiting for Something  (Sep, 2015)  (Probably no longer used)

Describe a time when you waited for something. *


Describe a time when you decided to wait for something *

               You should say:

what you wait for

how long you waited  *

what you did while you were waiting

and explain how you felt while waiting




  • "Waiting for someone" is really the same as "waiting for something" because you can say, for example, "waiting for someone to arrive" and "the thing" you waited for was the arrival of that person.

  • Possibly the topic really is, "Describe a time when you decided to wait for something". This would mean that you had a choice whether to wait or not.


Possible follow-up questions:


Part 3

See also the Part 3 of Topic 592

See Note 7



Children and Patience

Punctuality / The Pace of Modern Life


674.  A Long Walk  (Sep, 2015)  (Probably no longer used)

Describe a long walk that you went on. * 


Describe a long walk you enjoyed. * 

               You should say:

where you walked *

who you walked with *

what you saw (and did) during this walk *

and explain why you went on this long walk. *


and explain how you felt about going on this long walk. *




  • Accurate details about the points on the card are not yet available. The points above are my guesses.

  • This seems to be asking about one specific time when you had a walk, not a walk that you habitually take.

  • A "long walk" or hike is most commonly done in the countryside, the mountains, the forest etc but one could also talk about a long walk within a city.

  • "Long" can be measured in either distance or time and you should specify in your answer why you say that it was a "long walk". Even a walk of one hour is longer than most people usually walk so a one-hour walk would be suitable enough to talk about.

  • It does not have to be a walk that you were happy about undertaking (unless the wording says, "a long walk you enjoyed). For example, maybe you once had to walk for three hours to the nearest town because your car broke down in the countryside.


Possible follow-up questions:

  • Would you like to go on that walk again? *


Part 3

See also any relevant questions in the Part 3 of Topics 336, 253 and 20.


Outdoor Leisure Activities


675.  Noise  (Sep, 2015)  (Probably no longer used)

Describe an occasion when something (or someone) made a lot of noise. *


Describe an occasion when you heard  a lot of noise. *

               You should say:

where you heard this noise

when this happened *

who or what made the noise

what the noise was like (what it sounded like)

and explain what you did when you heard this noise.




  • So far, the wording has been reported as something like that. But this wording might be inaccurate and the real wording might actually be closer to that of Topic 282.

  • The wording might be, "a loud noise" instead of, "a lot of noise"/

  • If the wording is in the past tense (as it seems to be), then you should talk about a specific event that happened once, not something general that is happening all the time, such as the traffic on the road outside your window. However, if you no longer live in that place, the traffic outside your window would be suitable. That example means, "the traffic made a lot of noise when I lived there (past tense)" Therefore, talking about a situation or place that is always noisy is probably suitable if you describe how it was a continuous situation in the past when you were there.

  • See Note 16


Possible follow-up questions:


Part 3

See also the Part 3 for Topic 282

See notes on the meaning and usage of the words, "sound" and "noise" here.


Earphone / Headphone Usage

Loud Sound / Harmful Noise


Note 1

Don't forget, we "borrow from someone" and "lend to someone". Unlike some languages, English has two different words here.

Note 2

Of course, one of the most common things that people borrow is money, usually from banks and similar organizations.

Note 3

Someone has reported this question as, "What sorts of people do we see on TV?" but that is probably a mistake. Most people "on TV" are entertainers, including actors, or TV program hosts.

Note 4

The word "too" here means "excessive". In other words, the question is asking, "Do you feel it is reasonable to have so many news reports about celebrities (such as film stars)?"

Note 5

The suitability, or otherwise, of an urban environment for walking is mainly referring to  the ease of walking, the safety of the place for walking, and the degree of pleasure one can get from walking there.

The following factors would make some streets not very suitable for walking:

Heavy air pollution; heavy traffic with few traffic lights and few pedestrian crossings; excessive noise, such as in towns where drivers honk their car horns a lot; few or no footpaths; footpaths that are blocked by parked motorcycles or other objects; broken footpaths (that could cause you to trip and fall); icy or slippery footpaths in winter or after rain; footpaths crowded with people; dangerous people who might assault or rob you; dangerous dogs running free; ugly or boring sights; bad smells from polluted waterways etc.; a lack of shade in summer; a lack of suitable places to stop and rest; and, a lack of public toilets.

Note 6

Despite the common perception (or misconception) that some of us have, people in the past, especially three or more generations ago, usually worked many more hours per week than the average person does today. This is especially true when you consider that, unlike today, the majority of people several generations ago were farmers. Many farmers used to, and still do, work from sun-up to sun-down. Furthermore,  laws limiting the working hours of employees were non-existent a few generations ago. People also had bigger families in the past, and having a big family means more work to do at home, although that is balanced by having more willing hand to share the work . As well as that, people had fewer labour-saving (i.e., time-saving) devices in the home. Therefore, I would say that modern people do, on average, have more leisure time than people in the past.

By looking at how people use their leisure time, we can more clearly see how busy most people are today. It is probably true that more than 50% (= "most") of the population watches 10 to 20 hours of television per week. In no way can watching television be described as "being busy". It is difficult to imagine people three or more generations ago spending so much time per week on such a passive activity as that. This is a new phenomenon in human society.

People today seem to be busier today because they have many more choices of  non-work activities, as well as greater aspirations for upward social mobility (e.g., studying part-time while they are working in order to advance their careers) than people had in the past.

An example of this upward social mobility is you university students, who might feel that you are so busy studying but this is a lifestyle choice that your ancestors usually did not even have, you are not compelled to attend university, and it only lasts for three or four years. So, while the majority of people have more leisure time than people had in the past, some people (e.g., students) do choose to engage in activities that make them very busy, sometimes busier than average people in the past. They make this choice because they can; they have this choice, or this opportunity for social advancement. Although whether one is busy by choice or by necessity does not change the fact that one is "busy", the main point here is that being a busy university student is not only something that a minority of the people do, it is something that is done for only a short period in one's life.

Another point is working mothers, which was not a common phenomenon just a few generations ago. These women are actually doing two jobs, their paid job as well as taking care of the home and family. Whether by choice or from financial necessity, working mothers today are probably just as busy as non-working mothers were in the past, unless their husbands share in the housework, which many modern husbands do. So, one sector of society, working mothers, might be busier today than non-working mothers were in the past.

Note 7

Know the terms, "to queue up" and "form of queue" = form a line when waiting.

Note 8

A better way to express, "given to people" is the one word, "propagated". But examiners are unlikely to use such an advanced word in a question.

Someone has reported that the words, "broadcast to people" but "broadcast" is usually only applied to radio and TV, and possibly to the internet today. It is not usually used when applied to newspapers, although, strictly speaking, that could be one usage of the word, "broadcast".

Note 9

Wear earplugs or ear muffs, both of which are designed to block loud noise from entering the ears.

Some types of ear muffs are designed to protect the ears in a very cold environment, while other types are designed to protect the hearing from loud noise. The latter is the one being referred to here but, of course, ear muffs that block cold also block a lot of sound, or noise.

Ear phones, which are inserted into the ears, and headphones, which look similar to ear muffs, are both mainly designed to supply sound to the ears, such as music. Headphones also block some outside sounds, similar to the way ear muffs work but their main purpose is not to protect the hearing.

"Protect the hearing" means to protect the ear's ability to hear

Note 11

More than one person has reported this question. The words, "foreign news" can have two meanings and you should be clear which meaning you are talking about.

The first meaning is "news on the TV or in newspapers in your country about foreign events".

The second meaning is "foreign-derived news", i.e., "news that people in your country can receive from foreign countries". People can receive this second type of "foreign news" most easily on the internet but also on international TV stations, international radio stations and in foreign magazines and newspapers. This foreign-derived news might be about any topic, not just news about specific countries.

Note 12

Of course, the words "modern technology" here mainly refer to, "the internet" and, to a lesser extent, "smart phones".

Note 13

Although this question can refer to different types of people in the news saying something, I think it mainly refers to a) "experts" and, b) "celebrities" or "well-known" people.

The experts are people such as professors and other "voices of authority" (e.g., govt. officials) who often appear in TV news programs giving commentary on or explanations of news events. One example is financial or economics "experts"  Another example is "terrorism experts" and other political "experts" who basically tell the viewer what to think, which may or may not be based on truth. They do not always speak objectively.

What a celebrity or a well-known person says in a news program not only attracts people's attention but can, in the case of a well-known person, also feel like "an old friend" saying something. 

Note 14

Make sure you know the verbs, "to rent" and "to hire".

Note 15

It is possible that the following more general question is also being used:

Do you think television programs have changed in the past one or two decades?

That is, the question might be about TV programs in general, not just TV news programs.

Note 16

Some people from several different non-English speaking backgrounds make the mistake of saying the adjective, "noisy" when they should say the noun, "noise". Same with the words, "healthy" and "health". They might know the correct word to use and might be trying to say "noise" or "health" but they still add a little sound to make it sound like they are adding "y" to the word. If you are one of these people, practice mimicking the pronunciation of these words at