Updated Aug. 5, 2018


IELTS Part 2 and Part 3 Topics and Questions

Page 168

846.  A Skill You Learned as a Child  (Sep. 2017)

847.  A Subject in School  (Sep. 2017)

848.  An Event You Celebrated (Jan 2018)

849.  A Photo of You (Jan 2018)

850.  An Activity with an Old Person (Jan 2018)



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


846.  A Skill You Learned as a Child  (Sep. 2017)

Describe something you learned (not at school, university or college) *


Describe a skill you learned (not at school, university or college) *

               You should say:

 what it is (or, was)

 where your learned it

 how you learned it

    and explain how helpful (or useful) it is to you now. *



  • I think it is more likely the first line uses the word, "something" rather than, "a skill". "Skills" is more likely to be a Part 3 sub-topic or question. On the other hand, many things learned, apart from learning a singular fact, involve learning a skill.

  • It is possible to say, "I learned the history of my family", "I learned good manners", "I learned how to bake a cake", "I learned tai ji", "I learned how to breed pet birds" etc.

  • It would even be possible to talk about learning to talk or learning to walk as a baby!

  • Although the wording does not seem to include the words, "when you were a child", it seems that the wording allows you to talk about something you learned in your childhood.

  • Even if the words, "when you learned it" are not included, you should indicate some time or time period when using the past tense.


Possible follow-up questions:

  • Did you enjoy learning that?

  • Was it difficult to learn?


Part 3

See also 730, 723, 708, 683, 602, 543, 525, Topic 389, 375, Topic 325, Topic 304, 281, Topic 230, 224, Topic 154Topic 127 89, Topic 8277, Topic 36,  18 & 17

Learning in General

  • In general, how do people learn (something)? *

  • How do people learn skills? *

  • Do you think the way people learn will change in the future? *

  • Do you think people need to learn to work? *  See Note 3

  • What skills (or things) do you think will be more important to learn in the future than they are now? *

  • How is education today different from the past?

  • How do you think education might change in the future? *

  • What do you think are the benefits of teaching others to learn new things?

Learning as an Adult

Learning as a Child


847.  A Subject in School  (Sep. 2017)

Describe an interesting subject you studied at school. *


Describe a subject you studied at school that you liked *

               You should say:

 what subject it was

 how long you studied it

how it was taught

 and explain why it was interesting for you. *


 and explain why you liked it. *




Possible follow-up questions:

  • Did your classmates also like that subject?


Part 3

Past Part 2 topics about "a subject" or "a course": Topic 723, Topic 543, Topic 389, Topic 304, Topic 230, Topic 89, Topic 36 & Topic 18

See also 730, 708, 683, 602, 525, 375, 365, Topic 325, 281, 224, Topic 154Topic 127Topic 8277 & 17

School Subjects in Your Country

  • What subjects do you have in high schools (or, secondary schools, or middle schools) in your country? FQ

  • Which subjects do you (or, did you) like most?

  • Why do students in your country study English?  See Note 1

  • Which subjects would you say are the most useful for people after they finish school? FQ

  • How useful is the study of geography?  See Note 1

  • Are students able to choose what subjects to study? FQ

  • When can (or do) students choose their own subjects?

  • Do you think students should (be able to) choose their own courses? FQ

  • At what age should students be allowed to choose what subjects to study in school? FQ

  • What courses (or subjects) do you think should be included in the high school curriculum? FQ

  • Do you think there should be courses (or subjects) available besides academic subjects? *

  • Which subjects(s) would you say is the most important for people after they finish high school? FQ

  • What new subjects might be included in the school curriculum in the future? FQ

  • What subjects do you think might disappear from school curricula in the future? FQ

  • What do you think are the goals (or, is the purpose) of the education provided by schools?

  • Do you think it's better for high school students to study many subjects, or to just focus on a few?

School Facilities

Education in Your Country

  • Do you think both parents and teachers should be involved in the creation (or preparation, or planning) of educational policies?

  • What would you say are the main factors that are considered in the formulation of educational policies in different countries?

  • Do you think that only learning from a textbook is the best way to learn something?


848.  An Event You Celebrated (Jan 2018)

Describe an important event that you recently celebrated.

               You should say:

 what the event was

 who was with you

 how you celebrated it

 and explain why this event was important to you. *




Possible follow-up questions:


Part 3

See also 677, Topic 287, Topic 552, Topic 417, Topic 446 and Topic 108

Celebrations in Your Country

Personal Celebrations  FQ

Depending on your answer to the first question here, the examiner will ask follow-up questions on such events as weddings, birthdays, the birth of a child etc.

Important International Celebrations


849.  A Photo of You (Jan 2018)

Describe a good photograph of you that was taken by someone else. *

               You should say:

 who took it

 where it was taken

 why it was taken

 and explain why you think it is such a good photograph of you.



  • A group photo that includes you can also be described as, "a photo of you" if you are shown quite prominently and clearly.

  • It would be best say when it was taken although it would be possible to answer this without saying that.


Possible follow-up questions:


Part 3

See also the Part 3 of Topic 694,  Topic 551, Topic 644, Topic 33, Topic 110, Topic 161, Topic 219 , Topic 393 and 483

Make sure you know how to pronounce "photograph", "photography", "photographer" and "photographic". The word stress (i.e., which syllable is stressed more) is different in some of these words. The website, also has good recordings of English words.

Photography in General

       Photo-taking Behaviour

       Storing Photos

        Uses of Photography

        Photo-Editing Software

        The Quality of Photographs


Professional Photographers

Photographic Technology


850.  An Activity with an Old Person (Jan 2018)

Copy of 547

Describe an activity that you like to do with an older member of your family. *

You should say:

        who this person is

        how often you are together

        what you do together

and explain why you like to do this activity together. *



  • The key point is to mainly describe an activity and your relationship with this other person; describing the old(er) person comes second and in fact, is not one of the points on the card.

  • It might say, "older", not "old". That means, "older than you", such as one of your parents.


Possible follow-up questions:


Part 3

See also the Part 3 questions for Topic 576 and Topic 547

Elderly Family Members


Family Activities


Note 1

The examiner probably asks a random question about the usefulness of one or two of the subjects you mentioned.

Note 2

The word "playground" was reported by a candidate but it's not certain that the examiner actually used that word. A "playground" is generally used to mean the area outside the classroom in a primary school where the children play at recess and lunchtime. To "play" is what children (people under the age of 13) do, for example, when they chase each other around. (You can usually hear a lot of shouting, laughing and similar sounds when you walk past a primary school at recess or lunchtime.) You can also see playgrounds in the community, outside schools. These places usually have equipment such as swings, slides, roundabouts, monkey-bars etc, and maybe a sand-pit for very young kids. A 'playground" is not related to "play a sport".

The word "play", as a general description of what someone is doing, is not usually used when talking about people over the age of 12. However, sometimes the word, "playground" is used in the media or in literature to figuratively refer to a place where adults go to have fun or enjoy themselves. For example, "... St. Tropez, playground of the rich and famous."

"Play a game" (e.g., play basketball, football, chess, poker etc) and "play a musical instrument" are used for both adults and children. In high schools, the place where students play a sport is called, "the sports ground", "the playing field", "the sports field", "the football field" etc.

The place where high school students congregate outside during their recess or lunch break is usually not called "the playground". It is possible that some people at high school call the area the classrooms, "the playground" but these people are just continuing to use their habits of speech from primary school. These places, outside the classrooms, are usually given a more formal name such as, "the quadrangle" or "the assembly area".

Note 3

Do you think people need to learn to work? *

An unclear question was reported that included the words, "learn" and "work". It might be a general question about people learning certain skills and attitudes in order to be in the workforce, such as learning general rules for being an employee such as being on time for work, and learning the concept that an employee gives their time and labour in exchange for payment.

On the other hand, the question might be referring to the necessity of being trained in skills and knowledge necessary for working. This "learning" or training usually results in someone gaining a qualification such as a certificate or a degree. In this case, the question would be something like, "Do you think people need to learn (or study) something, or be trained, in order to get a job?"

Note 4

"Adult education" refers to organized courses or classes for adults. It does nor really refer to the general concept of an adult learning something, such as by reading a book. Some adult education classes or courses are just hobby classes such as classes in pottery making. Others are retraining courses for people who need to, or want to, learn additional skills or knowledge for work, or training for a new career after they have been laid-off from their jobs.

Note 5

The most common meaning of the verb, "to observe" is "to watch" something or someone. But, when talking about traditions, customs, religious rituals, celebrations, festivals etc. this verb also means "to follow" or "to participate in" such activities, not simply "to watch" other people, the celebrations etc.

To "respect" other people's customs basically means not to show disrespect.

Note 6

Actually, I think in all languages, mobile phones are described as having "a camera". The usage of "a camera" in this question really means, "a device that is only a camera".

Note 7

It's hard to even find a shop that sells rolls of film today!

Note 8

An "outdoor activity" is an activity that is done outside, in the open air, such as in a park, in the open countryside or even just in your backyard, if you have a backyard. On the other hand, to "go out and do things together" means, "to go away from your home and do things together", such as going shopping together, going to a concert together, going to a restaurant together etc. Those activities are not necessarily "outdoor" activities.

More than one person has reported questions about doing "outdoor activities" with family members, including elderly family members. So this is topic for questions here.

However, possibly the following question is also asked: "Do young people in your country often go out with (older or old) members of their family (such as their parents and grandparents)?"

Note 9

Do you think people should spend more time with the elderly?

This question wording is speaking in general. The words, "the elderly" (= "old people") do not necessarily mean "elderly members of their family" it means old people in general, including such people as elderly neighbours. Of course, what this person reported as a question might be inaccurate and the real question might have been, "Do you think people should spend more time with the elderly members of their family?"