Updates Aug. 11, 2018

IELTS Part 2 and Part 3 Topics and Questions

Page 171

861.  A Story (Jan 2018)

862.  A Piece of Technology (Jan 2018)

863.  A Toy (Jan 2018)

864.  An Unusual Meal (Jan 2018)

865.  A Visitor to Your Home (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


861.  A Story (Jan 2018)

Copy of Topic 490

Describe a story you were told when you were a child.

You should say:

        who told you the story

        what the story was about

        what characters were in the story

and explain how you felt about this story. *


and explain what you learned from this story. *


                  and explain why you still remember this story. *



  • This looks like a repeat of Topic 490.

  • Don't make the mistake of trying to retell the whole story. You need to summarize it!


Possible follow-up questions:


Part 3

Types of Stories  (both spoken and written stories)

Reading Stories

The Technology of Story-telling


862.  A Piece of Technology (Jan 2018)

Modified copy of Topic 420

Describe a useful piece of technology (besides the computer) that you use.

        You should say

                how you use it

                where you use it

                what you use it for

        and explain why you think it is useful.



  • The first line might say, "Describe a useful piece of modern technology (besides the computer) that you use."


Possible follow-up questions:

  • Have you used that for a long time?

  • Do many people have one of those?


Part 3

See also any related or similar questions in the Part 3 of Topics 635, 575, 504, 420, Topic 300, 268, 199, 149 & 51

Modern Equipment in Everyday Life

  • Do you think inventions are important?

  • Can you name a few?

  • How do they affect our life?

  • What are some examples of modern technology that are used in people's homes, such as in the kitchen or living room FQ

  • What would you say is the most commonly used modern technology today in your countryFQ See Note 4

  • How has the widespread use of modern technology changed the way people liveFQ

  • Do you think people today have become too dependant on modern technology (or, equipment/devices)FQ

  • Do you think this equipment is (completely) safe to useFQ  See Note 5

  • How has the mobile phone changed the way people live?

  • How have personal computers changed the way people live?

  • Are there people in society who are not good at using these new technologiesFQ

  • Why do you think men are generally better than women at using them?

  • What are the problems for those people in using new technologyFQ

  • What improvements do you think could be / should be made to these products in order to overcome these problems?

  • Do most old people know how to use computersFQ

  • Do you think they can be taught (or, can learn) how to use a computer?

  • Who do you think should be responsible for teaching these people how to use computers and other new technologyFQ

  • Do you feel a sense of responsibility for this?

  • Do you think you will have difficulty using new technology when you get older?

  • Can you explain why young people find it easier to use these technologiesFQ

  • Why are some young people so keen to buy a new high-tech product, such as a new model of their current mobile phone  as soon as it comes on the market?

  • When people buy such things as computers and mobile phones, which are more popular in your country, foreign brands or domestic brands?

Equipment (Technology) in the Workplace

  • Can you think of any examples of new technology that are now common in the workplaceFQ

  • What about about factories? What's the big technological change that has occurred in some factories?  See Note 6

  • In what ways has the invention of the computer changed the way people workFQ

  • Does the use of computers in the workplace have any downsidesFQ

  • (Similar to above) Do you think the use of new technologies in the workplace is always a good thingFQ

  • Do computers at work really make life easier for the people working there?

  • Some people feel that computers do not lead to a very friendly work environment. Why do you think they they feel that way?

  • What could be done to solve that problem?

  • Do you think companies (or, employers) should provide training for the employees to learn how to use new technology?

  • Do you think computers might one day replace people in the workplace?

  • Do you think technology will make certain jobs disappear?

The Development of New Technology

Some of these questions are not very clear.

  • In general, how are new technologies (or advancements in technology) achieved? *

  • (Similar to above) How do you think inventions of new technologies, such as new appliances in the kitchen are achieved? *

  • Who do you think should work on the advancement of technology, private companies or government-owned organizationsFQ

  • What do you think are the main areas of scientific / technological research at the moment? *

  • What do you think future advancements in technology might be? *

  • Do you think robots will be used everywhere?


863.  A Toy (Jan 2018)

Modified Copy of Topic 623

Describe one of your childhood toys that was special to you.

               You should say:

what it was

who gave it to you *

 how you played with it *

 whether you played with it alone or with friends  *

and explain why it was special for you.





Possible follow-up questions:

  • (Possibly) Did you ever share that toy with your friends?


Part 3

Children's Toys

Teenagers' and Adults' Toys

Children's Play


864.  An Unusual Meal (Jan 2018)

Describe an unusual meal that you ate. *

               You should say:

 what you ate

 who was with you

 where you had this meal

 and explain why you think it was unusual.



  • Although many people have reported this as an "unusual" meal, several others have reported it as a "special" meal, which was used before as Topic 80.


Possible follow-up questions:


Part 3

See also the Part 3 of:  

Topic 80 (A Special Meal); Topic 320 & Topic 770 (A Foreign Food); and Topic 715 (A New Food)

Food in Your Country

Where People Eat / Cooking

Food Safety / Food Transportation


865.  A Visitor to Your Home (Jan 2018)

Modified opy of Topic 486

Describe an occasion when visitors came to your home. *


Describe an occasion when someone visited your home. *

               You should say:

who they were

why they visited your home 

how you spent the time with then (or how you entertained them)

               and explain how you felt about the visit.



  • It is not clear whether the card says "visitors" or "a visitor". Possibly it allows you to choose either one person or more than one. For example, "Describe an occasion when a visitor, or some visitors, came to your home". 


Possible follow-up questions:


Part 3

Only a few questions have been reported for this Part 3 so far but it looks like these questions are the same as what was previously used.

See also any similar Part 3 questions at the following topics: 486, 319, 233, 138 & 44

Hospitality to Guests in Your Country

Where Guests Stay   See Note 13


Note 1

A useful word to use when answering this question is, "podcast".

Note 2

How would you compare stories today with those from the past?

A question worded that way, with the words. "from the past" is not necessarily asking you to compare modern stories with traditional stories, although you could do that if you wanted to. Remember, traditional things are hundreds or even thousands of years old while stories written in the (early) 1900's are an example of stories "from the past". Although some stories written within the past 100 years or so might be written in a traditional style, they are still not old enough to be called "traditional".

Note 3

Can you suggest how busy people today can find the time to read more?

Watch less TV!

Note 4

If the examiner uses the words "modern equipment" or "modern technology" they probably mean something that was invented or came into common use within the past 50 years, such as the microwave oven, which came into people's homes about 30 years ago. Even television sets, which have been in common use (in the West) for 60 years could be called "modern". One person reported that his examiner used refrigerators as an example of this. Refrigerators have been is people's homes even longer than televisions, probably for about 70 years. Before that, people used ice boxes. So, to be more specific, "modern" could mean any time after World War 2 (after 1945).

On the other hand, "new technology" can be considered to be technology that was introduced only a few years ago (e.g., within the past 10 years).

Note 5

Do you think this equipment is (completely) safe to use?

No electrical product can be called, "100% safe", especially if it's old or used unsuitably such as near water. Microwaves and TV screens emit radiation. Some people worry about the radiation emitted by mobile phones; that's why they use earphones and a small microphone and do not put the mobile phone on their ear when they talk. There is also some concern about the radio waves that carry WIFI signals.

Note 6

automation (robots)

Note 7

Would you say animated cartoon films are a good way to tell stories to children?

Examples from a few years ago are Lion King and Mulan. Actually, the films were produced first and the children's books of the same names, with lots of pictures, were adaptations of the films, produced by the same companies that made the films.

Some examiners seem to have made the mistake of asking a question using the name,"Walt Disney", or simply "Disney" who was a famous American cartoonist and film maker. It was he who created Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck and other characters. I think it is a mistake because it's not reasonable to expect IELTS test-takers to know that name.

Note 8

Is that the same as what people ate in the past?

If the question is worded that way, it would not be wrong to compare today's food with food from 200 years ago. But the question, "In recent years, have there been any changes in the typical diet of people in your country?" shows that the examiners are more interested in changes that occurred more recently, such as 20 to 70 years ago?

Note 9

In recent years, have there been any changes to what people typically eat at home?

That question is not exactly the same as, "In recent years, have there been any changes in the typical diet of people in your country?" because it is narrowing the discussion to what people eat at home, whereas the question about people's typical diet is asking about the food that people eat everywhere, both at home and when they eat outside the home.

Note 10

What is "fast food"? Basically, it is:  a) food that you do not cook yourself and, b) food, that is given to you quite quickly, with the emphasis on the food being cooked (or prepared) quite quickly while you wait, or food that is already cooked (or prepared) before you buy it.

Fast food can be eaten in a "fast food restaurant", taken away, or delivered to your home or workplace.

Fast food and fast food restaurants are not restricted to foreign fast food, such as McDonalds or KFC. It can be the typical food in your country.

"Fast food" can include a single item of food that is bought on the street. But usually we would simply call that a "snack" if it is not enough food to be called a "meal".

If you order a typical home-cooked style meal to be delivered to your home or workplace then it could possibly be called "fast food" because it is not cooked by you and is delivered to you quite fast. But most people would prefer to describe that as, "home-delivered food" because we assume that the time to cook or prepare it is about the same as if it were cooked at home.

Food bought in a supermarket that is already cooked is usually not described as, "fast food". That is simply "pre-cooked" food.

"Fast food" and "junk food" are two different things. "Junk food" is an expression of opinion about the nutritional quality of a food. Certainly, ice-cream and Coca Cola in McDonalds or KFC are examples of junk food.

Note 11

When describing the typical food eaten in your country, it is not very suitable to describe it as "cuisine", for example, "Chinese cuisine". The word "cuisine" is more suitable when describing a meal that is quite elaborately prepared, with careful attention to detail such as adhering to the traditional style of this food or meal. But "cuisine" is not always traditional food – it is only traditional food when you use an adjective such as "Italian" or "Chinese" before the word "cuisine". "Cuisine" is often quite artistic in its appearance and presentation. The word "cuisine" is usually used when describing the food cooked by trained, expert chefs rather than the everyday food prepared by a "cook". So "cuisine" is more suitable when describing the food at a special banquet or meals in high-class, expensive restaurants. English speakers do not normally describe a meal in a cheap cafe (= a small, cheap restaurant) as "cuisine".

On the other hand, the word, "diet" is suitable to use when describing what people (or even animals) typically eat.

Note 12

Remember, "traditional" means it is hundreds or even sometimes thousands of years old. Most people eat traditional food at home as their everyday food because the food culture, or food style, in most countries has been passed down through the generations for many years. "Traditional" food does not just mean special examples of a traditional food or dish that have a particular name, such as those foods that are eaten in China during traditional festivals. So, for this question, (for Chinese people) it is more suitable to say that people eat some particular traditional foods during traditional festivals but that is not the only time when they eat traditional food.

Note 13

In English we say, "stay at a hotel" or  "stay in a hotel", not "live in a hotel". (The same is the case for "stay in a hospital".) We only use, "live in a hotel" for those people who might stay there for a long time, such as many months or years, and who make it their home for a while. Sometimes, the hotel manager or other hotel staff might "live in the hotel".

Note 14

This note is not directly intended to help you in the Speaking test. It has not been reported as a question in an IELTS speaking test. But it's something to think about. I think people who are interested in languages in general tend to do better in the IELTS test. So I suggest trying to become more interested in language in general, including your own, not just English.

Question: In how many different languages can you say, "Hello"?

List of Ways to Say "Hello"

Mandarin Chinese 你好 Nǐ hǎo

Cantonese (Guangdong Hua) Nay (Lay) hoe

Min Nan (Hokien) Jia ba buie? (= Have you eaten?)

Korean 여보세요yeoboseyo, 안녕annyeong

Japanese こんにちは Kon'nichiwa

Russian Здравству Zdravstvuy

German Guten Tag        How are you? = Wie geht es dir?

French Bonjour, Salut     .    How are you? Comment allez vous ? = Comment ça va?

Spanish Buenos días.    How are you? = Cómo estás?

Italian Buongiorno     How are you? = Come stai?

Greek  How are you? =  Πώς είσαι = Pós eísai;      How do you do? = Τι κάνετε = Ti kánete?

Polish dobry Dzień

Portuguese Bom dia

Swedish God dag

Norwegian God dag

Arabic  سلام Salam =  peace;  Salamo Alaykom – Plural (Can be masculine or mixed); Salamo Alayka – Singular Masculine;  Salamo Alayki – Singular Feminine

Turkish Merhaba

Farsi (Persian) Salam

Maori Hiha