Updated  Feb 2, 2019


IELTS Part 2 and Part 3 Topics and Questions

Page 173

871.  A Building  (May 2018)   (Probably no longer used)

872.  A Changed Plan  (May 2018)   (Probably no longer used)

873.  A Comic Actor  (May 2018)   (Probably no longer used)

874.  A Competition You Would Like to Enter  (May 2018)   (Probably no longer used)

875.  Something to Help You Concentrate  (May 2018)   (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


871.  A Building  (May 2018)   (Probably no longer used)

Describe a building that you like. *


Describe an interesting building that you have seen. *

               You should say:

 where it is

 what it is used for

 what it is used for

 and explain why you like it. *


and explain why you think it is interesting. *



  • There are 11 previous "building" topics listed on this website but none of them seem to simply ask you to describe an interesting building or a building you like. So possibly this topic is a rewritten version of one of the previous topics.

  • Someone reported that the cue, "where it is" is actually, "where you saw it". Although it is possible to say you saw it in a magazine or on TV, it probably would be better to choose a building that you have seen by being near it.


Possible follow-up questions:

  • Have you been inside that building?

  • Do you often visit it?


Part 3

The Design & Style of Buildings in Your Country

Historic Buildings


872.  A Changed Plan  (May 2018)   (Probably no longer used)

Describe a time when you changed your plans. *               

             You should say:

what your plan was (or, plans were)

why you changed your plans

how your plan changed

what happened after (when) you changed your plan *

and explain how your change of plan affected your life. *




  • Previous topic 699 was, "A Time When the Weather Changed Your Plan". That does seem to me to be unusual topic wording and very possibly the real wording for Topic 699 was simply, "A time when you changed your plan". The Part 3 of Topic 699 had many questions about the weather causing people to change their plans and that is possibly the reason why people were erroneously reporting the Part 2 topic with the word, "weather" in it.

  • A few people have reported that the Part 2 had the words, "changed your mind". "To change a plan" can also be expressed as "to change your mind about what you plan to do". But to "change your mind" in general usually just means to "change your decision" or you "change your opinion". Possibly there are questions in Part 3 about "changing your mind".

  • Some people are including the word, "suddenly" or "sudden" in the first line.


Possible follow-up questions:


Part 3

See Note 1

Changing One's Plans

Change in General

Making Plans

Changing One's Mind


873.  A Comic Actor  (May 2018)   (Probably no longer used)

Modified copy of Topic 548

Describe a comic actor (or, comedian) who is popular in your country. *

You should say:

        who this person is

        how you know him/her

        what kind of person he/she is *  (or, how he/she is funny) *

and explain why he/she is popular in your country.



  • A "comic actor" is an actor who plays a role in a comedy film, TV show or stage play. A comic actor is an example of a "comedian" but there are other examples of comedians who are not classified as "actors", such as a "stand-up comedian" who just stands on a stage and tells jokes to the audience.

Actually, several people have reported this topic as, "Describe a popular comedian in your country". If that is the wording then it would be suitable to talk about a stand-up comedian or some other type of comedian who is not exactly an actor. All actors, comedians, people who sing or play music in front of an audience etc. are performers.

  • This is not a topic about comic books, comic book characters, or cartoons.

  • This is probably a repeat of Topic 548 (but there is no guarantee that the wording of Topic 548 was accurate).

  • If the wording just says, "popular in your country" then it would be possible to talk about a foreign comedian, like "Mr. Bean", who is popular in many countries. "Popular in your country" is not the same as "popular and from your country"


Possible follow-up questions:


Part 3

Actors   See Note 4





874.  A Competition You Would Like to Enter  (May 2018)   (Probably no longer used)

Modified copy of Topic 507

Describe a competition that you would like to take part in. (For example, in music, cooking or sports)

You should say:

        what competition it would be

        where and when it would take place

        what preparations you would need to make for the competition  

and explain why you would like to take part in this competition.



  • This looks like a repeat of Topic 507

  • To "enter" a competition is the same as "take part in" a competition.


Possible follow-up questions:


Part 3

Competitions in Your Country

Career / Workplace Competition   See Note 15


875.  Something to Help You Concentrate  (May 2018)   (Probably no longer used)

Describe something you do to help you focus on (= concentrate on) your work or study.

               You should say:

 what it is

 when you do it * or, how often you do it *

 when you started doing it

 and explain how it helps you concentrate.



  • This seems to be a new topic.


Possible follow-up questions:


Part 3


Children and Concentration


Note 1

It seems that there are some questions about "changing one's plans" and some questions about "changing one's mind". The two are not the same. It's important that you have a clear understanding of what, "change one's mind" means and in what situations it is used.

Note 2

Practical plans are realistic plans, as opposed to fantasies.

Note 3

Although several people have reported a question about young & old people and changing plans, it's possible that this same question is asked about old & young people changing their mind (= changing attitudes, beliefs, opinions, or changing a decision).

Note 4

Most of these questions are about actors in films (movies), but you can think that actors who appear on TV are include in this group.

In English, the word, "actor" can be used for both males and females. But there is also a word for a female actor, which is "actress".

Of course, an "actor" and a "film star" (movie star) are not the same. There are thousands of actors who appear in movies and on TV but only the most famous (or successful) are called, "film stars" (movie stars) or "TV stars". 

Avoid using the word "star" alone at first because there are also sports stars, pop stars (pop singing stars) and, of course, stars in the sky. However, after saying "film star", "movie star" or "TV star" once or twice, then it would be OK to shorten it and just say, "star" or "stars".

Note 5

Do some young people (esp. teenagers) try to imitate famous movie stars?

This does not really mean mimicking the way a movie star talks in front of your friends to make them laugh. It means imitating the movie stars in some way in daily life. Some examples are: mimicking the way a certain movie star dresses or their hair style; mimicking the way they talk (but not to amuse your friends), smile or walk etc; mimicking the lifestyle of a fictional film character such as trying to live like James Bond or Indiana Jones; mimicking the way stars kiss in movies or act with with members of the opposite sex; boys mimicking "tough guys" or good fighters in movies by learning martial arts; girls mimicking sexually alluring female stars, especially in the way they dress; and mimicking the private lives of some film stars that you have read about in newspapers etc. such as having many sexual partners, going to many parties, drinking a lot and using drugs, etc.

Probably pop stars are mimicked by teenagers more than movie stars.

Obviously, the reason why some teenagers mimic these people is because they are not sure at that age what identity they want to have, and mimicking their father or mother seems boring and unattractive to them. In other words, these teenagers are still lacking in self-confidence to some extent, which is a normal phase that most teenagers go through.

There have also been cases of little boys (aged about 3) jumping out of a window wearing a superman costume. But this is a little different to the question asked by the examiner.

Note 6

Some people say that actors make too much money. What do you think?

"Too much" means, "excessively much".

The fact is that the vast majority of actors only work occasionally as actors and their annual income might even be less than the national average in your country. But the relatively small number of actors who are called "film stars" (movie stars) and TV stars,  especially in the USA, do make an extraordinarily large amount of money. This is because the films or TV shows that the actor stars in, make a lot of money. This is the result of "market forces" or, the power of "the market" in a capitalist or "free market" economic system.

Note 7

Do you think it's reasonable for them to earn so much money?

The examiner might use different words such as, "Do you think it's fair that they earn so much money?" or, "Do you think such a high income can be justified?", or simply, "Do you think they should earn so much money?"

Note 8

Do you think actors are under pressure to look good in front of the media? 

"The media" here refers to those magazines and tabloid newspapers (and now web sites) that feature stories about the private lives of famous people such as film stars.

Note 9


Note 10

There are two possible versions of this question: "Do you want to be an actor?" and "Would you like to be an actor?" It is not clear which wording is used by the examiners and possibly both are used.

"Want to" means you have a strong desire, even a plan or goal. "Would like to" means you would be happy if this (being an actor) were true but that's all. If you can explain yourself clearly in response to whatever question is asked, you will get a few extra points. If you show you don't understand this difference, you will not get a few extra points and will possible lose a couple of points.

Note 11

In contrast to the other question (see Note 5), this question is not about copying the life-style (on the screen or in reality) of the performer but about actually repeating the jokes or witty statements that comedians make.

Note 12

If the examiner announces that this sub-topic is about "Celebrities" or something similar, then "popular" in this questions means more than just being popular in one's class at school, at one's workplace or in one's neighbourhood. It means popular among large numbers of people, such as millions of people.

Note 13

Do you think some people are born to like competition, or is an acquired taste from early life experience?

This question might be worded this way: Do you think people's taste for competition is innate, or learned?

Note 14

What kinds of games can you play?

This question has been reported but it is possible that the examiner actually asked, What (kinds of) sports can you play?

On the other hand, it is most likely that the question is really about games, not sports. The words, "kinds of" actually mean, "examples of" in this question.

Note 15

Basically, this topic is about three different examples of competition related to work: i) competition just to get a certain job (or any job); ii) competition within a workplace or within a company between the employees; and iii) in some types of work, competition between companies.

Note 16

Do you think it's easier to concentrate when you're reading something in a book, or is it easier to concentrate when you're reading on an electronic device such as a tablet (ipad) or mobile phone? *

This question is unclear. I think there is at least one question about the habitual or frequent use of electronic devices such as computers & smart phones (and even watching TV) and whether this frequent or habitual use increases, or decreases a person's (especially a child's or a young person's) ability to concentrate.

Note 17

Do you think children should concentrate when they are playing sport (or, doing exercise)?

This Note 17 is now (Dec. 19, 2018) not important because I now believe this question is unlikely to be asked in the test.

This seems to be a strange question but it was reported by more than one person. "Exercising" basically means just moving the body, which children do when they engage in physical play such as chasing each other, or when they play a sport or a physical game.

When you see children engaged in physical play activities, there no real question of a "need" to concentrate. They do seem to concentrate naturally on whatever they are doing if they enjoy doing it. You can say they are "absorbed in" such play, whether the play involves physical activity or not.

If the examiner actually said, "do exercises" instead of "exercising" then the question is not very appropriate because children rarely "do exercises" like adults do in order to keep their bodies in shape. For example, children usually don't go to a gym and they don't go for a brisk walk for the purpose of keeping in shape.

There is a small possibility that the examiner actually asked something like this: "Do you think children need to concentrate when they are doing exercises?" The main "exercises" that children do are academic exercises in areas that they are learning at school such as arithmetic exercises and writing exercises when they are just learning how to write.

Note 18

What should decorators consider when they choose how to decorate an office?

Although the word, "decorate" was reported for this question, the word used might be, "furnish" or, "design".

Note 19

Question a) Do you think children should concentrate on sport?

Question b) Do you think children should concentrate when they are playing sport (or, exercising)?

I believe Question a) is the real question, not, Question b). Most likely, Question b) is not even asked in the test.

The differences in meaning between Question a) and Question b) are --

In Question a) "concentrate on" means, "give more attention to something rather than to other things"
In Question b) "concentrate" means, "pay close attention to something

Another example of the meaning of "concentrate" in Question b) is, "You need to concentrate when someone is explaining a new mathematical concept to you." That means you need to pay close attention when someone is explaining it to you.

On the other hand, Question a) refers to the fact that children at school or just in life have several different things that they can, and do give their attention to. For example, they give attention to their school subjects, their social life, learning to play a musical instrument, playing a sport, taking care of their pets, playing games etc. Question a) means, "Do you think children should give more attention to sport than to other things in their lives?" That is the meaning of the real question in the test, I think.