Updated Mar. 6, 2019


IELTS Part 2 and Part 3 Topics and Questions

Page 175

881.  A Magazine  (May 2018)   (Probably no longer used)

882.  A Party  (May 2018)   (Probably no longer used)    Moved to Topic 945 on Mar 6, 2019

883.  Primary School Maths  (May 2018)   (Probably no longer used)

884.  Public Transportation  (May 2018)   (Probably no longer used)

885.  A Quiet Place  (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


881.  A Magazine  (May 2018)   (Probably no longer used)

Copy of Topic 549

Describe a magazine you enjoy reading.

            You should say:

                          what magazine it is

                          how often you read it (or, when you read it)

                          what the magazine is about (or, what the articles in the magazine are about)

                         what kinds of people generally read this magazine *

             and explain why you like to read it



  • Previous examples of this topic are Topics 549 and 141.

  • Know the difference between a "magazine" and a "journal".


Possible follow-up questions:

  • Would you recommend that magazine to others?


Part 3


  • Do you read a lot?

  • What do you like to read?

  • Do many people read magazines in your countryFQ

  • Do you remember what was the first magazine you read?

  • Which do you think people prefer reading, magazines, or newspapers?

  • What do you think is the difference between a magazine and a newspaper?  FQ

  • How can we know what the content of a magazine is?

  • What kinds of magazines can you find for sale in your countryFQ

  • What are some of the most popular types of magazines in your country FQ

  • Can you explain why people read magazinesFQ

  • Why do some people like to read a particular type of magazine and other people choose a different type?

  • Do you think males (men / boys) are very interested in reading fashion magazinesFQ

  • Do you think people mainly read magazines just for enjoyment, or do they read them in order to learn somethingFQ

  • What can we learn from magazinesFQ   See Note 1

  • Why do people like to watch entertainment magazines?

  • Why do you think people enjoy reading news about celebrities?

  • What can you learn from the entertainment magazinesFQ

  • Do you think the information in magazines is always accurate?

  • Would you like to write articles for a magazine?


The Media Today

  • What do you think is the difference between the traditional media, and the media today?

  • What role do you think mobile phones play in the spread of information?

  • Do you think that information is always accurate and true? *

  • Do you think newspapers and magazines will disappear one day in the future?


882.  A Party  (May 2018)   (Probably no longer used)

Describe a party that you enjoyed attending recently.

               You should say:

 why the party was held

 who was there * (or, who held the party) *

 what you did there (or, what happened there)

 and explain why you enjoyed it.




  • This topic was not retired  in January 2019 but, as "Topic 882" the label "Probably No Longer Used" will stay. The topic, was moved to Topic 945 on March 6, 2019 and any changes or any new questions that are found will be added to Topic 945, not to Topic 882.


  • Two previous "party" topics, different to above, were Topics 502 and 204.

  • "Recently" can be within the past year or two. Basically, the question refers to a party that you attended as a young adult.

  • In English, we don't usually say, "take part in a party" or "participate in a party". We usually just say, "go to a party", which is the same as the slightly more formal, "attend a party".

  • This question is not about about "you had", which means a party "you held". It is about a party that was held or organized by others.

  • Sometimes a party can be called a "get together" (= a occasion when people "get together" socially.) But you should be careful of using that expression in in order to avoid using it unsuitably.


Possible follow-up questions:

  • Do you often go to parties?


Part 3


  • Why do people hold (or, go to) parties?

  • In your country, what are the differences between what adults usually do when they are at a party, compared to what children do at a children's partyFQ

  • (Similar to above) What do adults do at (adult) parties?

  • (Similar to above) What do children like to do at birthday partiesFQ

  • What do people generally eat at a party?

  • Do many parents in your country hold birthday parties for their children?

  • Do you think parents should spend a lot of money on parties for their children?

  • When (on what occasions) do people in your country hold a partyFQx2

  • Are those parties all the same?

  • Do you think there are more parties (or, people are holding more parties) today than in the pastFQ

  • Do you think that people sometimes spend too much money on a party?  See Note 8

  • Do wedding receptions (festivities, dinners) cost a lot of moneyFQ  See Note 10

  • Can you explain why many (or, most) people spend so much money on weddings?

  • What are the differences between poor people and rich people when they celebrate a wedding?

  • Do you think it (always) takes a lot of money to have a party?

  • Do you think that people sometimes spend too much money on social entertainment? See Note 9

  • Some people don't like going to parties. Can you suggest whyFQ

  • What do those people prefer doing, instead of going to parties?

  • Do you think it's good for young people to socialize with other young people?

  • Some people think a party is a good occasion to make news friends or possibly find a girlfriend or boyfriend. Do you agree?

Festivals (Festive Occasions)

Possibly the words, "traditional holidays" are used for some questions here.

  • What festive occasions in your country are usually celebrated by holding a "get together" or partyFQ

  • Do you like those occasions?

  • Do you think there should be more of them?

  • What do people generally do on those occasions?

  • Do you think foreign culture has had (or is having) any influence on the festive occasions that people celebrate in your country?

  • Do you think family gatherings (celebrations, parties) are importantFQ

  • Do families in your country come together very often?

  • What would you say is the most famous traditional festival in your country? (Why?)

  • Do you know much about the meanings of (or, behind) your traditional festivals?

  • Do you know any of the legends behind some of these festivals?

  • Do you think everyone in your country knows about those legends?

  • Can you explain how everyone remembers (or knows) how to celebrate these festivals?

  • Do you think they will still be celebrated in the same way in the future?

  • Do you think foreign tourists are (or, would be) very interested in (or, attracted by) these festivalsFQ

  • Do you think any of these festivals are important for the tourism industryFQ

Leisure Activities

  • What types of leisure activities do people enjoy doing in your country?

  • What would you say are the benefits of playing computer games in one's leisure time?

  • Which do you think is more beneficial, playing computer games, or playing outdoor gamesFQ

  • (Similar to above) What's the difference between playing computer games and doing physical exerciseFQ


883.  Primary School Maths  (May 2018)   (Probably no longer used)

Copy of Topic 468

Describe some mathematics (a mathematical skill) you learned in primary school. *

You should say:

        what you learned

        how you learned it

        who your teacher was *

        how difficult is was to learn

and explain how useful you think that mathematics is in your life today.




  • This was previously used as Topic 468.

  • To prepare for this, you should learn the words, "arithmetic", "arithmetic operations (or functions)", "addition", "subtraction". "multiplication", "division", "long division" and "the times table".

  • Asian candidates could possibly include a few words about using an abacus and all candidates could possibly include a few words about using a calculator.

  • Americans and most Canadians say, "math" while British English speakers say "maths". All English speakers say, "mathematics". If you are sure your examiner is from North America, it is perfectly suitable to say, "math" instead of "maths".

  • A couple of people have reported that this topic is about a "maths class" but most people have reported that the topic is about a mathematical skill.


Possible follow-up questions:


Part 3

Mathematics in Society

  • Do you think maths is usefulFQ

  • (Similar to above) Do you think maths is importantFQ

  • Do you think everyone needs to learn maths?

  • How do people use maths in their daily livesFQ

Mathematics Education

Calculators, Computers & Similar Electronic Devices   See Note 3  and Note 4


884.  Public Transportation  (May 2018)   (Probably no longer used)

Version A

Copy of Topic 503

Describe a trip you recently took by public transport.

You should say:

        what kind of public transport it was

        where you were going       

        what you did during the trip

        who you were with on this trip

and explain how you felt during this trip.


Version B

Describe a type of public transport that you use regularly (or often). *

You should say:

        what kind of public transport it is

        where you use it      

        when you use it

and explain how you feel about using this form of transport.




  • Information about this topic is a bit sketchy but it might be like Topic 503, as shown in Version A.

  • However, a candidate in Myanmar has recently reported his or her topic as Version B, which is quite different to Version A. I think Version B is more likely to be correct. After all, people use public transport regularly and there's usually nothing special, or especially memorable about those daily trips, so Version A would not be very suitable as a topic to talk about. Quite possibly Topic 503 was a mistake and it was originally something like this Version B.

  • The topic of Public Transport is used as a Part 3 topic for the Part 2 Topic, 856. A Public Place that Needs Improvement. A large number of people have reported this as a Part 3 topic, and a large number of people have also reported it as a Part 2 topic. Therefore, it does look like this topic is being used twice in the same testing period. That is, it does look like neither this Part 2 nor the Part 3 in Topic 856 are mistakes, even though some of the same questions appear in both sets of Part 3 questions.


Possible follow-up questions:


Part 3

Public Transport in Your Hometown (or, Country)

Private Cars


885.  A Quiet Place  (May 2018)   (Probably no longer used)

Copy of Topic 785

Describe a quiet place you like to go to.

            You should say:

where it is

when you go there

what you usually do there

            and explain why you like the place.




  • This is probably a repeat of Topic 785 but there are also other previous topics, such as those about "A Peaceful Place" or "A Relaxing Place" that might also be essentially the same as Topic 785.


Possible follow-up questions:


Part 3

People's Feelings about Noise

Noise at Home and Work

Noise in Cities


Note 1

What can we learn from magazines?

If, in the previous question, you say that people do (sometimes) read magazines in order to learn something, then it looks like the examiner might ask this general question.

The examiners also seem to have asked this question about a specific type of magazine that the candidate has already mentioned. For example, What can you learn from the entertainment magazines? It is also possible that this question about entertainment magazines is in the examiners' question book, and is asked even if the candidate does not first mentio0n entertainment magazines.

Note 2

Is it easy for you to remember the maths you learned at school?

Most of us only occasionally or momentarily forget the rather simple maths (the arithmetic) we learned in primary school but what we learned in high school is a different matter. It's not clear whether the examiners just say, "school" or if they ask specifically about primary school.

Note 3

If you are a Chinese or other Asian candidate, you might find it suitable in one of your answers here to mention using an abacus (算盘), even though it is not an electronic device. Examiners will be interested to learn about using an abacus since we don't learn that in the West.

Note 4

It seems that both "calculators" and "computers" are used in questions for this topic and that sometimes the same question that uses "calculators" is also sometimes asked using the word, "computers". Computer operating systems actually incorporate a calculator but computers can be programmed to do much more powerful calculations than simple calculators. In other words, you can think of a computer as a more advanced version of a calculator (when considering the mathematical usage of computers, or, more specifically, computer programs).

Note 5

A "short distance" is something like 500 metres, or the distance a person could walk in 10 minutes.

Note 6

Which do you prefer, a quiet place or a place that has noise and vitality?

Possibly this question is worded this way: Which do you prefer, a quiet place that has no vitality, or a place that has noise and vitality?

Of course, many young people like to go (sometimes) to places such as discos or amusement parks that have a very high noise level. And most people in cultures such as in China like the vitality of noisy restaurants. It signifies people enjoying themselves. (热闹)

Note 7

Can you explain why cities are noisier than the countryside?

You might need to explain to the examiner that the "countryside", such as farmland or the wilderness has no people or very few people, so obviously there is little or no human-produced noise. This is obvious!

But if you talk about small towns or villages in the countryside, that is a different question. In my experience in China, the big cities such as Beijing have laws restricting the random use of car horns but this is not the case in the small places, where you can hear people honking their car horns almost constantly from early morning to late at night. In other words, sometimes the the big cities are actually quieter than the small places! Many more vehicles in the city does not necessarily result in much more noise. This may or may not be the case in other countries.

The points in this Note 7 and in Note 6 are good material for you to use to discuss these questions. When the situations are not simple (or, "cut and dried") then you have more material to talk about.

Note 8

Do you think that people sometimes spend too much money on a party?

This is probably hinting at wedding receptions (= wedding dinners), which many people spend a lot of money on/.

Note 9

Do you think that people sometimes spend too much money on social entertainment?

This is referring to treating other people to a meal in a restaurant, taking them out to places such as karaoke bars etc. Of course, most of that is done to form business relations.

Note 10

The term, "wedding party" is not used for this activity or occasion because we already have another meaning for "wedding party", which is the group of people who attend a wedding ceremony. These same people, the bride & groom, the bridesmaid and the best man and any other guests probably also attend the wedding reception but not all weddings necessarily have a wedding reception (a dinner).