Updated Jan. 29, 2010 


IELTS Part 2 and Part 3 Topics and Questions

Page 22


106.  Someone You Like to Spend Time With  (June 9, 2007)   (Probably no longer used)

107.  Something You Would Like to Learn  (June 9, 2007)  (Probably not a Part 2 topic) But read this for useful notes!

108.  A Traditional Event in Your Country  (June 9, 2007)  (Probably no longer used)

109.  Success (2)  (June 16, 2007)   (Probably no longer used)

110.  A Photograph (2)  (July 7, 2007)  (Probably no longer used)




106.  Someone You Like to Spend Time With  (June 9, 2007)   (Probably no longer used)

Describe a person who you like to spend time with.

        You should say:

                (how you first met *)

                how often you are together

                what personal characteristics he or she has that you like

                what you usually do together 

        and explain why you like to spend time with this person. *


See Notes


Possible follow-up questions:


Part 3


Relationships Other Than Friendships

Work Relationships


107.   Something You Would Like to Learn  (June 9, 2007)  (Probably not (yet) a Part 2 topic)

Some Common Errors of Chinese Speakers

          "Learning" happens when a change takes place in the brain; "studying" is an activity we do with the aim of learning.


When we "learn" something, a change takes place in the brain - we increase or improve our knowledge or understanding.

a) Sometimes the word, "learn" means "acquire a skill". These skills can be either "academic skills" or "non-academic skills". Examples of academic skills are: how to do a certain type of mathematical calculation or how to write an essay. Examples of non-academic skills are: driving a car, swimming, doing a magic trick. When we say, "learn English", we really mean, "learn how to do the skills of reading, writing, speaking and comprehending spoken English." Notice how we can use the words, "how to" when talking about skills.

b) Sometimes the word, "learn" means "increase one's knowledge and understanding". When we say, "I learned five new English words" we mean, "My brain was changed with an increase of knowledge and understanding. I now understand the meaning of five new English words (and I now know how to use these words in speaking and writing)." "Increasing one's knowledge" = "adding one or more facts to one's memory bank".

c) Sometimes the word, "learn" means "increase one's knowledge, with no real understanding being involved". In other words, sometimes "learning" only require rote memorization, not understanding. This is an example of simply increasing one's knowledge. For example, one can "learn (how) to sing a song in Russian" = "learn a song in Russian" by mimicking a recording, without understanding what the words mean. In other words, learning to sing a song in Russian (when you don't understand the Russian language) really means "learning how to reproduce the song", which is a skill.


Studying is an activity that people do with the aim of learning something. That is, with the aim of increasing or improving one's knowledge or understanding, or learning how to do an academic skill. The usage of the word "to study" in English is similar to using the words, "to examine", "to analyze", "to ponder", "to research" and "to look closely at". For school students, the usual meaning is, "sitting at my desk doing some kind of schoolwork". For example, "He dislikes studying."

"Studying" usually refers to the activity of trying to learn something from a book and usually refers to academic subjects. 

(It is also used to mean "attend a school or some other educational institute" such as, "He's studying at Oxford University.")

Students who study very efficiently learns quite a lot when they study. But an inefficient student does not learn the same amount even if they work as hard as an efficient student and study for the same amount of time. And an extremely inefficient student might do some studying but not learn anything!

Here are two examples of extremely inefficient study: If you know nothing about the Greek language and I give you a page of written Greek to study, you will be able to learn only limited things even if you study that page for 5 hours; Similarly, if you try to study a page from a Ph.D. thesis in mathematics, you will learn very little because you will understand almost nothing on the page. From this we can see that most cases of "learning" involve understanding, which proceeds in a step-by-step manner.

study a discipline or general area - study mathematics, study engineering, study music, study art, study psychology, study international trade, study accountancy

study something specific - study this page, study the stock market, study the piano (this includes book study as well as practical piano playing), study this theory, study your proposal, study a photograph. We do not normally say 'study' a practical or physical skill such as "study swimming" or "study how to drive a car". We learn these things, not study them.

study for (= in order to get) a qualification - study for a degree, study for a Bachelor's degree in journalism.

study (in preparation) for a test


108.   A Traditional Event in Your Country (June 9, 2007)   (Probably no longer used)

Describe an important traditional event (such as a national holiday or festival) in your country. *

You should say:

        what this event is

        when it happens

        who participates in this event and what they do

        how people celebrate this event

        (whether this event is popular in your family/city/country)

and explain why this is an important event in your country. *
and explain how you feel about this event. *




Possible follow-up questions:


Part 3

Hint: Be able to talk about an example of a traditional story or a traditional idea from Chinese culture. This could include Chinese 'old wives tales' and legends (= folklore).

Traditions & Culture




109.   Success (2) (June 16, 2007)   (Probably no longer used)

Describe a success you would like to achieve (in the near future).

                            You should say:

                                           what it is 

                                           how difficult you think it will be 

                                           what you should do to prepare for this

                            and explain why you want to succeed in doing this. *


                            and explain how you think you will feel after you reach this goal. *


See Notes


Possible follow-up questions:


Part 3

See also Part 3, Topic #43.





110.   A Photograph (2)  (July 7, 2007)  (Probably no longer used)

 Describe a photograph that is important to you.

            You should say:

                          what (or who) is in the photograph

                          when and where it was taken

                          where you can see this photograph

                          who took the photograph

             and explain why this photograph is important to you. *


              and explain how you feel about this photograph. *




Possible follow-up questions:


Part 3

See also the Part 3 questions for Topic # 33

The Purposes of Photographs

    a) Photography as a Hobby

    b) Occasions When People Take Photographs

    c) The Value of Photographs

Technology and Photographs

Photographs as Art