ielts-yasi.englishlab.net

Written  June 30, 2018

 

Part 1 Topics and Questions

For The IELTS Speaking Tests, September-December, 2017

 

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Notes

The pages PAST_PART_ONE_TOPIC_INDEX.htm is also useful as a guide to when different topics were used in the past. That page is connected to PREVIOUS_PART_1_QUESTIONS.htm.

I don't always keep those four pages up-to-date so you might also need to specifically look at Part 1 pages that have not yet been added to the Past Part One Topic Index or the "All Part 1 Questions" pages. See "Older Materials" for that. This applies just to the past couple of years.

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0The four ID checking questions.   (Not really part of Part 1)

1.  Your Work or Your Studies  

2Your Hometown

3.  Your Home (Your Accommodation) 

One of the three topics above is a compulsory topic and you will be asked 3 to 5 questions on this topic. You will then be asked questions on two of the topics from below. (Again, 3 to 5 questions per topic).   See Note 69

4.  Transportation 

5.  Your High School 

6.  Fruit  

7.  Neighbours 

8.  Magazines 

9.  Emails 

10.  Sunshine 

11.  Birthdays 

12.  Jewellery

13.  History

14.  Politeness

15.  Advertisements

16.  Your Daily Routine

17Pop Stars

18.  Family Activities  N

19Teenagers  N

20.  Names  N

21.  Rainy Days  N

22.  The News  N

23.  Boats  N

24 Computers  N

25.  Punctuality  N

26.  Meals  N

27.  Leisure-time Activities  N

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1.  Your Work or Your Studies  

1a) Your Work

See also ALL_PART_1_QUESTIONS 1b. Your Work

The questions listed under "Older Questions Possibly Still in Use" were used in recent testing periods and some of these questions are possibly still being used, even if they haven't been reported yet. Since 'Your Work' is a high probability topic if you are working (or usually work), you should concentrate on the "Main Questions" but also have a quick read of the other questions.

    Main Questions

  • What work do you do?

  • Why did you choose to do that type of work (or, that job)?  See Note 37

  • Did you always want to do that type of work?

  • What do you usually do at work?

  • (Similar to above) Can you describe your work?

  • (Similar to above) What are your main duties at work?

  • Do you enjoy your work?

  • Is it an interesting job?

  • What do you think is the most interesting part of your job?

  • Is your work (or, your job) difficult to do?

  • Do you find your job to be stressful?

  • Do you use any special tools or instruments in your job?

  • Did you have (or receive) any training for that job?

  • Do you think you will receive (any or more) training in the future?  See Note 3

  • (Similar to above) Would you consider taking a training course related to your job in the future?

  • Are you friends with the people you work with?

  • (Similar to above) Have you made any friends at work?

  • In what part of the day do you work most efficiently?

  • (Similar to above) When do you think you work more efficiently, in the mornings or in the afternoons? 

  • What do you usually do after work?

  • What are your work plans for the future?

  • Do you plan to (or hope to) change your job in the future?

  • What's your idea of the perfect job?

   

    Other Similar Questions

  • Do you need to work extra hours (= overtime)?

  • (Possibly) How would you like to spend your free time, if you had it?

  • What do you like most about your work?

  • Do you think you are an especially hard-working person?

  • (Similar to above) Would you say you work hard at that job?  See Note 82 about a similar question for students

  • Does it require hard work?

  • (Similar to above) Is it hard work?

  • (Similar to above) Is your work easy to do?

  • What's the most challenging part of your work?

  • What's the hardest thing (or, part) about your job?

  • Which do you think is harder, being a student or working (in a paid job)?

  • Have there been any recent changes to your profession?  See Note 76

  • What would you say are the benefits your get from your work?

  • Do you think money is the main factor when people select a field of work?

  • What other factors are important when selecting a future job?

   

      Older Questions Possibly Still in Use

  • (Possibly) Where do you work?

  • Is that a popular job in your country?

  • (Similar to above)  Is that a popular choice of job in your country?

  • Do you prefer working alone or in a group?

  • (Similar to above) Do you prefer working with people. or on your own?

  • Do you think it's good for teenagers to have part-time jobs?

  • Is your work the same as what you imagined it would be before you started this job?    See Note 42

  • (Similar to above) Is your work the same as what you imagined it would be when you chose this type of job? 

  • Did you have many jobs before this one?

  • Do you think your work (or, job) is important?

  • What would you say is the most important part of your job?

  • Do you think your work will be more important in the future?

  • Do you see any changes in your job in the future?

  • (Similar to above) Do you think there will be future changes in your field of work?

  • (Similar to above) Do you think your way of working or work culture will change in future?

  • (Similar to above) Do you think your work pattern will change in the future? (Why?)

  • Do you think your job will still be relevant in the future?

  • Do you feel comfortable in your job? (Possibly the real word used was "secure", not "comfortable".)

  • Do you like the people you work with?

  • Does your job pay well?

  • Would you recommend it to others?

  • Which do you think is more important, the work you are doing or the people you work with?

  • (Different to above) Which do you enjoy more, the work you are doing or people you work with?

  • Do you feel your co-workers (or, colleagues) have confidence in you?


1b) Your Studies

See also ALL_PART_1_QUESTIONS 1a. Your Studies

Notes: For high school students or recent high school graduates who have not yet started university, the word "school" or the words, "high school" or "secondary school" will be used instead of "university". If you are no longer a student now and have not yet started to work, the questions will be about the last time you were a student, either high school or university, and the questions will be asked in the past tense. For high school students (or recent high school graduates), the word "subjects" (plural) will be used. When the examiner is asking questions about high school here, they will possibly choose one of your high school subjects, such as physics, and ask a question about it.

For university students, the word "subject" will be used, which has basically the same meaning as the American, "major". Try not to use the word, "major" in your answer, although it is correct English the questions will be asked using the word, "subject", not the word, "major".

There are probably two or even three different sets of questions for this topic in the examiner's question book, all being used in the same testing period. I have no way of knowing which questions belong to which set so all the "studies" questions are grouped together here.

The questions listed under "Older Questions Possibly Still in Use" were used in recent testing periods and some of these questions are possibly still being used, even if they haven't been reported yet. Since 'Your Studies' is a high probability topic, you should concentrate on the "Main Questions" but also have a quick read of the other questions.

    Main Questions

  • What subject are you studying? (= "What's your major?" in American English, for a Bachelor's degree)

  • Why did you choose to study that subject? / Why did you choose to study those subjects? (See Note and Note 37)

  • Did you always want to study that?

  • (For high school stds.) What subjects are you studying?

  • (For high school stds.) What's your favourite subject?

  • (For high school stds.) Is XXX very difficult (to study)?  See Note 45

  • What have you learned from (studying) that subject?    See Note 55

  • Do you like (or, do you enjoy studying) your (or, that) subject?

  • What's the most interesting part of your studies (or, your subject)?

  • What do you think is the most useful part of your studies (for your future work)?

  • How much time do you spend studying each day?

  • What kind of job will this subject lead to in the future?

  • Do you need to study hard in that subject?  See Note 82

  • (Similar to above) Is that a difficult subject to study? See Note 45

  • Do you find being a student to be stressful?

  • In what part of the day do you study most efficiently?

  • (Similar to above) When do you think you study more efficiently, in the mornings or in the afternoons? 

  • What do you usually do after class?

  • What do you plan to do (or, hope to do) after you graduate?

  • (For high school stds) What do you plan to do (or, hope to do) after you finish school?

  • Do you plan to continue your studies?

 

    Other Similar Questions

  • Where do you study?  See Note 78

  • (Similar to above) Where are you studying?

  • What's the most important part of your study program?

  • Which part of your studies do you like the most?  See Note 74

  • What would you say is the most useful part of your course?

  • Do you think studying is hard work?

  • What's the hardest thing about your studies (or, your subject)?

  • Which do you think is harder, being a student or working (in a paid job)?

  • What work do you plan to (or, want to) do after you finish your education?

  • (Similar to above) What are your future career plans?

  • (Similar to above) What kind of work are you planning to do in the future?

  • Is there anything you like to do while studying?  See Note 72

   

      Older Questions Possibly Still in Use

  • Do you prefer to study alone, or in a group?

  • When did you start studying ____ (your subject)?

  • What other subjects do you study? (Why?)  See Note 11

  • Is your subject the same as what you imagined (or, expected) it would be before you started studying it?   See Note 42

  • (Similar to above) Is your subject the same as what you imagined it would be when you chose it? 

  • How do you study that subject?  

  • Do you attend classes every day? 

  • (Possibly) What are the differences between liberal arts students and science students?   See Note 32

  • Which do you think is more important in the education process (or, in the classroom), the teacher or the students?

  • Which is more important for you at school, the teachers or the other students?   See Note 39

  • Who gives you more help, your teachers or your classmates?   See Note 31

  • For you, where is the best place to study? (Why?)

 

2Your Hometown

See also ALL_PART_1_QUESTIONS 3. Your Hometown

Note: Sometimes the topic is specifically about the city or place that you are living in now, regardless of whether it is your hometown or not. Therefore, instead of the word, 'hometown' in these questions, the examiner might actually ask you about where you are living now.

    Main Questions

  • What's (the name of) your hometown?

  • Where is it located?

  • Can you (or, could you) describe your hometown a little?

  • How long did you live (or, have you been living) there?  See Note 10

  • Do (or, did) you like living there?  See Note 10

  • Is there anything special (or, famous) about your hometown?  See Note 16

  • Will you continue living there in the future?

  • (Similar to above) Do you plan to continue living there in the future?

   

      Other Similar Questions

  • Would you say it's an interesting place (to live)?

  • Where do you live now?

  • (Possibly) What part of your city do you live in?

  • Is it easy to get there?

  • Did you grow up there?

  • Where did you grow up? (= What is your hometown?)

  • What part of your city (or hometown) do you like best?

  • (Similar to above) What is your favorite place in your hometown?

  • What would you say is the most interesting part of your hometown?

  • Are there any famous places in your city?

  • (Similar to above) Is your city famous for anything?

  • Would you say it's a good place to live in?

  • Are there good amenities (or facilities) where you live?

  • Would you recommend it to your friends?

  • Is it a good place for families with kids?  See Note 44 & See Note

  • Would you say your hometown is a suitable place (suitable for you, and other people) to live?

  • Do you think you'll always be living in your hometown?

  • Do you plan to continue living there in the future?

  • (Similar to above) Will you go back (to live in) your hometown in the future?

  • (Similar to above) Would you like to continue living there in the future?

  • (Similar to above) Would you like to live there (or, here) for a long time?

  • (Similar to above, but different) Do you plan to live there (or, here) for a long time?

  • (Similar to above)  Would you like to move somewhere else in the future?

  • Would you prefer to live in a city or the suburbs?  See Note 81

  • Would you like to live in the country(side)?

  • Would you like to live in a smaller place (or, smaller city)?

  • (Different to above) Would you like to live in another country?


    Older Questions Possibly Still in Use

  • Is the (public) transport system in your hometown convenient to use?

  • Where would you take a visitor to your hometown? (Why?)

  • (Similar to above)  What would you show a visitor to your hometown?

  • (Similar to above)  What would you recommend a visitor to your hometown see and do?

  • Is that a big place or a small place?

  • Has your hometown changed much in the past few years (or, decades)?

  • Do you like living in _______ (your hometown, or where you are living now)?

  • What are the good points and the bad points about living here/there?

  • (Possibly) Is there anything you dislike about it?

  • What do you like most about your hometown?  

  • Would you say your hometown is (or, was) a good place to grow up?  See Note 44

  • What facilities and services are available in your hometown?

  • Would you like to return to your hometown when you retire?

  • Would you like to live in the countryside?

  • (Probably the question above is really this) Would you like to live in the countryside when you retire?

  • (Similar to above) Would you like to live in the countryside when you are old?

  • Has it changed much since you were a child? 

  • Can you suggest how it could be improved?

  • Would you say it has good facilities?

  • Does it have good educational facilities?   

  • Would you say it's a suitable place for young people to live?  

 

3.  Your Home (Your Accommodation) 

 See also ALL_PART_1_QUESTIONS 2. Your Home (Your Accommodation)

    Main Questions

  • Do you live in a house, or a flat (= an apartment)?  See Note 6

  • Do you live far from here (the examination room)?

  • Could you describe your home a little?

  • Do you like your home?

  • Which part of your home do you like best?

  • What's the best thing about living there?

  • Is there anything you would like to change about your home?

  • Do you plan to live (or, to continue living) there for a long time?

  • What kind of place (home) would you like to live in, in the future?

  • (Similar to above) What would your ideal home be like?

  • (Similar to above) In the future, what type of home would you like to live in?  See Note 17

    

      Other Similar Questions

  • What's the most enjoyable part of living there?

  • Which is your favourite room?

  • Is there anything you don't like about that room?

  • (If you live in a dorm) Do you like your roommates?

  • (Similar to above if you share a house) Do you like your housemates?

  • What do you think are the advantages of living in a ______ ? (flat or house, whichever you live in).

  • What is the living environment like around your home?  See Note 8

  • (Similar to above) What facilities and services are there in your neighbourhood (= near your home)?

  • Is your home near a bus stop?

  • Are there many shops near your home?

  • Would you like to change where you live?  See Note 61

  • (Similar to above) Would you like to move somewhere else?

  • Would you say your home is a suitable place (= suitable for you) to live?

  • Will you (or, do you plan to) buy an apartment or house in the future?

    Older Questions Possibly Still in Use

  • What can you see when you look out your window at home?

  • How long have you lived (or, been living) there?

  • Has your family (or, have you) always lived there?  See Note 1

  • Would you say your home is a comfortable place to live?

  • Would you prefer to live in a big house or a small one?

  • (Possibly) Do you get along well with your neighbours?

  • (Possibly) What types of shops are available in your area?

  • Did you live in a house / flat when you were a child? (The examiner will probably use the word that applies to what you are living in now.)

  • (Similar to above) What type of place did you live in when you were a child?

  • Did you like the place you lived in as a child?

  • What are the differences between the place you live in now and the one you lived in as a child?

  • Will you move to (live in) a different flat / house in the future? (Or: Will you be moving to (live in) a different flat / house in the future?)

  • What are the differences between the place you live in now, and where you have lived before?

 

4.  Transportation

    Main Questions

  • What forms of public transport do you have in your hometown?

  • How did you travel (or, come) here today?

  • How often do you use public transport?

  • How often do you take the (or, a) bus?

  • Do you prefer to take the bus, or take the subway (= the underground)?   See Note 75

  • Do you think you'll continue to use buses in the future?

  • (The question above might be this) Do you think you'll continue to use public transport in the future?

  • What do you usually do while you are traveling?

  • (Similar to above) What do you do while you are traveling to school (or work)?

  • Do you prefer public transportation, or private transportation?

  • Is transportation (in your city, or in your country) the same as what it was in the past (e.g., 30 years ago)?

  • Is driving to work common in your country?

  • Do you think many people will still be driving to work 20 years from now?

  • How do you think the government could encourage more people to use public transport?

   

      Other Similar Questions

  • What forms of transport do you usually use?

  • Do you like traveling by bus?

  • Do you prefer to travel by bus or car?

  • Do you think there will be fewer, or more buses in big cities in the near future?

  • Is it easy to use public transport in your city (or hometown)?

  • What's the furthest you've traveled using public transport?

  • Which do you think are better for long trips, planes or trains?

  • What's the most convenient way to travel to the countryside?

  • Would you like to ride a bike to work?

  • Do you think that government should improve bus services?

  • Do you think your government will change any of its policies concerning public transport?   See Note 73

 

5.  Your High School

Possibly the words, "secondary school" are used instead of "high school". If you are still a high school student, the examiner will adjust the questions, for example, by using "do" instead of "did" and "is" instead of "was".

    Main Questions

  • What part of high school did (do) you like the most (or, the best)?  See Note 71

  • Are there any things you dislike(d) about those days?

  • Can you remember what your first day at high school was like?

  • How did you feel on your first day at high school?

  • Are you still in contact with (or, still in touch with) your friends from high school?

  • Which teacher was most important to you in high school?

  • (Similar to above) Which teacher did you like the most in high school?

  • Would you like to be a high school teacher?

   

      Other Similar Questions

  • What's the happiest of your high school memories?

  • What was your favourite subject in high school?

  • Is (or, was) there any subject you didn't like?

  • Which subject did you find the most difficult?

  • Who helped you the most in high school?

  • Do you think secondary education is important?


6.  Fruit

  • Do you like to eat fruit?

  • How often do you eat fruit?

  • What's your favourite fruit?

  • Did you (like to) eat that fruit when you were a child?

  • (Different to above) Did you like eating fruit when you were a child?

  • Do you think eating fruit is important?

  • (Similar to above) What do you think are the benefits of eating fruit?

  • Do you think people should eat more fruit?

  • What do you think are the benefits of (or, is the importance of) eating fruit?

  • Do you ever add fruit when you cook something?

  • (Similar to above) Do you ever use fruit when cooking?

  • (Possibly the question above is this) Do you ever cook fruit?  See Note 5


7.  Neighbours

  • Do you know (all) your neighbours?

  • How important are your neighbours to you?

  • Would you prefer to have young people, or old people as neighbours?

  • Would you say you have a good relationship with your neighbours?

  • What activities do you do with your neighbours?

  • Do you think it's important to be a good neighbour?

  • Do you think it is important to have good neighbours?

  • Do your neighbours often help you?


8.  Magazines

 

9.  Emails

 

10.  Sunshine

    Main Questions

    

      Other Similar Questions

 

11.  Birthdays

 

12.  Jewellery

 

13.  History

    Main Questions

   

      Other Similar Questions

 

14.  Politeness

  • How do people in your country show politeness?

  • Do you think politeness is important?

  • Who taught you to be polite?

  • Who do you think should teach children to be polite?

  • How do parents teach their children to be polite?

  • In your country, do you think politeness (or, the ways people show politeness) has changed in the past few decades?

  • (Similar to above) Do you think people today are more polite than people were in the past?

 

15.  Advertisements

    Main Questions

   

      Other Similar Questions

 

16.  Your Daily Routine

    Main Questions

   

        Other Similar Questions

 

17.  Pop Stars

    Main Questions

    

      Other Similar Questions

 

18.  Family Activities  N

    Main Questions

  • What activities do you do with your family?

  • What activities did you do with your family when you were a child?

  • Do you do the same activities today with your family that you did when you were a child?

  • Have there been any changes to family life in your country in recent years (or, in the past few decades)?

    

      Other Similar Questions

  • Do you live with your family (your parents)?

  • How much time do you spend with your family?

  • Is the amount of time you spend with your family now the same as it was before?

  • Which is more important to you, your friends or your family?

  • Do you think it's good to live with one's family?

  • How often do you see your family?

  • Is the amount of time you spend with your family now the same as it was before?

  • How has your family influenced you?

  • Has your family influenced your education?

  • Which of your family members do you like the most?

  • Which family member do you think you are most similar to?

  • Is the idea of family very important in your country?

  • Do you think technology is affecting family lifestyles today?

  • How do you think family activities have been affected by the fast pace of modern living?

  • What would you say is the importance of the extended family?

 

19.  Teenagers  N

  • Do you spend much time with teenagers?

  • Do you like to spend time with (or to be with) teenagers?

  • What do you generally do when you're with teenagers?

  • What were you like as a teenager?

  • Would you say there are benefits from being a teenager?

  • (Similar to above) What do you think is the best part of being a teenager?

  • What do most teenagers in your country do in their spare time?

  • In your opinion, how are teenagers different to people of other ages?

  • What do you think of teenage fashions?

 

20.  Names  N

It looks like the same set of questions are used here that were used in previous tests. See NOTES on this topic.

  • Does your name have any particular (or, special) meaning?

  • How do people in your country (or culture) give a name to a baby (or, choose a name for a baby)?

  • Who gives (or decides, or chooses) the name for a baby in your country?

  • Do you have any special traditions about naming babies?

  • (Similar to above) Do you have a special ceremony when naming a baby?

  • In your culture (or, country) are there any names that are especially common?   See Note 18

  • Why do people give common names to their children?

 

21.  Rainy Days  N

  • Does it rain much in your hometown?

  • Do you like rainy days?

  • (Similar to above) Do you like rain?

  • Would you prefer to live in a place that has a lot of rain, or a dry place?

  • Do you prefer to wear a raincoat, or use an umbrella when it's raining?

  • Have you ever been outside in the rain without a raincoat or umbrella?

  • Do you think rain influences what people do (or, people's behaviour)?

  • Does rain have any effect on your mood?

 

22.  The News  N

  • Are you very interested in the news?

  • Do you prefer to read the news in newspapers, or on the internet?

  • Do any of your family members read newspapers?

  • Did you read newspapers when you were a child?

  • How old were you when you started to read newspapers?

  • What pages (or sections) do you usually read in newspapers?  See Note 14

  • Do you prefer (to read about) world (or foreign) news, or news from your country?  See Note 12

  • Do you ever discuss the news with your friends?

  • Would you like to be a news reporter (or, a journalist)?

 

23.  Boats  N   See Note 2

  • Have you ever travelled by boat?

  • (If you answer 'No' to the question above) Would you like to travel by boat one day?

  • Do many people in your country use boats as means of a transportation?

  • (Similar to above) Is traveling on a boat very common in your country?  See Note 13

  • Is taking a boat trip very popular in your country?  See Note 13

  • Would you like to have your own boat?

 

24Computers  N

  • Do you use a computer during work or study?

  • What do you do on a computer?  See Note 56

  • Did you use a computer when you were a child?

  • How did you learn to use a computer?

  • What are the differences between using (or, your use of) a computer now, and when you were a child?

  • Do you think computers have changed peoples lives (compared to the days before computers)?

  • How do you think computers might change (or develop) in the future?

 

25.  Punctuality  N

  • Do you think it's important to be on time (for meetings, work, classes etc)?

  • (Similar to above) Do you like to be on time (for meetings, work, classes etc)?

  • (Similar to above) Would you say you are (usually) a punctual person?

  • Do you mind if someone is late for a date (or meeting) with you? 

  • What do you (usually) do when someone is late for a date (or meeting) with you? 

  • (Different to above) What would you do if someone were late for a date (or meeting) with you?

  • Do you think it's more important to be punctual for work, or for meeting a friend?

  • Who would you say is generally more punctual, young people or older people?

 

26.  Meals  N

  • When do you usually eat (or, have) a meal (or, your daily meals)?

  • What's your favourite meal?  See Note 4

  • Who do you usually eat meals with?

  • Where do you usually have your meals?

  • How often do eat in a restaurant? (= How often do you eat out?)

  • Do you often eat take away meals?

  • How have your food habits (or, eating habits) changed since you were a child?

 

27. Leisure-time Activities  N

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Note 1

The wording is unclear but I think the question is something like that. It might be, "Has your family lived in many other apartments/houses?" or, "Has your family moved often to different living places?" In that question, "family" means your parents & siblings but it could possibly include earlier generations of your family living in the same house, for example, 100 years ago. 

Note that the examiner is most likely to use the British form, "have your family", not the American form, "has your family". The British consider family as "them" or plural while Americans consider it as one group, "it". When you speak or write, both are correct.

Note 2

The word, "boat" is a general word that can be used to refer to yachts, one-man sailing boats, canoes, dinghies (= rowing boats), launches, ferries, barges, and big ships. However, although there is no strict rule about this, the word, "boat" tends to be used more when talking about smaller vessels that carry people on water, especially one-man vessels such as rowing boats. The word "ship" is only used for big vessels.

A medium-sized vessel, such as one that carries 200 people, might be called a "boat" by some people, while others might call it a "ship", especially if it is similar in design to the big, ocean-going ships that can carry 1,000 or more people.

Note the word, "ferry", which is a vessel for transporting people a relatively short distance, such as across a river, a bay, a harbour or to a nearby island. A ferry is like a bus traveling on water. Some of them also carry cars. The ones that only carry people do not usually have high sides, i.e., they sit low in the water because they usually don't travel on the open sea. Sydney Harbour, Hong Kong, San Francisco and New York City are some places where you can see this type of ferry.

  A ferry

Note 3

Do you think you will receive (any or more) training in the future?

Although the words "any" and "more" are not really necessary in the question, if you said you have not received any training, the question might be, "Do you think you will receive any training in the future?"

If you said you have received training, the question might be. "Do you think you will receive more training in the future?"

Note 4

What's your favourite meal?

If you get this question, there are two possible types of answer because "meal" can mean: a) breakfast, lunch or dinner or, b) a dish. The best answer would be to choose one of breakfast, lunch or dinner. The examiners want to know if you have those words in your vocabulary.

Note 5

This question (and the others about using fruit in your cooking) might be testing to see if you know the word, "raw" (= uncooked) as in, "I prefer to eat raw fruit" or, "I prefer to eat my fruit raw". For example, must of us eat raw oranges.

The question, "Do you ever cook fruit?" doesn't always mean adding fruit to the food you are cooking. Instead, it might mean to cook fruit alone.

Tomatoes are classified as a fruit and many people cook tomatoes or add them to other foods that are being cooked. As well as that, apples and other fruits are often cooked (with added sugar) and then used as a filling for sweet desserts such as apple pies or cakes. The fruit can also be cooked when the pie is baked in an oven.

Note 6

If you are living in a dormitory at the moment, it is perfectly suitable to say that.

Note 7

You need to have a clear understanding of the difference between a "game" and a "sport". Although most, but not all, sports are also games, only a minority of games are also sports. In other words, the majority of games are not sports.

Although most children's outdoor games involve physical activity, such as running, that does not mean they are "sports". For example, a common kids' game that is played outdoors is "Hide and Seek". It is (usually) played outdoors and the kids run away quickly and hide. Another common kids' outdoor game is "Tag', which is a kind of "chasing game".

Boys play marbles on the ground outside (although it could also be played indoors) but this game requires skill more than physical exercise.

Girls play several physical and skill-based outdoor games, such as Hopscotch and various games involving a long skipping rope.

Can you include in your answer a sport that is also a game? Certainly. For example, many children play soccer and some play tennis. But I doubt if basketball is a good choice. People usually only start playing basketball when they are teenagers and, don't forget, a teenager is no longer a child.

Some primary school children have to engage in relay races (or competitions) in their Physical Education (PE) class. These are team competitions but it is not very suitable to call such an activity a "sport". It is also not very suitable to call a relay competition a "game".

See also Games and Sports Facilities

Note 8

That question might be, "What's your neighbourhood like?"  Your "neighbourhood is the area around your home, perhaps to a radius of 1 km.

Note 9

Obviously you should say why this person is important (to your country, or to you personally)

Note 10

How long did you live (or, have you been living) there? 

Do (or, did) you like living there?

The questions here depends on whether or not you are living in your hometown now.

Note 11

This is probably mostly for high school students but it is possible university students will also be asked about other subjects.

Note 12

Do you prefer (to read about) world (or foreign) news, or news from your country?

Instead of "news from your country", the examiner might say, "national news", "local news" or "domestic news".

Note 13

Although this is not a "hard and fast rule", when an English-speaker talks about a "boat trip", they are usually talking about traveling on a boat as a tourist (sightseer) or just for fun, not traveling on the boat as a means of transport, for example, from home to work.

If the question is, Is boating very popular in your country? then the question definitely means "doing a leisure-time or fun activity with a boat". (A couple of people have reported that question.) "Popular" means many people like it.

If the question is, Is traveling on a boat very common in your country? then it is a more general question that includes both traveling on a boat just for transportation, as well as traveling on a boat for pleasure. The word, "common" just means "often seen" or "often done", and unlike "popular", is not connected to what people like. Since "common" is used in that question, it would be more suitable to focus more on traveling by boat for transportation.

Note 14

This question might be, What pages (or sections) do you usually read first in newspapers?

Note 15

Is your routine different on weekends and on holidays?

This question, using that wording, is asking you if your routine (not on weekends and/or holidays) is different to your routine on weekends and/or holidays. In other words, the question really means, Is your usual Monday to Friday routine different to your routine on weekends and on holidays?

Note 16

Is there anything special (or, famous) about your hometown?

If the wording is "about your hometown" then it means that many people in your country (or in the world) know about this special or famous thing.

If the wording is "in your hometown" then it most likely means that many people in your hometown know about this special or famous thing but it might not necessarily be well-known to people outside your hometown.

Note 17

The question, "In the future, what type of home would you like to live in?" (= "What type of home would you like to live in, in the future?) has a similar  meaning to, "What type of home do you want to live in, in the future?"

So why would, "Would like to" be used instead of, "want to"? Firstly, "want to" is more emphatic and similar to "plan to" but most people simply have "hopes" about where they will live. Secondly, "would like to" is used because it sounds gentler i.e., it is less emphatic or less aggressive sounding it is more "genteel" or more "polite" sounding.

Note 18

In your culture (or, country) are there any names that are especially common?

The wording of this topic, using just, "names", not "given names" allows you to speak about both surnames and given names. On the other hand, the question, Why do people give common names to their children? obviously refers only to given names.

Note 32

This question was reported by one candidate so it might not be in the examiners' question book. (Examiners only use questions from the question book in Part 1.)

Note 37

This is an important question and you have a 50% chance of getting this question. See some important notes here, on the website. Those notes are about the question, "Why did you choose to study that?" The question, "Why did you choose that type of work (or, that job)?" is grammatically the same.

Note 39

Which is more important for you at school, the teachers or the other students?

Possibly the question is asked in general terms like that. Alternatively, the question might emphasize your study, i.e., "In your studies, which is more important for you, the teachers or the other students?" The first question could possibly be answered in terms of your social life, your friends at school.

Note 42

Possibly the word, "hoped" is used instead of "imagined".

Note 45

For high school students, the examiner might choose to ask this question about one of the subjects that you said you are studying (or studied). For example, "Is physics very difficult to study?" [Or, "Do you like physics?" for the question, "Do you like ...?"]

Note 55

If you have already completed your studies (either high school or university), this question will probably be, "What did you learn from studying that subject?" For high school students, the examiner will probably choose one of the several subjects that you say you are studying or studied, if you have finished high school. Basically, the examiner wants a summary of what you learned or the contents of the subject, possibly with a few specific examples of what you learned.

Note 56

Below is a copy of an email I sent to someone about the topic of "computers".

Question:

I've seen a question in the IELTS question pool, which is in the topic of 'computer'. It is like 'In what ways do people use computers in China?' I'm not sure whether this refers to how people use computers (e.g. use computers to watch TV or documents' editing) or it means how to make computers work ( e.g. Connect to wifi) 

My Reply

On the topic of Computers (plural) in Part 1, that sort of question is referring to the various purposes of using computers, not the various technical ways of using computers. Anyway, there are not many different technical ways of using a computer most computers work the same way.

Your question also seems to indicate that you are confusing the two different words, "computers" and "the internet". These are two distinctly different things, although they are connected in some but not all cases. For example, people today can connect to the internet by using a mobile phone, which is not classified as a "computer".

If the question is, "In what ways do people use the internet?" then, again, the question is USUALLY referring to the purpose of using the internet rather than the variety of technical ways of using it, especially if it is a Part 1 question. If the question is about the different ways of connecting to the internet, then the word "connect" or "go onto" would most likely be used, not just the word, "use".

Different purposes i.e.,  usages of the internet are: 1) Entertainment especially viewing entertainment videos, listening to music audio files, connecting to real-time TV and radio broadcasts, reading entertainment articles such as gossip articles, and playing online games etc. 2) Personal Communication such as using emails, text message exchange services, direct streaming audio-video services such as Wechat, and expressing personal opinions on message boards 3) Getting information such as the news, which includes using non-entertainment audio-visual files & by reading webpages 4) Studying, either private study by researching information on the internet or more formal study such as taking an online university course, which might involve sending assignments by email or face-to-face discussion with a tutor via a service such as Wechat 5) Making financial or business transactions such as internet banking, buying & selling shares on the stock market, online shopping, making online hotel or airline reservations etc. 6) Exchanging computer files and data with others, including photos, audio-visual files, software, e-books, and data (such as my Updates service) etc. The internet is also used by governments & companies for sending and receiving real-time data such as the direct streaming of the data from surveillance cameras.

Of course, computers themselves can be used for various purposes without being connected to the internet. One of the most common uses of computers is writing documents, including letters that are printed out and mailed by regular mail ("snail mail"). Other common usages are the printing-out of documents or previously downloaded webpages, using a scanner to photocopy a document, a page from a book or a photograph, play computer games, watch movies (on CDs), listen to music CDs, edit photos, audio and video files, and use software for specialized purposes such as engineering and accounting software.

Your question was a good one, especially since it illustrates the confusion that some people have between the two words, "computer" and "internet".

Note 61

The wording, "Would you like to change where you live?" can have two different meanings: a) "Would you like to make some changes to the place that you are living in?" or, b) "Would you like to change your address?" = "Would you like to move to a different place?"  Meaning a) is the meaning that most people report. But a question about moving to a different place has also been reported.

Note 69

In previous years, the 'rule' or custom was that one of Topics 1 to 3 is compulsory, and that only one of them is used for each candidate. But since 2016 I have seen several people reporting, in detail, two of these topics in their test. So it is possible that this rule is no longer being strictly applied.

Note 70

To "study" and to "learn" or "learn about" are not always perfects synonyms. "Studying" is an activity that is consciously done with the aim of "learning". "Learning" can be imagined as, "changing something in the brain". Even babies and animals learn. Especially the young learn a lot in a few short years. But you won't see a baby or a dog sitting at a desk studying! Everyone who studies, learns. But not all learning is a result of studying.

Note 71

Question: What's the difference between a and b here?

a) What part of high school did you like the most (or, the best)?

b) What part of your high school did you like the most (or, the best)?

The first refers to your overall high school experience. The second refers to either the building or the institution.

Note 72

This refers to the act of studying at home or in a library etc.

Examples: listening to music; eating snack foods; chewing gum ...

Note 73

Possibly this is a hint at the possibility of privatizing public transport.

Note 74

Which part of your studies do you like the most?

Wording like this is referring to your whole experience of being a student, including where you live, the people you meet, how much free time you have etc.  For example, maybe the part that you like best is the fact you don't have to go to work!

Of course, you can also answer by referring to a particular subject or topic that you are studying that you especially like.

Note 75

Here, "take" = "travel by", "travel on", "go by" etc

Note 76

Here, "recent" does not have to be within the past month or year. It could be within the past 5 years or so.

One recent change in many jobs is the change that better electronic communication (e.g., the internet) has brought in the past few years. Other technological changes (advancements) have also changed some jobs.

Note 77

This is asking about the value or importance of studying (or knowing) history.

Note 78

The question, "Where do you study?" can have two different meanings.

a) It can mean, "What school or university do you attend?"

Or it can mean,

b) "Where do you sit to write essays, prepare for exams etc? Do you sit at a desk in your bedroom or do you usually study in the university library?"

Note 81

Most native English speakers think of the word, "a suburb" as meaning, "an area, or section of a metropolitan area". A "metropolitan area" is called a "city" - "city" does not just mean the downtown area. An "outer suburb", which is far from the centre of a city, is in contrast to "an inner suburb", "the inner city", or "downtown". In cities with a metropolitan railway system, each suburb usually has a railway station. In other words, a "suburb" is still part of a city. Most English speakers do not use, "suburb" to mean a village or town that is just outside a metropolitan area.

Note 82

So many different questions have been reported with the two words, "study" and "hard" in the question. The question, "Do you study hard?" is just one of those questions.

To "study hard" means to put a lot of time, attention and effort into study. It's similar to "do a good job at studying". It doesn't necessarily mean that your subject is "hard" (= difficult).  Most people seemed to report questions about your subject being hard (= difficult) but possibly they misunderstood the question. Whatever the case, a question about studying hard, as well as a question asking whether your subject is difficult are both possible in the same test.