Your Studies (Page 2)
Why did you choose to study that?
This is a past tense question so the best answer
is spoken in the past tense. The question is asking you to say how
or why you decided to study your major. Let's say you are studying
Computer Science. The following are not very strong answers because they are
all in the present tense:
Because I like computers.
Because Im very interested in computers.
Because I think computer experts will be in demand in the future.
What you like now, or what youre interested in now and what you think now might not be the same as what you liked, thought or were interested in when you made the decision to study Computer Science 4 years ago!
Many candidates are not sure how to say the past tense
of the word choose. The past tense is chose and it rhymes with the word
A good way to begin is to say, I chose it
You could also start with, I decided to
study that because
. But showing the examiner that you can say
chose is probably best. If you say decided make sure you pronounce the
ed as Id.
Other good ways to start are:
The main reason I chose it was because
The main reason I chose it is because (both is and was are suitable here.)
The main reason I decided to study it was/is because
There are/were several reasons why I decided on a career in Computer Science. The main/first reason is
The second half of your sentence usually requires
grammar that is a little difficult. Here are two examples: I chose it
because my father said (that) computer scientists would be in
great demand in the future. I chose it because I thought
(that) it would have a promising future.
Notice that these examples use past tense said and thought because you are talking about the time 4 years ago when you made your decision.
But why use would? This grammar is the grammar of Reported Speech (间接引语). (The textbook, Side by Side covers this topic in Book 4.) For example, 4 years ago, your father actually spoke these words: Computer scientists will be in great demand in the future. And 4 years ago, you said to yourself, I think it will have a promising future. If you can make this kind of sentence, you will impress the examiner.
Here are a few expressions you could use:
would be in demand
would have a promising future
would allow me to earn a high salary
would be an interesting career
would give me opportunities to travel
would contribute to Chinas development
would benefit society
Of course, there are other past tense sentences that you could use. For example:
I chose it because I was good at maths and science in high school and I was interested in computers, especially computer games and the internet.
I chose it because my father has his own company and I wanted to be able to manage the company in a professional way in the future. (studying Business Management)
I decided to study that because my mother is a Chinese teacher and I wanted to follow in her footsteps. (studying Chinese literature)
I chose to study that because it seemed like an exciting career.
I chose that because Ive always wanted to help people. (nursing)
I chose it because I wanted to enter the business world Id like to be a CEO of a big company one day, or have my own company.
I chose that because I wanted to do something ______ for society. (good, useful, )
I chose to study that because I read (past tense, pronounced as red) that China will need hydrology experts in the future.
Well, my teachers and my parents all encouraged me to study that and it seemed like a good idea to me. So, basically, I was just following the advice of others.
Most of the examples above are just one-sentence answers, showing you the grammar. However, you should try to answer longer than that try to give more reasons and some extra detail. This question is not an example of a short Part 1 question it could be a middle-sized answer or a longer answer if you have something to say.
Some people say something like the following as an answer to this question: Actually, I didnt choose it, my parents chose it for me. This is not a bad answer but you have to be careful saying this, for three reasons: a) Some schools teach IELTS students to say this and if the examiner hears the exact same answer several times, he or she will immediately think that it is not your own answer but learned from a book; b) To say it correctly and so that it sounds natural, you need to stress 3 words in that sentence, Actually, I didnt choose it, my parents chose it for me. This sentence stress is necessary to show the contrast - you didnt do it, your parents did it; c) The answer doesnt really give any details about the factors that caused you to decide to study your major. If you can include these factors in your answer by making one or two sentences as shown in the first part of this page, it could be a good answer.
Do you like it?
This is a Yes/No question. See the page on this website concerning Yes/No questions.
This is also a question that asks for your feelings. As a general rule in the Speaking test, whenever you state your feelings, preference or opinion, immediately follow that with why you feel or think this way. Don't force the examiner to waste time by asking you, Why? If you don't first answer why, the examiner usually must ask you to say why.
The basic short answer is Yes, I do or No, I don't. But in most answers for this question, it would be better to choose a slightly different way to begin your answer than to simply begin with either of those rather basic beginnings. The following are better beginnings to your answer:
Yes, I certainly do.
Yes, I do, very much so.
Absolutely! (Don't overuse this.)
Yes, I'd have to say I do like it.
No, not really.
Well, I like some things about it but I'm not so happy about other aspects. For example, ...
I love it!
I suppose so. (Not very enthusiastic)
Avoid saying, Of course! for this kind of question. If the answer was so obvious, the examiner would not have asked you.
There are several ways to say the second half of your answer (the part where you say why you feel this way). You could join it to the short beginning by using the word because but, although this is the common way to give a reason, it is not the only way to talk and you should try to show some variety in the Speaking test.
Example: Yes, I really do because I get to design computer games and playing computer games is my favorite hobby!
The following expressions show you a few other ways to give reasons:
I like it (so much) because it's something that I can do well!
The main reason (why) I like it is because it allows me to be creative. (design)
The best thing about it is that it gives me a feeling that I am developing my mind.
The three examples above could also be preceded by the words, I suppose ... or, I guess .... For example, I suppose I like it (so much) because it's something that I can do well! Using the words, I suppose ... or, I guess ... shows that you are not really sure exactly why you like it you guess that this is the reason.
One of the best things about it is knowing that I will be able to contribute to society in an area where it's really needed. (alternate fuel research)
I find it really interesting to learn about how the business world functions.
I find it quite _______ (interesting because ... / stimulating because ... / challenging because ... /satisfying because ...
(In the examples on this page, the words, "... the reason is ...that ..." can be used to replace the words, "... the reason is ...because ...".)
However, if you are honest, you probably would have to admit that you don't like frequent exams or the fact that you have to memorize so many apparently useless facts. Introduce the 'downside' of what you study by using an expression such as On the other hand, ..., However, ... or even But .... This last example (but) is natural speech and acceptable to use sometimes but try to show a wider range of connective expressions - don't only use But ... throughout the Speaking test.
Throughout the Speaking test, have the attitude that you are willing to share your feelings and opinions with the examiner. This way, you will find it much easier to express yourself.