IELTS Speaking: the most common question and comments


The most common speaking question in part1 and also it is the easiest question.

Where do you come from?
- I’m from Qingdao in China.  Qingdao is a city on the north-east coast of mainland China.

【Notice how my answer is short (I haven’t given a history of Qingdao since the beginning of time!) But not too short; I didn’t just answer ‘Qingdao’ or “China”.

Also notice how the tense of the verbs in my answer is the same as the tense of the verb in the question.  It’s a good idea to listen to the tense of the verb in the question so that your answer is on the right track.】

IELTS Part 2 Sample Answer:
"Talk about your favorite film"

Student's Answer:
"Okay, I would like to start my topic. My favorite film is Cinderella and, uh, … and uh, during my, uh, English laich I started doing (30 seconds) and uh, which is carried by my English teacher from America. At first, at first, pictures is very attractive and then I'm very moved by the characters Cinderella and his spirit, (1 minute) uh … and … a little bit nervous … uh… and uh …. and the most, and the most, and the most, (90 seconds) gool I like is during the uh, uh, …"

While preparing for one minute the student only took a few notes, so forgot what to talk about. After I typed this, I read all the sentences slowly. It took me only 30 seconds. So, this student wasted 90 seconds. That is not a good way to show your English ability!

With notes, the student might have remembered to talk about "Who" – Cinderella's sisters and her mean mother. The student could have talked about "What" – the jobs Cinderella had to do and the party she wanted to go to. The student could have talked about "How" – the magical way she was able to go. The student could have talked more about "Why" – the student was moved by "his" spirit. (oops!) Why not say, "I was moved by the way Cinderella continued to hope even though she had to do so much hard work at home and had no body to help her". That's a good way to show your English level.

It's unnecessary to start the speech with, "I would like to…". Anyone can memorize such a sentence, so it shows little real ability to speak English. I think the word "laich" was supposed to be "literature". A better sentence would be, "During my English literature class when I was in the second year of university, my English teacher showed us a wonderful story that really impressed me". Good sentence, isn't it?

Instead of "at first, pictures is very attractive", the student could say, "The first think I noticed is that the pictures are very colorful and attractive". I don't know what "gool" is at the end, but the student already had missed an opportunity before that. This student must communicate more specific information using complete sentences.

It's hard to give a score without the scorer's guide, and especially with such a small sample of language. The student had an opportunity but failed. I would have to guess that if the student can't do better on part 3, the score will probably be 4.


How do you think the Internet will change entertainment in the future?

Just yesterday I saw there's some advertising on Internet to put some blanks on Mr. Bush to attack his economic policies which bring American economy…

(Comment: The topic is not just the Internet, but about "change", "entertainment" and "the future". It is not acceptable to change the topic to "politics" in "the present". As for the language, I doubt "advertising" is the right word here and "blanks" should almost certainly be "blame". Verbs are all in the simple present. Most likely "bring" should be either "is bringing" or "has brought".)

How do you think the Internet will change ENTERTAINMENT?

It's a kind of entertainment, but it can affect people's opinions. (1 minute has passed so far)

(Comment: After the question is repeated, the student must use good English to support the previous statements. "It's a kind of entertainment" is too simple, level 5 at the highest but a level 4 student might be able to say a few such sentences too. Instead, this student should say something better, for example, "I believe that, for many people, political discussions ARE a kind of entertainment, which will probably grow more common in the future". This will bring us back to the topic and show that the student is level 6 or 7, instead of 4 or 5.)

How about in the future?

I think this trend will go on.

(Comment: The student should explain which trend and give some reasons why it might continue.)

Which trend?

People express their ideas through some entertainment. But new patterns on Internet.

(Comment: Instead of an incomplete sentence such as "but new patterns on Internet", which has no verb, the student should explain in detail. "There are new patterns of communication thanks to the Internet, for example…")

Can you give me some details on how it will be done in the future?

Because the Internet is comparatively… very cheap (2 minutes so far) so people can future some films some, record some we do, record some new music or to put them on the Internet for other people to share, can share their information.

(Comment: The student is trying to give more information, but is quite vague and is making some mistakes that are hard to understand. "People can future some films some" is not a normal English sentence. Instead, the student might say, "People in the future will be able to choose from among many different films". "Record some we do" also has no meaning, but the speaker corrects the mistake, which is good!)

Do you think that this will affect traditional movie theaters?

To some degree because to live to film is more expensive than if you compared with Internet entertainment. (3 minutes has passed)

(Comment: Already three minutes has passed. The student has said very little during this time. The possibility of getting a 6 now is almost gone. What does "to live to film" mean? If the student provided more specific information, for example by talking about specific prices, then it might be more clear.)

So what will happen to traditional movie theaters in the future?

They should make it more accessible and not maybe from big cities to some smaller cities because especially in China there aren't many films cinemas in small cities in China but Internet we can use Internet whenever, wherever we are.

(Comment: This is a better sentence, a better explanation. Of course, a level 5 student can sometimes do this. To be a level 6, this student probably needed to do this from the beginning.)

How can movie theaters become more accessible? (4 minutes so far)

Maybe we don't need large scale cinemas in small cities, but more small more compact uh pattern.

(Comment: This sentence is very simple. Another opportunity lost! Why not say, "Maybe we don't need large scale cinemas in small cities where there are fewer people. Instead, more compact theaters might be appropriate". This is not such a difficult sentence. Even if vocabulary such as "compact" and "appropriate" are changed to "small" and "good", the student could have shown some advanced ability.)

How do you think you would have enjoyed living 100 years ago, without the Internet and without television or radio?

Maybe life is boring but we still have other styles of more natural entertainment.

Can you give me some examples?

Such as play some game, cards, personal contact, personal interchanges, personal communications is more uh, it's more widely used. (5 minutes so far)

(Comment: The student should take one example at a time. "One example would be playing games such as cards. These are very popular, yet simple to do over the Internet".)

Let's change the topic a bit. How do you think television affects society?

I think different people get different information from television. Some people, especially child, children, they vulnerable, they are vulnerable to the television information, information from the television. They can't distinguish what is right, what's wrong, so they may adapt all what they see.

(Comment: The student is getting better. If you can make this kind of sentence during the whole test, getting a 6 or 7 is easy. There are many small mistakes in these three sentences, but the student is communicating successfully.)

So, do you think we should control television in some way?

Maybe, especially like what we have done this days before 10 o'clock we have some contraints in the conTENT of the television but after that more free styles can be show.

(Comment: Intonation can change the meaning, so be careful! "conTENT" means "happy" while "CONtent" means what is inside.)

Thank you, that's the end of the speaking test.

(Comment: The student came up with only a few good sentences at the end, and with quite a few mistakes. If I only look at the answers to the final questions, I would guess this student is a 6. (I cannot give an official score here.) However, based on all of the questions, with such short answers, more likely this student would get a 5.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 × four =

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>