IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 6|1. IELTS Speaking and Listening tips


  • The Speaking Module gives you the opportunity to show how well you can speak English. Show what you know. Make sure you use as wide a range of grammar and vocabulary as you can.
  • It is in three parts, so don’t worry if you feel you have done badly in one — you can make up for it in the other parts.
  • Your English is being assessed, not your intelligence or imagination. So don’t worry if you think your answers aren’t very clever, or if you say something that isn’t true.
  • Try to behave in a friendly, relaxed way, as that will help you to do your best. Don’t expect the examiner to comment on what you say: this isn’t like a normal conversation.
  • If you don’t understand what the examiner asks you, ask him or her to repeat it, or say that you don’t understand.
  • Don’t leave long silences, as they don’t show how good your English is.


Part 1

The examiner will ask you some questions about yourself, your opinions and everyday topics. Make sure your answers are of a reasonable length. Saying just a word or phrase doesn’t show how good your English is, and a very long answer won’t allow enough time to go through the whole Module.

1. Listen to these five questions and answers. Decide which comment from the box applies to each answer.

  • A: What type of food do you enjoy most?

B: Fruit.

  • A: Do you enjoy cooking?

B: I don’t eat much for breakfast or lunch. I usually have my main meal in the evening.

  • A: Why do some people avoid eating food they’re not familiar with?

B: I’m not altogether sure, but maybe they were brought up to eat only what they know is safe.

  • A: Do you have any plans affecting your work?

B: I have plans, yes, certainly. I want to live in Canada or find a nice apartment. On the other hand, it’s work too.

  • A: Do you think it’simportant to visit other countries?

B: Hmm. Yes (long pause). Maybe people should go abroad, so that they can compare that country with their own.

A The answer is the right length and appropriate.
B The answer is too long.
C The answer is too short.
D The answer is appropriate, but the candidate does
not make the most of the opportunity to speak.
E The answer is hard to understand.
F The answer does not deal with the question.

2. Think of an appropriate answer to each of these questions. Make sure you use a suitable tense. Practise asking and answering with a partner/teacher.

  • Are plastic goods popular in your country? Why? / Why not?
  • What do you think are the benefits of having a mobile phone?
  • How important do you think packaging is for food and other goods?
  • Is there much pollution in your country?
  • Do you do anything to try and reduce the amount of pollution?

Part 2

You are given a topic to speak about for one to two minutes. The topic is based on your own experience. Quickly think of something that is relevant to the topic. If you can’t think of anything suitable, invent something.

You have one minute to prepare. Write down three or four key words, to remind you of what you want to say. Don’t write whole phrases or sentences: if you simply read out what you have written, you will get a low band score.

The first three points are usually quite factual. Speak about them in turn, fairly briefly. Allow yourself enough time to talk about the last line. This often asks for an explanation, so it gives you the opportunity to use a wider range of language.

Make sure you keep to the topic. Don’t worry if the examiner stops you before you have finished. This won’t affect your band score.

3. Look at this card. Then listen to the talk by a native speaker of English, and notice how much she says about each point on the card.

Examiner: I’d like you to describe an occasion when you were pleased of it an object was made of plastic.
Candidate: Right. Well, I’d like to tell you about a plastic fork. Once I was sitting in a motorway cafe with a friend. We were on our way to see some other friends for the weekend, and it was quite a long drive, so we stopped to have a break. I was eating a cake which was full of chocolate and cream. It was very tasty, but I was using a plastic fork that was quite small and not very practical. I was annoyed that the cafe didn’t supply metal once.
Anyway we were sitting there chatting and eating when a group of children and a couple of adults came into the cafe. The children aged about seven or eight and they were running around, chasing each other. The adults weren’t doing anything to stop them and I come entered on these to my friend.
Then as they came past our table, one of the children pushed another one, who fell heavily against me, jerking my right arm across my body — and I was holding the fork in my right hand. The fork hit my left arm, scratched the inside of my elbow, and covered that part of my arm with chocolate and cream. Luckily the scratch wasn’t serious and when I’d washed my arm, I was fine. But I was glad the fork was made of plastic. If it’d been metal it would probably have broken the skin and made me bleed.
Examiner: Do you think anyone watching what happened felt the same way as you?
Candidate: They probably thought it was funny, but I hope they’d have been pleased that the fork didn’t hurt me.
Examiner: On the whole, do you prefer plastic or more traditional materials?
Candidate: I usually prefer traditional materials, like food or cloth, but sometimes it’s better to have plastic!

Describe an occasion when you were pleased that an object was made of plastic.

You should say:

  • what the object was how you were using it what happened
  • and explain why you were pleased that the object was made of plastic.

Notice that the examiner asks one or two questions after the talk. These should be answered briefly.

4. Now read this topic card, and spend one to two minutes planning a talk. Make notes if you want to. Then speak for one to two minutes.

Describe an occasion when you couldn’t pay for something you wanted.
You should say:
  • what you wanted to pay for why you weren’t able to pay what you did
  • and explain how you felt about the situation.

When you have finished speaking, think of short answers to these questions.

  • Do you think other people would feel the same in that situation?
  • Have you had a similar experience since then?

Part 3

The examiner will ask you questions related to the topic of Part 2. The questions will use verbs like the ones in bold in exercise 5 below.

Your answers should be at least one or two sentences long. Expand them, for example by considering both sides of an argument.

Speculate about possibilities; for example, If shops weren’t open late in the evening, it would be easier for shop workers to spend time with their families and friends.

If you can’t immediately think of an answer, say something to give yourself time to think, for example I haven’t thought about that before.

5. Look at these questions and make sure you understand them. Then listen to the answers and assess them.

Examiner: Could you describe how people use plastic credit cards?
Candidate: Yes, they are used instead of cash to buy groups in shops or pay bills. They can be used for paying online, too, when you just need to give the number on the card and some other details.
Examiner: Can you contrast carrying credit cards with carrying cash?
Candidate: I think the biggest difference is that when you pay for something with a credit card, you don’t really feel that you are spending money. So the danger is that you spend far too much.
Examiner: Can you identify ways in which credit cards have changed our spending habits?
Candidate: When we see something we want, but can’t afford it, in the past we saved up to buy it. But nowadays we’re much more likely to buy it on credit card. So, as a result, a lot of people get into debt.

  • Could you describe how people use plastic credit cards?
  • Can you contrast carrying credit cards with carrying cash?
  • Can you identify ways in which credit cards have changed our spending habits?

Now answer these questions

  • How would you account for the popularity of credit cards?
  • Can you outline the methods used to encourage people to borrow money?
  • Can you suggest ways of educating people about the dangers of borrowing a lot of money?
  • Could you speculate on whether people will change their attitudes towards borrowing money?
  • Could you outline changes in the types of goods and services available in your country?
  • How would you assess the impact on our lives of having a greater choice of goods?

IELTS Listening Tips & Essential Information