Advice Part 1 Speaking

IELTS Speaking Part 1: giving negative answers

It’s fine to give negative answers in part 1 of the speaking test. Here are some example negative answers for people who don’t like sport:

1. What sports or physical activities do you regularly do?

Unfortunately I don’t have time to do any sports or physical activities because of my work commitments. I’d like to find more time for regular exercise.

2. Which sport or game would you like to be good at?

I’d like to be good at tennis. It must be great to be able to hit the ball as hard as you can and watch it land exactly where you wanted it to.

3. Do you prefer watching or playing sports?

I don’t watch much sport on TV and I’m not a big sports fan, so I think I would probably enjoy doing sports more than watching them.

4. Do you think children should be encouraged to do more sport?

Yes, I think that sport is really important for children. Sports and games teach children to play together and try their best.

IELTS Speaking Part 1: short, simple answers

The first part of the IELTS Speaking Test lasts around 4 to 5 minutes. The examiner asks about 10 questions related to you, your daily life and your interests. Common topics are hobbies, family, friends, food, music etc.

Part 1 questions are supposed to be easy, and the examiner must get through all of the questions in 5 minutes or less. That’s only about 30 seconds per question. If you try to give long answers, the examiner will interrupt you. My advice is to keep Part 1 answers very simple:

Do you prefer home-cooked food or food from restaurants?

I prefer home-cooked food because I think it’s healthier and you know exactly what you’re eating. I also enjoy cooking for family and friends.

You don’t need to say any more than this. Just answer the question with a full sentence, give a reason, and maybe add one extra piece of information. Then stop speaking. Stop with confidence and look at the examiner, ready for the next question.

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IELTS Speaking Part 1: strange questions

In part 1 of the speaking test, the examiner will ask around 10 easy questions. However, students have reported some strange questions, such as:

  1. Do you like parks?
  2. Do you think different colours can change our moods?
  3. When do people give flowers in your country?

Don’t be shocked by these questions. Just give a simple answer with a reason. Don’t worry about using fantastic grammar or vocabulary; just try to answer without hesitating. For example:

  1. Yes, I like parks because they are great places to relax. I think all cities need green areas.
  2. Yes, I think bright colours, like red, can make you feel energetic. Some greens and blues can be more relaxing.
  3. People give flowers on special occasions like birthdays or on Valentine’s Day. In my country, giving flowers is seen as romantic.
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IELTS Speaking Part 1: don’t worry, just answer!

“Do you work or are you a student?”

This is often the first question that the examiner asks in the speaking test. It’s an easy question, but many people still worry about it.

Here are some of their worries:

  • What should I say if I do both (work and study)?
  • What if I normally work, but now I’m studying for the IELTS test?
  • I’ve just moved to a new country. Which country should I talk about?

My advice is to stop worrying, and just explain your situation. For example: “I’m a qualified doctor, but at the moment I’m studying English so that I can work here in the UK.”

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IELTS Speaking Part 1: next video lesson

I’m in the middle of creating a video lesson about part 1 of the IELTS speaking test. Before I publish it (this weekend), let me ask you four quick questions:

  1. Do you know exactly what to expect in speaking part 1?
  2. Do you know what the examiner expects from you?
  3. Do you have a method for this part of the test?
  4. Are you worried about any aspect of speaking part 1?

Feel free to share your answers in the comments below. Please think about part 1 only - I’ll cover parts 2 and 3 in later videos.

IELTS Speaking Part 1: negative answers

Here are my negative answers to the questions in last week’s lesson:

1) What type of photos do you like taking?

Well, I don’t usually take photos to be honest. I prefer to enjoy whatever I’m doing, rather than stop to take a photograph.

2) What do you do with photos you take?

I rarely take photos, but if I occasionally use my mobile phone to take a picture of something, I just leave the photo there; I don’t do anything special with it.

3) When you visit other places, do you take photos or buy postcards?

I don’t really do either. I leave it to my friends or other family members to take photographs; I’m usually with someone who likes taking photos and can share them with me later.

4) Do you like people taking photos of you?

No, I prefer not to be in photos. I always feel awkward when someone asks me to smile for the camera, and I don’t think I’m very photogenic.

It’s usually easier to give positive answers, but it’s worth practising some negative responses just in case you get a topic that doesn’t interest you. Whatever the question is, the easiest way to answer is to tell the truth!

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IELTS Speaking Part 1: a student’s question

Someone asked me this question:

I was asked to describe my living room in IELTS speaking part 1. What style of answer should I give for this question?

Let’s see what people think. How would you answer this part 1 question?

IELTS Speaking: you can’t get a high score in part 1

On a recent course, some of my students were surprised when I told them to give short, easy answers in part 1 of the speaking test.

One student asked: “But how can we get a band 7 with these answers?”

My answer is: you can’t! Part 1 of the speaking test is supposed to be easy, and the best thing you can do in this part of the test is demonstrate fluency by answering without hesitation.

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IELTS Speaking Part 1: five simple rules

Part 1 of the IELTS Speaking test is supposed to be easy. You don’t need to give ‘difficult’ answers, and you should try to avoid making mistakes.

Here are five simple rules for Speaking Part 1:

  1. Keep your answers short, then stop with confidence.
  2. Answer the questions using full sentences.
  3. Use words from the examiner’s question in your answer.
  4. If possible, give a reason for your answer.
  5. Don’t forget to say “yes” or “no” when necessary.

Here’s an example to illustrate these points:

Do you like parks?

Yes, I like parks because they are great places to relax. If you live in a city, a park is often the only place where you can escape from the noise and the traffic.

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