In the IELTS speaking exam, you may be asked questions about books, films, and art.
Read the following IELTS style questions and answers below and pay attention to the words or phrases in bold.
Use the ‘definitions’ section at the bottom of the page to check any meanings you are unfamiliar with.
Make a note of any new vocabulary and the best way to learn it is to use it!
Examiner: Do you enjoy reading for pleasure?
Mario: Yes, I do, but I admit that, with all my studies right now, I don’ t have a lot of time to curl up with a book. When I do, for example on holiday, I love thrillers or action books with a strong plot line which I can read cover to cover in a few hours.
Examiner: Would you rather watch a film or read in your free time?
Maria: Oh, I would far rather distract myself with a great rom-com movie than read as by the time I get home from work I am shattered! I know movies leave less to the imagination than books, however, I do sometimes watch films which have been adapted from fiction, for example, Emma by Jane Austin, which gave me an insight into strong characterisation and main themes.
Examiner: What was the last book you read and would you recommend it?
Judy: In fact, I have recently finished an inspiring book called The Human History. It was recommended to me by a colleague, and the themes are philosophy, kindness and communication. I found the narrative captivating, compelling and surprisingly comprehensible. I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in understanding humanity a little better.
Describe a book or a film that had a strong impact on you.
You should say:
• What was it
• When you read or saw it
• How it influenced you
And say if you liked it and why.
Eduardo: When I used to live in Paris as a teenager, I became rather obsessed with watching what might be called ‘artistic’ French films. My favourite was called Paris at Midnight and was directed by Louis Truffaut. Often he filmed in black and white and told a rather dark story – the genre could be described as black humour or drama, I suppose.
While many of my friends were happily absorbed in the latest James Bond movie or other rather commercial blockbusters, I took pride in educating myself in the traditions of the French cinema and trying to learn a bit of French at the same time.
This film in particular had a lasting impression on me – I think in fact, it had been adapted from a best seller and since, it has inspired other cartoon spin-offs and series as well. The beautiful, mysterious heroine was both provocative and enchanting – it was impossible to predict how she would react in a situation, which kept the tension in the film very high. Added to this was a haunting musical score, written by a famous French musician, and this also became a top selling album in the charts.
This film, and others like it, inspired me to work harder on my French language skills and to really investigate the history and culture of Paris in greater depth. At the time, I would have said that I enjoyed it, but in hindsight, I think it was probably not a very relaxing watch, and today, I would opt for something less intellectual!
Examiner: Do you think people go to the cinema as much as they used to?
Sergi: No, and there has been a sea change in the way people chose to view films nowadays which has been reinforced by the recent pandemic when cinemas and theatres were closed. Even before this disaster, many film-goers had the option to pay for online streaming of the latest releases via the internet so they could enjoy the thrills of the cinema but without leaving their sofas. Companies like Netflix and Amazon have led the way in this new trend and now commission films and drama series of their own.
Examiner: Should art still play a role in education for students at school, as well as books and films?
Raoul: It is true that for many young adults and school children art is not part of their usual education, and they are only able to access an understanding of great, historic and influential paintings if they study art. Many educators argue that art should play as big a role as the appreciation of books or film in the curriculum as art offers an equally valid perspective on a country’s cultural background and heritage.
Examiner: What do you think about e-books?
Alline: In my opinion, paperback or hardback books are much better and reading a book from an e-reader just doesn’t feel the same for me. Many readers value the sensation of turning pages and that special smell of paper. I think that the look and feel of a book can never be replaced by an e-reader, but I understand usefulness of electronic books. It is very convenient to be able to carry hundreds of books in your pocket especially when travelling or studying.