In this tutorial, we look at recent IELTS Speaking cue cards, which appear in the IELTS test (as reported by students).
In the cue cards, I answer the questions, give reasons for my answers, share vocabulary, and explain techniques used in my answers.
Below I wrote out my answers and pasted the recent questions seen. I also highlighted some of the useful vocabulary and techniques used.
At the end of the tutorial, I share two useful websites. One is great for generating ideas relating to the IELTS speaking cue card topics; you can also find useful vocabulary and terms there. Go to answer the public, type in your term, and see what happens!
The second site looks ugly but is useful, especially for finding collocations. You can find it here: www.freecollocation.com
Listen to the full tutorial here.
IELTS Speaking Part 2
Describe a thing that you purchased recently. You should say:
– What it was
– What it looks like
– How you bought it
And explain how you felt about it.
I will talk about something I really like! Technology! I can geek out, share technical terms, and talk a lot about it.
I recently bought online some Bluetooth headphones, with noise-cancelling technology (details!). They made such a positive change in my life! It was an impulse purchase; I saw them and thought I had to have them. I convinced myself I needed these so that I can use them for work and watch films while travelling, especially on the plane, because (a simple word to expand answers) I usually stay awake during the whole flight. I was saving up but then I saw a special offer. I bought them online, it wasn’t easy, I bought them from an Amazon warehouse deal. There were some huge complications regarding the delivery address… Quite a mix-up, but eventually I got them (mini-story). I’m quite pleased with this purchase and I feel it was a good decision. I’ve used the headphones a lot, I think they will last a long time.
– What would you do if you bought something disappointing from the internet?
First I would contact customer service to find out the procedure for returning an item, and then I’d evaluate if it is worthwhile (mini-story). I once bought a phone from a Chinese website, and it turned out to be a wrong decision, but it cost me half of the purchase price to return it, so I didn’t bother (mini-story). They were quite sneaky because they insisted I pay for registered or recorded express mail, which was considerably more expensive. There doesn’t seem to be a good law internationally to regulate this. In the end I think I just sold it to a friend.
– Why is online shopping so popular these days?
In my opinion, it’s so popular because it’s convenient thanks to the internet, and possibly even exciting. I must admit I love receiving packages through the post. I think they are like small presents, and plus sometimes you don’t know what’s inside (mini story). It feels like the perfect holiday! For instance, I am always buying small stuff from eBay and other internet sites, from water crystals to magnets, to pencils for when I write notes, cheap random stuff (details!), but it’s fun getting the packages a few weeks later. Usually, the delivery time is around three weeks because public transport can be slow, so I often forget what I bought, and then I open the package, and it’s like a tiny taste of Christmas. (Get back on topic!) But going back to the question, I think online shopping is popular because of the cost savings, the speed of modern delivery when you don’t have enough time, the huge range you have online, and the assurance you get a good deal. Nowadays you can price compare almost everything and write a review afterwards.
SPEAKING EXAM PART TWO
2.) IELTS Speaking Part 1
What is your full name?
Can I see your ID?
Where are you from?
Do you work or study?
Have you ever been on a boat?
Yes, I love sailing, but unfortunately, I do get seasick, (mini-story) a few years back I once started a sailing course but after the first ten minutes, I realised I was getting seasick and nauseous.
Would you take a vacation on a boat?
I probably wouldn’t, no, I don’t think it’s for me. It would be quite restrictive I think, although (mini-story) I read online a story about a man who explained that he had spent the last 3 years on a cruise ship, that was his home and work office. He said everything was taken care of, no house insurance, no taxes, no laundry (details!)… quite interesting I thought, and great advice! It might be the answer to the modern problem of work-life balance.
Would you like to own a boat?
Definitely! I think it really is a classic example of freedom, some people say a motorcycle and car are freedom but (contrast) with a boat it really gets interesting. For example, the only constraints are the weather and perhaps fuel, but if you have sails then that’s irrelevant. Another factor with the boat is that in seas like the Mediterranean you can literally sail over to beautiful places like Ibiza and the Balearic islands, visit a new country (details), rather than staying in a crowded place like a seaside resort. In the near future, I’d love to own a boat.
What kind of music do you like?
To be honest, I’m quite open-minded when it comes to music, I love electronic music for working while on my laptop and spend the most time listening to that, because (give a reason!) it usually doesn’t have as many lyrics in it. Lyrics, especially in English usually distract me. I like hip hop or techno for working out in the gym or running and drowning out background noise if I’m in a public place. When I’m cooking I like music with lyrics, usually old American soul, or old British rock music, it also depends on my mood.
My guilty pleasure music would be Elton John, you see we used to listen to it all the time in the car when we went on holiday when we were younger and always felt happy! Hearing that music makes me feel as if it’s going to be a special day. I’ll always choose music over a television programme (small story / anecdote).
How much time do you spend listening to music every day?
Like many of my friends, I probably spend around 20 minutes each day actively listening to music, and around 2 – 3 hours while working. (talk about the past) I used to listen to more, but a wise man once said “music is bubble gum for the ears”, so I felt guilty, and I reduced the amount of time and started to listen more to audiobooks and tutorials I find on the internet, like IELTSPodcast. ?This week I’ve heard a great podcast on how to approach the IELTS cue card!
IELTS Speaking Part 2
In part two, you will be presented with an IELTS candidate cue card. On the card, you will have a topic you must speak about. Below are some cue card samples and model answers.
Describe a product you bought and felt happy with it
This is another of my favourite topics – and it is also a cue card that most candidates will be able to answer. You can always talk about a product arriving (or not arriving) from another country. Remember the task response score, the cue card will have a few bullet points for you to talk about.
(match past tense) A few years ago I bought an Eastpak bag. I bought it in the sale for just 6 pounds, in Manchester (details). It’s turned out to be a ridiculously good investment. It’s practically indestructible. It comes with a lifetime guarantee, and I think it will last a lifetime (personal details). I love products like this because they are not only good for the environment, but it’s much easier than buying bag after bag after bag. One purchase and done. (more reasons!) Family members had recommended this brand, and now I know why.
Also, this Eastpak bag seems to improve with age, it gets more worn but looks better.
IELTS Speaking Part 3
What are the disadvantages of online shopping?
Well, you can get ripped off, you buy the goods on the internet but they never send them or answer emails, I think this is why it is important to buy from big trustable companies like Amazon or use Paypal. It can be an expensive hobby if you buy things that don’t get sent to you and I think everyone can describe a time when that happened. Another disadvantage is that you have to wait a while for the product, this can be frustrating, especially if you want to use it urgently. (GIVE EXAMPLES) For example, you might want to paint a picture in oil or acrylic, using special brushes. If you buy them from your local shop you can start almost immediately, and probably get advice from the shop assistant. Whereas if you buy them online you are taking a risk, the product might not be suitable, there might not be enough, I think it takes experience to buy properly online and avoid a wrong decision (personal opinion).
Why is consumerism changing?
Well, I guess there are so many changes nowadays, thanks to the internet we have online commerce growing, and new cultures entering the global marketplace for the first time in a while. One example of such a foreign culture could be China, which was closed off from around the 1950s and over the last 40 years it has finally opened up. In these foreign cultures, people are buying these every day. They don’t have to purchase from their local area.
I think another big trend has been towards using the item just once, this is especially true in the packaging industry. This trend will have historical significance as our earth grapples with waste. Each foreign country will have to deal with this issue going forward in the near future.
(anecdote) Planned obsolescence is another interesting development. It looks like the products were so good that consumers bought it for life, and never bought it again, which was terrible for business, so they started to design the product to last just a few thousand times, so as to force another purchase. This is not a positive change for consumers but could be in an important decision to help the bottom line for companies, especially when these products are endorsed by every TV or radio presenter and all over the internet.
(summary) I guess then there’s an interesting conversation around this topic: there are lots of changes coming in the near future in how and why we pursue daily new purchases on the internet, new world cultures which are joining the global marketplace, new products, and new design requirements.
Why do people replace things rather than repair them?
I think there are a lot of reasons for this, firstly products have become increasingly more complex, cars, for example, have an increasing amount of electronics (anecdote). Actually, a family member asked this recently. He regularly goes off-roading around the countryside and prefers the older vehicles because he can repair them in the moment, rather than taking the jeep to a specialist mechanic who gets the laptop out. His model answer would be that he gets satisfaction by doing the work himself. But with the complexity of new products, making repairs is a practical skill that may be losing its value and could be lost in the future.
Another factor is time, we are increasingly becoming time-poor, and more than ever it’s just easier to buy a new iron or radio, rather than try to fix it; it doesn’t feel like an important decision. This is especially true for electronic products. We feel that we have to be able to contact friends, prepare a presentation, access the internet or send an important text message instantly! An answer to this dilemma seems elusive currently.
Also, one last thing, it might just be easier to pick up a new product from the shop, and probably safer than dismantling an older product. We’re in a historical place globally where buying new stuff is a leisure activity. It will be interesting to see where we go from here and how global opinion changes in the future. Replacing rather than repairing has been a foreign culture to many countries across the world, but that is changing. As a famous person once sang “Times They are A’Changing.”
Three reasons given, I am working/talking, this way the examiner doesn’t have to!
This will help you improve your IELTS speaking task score.
To further your preparation, practice as many IELTS cue card topics as you can to improve your fluency and confidence in the IELTS speaking test. Each IELTS speaking cue will be different but with practice, you’ll be able to answer them all. Challenge yourself to try every cue card we have!
An IELTS cue card may ask you to speak about an interesting animal, explain how you felt at an event, describe a time you learned something new or met a new person, talk about a visit to a new public place or talk about a trip to another country. For each answer, look at the IELTS speaking cue and try to give a real-life example…. and remember to explain how you felt.
VIDEO: 3 IELTS Cue Cards ANSWERED
Download the podcast here: