This tutorial will help you because:
- We will share 2 important elements to Part 1 (you will be surprised by what they are)
- We talk about 2 common types of questions in the speaking exam (and how you can prepare for them)
- We look a the perfect model answers for these questions
POPULAR TOPICS FOR SPEAKING PART 1
Part 1? No problem. The easy part. It’s just personal questions about what you do or where you live and a couple of other topics.
Yes, you talk about yourself but, does that make it easy?
Let’s look at THREE THINGS you can do to make sure your Part 1 is at least a sure 7.0.
To begin with:
- 1. The context
Let’s remind ourselves the importance of 2 key elements. Timing and the examiner.
Part 1 lasts 5minutes. You:
- Give your name and show your identification. (30 seconds)
- Answer 4 questions about work or study OR where you live. (1 minute 30 seconds)
- Answer questions about 2 TOPICS. There will be 4 questions for each topic. (3 minutes)
That’s 12 questions in 5 minutes.
THE EXAMINER wants to know how fluent you are, if your vocabulary is good enough, how correct your grammar is, if your pronunciation is easy to understand. From the first moment, the examiner is thinking of the scores you are going to get, picking up details about your use of English.
For the examiner, this can be a routine where most candidates end up with a 6.0 average. Job done. So, how can you stand out from the crowd?
Preparation. For the exam and beyond. First, the exam:-
- • Exam Preparation
The test really starts with:
Let’s talk about what you do. Do you work or are you a student?
Let’s talk about where you live? In what part of the country are you living?
NEVER memorise details. It will sound false. Be brief and put it into a context. Something like:-
Well, I’m a mechanical engineer and I’ve been working for (company) for (3 years). I’m responsible for installing and maintaining air conditioning systems.
Because the 3 follow up questions require more complex language giving you the chance to impress!
What’s more important, the work you do or the people you work with? (comparisons, explanations)
Do you think you will live in this (house) for a long time? (future, conditionals)
To prepare for this, of course, watch all those IELTS exams videos. There’s nothing wrong with that but it’s YOU that has to put in the effort.
Think and write about work, studies, where you live. Answer What? Where? Why? When? Who? How long?
Prepare the vocabulary you need, talk in the past, present, future.
What about the other two topics?
There’s a wide range including
Creativity: (film, television, art, music, photography)
Learning (history, mathematics, science)
Communication (emails, contacting friends)
Technology (computers, smart phones)
Leisure/celebrations (weekends, birthdays and national holidays, breaks and vacations)
Styles (jeans, shoes, colours, hairstyles)
Relationships (friends, family, neighbours, pets, wild animals)
Environment (weather, the sky).
The pattern is similar to the work/live format, an “opener” plus 3 more. They’re all about YOU but there will be some we don’t normally talk about or even notice.
Let’s talk about pens and pencils. Do you prefer to write with a pen or a pencil?
At school, did you write with a pen or a pencil?
How would you feel if someone gave you a pen or a pencil as a gift?
Do you think you will use a pen or a pencil more or less in the future?
Always make it as personal as possible. Talk about your memories and views.
We always used pens at school, never pencils, in class and when we took exams. In fact, even today, I’m sure I couldn’t write anything serious or important with a pencil. It wouldn’t feel right.
Compare that to the friendlier looking sequence:
Let’s talk about music? What type of music do you like listening to?
Have you musical tastes changed since you were younger?
Is there a type of music you don’t like?
Do you prefer to listen to music alone or with friends?
Again, show your language skills. If the examiner says
WHY? WHY NOT?
your need to show more…
Is there a type of music you don’t like?
(Student develops answer by self answering: Why not?)
…well, because it’s just loud and the singer shouts instead of singing. Apart from that, the lyrics are pretty meaningless, if you can understand what they’re saying, that is. I prefer songs that are more romantic.
It’s a matter of preparation, practice followed by positive criticism.
- In pairs, groups, take topics, including the work/study/live one. Prepare and answer at least 4 questions on each.
- Take turns as examiner/candidate
- Record yourselves. Note the exact times.
- Together note positive strengths and weaknesses in vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation
- English and you
Finally, the more widely you read, listen and talk in English, the better. Work at your grammar and vocabulary, make meaningful lists of expressions, collocations, linking words. Confidence comes from knowledge.