In this tutorial we look at recent IELTS Speaking exams (reported by students).

I answer the questions, give reasons for my answers, share vocabulary, and 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 topics, you can also find useful vocabulary and terms too. Go to this site (, 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:

Below are the cue-cards and questions, in italics are my thoughts / tips. In bold are useful terms and techniques.

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!). It was an impulse purchase, I saw it and thought I had to have it. I convinced myself I needed these because (a simple word to expand answers) I can use them for work, and watching films while travelling, especially on the plane. 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. (mini story) There was some huge complications regarding the delivery address….. Quite a mix up, but eventually I got them. I’m quite pleased with this purchase, 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, then I’d evaluate if it is worthwhile (mini story). I once bought a phone from a Chinese website, it turned out terrible, but it cost me half of the purchase price to return it, so I didn’t bother. They were quite sneaky because they insisted I pay for registered or recorded express mail, which was considerably more expensive. In the end I think I just sold it to a friend.

– Why is online shopping so popular these days?

It’s so popular because it’s convenient, and possibly even exciting. I must admit I love receiving packages though the post. I think they are like small presents, and plus sometimes you don’t know what’s inside (mini story). For example I am always buying small stuff from ebay, from water crystals, to magnets, to pencils, cheap random stuff (details!), but it’s fun getting the packages a few weeks later. Usually the delivery time is around three weeks, so I often forget what I bought, and then I open the package, and it’s like 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, the huge range you have online, and the assurance you get a good deal. Nowadays you can price compare almost everything.


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 sea sick, (mini story) a few years back I once started a sailing course but after the first ten minutes I realised I was getting sea sick 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 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.

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 (details)

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 because (give a reason!) it usually doesn’t have as many lyrics in. Lyrics, especially in English usually distract me. I like hip hop or techno for working out in the gym or running.
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. (small story / anecdote)

How much time do you spend listening to music every day?

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 audio books and tutorials like IELTSPodcast. 😉

IELTS Speaking Part 2
Describe a product you bought and felt happy with it

(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!)
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 but they never send them, I think this why it is important to buy from big trustable companies like Amazon, or use Paypal.
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.(personal opinion)

Why is consumerism changing?

Well, I guess there are so many changes nowadays, we have online commerce growing, new cultures entering the global marketplace for the first time in awhile, for example China was closed from around the 1950s and over the last 40 years it has finally opened up.

I think another big trend has been towards using the item just once, this is especially true in the packaging industry.

(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.

(summary) I guess then there are lots of changes, new cultures, 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) . My friend 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..

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. This is especially true for electronic products.v

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 .

Three reasons given, I am working / talking, this way the examiner doesn’t have to!

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