- IELTS Speaking Part 1
- IELTS Speaking Part 2
- Describe an object (a gift, something you use etc.)
- Describe one of your childhood toys that was special to you.
- Describe an antique or some other old thing that your family has kept for a long time.
- Describe a product you bought that you were (or, are) happy with.
- Describe a photo of yourself that you like
- Describe an item of clothing that someone (recently) gave to you.
- Describe a story or novel you have (recently) read that you found to be particularly interesting.
- Describe something that you have shared with others (or another person)
- Describe a movie you have watched in a cinema or at home
- Describe a person (someone you admire, a family member etc.)
- Describe a person (you know), much older than you, who you admire.
- Describe one of your best (= one of your close, or good) friends.
- Describe a creative person who you admire (e.g., a scientist, an inventor)
- Describe a person who you like to spend time with.
- Describe someone you know who recently moved to new accommodation
- Describe an event (a festival, celebration etc.)
- Describe a happy family event from your childhood.
- Describe a short holiday (vacation) that was special for you.
- Describe a wedding that you have attended.
- Describe a time when you tried a new food for the first time.
- Describe a difficult decision that you made.
- Describe a time when you saw an interesting animal.
- Describe a meal you had your friends or family (in someone’s home or in a restaurant).
- Describe a time when the weather caused you to change your plans
- Describe a time when someone apologized to you.
- Describe the first time you used a foreign language to communicate
- Describe an occasion when you helped someone.
- Describe a time when you made a mistake.
- Describe a situation that made you a little angry.
- Describe a major decision you have taken in your life. (No audio)
- Describe a time when you had to do something in a hurry.
- Describe an activity (e.g. a hobby)
- Describe a sport that you would like to learn.
- Describe a goal that you hope to achieve in the future.
- Describe an art or craft activity you did when you were in school
- Describe an activity you do for your health or fitness.
- Describe a positive change that you made to your life.
- Describe a skill you learned when you were a child.
- Describe a dream you have had
- Describe a place (somewhere you visited, a holiday etc.)
- Describe your favourite (book/film/advertisement/website)
- Describe a television program that you like to watch.
- Describe a useful app or computer program for a smart phone, computer or tablet that you have used.
- Describe a new skill you would like to learn.
- Describe some local news that people in your locality are interested in.
- Describe what you think would be the perfect job (or “dream job”) for you.
- Describe a magazine or newspaper that you like to read. (No audio)
- Describe a big company that you would like to work in.
- Describe your favourite season or time of the year.
- Describe an object (a gift, something you use etc.)
- IELTS Speaking Part 3
Topic 1: Introduction
- What is the meaning of your name?
Mark is a common male name in our country. This name derived from old Latin word “Mart-kos”, which originally means “consecrated to the god Mars”. It also means “God of war” or “to be warlike”. Marcus was one of the three most common given names in Ancient Rome and the name Mark in modern time actually derived from that name. When friends say that I am to be warlike, I say them, ‘No I am a fighter.’
The part Arthur of my name is a bit obscured in terms of its meaning and origin. The meaning of this name is actually unknown. It could have been derived from the Celtic elements artos, “bear”, combined with viros, “man” or rigos “king”. It could be related to an obscure Roman family name Artorius if we look back in the history.
- Why do so many people change their names?
I think there are various reasons for people to change their names. Some people simply hate their original names and think their names are too outdated. They want to get the feeling of some modern names. For some, this could be the reason of changing their identity. Some women might change their names after marriage or some might change it after migrating to a new country. Religious belief could be another reason why some people might change their names. Finally, some might change their name only to show their status.
- Can you tell me about yourself and your family in short?
We I have recently finished my graduation from a reputed university majoring Business Administration. I want to pursue my higher education from a large university in the United Kingdom. I dream to become a successful entrepreneur in Information technology someday. I like reading books, listening to music and travelling to new places. I like my father very much and he is the best mentor I ever had.
I have a lovely happy family with 5 members. My father is working as a professor in a university and my mother is a manager in a private bank. I have got a younger brother and a sister who is three years senior to me. I have a very close relationship with my parents and siblings. We often go out to watch movies and for shopping. I have so many happy memories of my family and I will always love my parents for the unparalleled contribution and sacrifices they have for me. My grandmother used to live with us and she died a few years ago. I often miss her. She was a loving and caring person, probably the kindest and benevolent woman in the world.
Topic 2: Punctual
- Do you think it’s important to be on time?
Yeah, I think it definitely is, because it’s basic manners to be on the dot for things. You know, I think you’d agree it’s pretty rude to keep people waiting, and so it kind of makes a bad impression on people.
- How do you feel when others are late?
Well I guess it kind of depends, because I mean, if there’s a good reason for being late, you know, like getting stuck in traffic, then I will not really mind that much. But you know, if the person does not really have any excuse and it’s simply because they could not be bothered to arrive on time, then I suppose I might feel a bit annoyed.
- Are you, yourself, late very often?
If yes: Yeah, I am. And I know it’s a bad habit, but for some reason, no matter how hard I try, I always seem to end up being late for things!
If no: No, I would say I’m dead on time. You know, most of the time I’m pretty good with being on time for things, because I always make a quite big effort not to be late to avoid being pushed for time.
- How do you feel when you are late? (No audio)
I feel pretty bad, especially if I’ve kept the other person waiting for a long time. So if I know I’m gonna be late, I will always try to let the person know in advance, you know, like send them a text message or something, so at least they know when to expect me.
- Do you wear a watch?
If yes: Yeah I do – you can see it right here!
If no: No I do not, because I do not think it’s really necessary to wear a watch anymore. You know, if I wanna know the time, I’ll just look on my mobile!
- When does time seem to move fast, and when does it seem to move slowly?
Well, I think most people would agree that time moves fast when you’re having fun. And a prime example would be when playing computer games, cos I mean, whenever I play online with my friends, it always seems that only an hour or two has passed, but in actual fact, it’s probably been four or five hours !
And time normally goes slowly when you’re bored or simply just not enjoying yourself. For example, I remember at school, some of my classes felt like they would never end, when in fact they were just, like, 45 minutes long!
- If you could go back in time, what would you do differently?
That’s an interesting but hard question. What would I do differently? Um, ok well first of all, if I could go back in time, I would definitely spend more time practicing the piano, because you know, I never really practiced that much when I was younger, and I kind of regret it now, because I’d love to be able to play the piano well.
Topic 3: Living place or Accommodation
- Do you live in a house or an apartment?
I live in a semi-detached house with three bedrooms in a suburb of Manchester. I’ve lived there for just over a year.
- Which is your favourite room in your home? Why?
I don’t really have a favourite room. But if I had to choose, I’d say the living room because that’s where I go to sit and relax.
- Would you change anything about your home? Why / why not?
Yes, I’ve been meaning to redecorate it since I moved in last year. It needs a new kitchen, so that’s what I’d change first.
- Would you like to move to a different home in the future?
Yes, I’d definitely move again at some point if I could afford to. I’d like to live in the countryside, or maybe in a different city or country.
- Where do you live?
I live on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City, in a district called Tan Phu, about 15 km from the city centre.
- Who do you live with?
I live there with my wife and little baby son.
- Is it a big place?
It’s pretty big for a flat. It has 3 large bedrooms, one for my wife and I and one for my son when he gets older. It also has a smaller bedroom that I use as a study and to store things in. The kitchen is small but it is part of a big open plan living room, so there is lots of space for the family.
- How is your apartment decorated?
I don’t like lots of over the top decoration, so I guess you would describe it as minimalist. The walls are all white and the furniture is also either white or black. There are very few ornaments or pictures because again, I like to keep things quite minimal and I hate clutter.
- Do you plan to live there for a long time?
I really like where I live but it is really far from where I work in the centre of town. It takes around 45 minutes to drive there by motorbike and in the hot season and wet season it can be really uncomfortable, so we will consider moving closer to the centre in a year or so.
- Do you have a garden?
That’s the best part of where we live, we have a huge garden. It takes around 40 minutes to walk around it. It has a few play parks for the kids, a number of gyms and four small lakes. We are really lucky to have it and I try to go for a walk around it every day, if I have time.
- Are there many amenities?
Not really, because it is on the edge of town. If you want to go for a nice meal, use a swimming pool, go shopping or head out for a drink, you really have to drive for about 30 minutes. That’s the major drawback, but if you are organised and buy everything when you are in the centre of town, it’s not so bad.
Topic 4: Study/Major/Work
- Do you work or study?
I graduated a few years ago and I’m now in full time employment.
I’m currently a student at Queen’s University, Belfast.
- What is your job?
I’m currently an English teacher working for the British Council in Ho Chi Minh City.
- Why did you choose that job?
I was previously a lawyer and found it to be really stressful and never had any free time, so after quitting that job I thought teaching might be the complete opposite of being a lawyer, you know not as stressful and more time off.
- Are there lots of English teachers in Ho Chi Minh City?
Oh yes! There is a such a big demand for English as a second language here and it’s also quite a cheap place to live compared to many other big cities in Asia.
- Do you enjoy your job?
Most of the time. It’s very rewarding to be able to help people every day and the students here are very hardworking and fun to teach, but you sometimes have lessons that do go so well and the money could always be better.
- Do you get on well with your co-workers?
Yes, fine. I don’t really see work as part of my social life, so I don’t socialise with them, so I suppose I could be more friendly, but it’s just my nature to be a bit colder with colleagues. I think it’s more professional to be that way.
- What was your first day at work like?
There were lots of teachers starting at the same time as me, 10 I think, so we all had a big induction day. The more senior teachers ran workshops with us to familarise us with the different systems they had and then we went for a team dinner in the evening.
- What responsibilities do you have at work?
All of the teachers’ main responsibility is to plan good lessons and then teach them to the best of our ability. On top of that we have several admin. tasks to carry out like mark homework, fill out attendance sheets and write reports.
- Would you like to change your job in the future?
Yes, as I said before, I like working by myself, so I would like to be my own boss. I’m currently developing my own website, so if it’s successful I will leave teaching and work on it full time. This will also give me more time to work on other projects.
- What is your typical day like in work?
I normally have 2 or 3 classes in the evening and I start the day by doing all the planning at home. This normally takes between an hour or two depending on the lessons. I then take the rest of the day to spend with my family, before going to work around 3 to print off my materials and then I teach all evening.
- What would you change about your job?
As with most English teachers, we have to teach what is on the curriculum and this can mean that you are teaching some things that are quite boring or not very useful for your students, so I would like to have more freedom to teach outside the syllabus.
- What do you study?
I study law because it’s a really well thought of degree and I’m hoping to pursue it as a career in the future.
- Is it a popular subject at your university?
Very popular, in fact it’s one of the most sought after courses. I think there are about 350 people reading law at Queen’s. I think lots of student’s parents want them to study law so they can get a good job after they graduate.
- Do you enjoy studying it?
It’s such a huge subject that there will always be parts you like and parts you don’t like. I find Human Rights fascinating because it can really make a difference to peoples’ lives. On the other hand, modules like Land Law and Equity are really boring.
- Do you get along with your classmates?
Yes, they are all really great. Most people like to socialise together in the evenings and this makes us a very tight group. If you know someone socially, it is much easier to work together in class.
- If you could change to another subject, what would it be?
I planned to study medicine, but then when I went on work experience I fainted at the first sight of blood, so definitely not that. I’m a real history buff and read books about World War 2 all the time, so I suppose it would have to be Modern History.
- Do you plan to use the subject you are studying in the future?
Yes, I’ve already started to apply for jobs as a lawyer. We normally have to secure a job a year before we graduate and then work very hard to get a high overall mark. After that, I will probably do a Masters in law to become a specialist in one particular area.
- What is the most difficult part of your subject?
You have to remember lots of legislation and cases and not only remember their names, but also how the affect each part of the law and how they interact with each other. Physically it can also be exhausting because we have to read very dense texts for a few hours every day.
- What would you like to study in the future?
As I said before, my favourite type of law is Human Rights, so I would like to do a masters in International Human Rights Law. it’s right at the cutting edge of my field and there are also lots of very high profile cases in the media, so it’s really exciting and something I would like to become an expert in.
- Why did you choose your university?
Mostly because it is close to my hometown and most of my friends were going there. I kind of regret it now. It’s a great university, but because it’s so close to home it doesn’t give you much of a chance to experience new things and meet new people. If I were to choose again, I’d study abroad.
Topic 5: Hometown
- Where is your hometown?
My hometown is on the south-east coast of Northern Ireland. It’s called Dundrum and it’s about 1 hour south of the capital city.
- What do you like about it?
It’s an area of outstanding natural beauty and for me, one of the most beautiful places of earth. It has everything; fantastic beaches, rolling mountains, dense forests and picturesque countryside.
- What do you not like about it?
It can be a little bit boring because it’s really tiny. There are only a few small shops and a couple of pubs and that’s it! In the summer, it’s OK because you can enjoy the outdoors but it would be nice to have a few more indoor facilities for the winter.
- How often do you visit your hometown?
Not as much as I should. I only get to visit about once a year now to see my family because I’m really busy with work and it’s quite far away, but I hope to visit more in the future.
- What’s the oldest part of your hometown?
There is an old Norman castle that sits on top of the highest hill of the town. It’s a ruin now, but there are some breath taking views from it and it’s easy to see why they chose that site for a castle, because you can see for miles around.
- Do many people visit your town?
Thousands of tourists visit every summer. They come from the capital city mostly to get away from the hustle and bustle and enjoy the peace and quiet. There are more and more international tourists visiting because lots of scenes from the TV show ‘Game of Thrones’ were shot just outside the village.
- Is there any way your hometown could be made better? (No audio)
As I said before, the best thing about the town is its rural beauty and you can’t really improve that. If I had to say something, it would be to improve the roads, they are in a terrible state and cause a few car accidents every year.
- How has your hometown changed over the years?
Since I was a child the town has almost doubled in size and population. It used to consist of just one main street, but now there are many new housing developments and apartments next to the water. With all these new people moving in, it has changed the character of the town a little bit, people are not as friendly as before.
- Are there good transportation links to your town?
The public transport system consists of just buses that pass through the town on an hourly basis. One bus goes north to the capital city which is really convenient if you need to do any shopping and the other bus goes south where you can switch buses and go across the border to the Republic of Ireland, so you could say we have international transport links which is not bad for a little town like ours.
- Would you recommend the town to people with children?
Yes and no. It is obviously a great place to bring up kids because there are so many things for them to do like swim in the sea, play in the forest and run on the beach. However, the good schools are pretty far away and I remember having to get up really early every morning to catch a bus to school that was 20 miles away.
Topic 6: Fashion/Clothes
- Do you care about fashion?
I used to in my younger days, I remember always looking to see what my favourite musicians were wearing and then try to copy them, but now that I’m older I don’t really care as long as I look smart.
- What kind of things do you normally wear?
It depends what I’m doing really. If I’m working I always wear a dress shirt and trousers, but we don’t have to wear a tie. If I’m going out it will be more casual like a polo shirt and jeans and if I’m at home it will be really relaxed, just a t-shirt and shorts.
- Are there any traditional clothes in your country?
I have no idea. There might be but I can’t recall ever hearing anyone talking about them or seeing someone wearing them.
- Where do you usually purchase your clothes?
I used to go to the trendy shops when I was a student, but now I’m older and have little time I just like to go to a big shopping centre or department store and buy everything there. It’s more convenient that way and it means I don’t have to run all over town just for a few clothes.
- Have you ever bought clothes online?
No, because I don’t trust their clothes to always fit me. I know a few people who order lots of clothes online and order a few different sizes and then send the ones that don’t fit them back, but I can’t be bothered with all that. It’s much quicker to go into a proper shop and try the clothes on there and make sure they are a proper fit.
- Do people from your country think fashion is important?
More so these days. Our country wouldn’t be very high on the list of international fashion hot spots, but I notice people following certain trends more. Last year, there was a red trouser craze and everywhere you looked people had red trousers on.
- What is your favourite item of clothing?
Probably my leather jacket. It cost a fortune and it makes me feel really confident when I go out in it. I normally get a few compliments also because it is quite slimming.
Topic 7: The Internet
- How important is the internet to you?
Extremely important. I depend on it for work, research, study and entertainment, so without it I’d be complete lost.
- How often do you use the internet?
I use it constantly throughout the day, every day. I check my emails when I get up in the morning, I use it for work all day and then I watch videos, read books or listen to music through it at night.
- Do you use it more for work or in your free time? (No audio)
I’d say both really. About 50% of my job involves researching and writing on the internet so I would use it for about 4 hours a day. When I get home, I’m normally too tired to go to the gym or play sports so it is really easy to download a movie or stream some music and I normally do that until I fall asleep.
- What are your favourite websites?
For work my two favourite sites are WordPress and Google. WordPress is a blogging tool that allows you to publish blogs easily and maintain a professional looking website. Google of course allows me to find the information I need quickly and accurately. In my spare time, I of course use Facebook like everyone else in the world, but my favourite site is The Guardian because it allows me to keep up to date with everything that’s happening.
- Do you use apps?
I’m a bit of an app addict. My favourite app at the moment is one called Stitcher. It allows you to listen to podcasts and helps you discover new podcasts. You can download them and then listen to them whenever you have time.
- Do you think you use the internet too much?
I think most people do these days. My problem is that there are so many sites and apps that you end up checking them way too often and this wastes lots of time. It can also be a bit anti-social if you are checking your phone all the time when you are with other people.
- How will the internet develop in the future?
I think it will be more on mobile phones than computers. Smart phones are becoming more powerful and more affordable all the time, so I think we will see a shift from people using the internet on desktop computers to mobiles and apps rather than traditional websites.
- Are there any negative things about the internet?
Being connected all of the time is not a good thing. Before you had to sit down at your computer and log on and that took time, so you didn’t do it so much. Now all people have to do is look at their phone and this is too much for me. I’ve been trying to leave my phone at home when I socialise with friends and family to stop myself from focusing too much on the phone rather than them
Topic 8: Weather
- How is the weather today? (No audio)
It’s really lovely today. There were a few showers this morning and it was a bit chilly, but it has brightened up this afternoon and I think it will stay that way for the rest of the day.
- What’s your favourite kind of weather?
It depends what I’m doing really. If I’m doing something outside, I like the weather to be sunny but not too hot because it gets a bit uncomfortable after a while. If I’m inside, I love listening to the rain beating against the window and the wind howling outside.
- What is the climate like in your country?
I’m from Ireland, so the thing people always complain about is the rain. It is right on the edge of Europe so we get lots of rain rolling in off the Atlantic. However, because we are an island it means that we don’t get very harsh winters and it hardly ever snows. I think temperate is the word to describe our climate- not too hot, not too cold.
- Does the weather effect people’s lives in your country?
Yes, very much so. In the winter it is really grey all the time and it gets dark very early in the afternoon. The lack of sunlight leads to some people getting a bit depressed and I imagine that’s why people drink much more wine and whiskey in the winter to cope with how dull everything is.
- Do people change in the summer?
Absolutely, as soon as the sun starts to shine and it gets warmer, people start to have barbecues, do more outdoor activities and are generally happier. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last very long but people definitely make the most of it while the weather is good.
- Is there any type of weather you really don’t like?
I don’t mind when it’s raining or windy and I don’t mind when it’s cold, but when it’s cold, windy and raining all that the same time, well that’s horrible, especially if you have to work or do something outside. I remember when we were at school we would have to go outside in horrible weather to do P.E. and I detested every minute of it.
- Does bad weather ever effect transport in your country?
As I said before, it rarely snows, but when it does the transportation system collapses. People are just not used to driving in the snow and the whole country pretty much grinds to a halt. Buses and trains normally stop running completely until the snow thaws.
Topic 9: TV
- Do you like watching TV?
I don’t get time really to watch TV and I don’t like the fact that you have no choice about what to watch, so no I would say I don’t really like watching normal TV, I much prefer streaming something on my iPad and watching it when I like.
- How often do you watch TV?
I’d say maybe only a few times a month when there is a good football match on. I prefer watching football on TV with other people around because it’s a great atmosphere, but if it’s a normal TV show I will just watch it alone at home on my tablet.
- What kind of TV programmes do you like to watch?
I like dramas and thrillers. I don’t really like anything that is not set in the real world, so I’m not a big fan of sci-fi or fantasy, although I have been getting in to the latest season of Game of Thrones. I also really like to watch documentaries about military history, especially anything to do with the Second World War.
- What are the most popular TV shows in your country?
The two most popular genres are soaps and reality TV. Soaps like Coronation Street have always been popular because people get to know the characters really well and the story lines can be quite gripping. I’ve no idea why reality TV is popular, I can’t stand it, all those C-list celebrities trying to become popular again. I would rather watch paint dry, to be honest.
- Do you like watching TV shows from other countries?
Yes, most of the programmes I watch are from the United States. Networks like HBO and Netflix have the biggest budgets and as a result can make some really high quality shows. I don’t think Game of Thrones could be made without a huge budget and America is probably the only country that can make a TV show on that scale.
- Has the internet affected your viewing habits?
Absolutely, I watch most TV shows on the internet now, rather than a normal TV. There are so many streaming services like Netflix offering on-demand TV and it suits me to be able to watch what I want, when I want. I also like to binge watch a series of TV shows, just watch a whole series in a day or two rather than waiting for the next episode.
- What is your favourite TV show?
There was an American show called Fargo that I really loved. It was an adaptation of a film made about 15 years ago. The plot lines and characters were really interesting and the dialogue was well written. Unfortunately, there has only been one season of it so far, so I have to wait another year to see the next season.
- What was your favourite show when you were a child?
I was a bit of a strange child because I didn’t really like cartoons like most of the other kids. But there were a few shows I loved like The A-Team, Knight Rider and Air Wolf. They were so cool and always had great action scenes. I was a bit obsessed with violent action films when I was kid. When I think about them though they weren’t really all that violent compared to shows these days, I don’t think one person was ever killed in any of those programmes.
Topic 10: Sport
- Do you play any sports?
Not as much as I should. I’m really busy with my job these days, so I don’t get the chance to do as many sports as I would like. I try to play basketball on Saturdays for a couple or hours and I occasionally play golf.
- Have you played basketball for long?
Since I was about 10 years old. I remember playing a computer game about basketball when I was about 10 and it made me obsessed with the sport. From then on I played basketball every day until I went to university and then other things took priority, but I regret not maintaining it because it was something I loved doing.
- Do you watch sport on TV?
Football is my favourite sport to watch on TV. I’m terrible at football but I love watching it on TV, especially big games like the Champions League. I follow Liverpool Football Club and so do a few of my friends, so we normally go to the pub every weekend and watch whoever Liverpool are playing and a few of the other big games in the Premiership.
- What is the most popular sport in your country? (No audio)
In my country there are two dominant sports Gaelic Football and Hurling. Gaelic is a little like soccer but you are allowed to pick up the ball with your hands and you can kick the ball over the bar for one point or in the goal for 3 points. Hurling is played with sticks and a smaller ball and involves hitting the ball over the bar or in the goal. Both of them are really fast-paced and a bit brutal at times. You can tackle someone much harder than you can in soccer.
- How do people in your country stay fit?
We are blessed with beautiful countryside and a nice temperate climate so most people either go running or walking. Lots of young people play field sports, but more and more people are joining gyms. Gyms have really took off recently as people worry more and more about their appearance. I think it has much more to do with how good people look rather than actually keeping fit.
- Is it important for children to play sports?
Definitely. Sport not only keeps them healthy, but it also teaches them discipline and keeps them out of trouble. For instance, in my school the kids who were dedicated to sport also achieved the highest grades in school and went on to good universities where they continued to work hard.
Topic 11: Daily routine, Activities & Leisure
- What would you like to change in your daily routine?
I would like to get up earlier in the morning than I do now. Next, I would like to take up regular exercises in a gymnasium. Apart from that, I would like to leave office/ university early to walk in the park for an hour. Apart from that, my current daily routine is all good.
- Are all your days the same?
Not really. My usual office/ university days and days off are quite different. While in a typical day I remain busy at office/ university, I mostly stay at home during my days off. The routines are quite different as well. During my longer holidays, my routine changes and they are quite different than other busy days.
- Tell me about your typical weekday and your typical weekend.
Well, on a typical weekday, I get up early in the morning, take a shower and eat my breakfast. Then I hurry for my office/ classes and the bad traffic kills some time on the roads. After I reach the office/ university, I need to concentrate on my work/ study & classes and I return home at around 6:30 pm. I eat my dinner at around 8:30 pm, read the daily newspapers or a book, watch
the news channel and browse the internet. I study/ spend time with my family till 11:30 and then prepare to go to bed. I usually sleep at around 12:30 and always try to read something or listen to music before I sleep. If I have an exam/ office deadline, I study/ work till late night.
On the contrary, during my weekend, I wake up late in the morning, grab the newspaper and look at the headlines and in some interesting news sections. Then I take a shower and eat my breakfast. I watch some TV programmes and then go outside to meet my colleagues/ friends who live nearby. I spend some time outside and then return home before lunch. In the noon I take a nap and in the evening I either go to a shopping mall to buy necessary things or visit a theatre to enjoy a movie with friends/ family members or go to a park to walk. In the evening I either play video games or spend time reading books or browsing the internet. I usually take my dinner at around 10.30 pm during my days off and go to bed after 1.30 am.
- What is the balance of work/study and free time in your normal day?
Well, I think I can maintain a good balance between my work/study and free time in my daily routine. When I am at home, I spend my time with my family members. I have some of my personal interests and hobbies that I have not quit. I can manage time to spend some quality times with my family members even during the weekends. I meet my friends regularly and spend time with them as well. Overall I am happy with my daily routine as it let me maintain my work/ study life separate from my personal life.
- Do you have any hobbies or interests? What are they?
Well, I have numerous hobbies and interests including collecting coins, collecting stamps, reading books, watching movies in the theatre and updating a blog.
I like to update my blog and spend around 1-2 hours daily to write for this blog. This is a blog related to technology and I am very happy to notice the increase in daily visitors.
I have more than 300 coins from different countries and they include many old coins that are no longer in use. I love to collect new coins and stamps whenever possible. I love to read books, especially fictions and watch movies in theatres with friends and family members mostly in days off.
- How did you become interested in (the interest or hobbies you have mentioned)?
Well, I got interested in collecting coins mostly because one of my uncles had this hobby and in my childhood, I found it both fascinating and educative. I started collecting stamps possibly because this is a common hobby when I was a teen. This is something I still feel passionate about. Reading books is a habit and hobby I possibly inherited from my grandmother who was a voracious reader and a wise woman. Watching movies in a cinema hall is something I myself found enjoyable and attractive. Finally writing the blog was an academic requirement at first and then I realised the usefulness and possibility of it later on.
- What is there to do in your free time in your home town/ village?
In fact, there are a variety of activities someone can do in my hometown. Enjoying the sunset beside a river is a common interest of local people. They often enjoy boat riding, playing football, fishing and similar activities. Young people often play cricket, badminton and table tennis. There are also few large libraries where book lovers can enjoy their time. Someone new in our hometown can visit the local photo gallery, museum and public library.
- How do you usually spend your holidays?
I mostly spend my holidays with my family members. Typical days are busy days and I scarcely get time to spend the whole day with my family. That’s why my first preference on my holidays is to spend some quality times with my family members. Apart from that, I often hang out with my friends in the evening or play outdoor games with them
- Is there anywhere you would particularly like to visit? Why?
Well, I would love to visit Rome because of its historical significance and tourists attractions. It’s been quite a while since I have I planned to visit this city specifically to see Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Roman Forum, Piazza Navona, St. Peter’s Basilica, Piazza del Campidoglio and Vatican Museum.
- What do you usually do in your spare time?
As I told you, I mostly spend time with my family members and friends in my spare time. I often watch movies with them, play football and chess, and go out for shopping. I also read story books and maintain my personal blog in my free time.
- What is your favourite colour? Why?
Blue is my favourite colour. This is probably because it is the colour of the sky and represents serenity, tranquility, nature and a decent personality.
- Do you like the same colours now as you did when you were younger? Why/ Why not?
Yes, blue has always been my favourite colour. Apart from that, I had little interest in purple and green colour in my childhood that I started liking in my late teen ages.
- What can you learn about a person from the colours s/he likes?
Colour preference can represent the psychology and personality of a person. From the preference of colour of a person, we can learn about his background, personality, choices and many other psychological aspects.
- Do any colours have a special meaning in your culture?
Yes, white and red is the colour of our nationality and flag. White represents peace and serenity in our culture. Though red has a different meaning in our culture, it is perfectly okay to use red to show our respects to our country and freedom.
- Do you prefer relaxing at home or going out in the evening? Why?
That actually depends. If I stay home the whole day, I prefer going out in the evening. In case I stay outside the whole day and return home in the evening, I prefer staying at home rather than going out again.
- When you go out for an evening, what do you like to do?
I call my close friends to check out what they are doing and whether they are busy or not. If they are free, I either choose to visit a park and spend time there with my friends or arrange an outdoor game like cricket or badminton. Sometimes I go out for shopping in the evening if this is necessary or enjoy a movie in a movie theatre.
- How popular is this with other people in your country?
I would say this is quite popular among the mass people in my country. Many of them like to visit parks or any recreational place in the evening. Young people prefer to play outdoor games while females mostly prefer to go out shopping. The number of people who enjoys movies in a theatre is also very large and I can feel it every time I go there.
- Is there any kind of entertainment you do not like? Why/ Why not?
Yes, there are certain types of activities that other people find entertaining and interesting but I do not enjoy at all. For instance: playing any games that might physically hurt others is something I never enjoy. Mocking others and making silly comments just to hurt others’ feeling is quite abominable in my opinion. I never understand how someone can enjoy such heinous activity!
Ahh, watching rubbish and boring soap opera which basically has no real plot or creativity is something I dislike a lot. Finally, listening music very loudly is something I never enjoy as it annoys others in most of the cases.
- What kinds of things make you laugh?
Watching funny and humorous TV serials like ‘Friends’, ‘The Big Bang Theory’ and ‘How I Met Your Mother’ often makes me laugh. I also enjoy and laugh when I see my 4 years old nephew doing something funny or serious. He seems like have got a sense of humour and a responsibility to make me laugh
Apart from that, I laugh when I see any cute animal playing or doing something interesting. Another thing that makes me laugh is the stupidity of young and adult people, but often this is more of pity than pure laugh.
Describe an object (a gift, something you use etc.)
Describe one of your childhood toys that was special to you.
You should say:
- what it was
- who gave it to you how you played with it
- and explain why it was special for you.
I have many toys in my childhood and at different stages, I prefer different toys. However, among them, a Teddy bear is the most special one to me and I still keep it at my closet until now.
I guess that all kids love a furry friend and so did I. However, what made the bear really special to me was that this was a gift from my father on an occasion of my 5th birthday. Everything about it was so different from other stuffed bears. At that time, my father was working far away and I missed him so much. I thought that he could not come back to celebrate my birthday party as he had did before. To my surprise, on my birthday, he suddenly came home and brought with him a lovely Teddy bear. Missing him, I ran into him and my father gave me big hug, then kissed me. I was so excited about the Teddy bear. When I squeezed it, it said I LOVE YOU by the most sweet and lovely voice on Earth.
Looking at it made me immediately think about my beloved father. His physical presence on my birthday was like gold to me. You know, it is really hard to not have one of the most important people to you in your birthday. I would never forget that special moment and the Teddy bear means so much to me.
Describe an antique or some other old thing that your family has kept for a long time.
You should say:
- what it is
- how (or when) your family first got this thing how long your family has kept it
- and explain why this thing is important to your family.
Sample Answer 1
When it comes to an old thing I keep in my family, I want to talk about the transformer that I got from my parents on my 10th birthday.
On that day, my parents bought me a transformer as a birthday gift. When I opened the gift box, I was really astonished by what I was seeing in front of me. It was an awesome transformer that I had been dreaming about for ages. The moment I saw this transformer, I fell in love with it. It was pretty huge and looked like a hip yellow car, and it could be shifted from a car to a robot action figure and back again. The transformer had a really nice color scheme and finish. And it came with a nice handgun like the weapon and different accessories. It was super cool! And with the transformer, there was a card from my parents saying, “Sweetie, you mean everything in the world to us and you are forever the apple of our eyes. Happy Birthday! Love parents.” I am telling you, although I was pretty young at that time, those words impressed me a lot.
Until today, I still keep this toy. It has been over ten years since I got it. I love it not only because of the toy itself, but also because of the sentimental value it has for me. The value is irreplaceable.
Sample Answer 2
Today, I am going to share with you an old possession that my family has kept for a long time. It is an antique terra-cotta dish, which is displayed in an honoured position in the living room.
This old dish originated from feudal times in Vietnam, although I am not sure of the year exactly. It might have belonged to the Nguyen Dynasty. It is made from pottery material with some small artificial fissures, and it was my grandfather’s favourite thing when he was still alive. There is a village picture painted in blue in the centre of the dish.
When I was a child, my grandfather used to tell me the story of this dish. His close friend gave it to him to celebrate his house-warming in the past. They had been companions in arms for a long time, so that was the reason why he really treasured their ties and that gift as a reminder of their friendship.
There is a lot of other modern furniture arranged in my house nowadays, however, this antique object is still a treasured possession for each member of my family. We have kept this antique
dish for over 30 years, even when my grandpa passed away and left it for my family. Whenever I look at this dish, it always reminds me of my grandfather as a fond memento.
Describe a product you bought that you were (or, are) happy with.
You should say:
- what you bought
- how you bought it
- why you bought it
- and explain why you were (or are) happy with it.
Ok then, well firstly I’d just like to mention that I’m quite lucky because my parents have always bought stuff for me, so I seldom buy something by myself. But one occasion that I did save up to buy something myself was when I got my iPad, which really made me happy and that’s what I’d like to talk about.
And um, I think it took me about four or five months to save up for it, and I basically did it by cutting back on other things, you know, like eating out and buying clothes. At that time, I study in a college, I mean, I don’t have a job, unfortunately, so the only money I receive is my living allowance which my parents give me every month, and that’s what I had to use to pay for it.
Anyway, regarding why I wanted an iPad, well I suppose the main reason was that I’m a big Apple fan. You know, I already had an iPhone and laptop, so the only thing I was missing was an iPad. I also watched Steve Jobs’ presentation of the iPad when it was launched, and it looked pretty cool. So I just thought it would be great to have one!
And as for how I felt after buying it, well first of all, I was really excited and happy, you know, because I couldn’t wait to start using it. And it also felt great because I’d saved up for it myself instead of simply asking my parents to buy it for me. So for that reason, it just felt a bit more special to me, if you know what I mean!
Describe a photo of yourself that you like
You should say:
- when the photo was taken
- how this photograph was taken
- where the photo was taken who took the photo
- and explain why the photo was taken or why you think it is a good photo
The photo I would like to describe is a scenic, which was just taken by my phone. Although this photo is just a normal scenic, it was taken in a special place, which is on helicopter. In summer holiday last year, my roommate and I decide to go to America for a one-month travelling. When we arrived there, we heard from local that Grand Canyon is the most famous attraction in California. People living there suggested us that viewing canyon scenery from sky was the best choice. And we felt really moved and interested in their words. So we immediately booked tickets for sky tour of Grand Canyon. Originally, I planned to enjoy the first time of the sky tour, but actually the helicopter shaked heavily and it was difficult to take any photos during flying. This made me dizzy. You know, I looked outside the window and enjoyed views by eyes without taking any photos. Luckily, after we got off from the helicopter, my roommate told me that she used her phone, taking a photo for me. The photo has splendid background of the whole Grand Canyon and I was looking at the window. I love this photo and use it as my desktop until now.
Describe an item of clothing that someone (recently) gave to you.
You should say:
- what it was
- who gave it to you what it looked like
- why they gave it to you
- and explain how you felt about this gift.
It just happened on last year of my birthday. My sister bought me a strapless dress as a present. I felt surprised because this dress is not my taste. My sister said she bought it for me because she has never seen I wore any this kind of dress. She told me, girls should have to care your appearance and strapless dress is one of the most vital items in my wardrobe. The dress comes from a famous luxury brand and I know lots of my friends dream for it. You know, the dress is black with understated decoration on the hemline. Although I love this gorgeous dream, it could be worn only on formal occasions. So I wore this dress in my graduation ceremony party. A lot of my classmates were fascinated by it and came to ask me where they could buy it. You know, as I said I had never dressed like that before. But after that time, I became more confident and changed my dressing style.
Describe a story or novel you have (recently) read that you found to be particularly interesting.
You should say:
- what the plot of the story or novel was
- who wrote it
- why you read it
- how much time it took to read it
- and explain why you thought it was interesting.
Admittedly, for the past few months, I haven’t been reading as much as I should because of my new projects at work. It’s a shame, because reading is, without a doubt, the best way to learn as well as to relax. The last book that I read, “A still forest pool”, is also the one that has had the most significant impact on me.
Basically, “A still forest pool” is a book about meditation written by Ajahn Chah, a Buddhist master in Thailand. Ajahn had spent years meditating in forest monasteries, which are not as easy to be found as they were several decades ago. Being among the most influential and respected teacher of Buddhism in his own country, he has been known as a man of great wisdom who people seek advice from.
“A still forest pool” is such a remarkable book which reflects the author’s simple yet powerful message about Buddhist practice of “everyday mindfulness”. Not only does it describe the importance of staying fully awake in everyday life, but it also shows people how to start living mindfully. The book has profound insights, especially for the West, where Buddhism has recently become more popular.
This is definitely the most interesting book that I have ever read. It helps me realize how important it is to live fully in the present instead of the past or the future. I would recommend it to everyone who is in search for inspiration, motivation or simply a change in attitude in order to live more meaningfully.
Describe something that you have shared with others (or another person)
You should say:
- what you shared
- who you shared it with
- why you shared it
- and explain how you felt about sharing it
I shared my depression experience with a stranger.
I had depressed feelings for a number of years. I couldn’t find joy in anything, my energy level was low and I was struggling to do basic chores like cleaning and washing. I found it incredible when people would suggest things like getting exercise to make me happier. All I could think was, ‘I can’t drag myself out of bed to take a shower, and how the hell am I supposed to drag myself to the gym?’
A friend of mine realised what was happening, and after one particular outburst of tears and misery, he suggested I went to the university counselor. Talking things through with someone who is completely unbiased is a wonderful experience. Even when you think you have nothing to talk about, they are good at getting you started. Unfortunately, there was a limited time frame, and I felt those feelings creeping back. I finally went to my doctor, told them I had tried counselling, and asked if medication was an option. He agreed. I know that anti-depressants are a controversial topic, but they were truly life-changing. The first type did not help. The second type was like opening a window. They did not make me happy. What they did do, however, is give me the strength to start making myself happy. I stopped crying for no reason. I was able to sleep soundly. The thoughts screaming around my head ground to a halt so I could focus, and I started enjoying things again. I still have bad days, but they are days – not weeks, or months.
In short, seek professional help. Friends and family are wonderful, but they can be biased and I can feel guilty for ‘troubling’ them with my feelings. Professionals are just that. I was proud of myself for taking that first step to find support.
Describe a movie you have watched in a cinema or at home
You should say:
- When this movie is
- Who you would want to watch with
- What the movie is about
- And explain why you want to watch this movie
It’s quite hard to say what my favourite movie is because there are quite a few to choose from! But I would say that the one that made the strongest impression on me is a German film called ‘The Lives of Others’.
This film is set in communist East Germany,shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall. At that time, the Stasi, the East German secret police, used to spy on all kinds of people. The two main characters in the film are a playwright called Dreyman and a Stasi spy called Weisler, whose job it is to keep Dreyman under 24 hour surveillance. Weisler is supposed to be reporting back to his superiors at the Stasi in order to discredit the playwright. However, he develops a strong sympathy for the playwright and his girlfriend, and determines to protect them by not reporting anything significant. The scenes in the film where it cuts from the colourful and interesting lives of Dreyman and his friends to the lonely attic where Weisler is sitting really show the contrast between the two men. The film is shot in such a way that it makes you believe you are also spying on Dreyman, it even made me feel a bit guilty!
I like this film because it has fascinating, 3-dimensional characters, and also the plothas plenty of twists. Right up until the end of the film, we are left guessing how it could possibly end. It is also very thought-provoking because it makes you wonder how many people working for the Stasi actually did protect the people they were spying on.
As for the message it gives, I would say the main message is that we can find kindness and humanity in the most unexpected of places. The film makes us realise that nothing is ever black and white! The film also serves as a warning about the dangers of an oppressive, paranoid regime and is perhaps quite pertinent in this current age of mass surveillance.
Describe a person (someone you admire, a family member etc.)
Describe a person (you know), much older than you, who you admire.
You should say:
- who this person is
- how you know this person
- how this person has influenced you
- and explain why you admire this person.
The senior person whom I really respect and like is my grandmother.
From my childhood she has been a caring person for me. Still she is a good friend of mine whom I share many things. She is a benevolent and good person who possesses a good heart. She tries to help others with her highest efforts. I know her from my childhood as she lives with us and we have a lot of happy memories together. She is a successful mother of 3 people including my father. She has devoted all her life for her kids and made them educated. She possesses a nice and charming personality that illuminate people around her. I love and respect her for many different reasons. The most important reason is because of her unconditional love and affection for me. She is a good mentor who can show me positive ways and guide me in my depressed time. Talking to her is a soothing experience and the story she tells is always attractive and full of morality. I have learned many positive attitudes and good thinking from her.
For all those reasons and a strong bonding between us, I respect and admire her very much.
Describe one of your best (= one of your close, or good) friends.
You should say:
- who this person is
- who long you have known them (= him or her)
- Or, How you first met what you do together
- and explain why you think this person is a good friend
When it comes to talking about my friends, I’d like to talk about Bess. She is my best friend. We are the same age and she is only two days older than me. We studied in the same school, so we had many opportunities to communicate with each other. She is a good looking and outgoing person. We have many of the same hobbies. We both like reading books and watching films, then we exchange our own opinions about the books and films. We had many fun times together. She is good at cooking. Every time I went to her home, she would cook many tasty dishes for me. She likes to research all kinds of cookbooks and cook programs, while I don’t like to cook at all. She is patient to play with kids and help them. She takes part in a charity organization, she regularly goes to the disabled children school to read all kinds of fairy tale books to children. I feel proud of her. Although both of us are pretty busy with our jobs, we still meet each other once
in a while. Whenever I am in trouble or in hardship, she is always there with a helping hand and encouraging words. I do appreciate having this friend.
Describe a creative person who you admire (e.g., a scientist, an inventor)
You should say:
- who this person is
- what area of creativity they work in
- how you know about this person
- and explain what work they have created that you particularly admire.
I’m going to talk about a musician/songwriter that I admire, called Adam Levine. He’s also a singer who plays the guitar and writes his own songs. I think he recorded his first album about 10 years ago with his band called Maroon 5, and he’s released several other CDs since then.
He became successful after many years of writing songs and performing live in small venues all over the country. Gradually he built a following of people who liked his music. I think the key to his success was one of his songs that was used on a TV advertisement. This meant that more people became aware of his music.
I found out about Adam because one of my friends got tickets to see him in concert. I hadn’t heard any of his music before, but I went along to the gig and really enjoyed it. After that I bought the first CD, and now I’ve got all of them.
The reason I’m into Adam is that he has worked hard for his success: it takes years of practice to become a good singer and guitarist, and he spent several years playing to very small audiences before he became successful. I also like the fact that he writes his own music. I admire people who have worked hard to get where they are.
Describe a person who you like to spend time with.
You should say:
- what relationship the two of you have
- how often you are together
- what you usually do together
- and explain why you like to spend time with this person.
I spend a lot of time with my best friend John. I’ve known him since primary school where we were in the same clas. We only see each other during our university holidays because we don’t study in the same city. My university is in London but he lives in Liverpool.
When we are together we always play lots of sports like football and tennis. John loves Manchester United and he is a very good footballer. I prefer tennis but I am not as good as my friend. We also both enjoy playing computer games. Our favourite is probably World of Warcraft which many of my friends play too.
As we live in a small town there aren’t many places to go so we normally hang out at the sports centre or in the big park near my house. We’re both big film buffs so we go to the cinema quite often and we get a student discount.
I really like spending time with John, he’s such a nice person and very friendly. I always have a good time when we are together and he never fails to make me laugh. In fact, I think he’s the funniest person I know.
Describe someone you know who recently moved to new accommodation
You should say:
- who he or she is
- what kind of accommodation they moved to
- and explain why they moved.
Speaking of a person who moves to a new accommodation, I just think of my friend Linda. Her neighbor frequently played his music excessively loud, which rattles the change off her coffee table. She spoke to him repeatedly and he always turns it down to merely loud. But then turns it back up within the hour.She said she couldn’t stand her downstairs neighbor any more so she changed her living place. Now her new neighbors are about 70 years old and they are very quiet. She stays at college most of the time. They don’t have anything in common and just say “hi” when they meet.
The new accommodation she moves to is in a suburb. Linda has to drive 20 minutes to go to the grocery store. But she doesn’t mind it because she can live in a bigger than before. When she looks out of the window, she can see the flowers and cute birds flying in the sky. The only thing should be improved of her new accommodation is the blue-color stars all over the walls.
Although they glow in the dark, during the day they make her feel depressed. Therefore, she plans to add some posters on them.
Describe an event (a festival, celebration etc.)
Describe a happy family event from your childhood.
You should say:
- what the event was
- where it happened
- what you saw and did
- and explain why you remember this event so well.
There are numerous happy events in my life that I can recall and among them, I would like to talk about the time when my family gathered to make the Chung cake for the Tet holiday.
The Lunar New Year, or Tet, is a very special traditional holiday in my country. It was probably my most favorite holiday when I was a small girl as my family had a lot of activities to celebrate this occasion. Among them, making the Chung cake made me excited the most. The Chung cake is made of glutinous rice, green beans and fat pork, wrapped in banana leaves in the shape of a square. I often played with my older brother when my parents prepared the ingredients for the cake. And then, my father lit a small fire to boil the cake overnight.
It was perhaps the only time of the year when I was allowed to stay up late. While my family was sitting around the warm fire, my grandmother would tell the old legendary story about the Chung cake to commemorate the filial affection of Lang Lieu prince to his father and remind us of the long – lasting Vietnamese tradition.
In recent years, my family has not had enough time for making the Chung cake on our own. However, to me, a ready – made Chung cake that we buy from a local market cant bring the special feeling and replace the taste of a Chung cake from my childhood. I hope that my family can continue our tradition in the coming years.
Describe a short holiday (vacation) that was special for you.
You should say:
- where you went
- who you spent time with
- what you did
- and explain why it was special for you.
Today I’m going to share with you a short vacation that left me a profound impression. It was a trip to the hometown of one of my classmates at university.
At the end of the second semester, our group at the university was invited to pay a 5-day visit to the house of one of the group members, which is located in An Giang province. We had 5 people in total and bought coach tickets to reach our destination.
On arriving at the countryside, which is quite secluded from the hustle and bustle of the city life, we were greatly impressed by the picturesque landscapes there. The atmosphere was refreshing
and the air is unpolluted unlike in the city where many of us were living in. My friend acted as a tour guide as he was well accustomed to the local lifestyles and tourist attractions there. We took the motorbikes to tour the city land stopped at some street vendors to taste the local cuisine, which I personally found tasty and delicate. After doing the sights, we gathered in the evening for some small games and gossip about our study and our future career path.
All in all, such a short vacation still fills me with great delight each time I recall it. Hope that we could make another vacation someday before Lunar New Year.
Describe a wedding that you have attended.
You should say:
- whose wedding it was
- who was there
- what happened
- and explain how you felt.
Today, I’m gonna share with you a wedding of my friend that I attended. Last month, I received a wedding invitation from my old friend from primary school. The wedding was held at the beginning of April. We have been close to each other for over 15 years, therefore, I definitely wanted to attend at all costs, due to the fact that we hadn’t had a chance to get together for ages.
Her wedding ceremony took place at The Sum Villa, located near West Lake. It was decorated impressively with a lot of lights, candles and flowers around the room. There were three glamorous wedding photo albums, showing tables right at the centre of the official gate. The principal colours were likely to be white and violet, so all the guests were requested to wear clothes with one or both of these colours. Personally, I wore a white dress with small accessories.
It was meant to be a casual wedding, which I had never attended before. It turned out to be refreshingly informal. One of the best moments that really touched me was when the bridegroom sang a song for the bride and all the guests sang along with him. Also, he made a photo clip by himself marking their 4-year romance, to show to everyone in the room. It was no surprise that everyone clapped their hands and cheered them. Of course, I was no exception.
It was also a good chance to catch up with my old friends and we all had a great time. We definitely made the most of the occasion and took a lot of pictures with the bride and the bridegroom. I gave my friend a gift to celebrate her wedding day. I had given much thought to my wedding present when I was choosing it, and I wished her lots of happiness for the future.
Describe a time when you tried a new food for the first time.
You should say:
- what food it was
- where you ate it
- what it tasted like
- and explain whether or not you liked this food
Well, I’m a great fan of barbecues and I would like to talk about the first time I tried some typical barbecue food. This happened when I was 10 years old.
My familiy went out to have dinner to celebrate my younger sister’s birthday. After putting so much thought into some new savoury food to have for our meal, we decided to go to a BBQ restautant on Ba Trieu street.
We ordered four dishes with three different tastes. One of them which really interested me was grilled-Australian beef, flavoured with something spicy, rich and aromatic. It not only tasted delicious, but also looked appealing. Also, it went well with two kinds of dipping sauces and was served with baguettes. There was also a salad, which gave it a mild taste to contrast with the spicy flavours.
The idea of a barbecue originated in America, and for us it was a novel and sophisticated meal.
What I really enjoyed was that we could watch as it was cooked in front of us. I loved how juicy it was and the aroma it had. Just mentioning it makes my mouth water. I mean, the BBQ was out of this world. That was the first time I had tried it, and I would have liked to have kept on coming back for more, but I was just too full.
Describe a difficult decision that you made.
You should say:
- what decision it was
- what difficulties you faced
- how you made the decision
- and explain why it was a difficult decision.
Well, the most difficult decision I’ve ever made was whether or not I should study abroad next year. / Well, the most important conversation I had so far was with my parents about whether or not I should study abroad next year.
In the recent couple of years, there’s this growing tendency among high school graduates to embark on a study abroad program. I’ve always wanted to do the same, because it’s a good opportunity to see the world, to experience different styles education, and to improve my language skills. And for a girl who has never been far away from home, studying in a foreign country might bring out my independent nature. But I need to give it some careful thought before I could make the decision. I told my parents who are both open-minded about my plan,and they were pretty supportive, but they also pointed out some disadvantages. My mom told me that being in a new place by myself could be overwhelming sometimes, and it tests my ability to adapt to diverse situations. And it’s highly possible that I would feel lonely and helpless every so often, because all of my close friends and family members are on the other side of the world. I would be completely on my own, and basically everything I took for granted in the past would then be a challenge, like paying bills, opening bank accounts,communicating with fellow students, and the list goes on and on.
All of a sudden, I felt stuck. All those challenges sounded terrifying, but I really didn’t want to miss this great chance to broaden my horizon and learn more about other cultures around the world. I weighed up the pros and cons carefully, and after some serious consideration, I finally made up my mind to seize the opportunity to go abroad for study.
Describe a time when you saw an interesting animal.
You should say:
- what animal it was
- where you saw it
- what happened when you saw it
- how you felt when you saw it
- and explain why you thought it was interesting.
I found there was a bat nest in my balcony recently, and one night I happened to see they flew across the patio under our apartment and hover in the sky. I was shocked, because it was dark outside but they knew exactly where to go without mistakes. Moreover, they went out only at night.
I thought bats are interesting not because they can fly in the dark since I know they are nocturnal animals. I always think the ability which aids bats fly and prey capture is their unusual eye-sight, like another nocturnal animal, owls. But the truth is because of their echolocation. Bat echolocation is a perceptual system where ultrasonic sounds are emitted specifically to produce echoes. By comparing the outgoing pulse with the returning echoes the brain and auditory nervous system can produce detailed images of the bat’s surroundings. This allows bats to detect, localize and even classify their prey in complete darkness.
Describe a meal you had your friends or family (in someone’s home or in a restaurant).
You should say:
- who organized this meal
- where you had it
- what you talked about during the meal
- what you ate and drank
- and explain why you had this meal with your friends.
The meal I really enjoyed with my friends was the one when we graduated from high school three years ago.
We had it in July, when we just graduated. One of my best friends Monica organized it. She reserved our favourite restaurant which was just two blocks away from our school. It served traditional Chinese food and we all enjoyed it so much. We often had birthday parties together there, so it was the perfect place for us to, you know, say goodbye to our high school and start a new life.
The food there, like I just said, was very popular. We had a lot of amazing dishes, including MapoTofu, vegetable soup and fried rice. The yummiest one was Kung Pao Chicken, we ordered the super spicy one, and it was crazy hot.
During the dinner, we talked about our future, you know, the university we were going to, the new life we would have in a couple of months. We even came to an agreement that every July, we would come back to the restaurant and had a dinner together. We all made it so far. I mean, we’ve already had two dinners together.
Describe a time when the weather caused you to change your plans
You should say:
- what your plan was (or, plans were)
- what weather you were hoping for (or expecting)
- what happened
- and explain how you felt
- when you had to change your plans
I’d like to talk about the time when my travel plan got shattered by the horrible weather. Last summer vacation, my parents took me to Sanya, which is a coastal city in the south of China where there’s gorgeous views and exciting entertainment facilities. We planed a wonderful vacation during which we could try palatable seafood, play exhilarating water sports, or just lie on the beach doing nothing, so as you can imagine, for a girl who has been living far away from the sea, I was pretty thrilled about that trip, but to my great disappointment, there happened to be a typhoon just the day I arrived there, which totally ruined my plan.
It rained heavily and it was unbelievably windy, I couldn’t even step outside, otherwise I would get completely soaked, plus, it was pretty dangerous, you know, with the gale and all. The typhoon lasted for many days, and it didn’t go away until the day I left.
I bought lots of colorful dresses that are designed to wear on the beach but sadly I didn’t have the chance to put them on. I thought I could take quite a few stunning pictures that I could post on the social networking websites where I can get a lot of likes, you know. However, I just ended up staying in the boring hotel, complaining about the unexpected weather, which pathetically became my Plan-B.
So I felt that the money I spent on my flight tickets and the hotel just went down the drain. It was literally the worst travel experience ever.
Describe a time when someone apologized to you.
You should say:
- who apologised to you
- why they apologised
- where it happened
- and explain how you felt (or what you said) after this person apologised.
Today I’m going to share with you an occasion when one tour consultant gave me an apology for being late for picking us up at the airport.
It just happened in last month. My friends and I decided to go travelling to somewhere during the vacation. Finally, we chose Korea as our destination. As none of us can speak Korean and in order to avoid any uncertainties may occur during the trip, we think joining a travel group may be the best choice for us. So we consulted a local travel agency and made the payment immediately. The travel agency promised that they would pick us up on time at Seoul airport when we arrived there. However, when we arrived in Seoul and waited for over 1 hour, no one showed up. By nature, I’m a forgiving person and hardly take mistakes seriously because I think anyone can make blunders sometime really. But waiting for such a long time made me feel helpless and annoyed. I called back to the travel agency and after an hour of busy signals, I finally got through. The staff who answered my phone explained to us that it was his fault that he forgot to type our names on this travel group list and he would try his best to solve the problem.
Finally, the company arranged another car to pick us up and we got part of refund as well when we came back to HongKong. He also sent us a long email to show the apology to us for his mistake. My gut instinct told me that the apology seemed genuine and sincere, and I should try to accept the apology and then I acted on that acceptance by replying his email to show my appreciation for his attempts and my willing to recommend their tours to other friends who want to visit Korea.
Describe the first time you used a foreign language to communicate
You should say:
- who you communicated with
- what the situation was
- what you said (or wrote)
- and explain how you felt during this experience.
Sample Answer 1
I remember the first time I talk with other people in English happened when I was a middle school student.
One day, my mom heard from her colleagues that there was an English Corner that would be held twice a month near our apartment. So she encouraged me to go for practicing English- speaking skills. Actually, I was not willing to do that. But finally I forced myself toward it because I know it was a good chance to communicate with foreigners.When I arrived there, a guy came over me with a warm smile. He started to introduce himself and showed his friendliness. He spoke English in a fluent and natural way and sounded like a native English speaker. Needless to say, I was a bundle of nerves because I knew my English accent, pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary were not good at all. Surprisingly, he told me that English was not his mother tongue and urged me to speak out. Thus I used my poor English to chat with him and he listened to me patiently, complimented on my accent which made me feel much more confident.
Although we just met for a while, that inspirational man really motivated me to learn English with focus and commitment. I also got to understand that if you want to learn something new, you must be brave and go towards it.
Sample Answer 2
The first time I used a foreign language was actually pretty funny.
When I was in high school, I attended a summer camp in London, and our school arranged home-stay for us in order to help us learn the language and customs. We were so thrilled about that trip and most of us just couldn’t get to sleep on the plane, even though it was an exhausting 15-hour flight. I remember by the time we arrived at our homestay family, it was early in the morning, but due to the jet lag, everyone was drowsy. And I drank a lot of coffee on the way, so I needed to use the bathroom badly. It was a three-story house, there’s no way I could find the bathroom myself. So I asked the mother in the family where the bathroom was, but she led me to a room with a bathtub but no toilet. I was confused. But I suddenly remembered there are minor language differences between American English and British English, so I thought maybe that was one of them. I got out of the “bathroom” and racked my brains trying to find a word better than “pee”, ‘cause I guess “I want to pee.” is not a proper thing to say to a stranger. But I really couldn’t think of anything other than that, so I just went ahead and said “Excuse me, where can I pee?” And she took me to a room on the second floor.
So that was the first time that I communicated with a foreigner, and as you can see, it was a little embarrassing. But once I got to know the language and their customs better, everything just went much smoother.
Describe an occasion when you helped someone.
You should say:
- who you helped
- how you helped them
- where it happened
- why you helped them
- and explain how this person reacted to your help or/and explain how you felt after helping this person.
Well. There are times when people need other’s help and lend a helping hand to others as well I am no exception. Last year, I helped my roommate to see a doctor as she could barely walk because of the great pain caused by kidney stone.
Actually, it was in a snowy morning, I waked up and saw that she was trembling all over and as white as a sheet in her bed. She thought it would be alright after a while. Without a second thought, I took all the cash I had and helped her to get dressed, and then we hurried to the nearest hospital in a taxi. However, after all the difficulties we had in catching a taxi and all the coldness and pain my roommate suffered, the hospital did not put an immediate end to it. We had to stand in a long line to pay the registration fee first.What pissed me off was that there were still more patients before us waiting to see the doctor. Later, with prescription in hand, I had to do the whole waiting thing again to pay for and pick up medicine separately. Thankfully, the acute pain of my roommate was greatly relieved by a shot of painkiller. As we returned to school, I put her to bed and saw her grateful look.
For my part, I think it is quite natural to help people we care about and expect nothing in return. And I believe a friend in need is a friend indeed. Besides, I do enjoy the feeling of being needed.
Describe a time when you made a mistake.
You should say:
- where you were
- what you were doing
- what mistake you made
- and explain what was the result of your mistake.
Ok right then, I had a project I was working on, and while I was in the middle of typing up my documentation, my computer started acting weird. It froze for a while and so I rebooted. After 10 minutes, the computer showed a blue screen saying that there were problems and recommended that I reboot the computer again. After another reboot, everything appeared to be ok. I continued my work and finished for the day. I spent two days on this assignment and when I went to retrieve my data the next day to double check my work, my computer wouldn’t start up. A technician came and found that my hard drive malfunctioned. I lost all the data and lost two days of work.
I was disappointed and thought I would never trust a computer again, but there was a great lesson to be learned. I had a couple of warnings and I ignored them. From then o, I practiced being someone who can anticipate problems. I now think of potential problems ahead of time and pay attention to details along the way. If I applied this sooner, I would have saved the data on another computer and I wouldn’t have lost a couple days of work. But I can’t say I regret making the mistake because it made me someone who can anticipate problems better.”
Describe a situation that made you a little angry.
You should say:
- what it was that made you angry
- where you were
- when this happened
- what you were doing at the time
- who you were with
- and explain how you handled this situation or and explain why you felt angry.
A recent situation that made me angry was getting stuck in a traffic jam on the way to meet some friends. It was last Sunday lunchtime, and I didn’t expect there to be much traffic; people don’t work on Sundays, so the roads aren’t usually very busy.
Everything was going well until suddenly I saw a queue of cars on the road in front of me. I had no choice but to join the queue and wait to get past whatever was causing the delay. It turned out that it was caused by some roadworks, and it took me an extra 30 minutes to get past them.
Getting stuck in traffic congestion doesn’t usually make me angry, but this time it did, mainly because I wasn’t expecting it and I knew that my friends were waiting to meet me for lunch. I felt frustrated and powerless because there was nothing I could do to change the situation, and I had no idea how long I would be sitting there waiting. When I finally saw the reason for the congestion, I was relieved that I was close to getting past the roadworks, but I still felt a bit stressed knowing that I was half an hour late.
Describe a major decision you have taken in your life. (No audio)
You should say:
- What the decision was
- What other choices were available to you
- Why you made the decision you did
- And explain if you think the decision was a good one.
A really important decision I’ve made recently is to study abroad, which is the reason I’m here talking to you now. No-one from my family has ever had the chance to study abroad before. My parents were actually hoping I’d start working for our family textile business as soon as I graduate. I think it’s too soon to join the family business though. I really want to study marketing, especially fashion marketing – and English so I can sell our company products to buyers all over the world. If I study fashion marketing in the UK, I can learn how to do business in the fashion industry, which is of course very competitive and fast-moving. As for whether it was the right decision, I’m pretty confident it was and I can’t change my mind now anyway because I borrowed money from my parents to pay for my tuition. I’m going to do my best to finish my course and I will go back to my country with new ideas that will help expand our business. All I need now is to get a good score in IELTS. So, anyway, that’s an important decision in my life.
Describe a time when you had to do something in a hurry.
You should say
- what you were doing
- when this was
- why you had to hurry
- and explain how you felt at that time
I’m going to talk about a time when I had to hurry to get ready for a trip with some colleagues while I was working in a previous job.
It was a Monday morning about five years ago. A group of us had to catch an early flight, and a senior member of our department had volunteered to drive us to the airport. I was supposed to be ready and waiting to be picked up from my home at 5.30am, and my colleague had asked me to look out for his car so that he didn’t have to ring my doorbell.
The problem was that I overslept. I had set my alarm, but somehow I must have turned it off and carried on sleeping. Suddenly, at 5.30am, my doorbell rang and I looked over at my alarm clock. I immediately realised what had happened, and I sprang out of bed and got dressed in record time. I splashed some water on my face, quickly brushed my teeth, and put my shoes on without properly tying the laces. Then I picked up my suitcase and coat, and left the house.
I can still remember the moment when the doorbell woke me up and I saw the time: I was filled with a sense of panic and fear as I realised that my colleagues were waiting outside. Then, when I left my house and walked towards the awaiting car, I felt so embarrassed because it was obvious that I hadn’t been ready on time.
Describe an activity (e.g. a hobby)
Describe a sport that you would like to learn.
You should say:
- what sport it is
- how you would learn it
- how difficult you think it would be to learn
- and explain why you would like to learn this sport.
There are many kinds of sports which people like learning these days, such as baseball, basketball, volleyball, and cricket but I would like to learn football which is so-called the king of sports.
Football is the popular kind of sports in almost all countries in the world. Basically, it is acollective game with 2 teams and each team has 11 players. The main purpose is that players try to keep their goal safe and kick the ball to the net of their opponents. Scores are recorded and the winner is the team having higher scores.
It is the most famous sports in my country and all of my family members favor this sports, especially my father and my brother. Thus, I had a chance to approach this sport since I was 7 years old. I really love learning it because of the drama and surprise in each match.
From my perspectives, it is really difficult to learn to play soccer well. A player needs to be very strong to compete with others, and be skillful in ball controlling, heading as well as having team spirit. A good football team needs to have solidarity as well as the ability to control the game.
Therefore, normally there is a coach for each team and this person is not less famous than other players.
Describe a goal that you hope to achieve in the future.
You should say:
- what the goal is
- when you first began to have this goal
- how you would achieve the first step of your goal
- how easy or difficult you think it will be to reach this goal,
- and explain why you have this goal.
I have a long desire to learn Chinese as a second foreign language, but even with my passion, I still have not achieved it yet.
This passion grew in me just few years ago when I watched a very inspiring movie about Chinese history and culture. Then I decided that I had to learn Chinese in order to explore more about this incredible nation. Besides, knowing more than one language is very beneficial to not only my study but also my future career path.
Therefore, in order to achieve my target, I will register for a Chinese course for beginners, which is held 3 times a week. I also intend to download many apps on my phone with the aim to study at home by myself. I have drawn my own schedule so that I can make time for self – study, at least 1 hour per day.
As currently, I have a full – time job, I am so busy that there are days when I have to work overtime or travel faraway to meet clients. Moreover, after a tiring day, I often feel deadly tired and find it hard to concentrate on studying at home. However, just thinking about the moments when I can speak Chinese gives me a sense of satisfaction, which encourages me to study harder and better. Thus, I always remind myself that I have to keep up with my schedule at any cost if I want to make my dream come true.
Describe an art or craft activity you did when you were in school
You should say:
- when this happened
- what you did in the activity
- who you did it with
- and explain how you felt about this activity.
Today I’m going to share with you about a craft work that a bunch of high school buddies and I took part in. It was prior to Mid-Autumn Festival that our form teacher made a decision to hold a small competition among our classmates. The theme was to design the most attractive and meaningful lantern
My group decided on creating a spinning lantern ’(while other groups chose much simpler shapes like butterflies, fish and stars. As a matter of fact, ours was a lantern which spins around when a candle is placed inside, which symbolizes the seasonal spinning of the earth around the sun. Therefore, it was a bit tricky and time-consuming to make it work.
My assigned duty was to cut the colored plastic papers and draw some exotic pictures to decorate the exterior of the lantern. I drew great shapes and cut them out neatly, glued and stuck them onto the shining outer surface of the spinning lantern. A couple of my friends strategized and positioned the axis so that it could spin properly. And we finished out product within 3 hours of hard work
This craft activity had a realty special meaning for me. Actually, our team won the first prize not only in our class, but the whole school as well. Afterwards, our lantern was singled out and donated to a local orphanage. I was really moved and blissfully happy since we did accomplish something for those less fortunate. This actually left a really profound Mid-Autumn impression on me.
Describe an activity you do for your health or fitness.
You should say:
- what you do
- how often you do it
- where you do it
- and explain how you think this activity helps you stay healthy or fit.
Staying in good shape is everyone’s concern and I am no exception. To be honest, I have been so caught up in my study since I entered university that I have a problem in organizing my daily routine. However, I have been participating in a yoga class for about 2 years, which takes me only 1 hour a day, to try to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Unlike dancing or running, yoga definitely involves stretching actions. You might look at yoga and think that it is light and easy but it is more demanding than it appears. Yoga allows me to work on all the parts of my body. It can burn a lot of calories in just one hour of training. Also, it enhances my flexibility and suppleness in every single movement.
What I enjoy the most about yoga is meditation. It is all about regulating your breathing and helping you take things off your mind easily. Another thing is that doing yoga is supposed to be good for curing headaches and digestionrelated problems, so it benefits not only physical well- being but also mental health.
By maintaining a schedule of taking part in the yoga class on a daily basis, I feel extremely relaxed and full of energy after the class. It helps me to keep fit and refresh my mind after a long stressful day. And of course, I don’t see myself stopping practicing this activity any time soon.
Describe a positive change that you made to your life.
You should say:
- when it happened
- where it happened
- what the change was
- and explain how you have benefited from this change ( or, explain how you feel about this change)
The positive change that I would like to talk about is ‘I started playing outdoor games instead of playing computer games’. After I got my first personal computer when I was only 9 years old or so, I started learning many things. Besides that I started playing the computer games. As computer games are addictive I found that I was playing the games whenever I had spare times. This addiction barred me from playing outdoor games like cricket, football etc.
I found myself very much attracted to the computer games and I preferred to play the games at home instead of going to open spaces or fields to participate in outdoor games that involve physical exercises. Not that computer games are all so bad, but playing them all the time someone has got is not a good thing especially for kids. I found that I was spending more times at home than being outside. After my parents noticed that, they discussed with me about that and explained me the importance of outdoor activities. They gave me strict restriction that I would only be able to play computer games for an hour daily and in the evening I’d have to go outside to play with my friends.
This was obviously a very positive change for me. I’m not against computer games but I feel that if there are more important things to do, then we should not spend time on computer games only.
This change affected me very positively. I became a good cricket player later on, I started maintaining my times more prudently and I am sure this change has affected me positively in terms of physical and mental health.
Describe a skill you learned when you were a child.
You should say
- what skill it was
- who taught you this skill
- how you learned it
- and explain why you learned this skill.
Typing on a keyboard without looking at that is a special skill and recently I have learnt to type by not looking at the keyboard.
When I was 10 years old ,my father bought me a computer, it was impossible for me to type without looking at the keys. It took longer hours for me to type a single page by searching the letters on the keys. It was a troublesome task for me and most of the time I had to type different topics on computer. But I could not complete the tasks in due time for my lack of skills in typing. When I started to type, it appeared to me that the letters should be placed on the keyboard alphabetically for better use. But gradually I learnt that this way is better than the alphabetical letters.
Basically I learnt the skill at my home using my personal computer. In the very beginning, it was tougher for me to compose anything on the computer with the keyboard attached with it and it took longer hours for me to compose a document of three or four pages. So, I started using internet to get some ways to learn typing. I found some special applications that allow the users to get the desired typing skill. Besides, the applications also helped me to make the typing faster than it was in the beginning.
All of the earned skills are useful in real life but the applications may differ in situations. When I started learning the skill, I thought that it would be of no use in my practical life and I am wasting my times. But when I took part in my work, I was surprised by the applications of typing . I have started serving the office in different ways with the typing skill. As a result, my fame has increased as a typing expert and accordingly the office has evaluated my performance. I have been promoted to senior administrative officer after three months when I applied the skill to my daily works at the workplace. So, it appears to be a very useful skill for me.
Describe a dream you have had
You should say:
- When you had this dream
- What you saw in the dream
- What you did or said in the dream
- And explain why you had a dream like that
I’d like to talk about the nightmare I had the other night.
On the way to a mountain in the dead of winter, I dropped behind the group I was traveling with and got lost. To make matters worse, it began to rain heavily. The wind blew hard, and the blasted forest groaned as if in pain. And so overcast was the sky that night came several hours earlier than usual. Cold and frightened, I was trembling all over. All I could do was shout for help, but no help was forthcoming. The night became darker, the wind blew harder, and the rain poured down more heavily. I ate my last piece of food, a tiny piece of cake. Totally despaired, I was waiting not for miracle but for death. Suddenly, a thunderclap woke me up. A rainstorm was indeed raging outside, but I was grateful to find that I only had a nightmare.
I still couldn’t figure out why I would have that dream, and I certainly wouldn’t want it to come true.
Describe something you do to forget about work or study.
You should say:
- What the activity is
- How often you do it
- How it helps you forget
- And say whether you would recommend other people try the same thing.
I’d like to talk about horse-riding, which has been my hobby since I was around ten years old. I’m actually the joint owner of a horse with two of my friends and we take turns looking after him, cleaning out the stable and so on. I don’t have a part-time job so I spend most of my weekends at the stable. Taking care of a horse is quite a dirty business so it’s obviously very different from studying at college. That means I can forget about my classes during the week when I’m at the stable on the weekend. There’s quite a large field next to the stable and I just get a wonderful sense of freedom when I’m riding around on my horse. College seems a million miles away! Do I think other people would enjoy horse-riding? Yes, absolutely. I think everyone should give it a try. Horses are absolutely wonderful animals, very gentle and intelligent. If you ever have the chance to ride a horse, you should definitely give it a try.
Describe a place (somewhere you visited, a holiday etc.)
Describe an interesting public place in your hometown, or where you are living now, that you like to go to
You should say:
- where it is
- how often you go there
- what you do there
- and explain why you think it is interesting.
Today, Im going to share with you an interesting public place where I really enjoy going to to hang out with my close friends in my spare time, which is a lovely café named The Hanoi Social Club.
It is situated at Hoi Vu alley – a small quiet lane near Hang Bong street in the centre of my hometown. The coffee house is decorated in an old, traditional French style, with a lot of paintings on the wall, and it attracts a lot of foreign customers. As a full-time student, I have been so caught up in my studies, therefore, I just take a day off to go there on weekends after a long stressful week.
There are many live music events taking place there performed by acoustic guitarists, so I often check them out on the internet and come with my friends. Because this type of music is my kind of thing, I am in my element just humming the tune of the songs and relaxing in a comfy chair to enjoy myself.
The fast food tastes quite savoury and especially the coffee in The Hanoi Social Club is always irresistibly delicious. That might be the reason why it was ranked among the top 5 best coffee shops in Vietnam in 2015. What I really love is how cozy the atmosphere is, something which I have not found in any other coffee shop yet.
Whenever things go wrong, I often go there as a hideaway to escape from all the pressures and order a cup of coffee to relieve my stress. It always works wonders. I find it extremely therapeutic and soothing. Therefore, it’s more than likely that I will still keep coming back to it as my favourite place in the near future.
Describe a place you have visited that has been affected by pollution.
You should say:
- what place it was
- why you went there
- how it was affected by pollution
- and explain how you felt about this situation.
I’d like to talk about the capital city of China, Beijing, which is famous for its places of interest like the the Great wall, and also some modern tourist attractions. But these years, I believe it has become well known for its heavy air pollution. I don’t remember since when high levels of air pollution have become commonplace in Beijing, especially during winter months when temperatures drop and more coal is burned when heating systems are switched on.All I can hear from the news every now and then is Beijing is hit by hazardous smog again and the municipal government issues yellow smog alerts all the time, and the number of patients who suffer from respiratory disease is on the rise, blah blah blah…
I guess that’s why I don’t have too much affection for this city. But a few months ago, my best friend was getting married in Beijing and I was asked to be her bridesmaid. So I had to fly there to attend her wedding. After I landed at the airport, I just had this weird feeling in my throat and I started to cough. I noticed that most people around me were wearing masks, I just regret why I didn’t get one before I went there. When I looked out of the window, I could see the city was covered in a dense layer of smog, and some of the skyscrapers were barely visible. I remember I was wearing a white blouse, but by the time I got to my hotel, the collar was dirty, it was only like 4 hours? So you see, the pollution was that serious.
Honestly I’ve no idea why people still flock to this city to make a living at the cost of their health.
Describe a place with a lot of water (such as a river, a lake or the ocean) that you enjoyed visiting.
You should say:
- where this place was
- what people were doing at this place (Or, what you did there)
- why you went there
- who you went there with
- and explain why you liked this place.
I have visited many places near a river or a sea and I enjoyed the scenic beauty and vast water very much. I would like to talk about a river I visited 2 years back. I chose to talk about it because I really enjoyed my visit there.
The name of the river was (…say a river’s name…) and it was in (…say a place’s name…). One of our relatives invited us to visit their house and we decide to visit there. I went there with 4 of my family members including my parents. After we reach there, I was amazed to notice that our relative’s house was near a big river. This was the first time I visited that relatives and I was very excited about the beauty of the nature there.
Since this was the summer season, we felt very comfortable being at the bank of the river. We noticed many boats were in the river and we planned to rent a boat for an hour. When we were in the boat, the wind suddenly started blowing heavily. We quickly came to the high land and left for our relative’s house.
Describe the weather in your country, and how it makes you feel.
You should say:
- What the weather is like
- How it makes you feel
- Where you can exprerience such weather conditions.
I think the best word to describe the weather in my country would be changeable. The British weather is very unpredictable! One day you can get glorious sunshine then the next day you might get hailstones and freezing wind. Even in the middle of summer, you can never rely on getting good weather, as anybody who has organised an outdoor event in this country will know. Every year on the news we see pop festivals that turn into muddy swamps due to heavy rain or summer holidays at the seaside ruined by terrible weather. But having said that, when the sun does decide to shine in this country I could not think of a better place to be. One thing that I like about the British weather is that we don’t really get extremes of temperature as some other countries do.
The rain does sometimes get me down especially if it continues for weeks without stopping and it often makes me feel reluctant to leave the house. I’d say that my favourite season of the year is spring because after a long cold winter the first signs of spring really lift your spirits. When we have a heatwave in the summer, which sometimes can be for weeks on end, I love to go down to the coast where you can cool off in the sea or just enjoy the cool breeze coming off the sea.
In the winter I tend to stay indoors as much as possible because I hate the cold weather. I think having four very different seasons, as we do in the UK, is a good thing because it’s amazing to see how the countryside changes with the seasons. I think I would find it very strange to live near the equator where the weather is pretty much the same all year round.
Describe your favourite (book/film/advertisement/website)
Describe a television program that you like to watch.
You should say:
- what program it is
- what the program is about
- how often you watch it
- and explain why you like watching this program.
Over the course of my life, I have been watching a lot of television programs, ranging from scientific to reality shows. However, the TV program that I am addicted to is the Apprentice on NBC channel. The show airs for about 30 minutes, twice a week. The show is hosted by Donal Trump, one of the richest and most powerful billionaires in the world.
There are often 10 people in each episode and all the participants are young, dynamic, enthusiastic and talented people from all walks of life. Despite of different backgrounds, they all share the same dream of becoming successful people, which is the very reason why they join this program.
The Apprentice is regarded among one of the most popular educational TV programs. Watching this program, I can gain a deeper insight into the business world and about obstacles that people have to encounter and overcome in order to succeed.
This program is useful for not only business people but also young people like me. It inspires us and motivates us to advance in our career paths.
Describe a useful app or computer program for a smart phone, computer or tablet that you have used.
You should say:
- what the app is
- how long/how often you have used it (or, been using it)
- what you use it for
- and explain why you think it is useful.
Well, I’m really into mobile apps so I set up at least 20 helpful apps on my smartphone like Meditation, Tripadvisor, Ted, Lumosity, Dulingo, Wunderlist. But maybe Money Lover is the most useful one and at the top of my list.
Let me tell you about it in more detail. The symbol of the app is a very cute piggy bank which impresses me a lot at the first sight. There are many expenses for clothes, food, cosmetics divided so that at the end of the month, I can know exactly what cost me a bomb, what are within my budget to tighten the belt next month.
It is not an exaggeration to say that this way of saving money changes my life for the better. Thanks to that, I am better at money management. When talking about money saving, my friends consider me as a shining model for them to follow. This makes me so proud of myself.
In addition, my mom always got shirty with me for my wasting money but at the moment, she hardly loses her temper anymore and we seem to have better relationship than in the past.
If anyone asks what application I like best, “Money Lover” is the first thing that comes to my mind. Trust me, it is really helpful.
Describe a new skill you would like to learn.
You should say:
- what skill (= what you would like to learn to do)
- where you would learn it (or, where you think would be the best place to learn it)
- how difficult you think it would be
- and explain why you would like to learn this skill.
I’d like to talk about a new skill that I want to learn. I’m the kind of adventurous person who enjoys the challenge of learning new things, whether it is a new sport or a skill that would be useful to me.
I would like to have the skills to set up my own website. Probably the best place to learn to do this would be online, using a distance-learning course run by a university, which I could take free of charge. I wouldn’t need to travel and I could complete the course at my own pace in my spare time.
Although there would be a lot to learn, I already use computers all the time, so I think that I could pick up the basics quite quickly. With practice, I would become more creative and able to incorporate new features on my website.
Of course, I imagine that I would find the course interesting, but I have a practical reason for wanting to master this skill. I have recently started my own company, selling sports goods, so it would be a really cost-effective and attractive way to advertise my products.
Describe some local news that people in your locality are interested in.
You should say:
- what the news is
- how you know about this news
- who is involved in this news
- and explain why it is interesting to people.
Last summer I saw a news on the net which is very interesting and encourage.
In my hometown surrounded with some rural area where is very poor.the young man in there are not satisfied wither living condition,so they move to big city looking for good employment opportunities,but they don’t have any skills to earn money,so they study electrical weld in a vocational school.After they graduate they came to Australia by labor service export. They are hard working ,energetic, and gradually received faith form their local employer.Finally they become the Australian Permanent Resident.The salary they earn is enough to afford their house ownership,and they have extra money monthly send back to china for their parents.When this news first appear in china,that vocational school become very popular,and many people want to study in it.Now these guys working and living happily in Australian.
When the first time I heard this news,I felt very interesting but felt more encouragement from it,they came from poor family but had changed their life through their effort ,their spirit deserve all of us to learn it.
Describe what you think would be the perfect job (or “dream job”) for you.
You should say:
- what job it would be (or is)
- what you would do in this job
- what skills you would need to learn for this job
- and explain why you think this would be the perfect job for you.
It has always been my dream to be a singer ever since I was a child. When I was a kid I used to be a singing talent. I would win many singing competitions and represented the school in the choir. However, because of the pressure of the College Entrance Exam I had to stop singing and focus on my studies to go to a good university.
The main reason why I’d like to be a singer is cuz it would allow me to inspire the world. I’m quite fond of the idea that people would be listening to my songs and trying to be more like me-a nice guy.
These days, the only time I sing is probably in the shower or when I’m at a karaoke bar with my friends. I even had a plan for how to spend all the money I would make once I became famous guess I’ll have to earn money the old fashioned way now-by starting my own company.
If I had a chance I would definitely choose to be a singer but I’m still quite realistic and that’s why I’m going abroad to study business.
Describe a magazine or newspaper that you like to read. (No audio)
You should say:
- what magazine or newspaper it is
- what the magazine or newspaper is about
- how often you read it
- what kinds of people generally read this magazine or newspaper,
- and explain why you like to read it.
Personally, I would like to say that my favorite musician is Michael Jackson. And there are a couple of reasons to name.
Firstly, throughout his career he received numerous honors and awards. He is the “King of Pop”, but more and more people think “King of Pop” is not big enough for him; he should be the best entertainer in the history. Also, Jackson had a notable impact on music and culture throughout the world. For much of his career, he had an “unparalleled” level of worldwide influence over the younger generation through his musical and humanitarian contributions. And he is pretty diligent. When he was a little kid, he practices his voice and dancing regularly. Admittedly, he is very gifted, but I think his success mostly dues to his hard-working.Personally, I would like to say that my favorite musician is Michael Jackson. And there are a couple of reasons to name. Firstly, throughout his career he received numerous honors and awards. He is the “King of Pop”, but more and more people think “King of Pop” is not big enough for him; he should be the best entertainer in the history. Also, Jackson had a notable impact on music and culture throughout the world. For much of his career, he had an “unparalleled” level of worldwide influence over the younger generation through his musical and humanitarian contributions. And he is pretty diligent. When he was a little kid, he practices his voice and dancing regularly. Admittedly, he is very gifted, but I think his success mostly dues to his hard-working.
Describe a big company that you would like to work in.
You should say:
- the name of this company
- what this company does
- where this company is
- and explain why you would like to work in this company.
The big company that I am interested in must be Apple. Apple is an American multinational corporation that designs and markets consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers. The company’s best-known hardware products: the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. As of August 2010, the company operates 301 retail stores in ten countries, and an online store where hardware and software products are sold. As of May 2010, Apple is one of the largest companies in the world and the most valuable technology company in the world, having surpassed Microsoft. Apple have about 46,600 full time employees and 2,800 temporary full time employees worldwide and had worldwide annual sales of $65.23 billion last year. Apple has established a unique reputation in the consumer electronics industry. This includes a customer base that is devoted to the company and its brand, particularly in the United States. Fortune magazine named Apple the most admired company in the United States in 2008, and in the world in 2008, 2009, and 2010.
Describe your favourite season or time of the year.
You should say:
- what season (or time of the year) it is
- what the weather is like at this time
- what people usually do at this time
- and explain why you enjoy that season or time of the year or
- and explain why you enjoy that season or time of the year more than otherseasons or times of the year.
My favourite season in England is winter. A typical English winter would last around 4 or 5 months between November and March, but when I say that I like the winter, I’m really thinking about the coldest month or two each year.
During those really wintry months, the temperature drops below zero and it often snows. Over the last few years we’ve had periods of quite heavy snowfall, to the extent that roads have been blocked and schools have had to close. Last winter I remember looking out of the window one morning and seeing everything covered in a layer of white. Obviously the snow is what differentiates winter from the other seasons, but when it doesn’t snow there isn’t much difference between winter, autumn and spring; winter is just a bit colder.
The reason I’ve chosen winter as my favourite season is because I like the snow. I live near the countryside, and the landscape looks beautiful when everything is covered in white. We also celebrate Christmas and New Year in the winter, and these are my favourite festivals.
Describe a language you would like to learn.
You should say:
- What the language is
- Where it is spoken
- Why you are interested in this language
- And say if you think you will ever actually have the chance to learn it.
Let me tell you about a language I’ve always wanted to learn, which is Russian. It’s spoken in Russia, obviously, but also in many other countries which have been influenced by Russia including places like Mongolia and Kazakhstan. It’s quite a difficult language to learn because the alphabet is not the Roman one, which means that you have to learn to read and write from scratch, a but like studying Chinese or Japanese. Well, the reason I would like to learn Russian is that the energy industry is huge and there are lots of jobs. A lot of my country’s oil and gas comes from Russia so it’s really useful to be able to speak that language if you want to work in the energy field. I have actually been to Russia before so I know from experience that a lot of Russians can’t speak English very well, so that’s another good reason to learn their language.
The only problem is I’m already thirty years old and I’ve spent more than fifteen years learning English. I don’t know if I would ever be able to learn Russian successfully because it’s a difficult language for anyone to learn, especially someone older like me. But it would be really great to try.
Topic 1: Values
- What kinds of possessions give status to people in your country?
That’s a good question. Let me think…I’d say it depends on where you are and who you are with. If you are out in public, it’s things like the car you are driving. If you have the latest Mercedes Benz model, then in my country that is a sign of status, as most people can’t even afford a car at all, whatever the make. Property, or the house you own, and the possessions you have in it are also a sign of status. If you have a nice house in a nice area, then this shows you have money and are someone important.
- Has it always been the same or were different possessions thought of as valuable in the past?
I’m too young to remember exactly what it was like a long time ago, but yes, I think it was different. For example, cars as I mentioned before only really came to our country in the last ten years or so. That kind of consumerism is a fairly recent thing so this couldn’t have been used as a representation of something valuable. I think it was things like gold and jewelry that were seen as valuable. Of course these are still seen as valuable today, but previously it was these things over anything else as a lot of the modern day possessions were not available.
- Why do you think people need to show their status in society?
I believe that this is because it’s important in society to show you have money or are successful – it is nature, or the way we are brought up, that makes us feel like this, but also the pressure that society puts on everyone to be successful. And showing status is basically showing that you have money and you have success, so this is what people want to do. Going back to the example of the car, driving around in a Mercedes is a very conspicuous show of status – it basically says to people, “Look, I am successful and I have money.” Another reason is possibly for respect. In many cultures, if someone has high status, then they will be respected by others and they may receive preferential treatment.
- Do you think good decision-making can be taught?
Well, if you go to a bookstore you’ll see lots of self-help books that claim to teach decision- making. I’m not sure any of them are effective though. I suppose it depends on the type of decision you mean. If it’s a business strategy, then I’m sure some decisions are better than others and business schools teach this. But if it’s a moral issue then I’m not sure anyone can claim to know the right decision, so how could anyone teach it?
- Is watching TV a good way of forgetting about work or study?
Absolutely, yes. These days there’s so much choice available that we can completely immerse ourselves in entertainment. I mean, you can turn on a good drama or comedy show and pretty soon you forget about everything that happened that day. I think that without TV we’d all go a little crazy.
- Should coworkers also spend their leisure time together?
I’m completely against this. The problem with people going out together after work is that they just gossip about certain people in the office or factory, and this can hardly be a good thing for the company, can it? Another thing is that there’s always the risk that you will say something you regret after a few drinks and then you have to face your colleagues again the next day. So, in short, I would definitely advise people to think twice about socialising with colleagues.
- Do you agree that English should be the main language of international exchange?
That’s a very interesting question. I’ve never really thought about it before, actually. We all just assume that it should be English, don’t we? But what other languages could we use? I suppose Chinese is becoming quite an important language, but the pronunciation is too difficult for most people. English is already the main language of universities and business, so maybe it should stay that way.
Topic 2: Advertising
- Do you think advertising influences what people buy?
Yes, definitely. If there were no advertising and you went to a shop, then you would just buy what you wanted based on maybe what others have told you, what the product looks like, or, depending on the product, what it says on the label. Advertising builds up a brand and people then trust a certain thing because they have seen it on television or elsewhere. Also, there is so much advertising around it must influence us. You can’t escape it as it is fed to us constantly in our daily lives – not only in magazines, radio and television, but on billboards, on TVs installed on trains and platforms, even in schools and universities. So yes, advertising influences what we buy.
- Do advertisements give correct information, or do they encourage people to buy things that they may not need?
I think some do and some don’t, but it’s difficult to know which are giving us the correct information. For example, the skin whitening products – I do not believe that these work but we see them everywhere in Asian countries, and we are encouraged to buy them even though they are not actually necessary. The adverts, though, tell us they are necessary as they will improve our lives and we will become more accepted and successful. This then, is an example of advertising encouraging people to buy something they do not need. I do think there are checks in most countries these days to make sure that adverts are giving the correct information and not lying to people, but I think it is still easy for advertisers to exaggerate or to do this without breaking the regulations.
- Is advertising really necessary in modern society?
It could be seen to be necessary in terms of the fact that, as I mentioned before, there is so much choice that we need someone to guide us in what to buy or to give us some extra information about products. Without this, it would be difficult to know where to start. However, that said, I’m not sure that I would regard it as ‘necessary’ as overall I think it may do more harm than good. As we just discussed, advertising encourages people to buy things they possibly do not need. We live in a consumer society and many people are in debt because we are encouraged to buy and buy, and I’m sure advertising plays a major role in this. Without advertising we could just do our own research and decide what we really need. So no, I would not say that advertising in necessary in modern society.
Topic 3: The Internet
- Do you think people take notice of advertisements on the internet?
Despite the fact that there are many adverts on the internet these days, I think actually many people tend to ignore them, or at least that is my experience. People usually go onto the internet to find something specific that they are looking for, which may be a product, or to read about something, so they will ignore what is not relevant to that. But of course there is no doubt that some people take notice of them. Advertising on the internet is a practice most companies partake in now, and they have to pay quite substantial sums to advertise on highly ranked sites. Of course they would not do this if it were not attracting customers for them.
- How do you think it will change people’s buying habits in the future?
Buying from the internet is becoming more and more popular. For example, we’ve seen many book shops close down because people can buy online at cheaper prices from sites such as Amazon. It makes life much easier if products can be delivered direct to our door, especially with our busy modern lifestyles. I think this will only increase in the future as more people feel safe to buy online and online shops make it easier to purchase this way. Also, I think our lives are only going to become busier, so more people will choose to shop this way.
- Are there any disadvantages to shopping on the internet?
There certainly are some. Firstly, buying clothes can be a problem. When you go into a shop you can check what you are buying fits you and suits you, but it is obviously not possible to do this online. Shopping does not become less hassle if you have to send something back in the post.
Another problem is the security. We have to give out our bank details to people we don’t know. There have been several recent reports in the press about sites that have had their security breached and credit card details have been stolen. So far this is fairly uncommon, but it is a risk none the same. Another disadvantage is to society as it could destroy local shops and businesses if people are not going out to shop in their local town.
- Some people say that working from home will be quite common in the future. Do you agree?
It is foreseeable that more people will work from home in the future. If the internet becomes faster and there are more programs, such as Skype, that allow people to work from home more easily, I’d predict that more people will stay at home. If you think about it, most people don’t need to be physically present to do their jobs and I envisage that face to face meetings will be a thing of the past.
Topic 4: Transport
- How do most people travel long distances in your country?
I’d say that the main ways are cars, buses and trains. If someone has a car, I think this is their preference because to be honest the trains are not that much cheaper where I live. Also there are often delays with the trains which can be a real pain, so you may end up with a really long journey. The buses are a bit cheaper but I don’t think that is such a comfortable way to travel. There is the option to travel by plane as well of course, but most of the bucket airlines go abroad you can’t really travel that cheaply by plane within the country. So then, cars are really the best option, and of course they give you the most freedom when you are travelling.
- Have the types of transport people use changed much over the last few decades?
I don’t think they have really. We’ve had the transport I mentioned before for many decades now in my country, and it is much the same today. Of course cars have become much more popular as people’s incomes have risen which accounts for the problems we see on the roads today
such as congestion and more accidents and pollution. This has probably led to some changes within cities. Many have now introduced environmentally friendly forms of transport such as trams and guided buses that don’t run on gas and mean that people can travel without the use of the car. There has also been an increase in air travel, but like I said, this is quite expensive in my country so most cannot afford it.
- What kinds of improvement have there been in transport in your country in recent years?
There has been several ways that transport has improved. More major roads have been built which means it is easier to travel long distances, though of course some would argue that more roads are not an improvement. They can be an eyesore in the countryside and they have encouraged more people to drive which may mean these improvements ultimately don’t work because there are more cars using the roads. As I mentioned before, there has been the introduction of mass transit in many cities, such as trams and trains. In our capital city they have also extended the underground system so it now links many more areas of the city. This has helped many people as commuting times are horrendous if you have to travel on the roads.
Those are the main improvements.
Topic 5: Environmental Problems
- What do you consider to be the world’s worst environmental disaster caused by humans?
I think that may be the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, Ukraine. In that case there was an explosion and nuclear meltdown. It caused great loss of life. The environment was badly affected and it is still affected today and could be for many years. There are also many people who are still getting sick from the disaster and no one can live anywhere near the site. Of course there are many other serious ones, some more recent such as the oil spills in Africa and the US.
- Why do you think environmental disasters caused by humans happen?
It could be for different reasons. In some cases it is simply because not enough care is taken. Maybe procedures are not good enough. It could also be because the drive for profit means that there is cost cutting and that again could mean that good procedures are not in place. There is usually a situation when a disaster happens where blame will be deflected and it is difficult to establish exactly who is responsible. Nobody wants to admit responsibility because it means they will have to pay compensation. Sometimes a disaster can happen because of a simple mistake by someone.
- Do you think there will be more environmental disasters caused by humans in the future?
I don’t think there will necessarily be more. Procedures are always getting tighter so in theory there should be fewer, but mistakes will always happen so I’m sure they will continue unfortunately. Governments must continue to prosecute any companies that do cause environments problems or disasters so that they are less likely to happen again.
- Do you think that governments around the world are doing enough to tackle the problems?
No, usually I don’t think they are doing enough. There are countries that do what they can do help their people when problems occur and they are trying to come up with measures to mitigate the effects but when it comes to the major issue of global warming countries are not doing enough. We see time and again that no agreement can be made on how to reduce carbon footprints. This is usually because governments know that to make a serious reduction in carbon dioxide emissions they will have to sacrifice economic growth and they are not prepared to do this. Governments think very short-term. They know that if there is economic decline, then they will be voted out.
- Why do some people not consider environmental problems to be serious? (No audio)
I think there are several reasons for that. In some cases it is simply because people are not affected on a day-to-day basis so it does not concern them. They just see it on the news affecting other people. It does not mean they do not care but they will soon forget about it. Also, some big organizations can be responsible for putting the wrong information out. For example, oil companies have a vested interest in making sure people do not believe in global warming as it could affect their profits, so they play the issue down. Also, some people think as it is a long-term problem, they will be dead by the time it will affect them so they think it is not important for them!
- Tell me about some of the environmental problems that are affecting countries these days?
Well, there are a lot at the moment. Although it has not been proven for sure, there is a great deal of consensus about the fact that global warming is leading to severe weather change and this is resulting in many problems. We are seeing a lot of countries with the same problems that they have always had but on a much larger scale. For example, in the United States there seem to be far more hurricanes and tornadoes than in the past, with more devastating effects. There seems to constantly be news of serious flooding in many countries from Asia to Europe. Forest fires also seem to be getting worse, particularly each year in Australia.