Speaking Part 1 Series

IELTS Lessons, written by Sam Morgan and Tom Speed

​In this lesson we are going to practice talking about lifestyle and free time. The types of questions we’re going to practice are typical of part 1 of the IELTS speaking test. Remember that in part 1 of the speaking test we are typically asked familiar questions about our lives.

Exercise 1

​Instructions for our practice exercise:

  1. Read the questions.
  2. Don’t write a plan.
  3. Record yourself answering the questions. Try to talk for 30 seconds per question (you can use your phone to do this).
  4. Listen back to your recordings for mistakes.


This is a great way to improve your speaking. It will help you notice what kind of errors you make and so over time you will make them less frequently.

Try these 4 instructions with the following questions:
Speaking Questions 1

  1. Do you think people these days work too much?
  2. Where do people in your hometown go to relax?
  3. What is your idea of a perfect day?
  4. What would you do if you had more free time?

​Now listen to how Tom and Sam, the IELTS Tutors, answer the questions. Are your answers similar or different?

Life and Living Task 1.mp3
File Size: 1012 kb
File Type: mp3

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​Collocations 

Exercise 2

​Collocations are pairs or groups of words that often occur together. Using a range of collocations accurately is important in order to receive a higher band for vocabulary.

Complete the collocations in the sentences with life or living (you can type or click on the words and click again on the gaps). 

living   ·  life   ·  Living  
Click or touch a word above
1. Visiting the colosseum in Rome was a once in a time experience.
2. The standard of in Scandinavian countries is very high.
3. Working as an English teacher I meet people from all walks of .
4. For many people, being a vegetarian is a way of .
5. expenses are high in Rome. It’s not a cheap place to live
6. It has been my long ambition to climb Mt. Everest.
7. Will increases in oil prices lead to a rise in the cost of ?
8. She makes a by selling the cakes and biscuits she makes at home.

Exercise 3

​Define the meaning of each collocation by completing the sentence.
COMPLETE THE SENTENCES

1. If something is once in a lifetime,
2. If the standard of living is high,
3. If you know people from many walks of life,
4. If something is a way of life,
5. If living expenses are high there,
6. If something is your lifelong ambition,
7. If the cost of living is high there,
8. If you make a living from something,

These collocations could come in useful if you are discussing places, lifestyle or your ambitions. As they are idiomatic, they show the examiner that you can use specific, less common words – an important part of band 7 vocabulary.

Exercise 4

​Read the questions below and record your answers. If you are not satisfied when you listen back then rerecord your answer.
Speaking Questions 2

  1. How has the cost of living in your hometown changed since you were young?
  2. How would you like to change your way of life?
  3. Do you know anyone who makes a living doing their hobby?
  4. Have you ever done something which you consider to be a once in a lifetime experience?

​Now listen to Tom and Sam, the IELTS Tutors, answer the same questions. 

Life and Living Task 4.mp3
File Size: 1232 kb
File Type: mp3

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Remember to practice new vocabulary often so that you don’t forget it.
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