Speaking Part 1 Series

IELTS Lessons, written by Sam Morgan and Tom Speed

Last lesson we learned about part 1 of the speaking test. ​Today we are taking a close look at how to give great answers in part 1 of the IELTS speaking test by learning how to provide examples to add depth to our responses. First we will listen to a dialogue, then we will complete followup interactive exercises and practice the questions ourselves with an examiner.

Read the dialogue and listen to the conversation to begin.

Speaking – Examples Part 1.mp3
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Examiner: Let’s talk about photography.
Do you like taking photographs?


Candidate: Yes, I do. I usually take a lot of photographs when I go to new places.

Examiner: Why?

Candidate: Good question! Well, I think it’s an interesting way to experience a new place. You view a place differently when you are taking photos. For instance, you think more about the aesthetics of the place and you try and spot interesting unique things that make good images. This sort of helps me enjoy a place more I guess.

Examiner: What kind of photos do you like to take?

Candidate: I like to take photos of urban landscapes and people doing their day to day activities. For example, last week I had to go to Beijing for work and I got some cool pictures of ancient buildings in the foreground with modern skyscrapers in the background in the late afternoon light. I also got some great pictures of the rush hour there with crowds of people hurrying home after work. I always make sure that I get some time to explore with my camera when I go somewhere new.

Examiner: Did you take lots of photos when you were younger?

Candidate: Not when I was young. Cameras were more expensive then and they were not digital so you had to pay to get the pictures made. I got into photography after I left university. I got my first camera, a Nikon, when I was about 22.

Examiner: Do you like to show other people your photographs?

Candidate: Yes, absolutely. I don’t go to my friends “hey, look at this” when I meet them but I like to post my pictures on social media. Sites, such as Facebook and Instagram, are great for sharing photos. I actually spend a lot of time looking at other people’s photos online. With technology these days, even amateur photographers can take great pictures. I think that’s really cool.

Examiner: Why?

Candidate: Do you mean why is the technology cool?

Examiner: Sure.

Candidate: Well, for a number of reasons. Firstly, with digital cameras you are not limited to 20 or 30 pictures like you use to be. Secondly, the technology is shrinking and becoming way cheaper. Now most people have a decent camera in their pocket, right? I mean on their phones. Some phones, like newer iPhone models, can take DSLR quality photos. It means anyone can be a photographer and it allows people to be more creative, which is cool.


Activity 1 - Try it yourself

​Read the questions which the examiner asks again. Think about how you would answer them yourself. Press play below and answer the examiner's questions. Try and speak until he asks the next question (you will hear a noise to prepare you).

Speaking – Examples Part 1 Free.mp3
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Activity 2 - True / False / Not Given

Are the following statements true or false or is the information not given?
CHOOSE TRUE, FALSE or NOT GIVEN

1. The candidate likes the way that photography makes him think when he enters a new environment.


2. The candidate frequently has to travel for business.


3. The candidate believes that it is becoming easier to take good quality photographs.


4. The candidate will lose marks for asking the examiner to clarify the question (when he asks 'Do you mean...?').


5. The candidate shouldn’t use slang terms like ‘cool’.





Activity 3 - Vocabulary

​It is important to try and learn 10 to 15 new words a week while you are preparing for the IELTS exam so let’s look at some useful vocabulary from the dialogue.

In the box is some vocabulary from the dialogue. Click on a word in the box and then on the gap in the definition below. Check your answers when you are finished. If any of these words are new for you then try and remember them by making vocabulary cards and testing yourself.
urban   ·  aesthetics   ·  get into   ·  sort of   ·  ancient   ·  hurrying   ·  rush hour  
Click or touch a word above
1. is an adjective meaning very old.
2. is an uncountable noun which means the time of the day when the streets are very busy with people going to or returning from work.
3. in the dialogue means to an extent or partially.
4. is an adjective relating to things connected with cities.
5. is a verb which is a synonym of rushing or moving fast.
6. is a noun connected with beauty and style.
7. means to become interested in something or to start a new hobby.


​Activity 4 - Giving Examples

​Can you find four different ways that examples are given in the dialogue. 
​Find them in the dialogue before you look at our answers.
1.
For instance, you think more about the aesthetics of the place and you try and spot interesting unique things that make good images.
2.
For example, last week I had to go to Beijing for work and I got some cool pictures of ancient buildings in the foreground with modern skyscrapers in the background in the late afternoon light.
3.
Sites, such as Facebook and Instagram, are great for sharing photos.
4.
Some phones, like newer iPhone models, can take DSLR quality photos.

Note: '
like' is less formal than the other phrases and so should only be used in speaking.


Activity 5 - Another example

Look at these speaking questions from part 1 of the IELTS Speaking test. How would you respond to each question? What examples could you give to support what you say?
Let’s talk about your home town or village:
  1. what kind of place is it?
  2. what’s the most interesting part of your town/village?
  3. what kind of jobs do the people in your town/village do?
  4. would you say it’s a good place to live? (why?)
  5. will you continue to live there for a long time?
Try these questions out with an examiner. Press play below and answer his questions.

Speaking – Examples Hometown Free.mp3
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Now compare your answers to this high band response.

Speaking – Examples Hometown.mp3
File Size: 942 kb
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​Record yourself speaking and then go back and listen for your mistakes. Re-record your speaking until you feel like you have it perfect. This is a great way to improve your skills.