IELTS Speaking Topics and Questions

In our IELTS speaking structure overview we talked about how you are tested on the IELTS speaking exam and the three different parts to speaking.

In this sections we are going to look at some specific questions and topics that are typically used in the speaking section.

Part One

Part one is the informal part where you talk about yourself in general and answer some specific questions about you and your interests. The present perfect and future tenses are likely to be needed, as well as the present simple.

  • Do you work or are you a student?
  • Do you like what you do?
  • What would you like to do in the future?
  • What do you do on weekends?
  • What did you do last weekend?
  • What are you going to do this weekend?
  • What music do you like?
  • Do you prefer to listen to live music or recorded music?
  • Has the music you like changed over time?
  • Can you tell me something about your hometown?
  • What is something fun to do where you live?
  • How has your town changed over the last 10-15 years?
  • What kind of books do you like?
  • What is your favourite book?
  • Do you prefer to read a book or go to the cinema?
  • Where do you live at the moment?
  • Are you renting or do you own your house/apartment?
  • What are your roommates like?

Part Two

In part two you are given a card where you have a minute to prepare and then you have to speak for two minutes. The type of topics are divided into: People, places, things, habits, interests, plans, and experiences.

For plans the future tenses are important, while the present perfect and past simple are needed for experiences. The card always starts with the ‘describe’ or ‘talk’, so adjectives are also important. Here are some example cards:

Describe your favourite type of sports activity.

You should say:

  • Why it is your favourite sport.
  • How often you play it.
  • If you are good at it.

And if your friends play it too.

SourceDescribe a sports event you enjoyed watching.

You should say

  • what kind of event it was
  • where and when you saw the event
  • who you were with

And explain why you enjoyed it so much

SourceDescribe something you own which is very important to you.
You should say:

  • where you got it from
  • how long you have had it
  • what you use it for

and explain why it is important to you.

Describe your favourite place to go to at the weekend.

You should say:

  • Where it is.
  • How often you go there.
  • What you do there.

and explain why it is your favourite place.

Talk about a book you have read recently.

You should say:

  • Why you decided to read that book.
  • What the book was about.
  • If you enjoyed it.

And say if you would recommend it to a friend.

Describe an activity that helps you relax.

You should say:

  • What the activity is.
  • How often you do it.
  • If it is easy or difficult.

And whether you think more people should do it.

Part Three

The final part is a two way discussion where you will discuss a topic and be asked a variety of questions. Here are some examples:

Education

What is the education system like in your country?
What is your opinion about the way languages are taught in schools?
Is the type of school that you go to important in your country?
What changes do you think will occur in education in the next ten years?

Transport

What is the public transport like in your city?
How do people travel long distances in your country?
What improvements have been made over the last 20 years?
Do you think that transport will improve in the future?

Friendship

What’s qualities are important in a friend?
How many good friends should someone have?
Are friends more important than family?

Fame

Who is the most famous person in your country?
Is it important to be intelligent to be famous?
Are famous people just like normal people?
What people are the most respected in your country?

Advertising

What are some of the ways that a company can advertise its products?
Are you affecting by advertising?
Should alcohol and tabacco companies be allowed to advertise their products?
What changes do you see happening in advertising in the coming years?

Stereotypes

What are some stereotypes in your country?
Are these stereotypes true in your opinion?
Can stereotyping be dangerous?
How are different countries stereotyped?

Unemployment

Are unemployment levels high in your country?
Why is unemployment a problem?
What is the best way to look for a job in your country?
What is the best way to prepare for an interview?

Pets

What are some common pets in your country?
What are the benefits of having a pet?
What problems might having pets bring?
Is having pets good for children?

Holidays

What is the most important holiday in your country?
What type of food is eaten at this holiday?
Is it a time to be with friends or family?
Do people generally enjoy this holiday?