2024 IELTS Speaking Part 1 Topics

Predicted Topics for IELTS Speaking Part 1. These topics are compiled from recent topics, recurring topics that appear each year and new common trends. Part 1 topics are based on everyday life, such as family, happiness, mobile phones etc. Some topics below have specific questions, others have suggested content for the topic.

IELTS Speaking Predicted Part 1 Topics 2024

Tip 1: The examiner will first ask about your Work, Study, Home or Hometown. You can find questions for those topics here: Common Topics For Part 1 Speaking Page.

Tip 2: It is NOT enough to only prepare from the list given below. You MUST also prepare from the common topics which appear each year – click here:LIST OF IELTS SPEAKING PART 1 COMMON TOPICS

Tip 3: Don’t memories your answers. Just prepare ideas and vocabulary, then practice answering questions in a natural way. Be open, friendly, honest and, most of all, be chatty. Speak until the examiner interrupts you with the next question.

  1. Advertisement
    1. your favourite advert, why was it memorable, fast food adverts, an advert you dislike, an advert from your childhood, types of advertising, are adverts reliable
  2.  Age
    1. your favourite age, your feelings on getting older, how you felt as a child, importance of birthdays, special birthdays, celebrating birthdays, difficult ages, happiest age
  3. Apps, Mobile Phones
    • What apps do you mostly use? What functions do they have? Do you like using a smart phone? How often do you upgrade it? Should children have their own smart phones? Model Answers: Mobile Phones
    • What do you use the internet for mostly? How often do you use the internet? Do you socialise online? What’s your favourite website? Do children use computers at school? Do you like using technology? What is your favourite gadget? Do you like learning about new technology? Should children be allowed to play video games or watching TV for many hours each day?
  4. Art, Museums, Galleries, Drawing, Painting, Monuments
    • Do you like art? What kind of art? Did you learn art at school? Did you visit a museum when you were a child? What museums are there in your country?  When did you last go to an art exhibition? Are you creative? Do you think creativity is important?
    • Do you like drawing? Did you learn to draw or paint at school? Is art important for children?
  5. Books, E-books, Magazines, Newspapers, Reading, Stories, Libraries
    • Do you like to read? What do you read? Did you read a lot as a child? What did you read? Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction?
    • Do you keep up with news? How? Do you often skim the headlines? Is online news reliable? What’s your favourite website?
    • Do you ever go to libraries? What types of books do people enjoy reading in your country?
    • Vocabulary: Newspapers
  6. Chatting
    • socialising with people, things to talk about, who you like to chat to, your voice (tone, changes in your voice, public speaking), people who gossip, chatting face to face vs by text vs online
  7. Clothes
    • What clothes have you recently bought? What is your favourite item of clothing? What casual clothes do you own? Do you prefer casual or formal clothes? How do you choose what to wear? Is there a favourite colour you like to wear? What do colours say about a person? Is there a colour you don’t like?
    • What traditional clothes are there in your country?
    • What was your school uniform like? Did your school have a strict dress code?
    • Do you wear or use accessories, such as bags, shoes, sunglasses or jewellery? What bags do you use? What shoes do you find most comfortable? Do you ever wear sunglasses? Are sunglasses popular in your country? What jewellery do you prefer? What jewellery is most popular?
    • Model Answers: Shoes
  8. Education
    • childhood school subjects, childhood teachers, learning – your memories, your favourite subjects, your childhood teachers, schools today, learning online, learning science, learning art, learning maths, learning languages at an early age
  9. Fashion, Shopping
    • Is it important to you? Have you ever bought anything fashionable? Do you think fashionable clothes are important?
    • Do you often go shopping? Where do you go? When did you last buy? Do you like shopping malls? Do you like small shops? Are street markets popular in your country? What can you buy there?  Have you ever had bad service in a shop? What did you do about it?
  10. Films, Movies
    • popular genres, favourite genres, childhood genres, foreign films, reading subtitles, children and TV, going to the cinema, real life films, how films change culture. Vocab: Types of Films 
  11. Food, Meals, Snacks, Desserts
    • What is your favourite (food / meal / snack / dessert / drink)? What were your favourite childhood (foods, snacks etc)? Were you a picky eater? What fruits and vegetables do you eat? Popular fruits and vegetables? Model Answers: Vegetables   Model Answers: Snacks
    • Do you eat chocolate or other sweets? Are cakes popular in your country? Do you think it’s healthy? What popular snacks are there in your country? What food etc do you dislike?
    • What food do people often guests in your country? What beverages are guests offered in your country? Do you ever take food or drink when you visit people? Do you give other gifts to people you visit?
    • What traditional foods are there in your country? Do you like foreign food?
    • Do you cook? Do you prefer homecooked meals? Are restaurant meals popular in your country? Model Answers: Good service in Restaurant
  12. Friends and Family
    • activities to do together, spending time with friends or with family – which is important, time spent with family or friends, the role of grandparents, who you are close to in your family, your best friend, childhood friends, family parties or gatherings
  13. Games
    • childhood games, childhood toys, school games, family games (board games other games), traditional games, doing puzzles, learning from games, games to play on your own
  14. Geography
    • Did you learn about other countries when you were at school? Can you draw the map of your country? Where is the capital city in your country located? Do you ever look at maps? How did you learn to read maps? Do use online maps or paper maps? Do you think it’s important to know the world map?
  15. Holidays
    • package holidays, travelling alone or in a group, adventure holidays, learning the culture,
    • TV makes holidays unnecessary,
  16. Housework
    • Who is responsible for the household chores in your family? Did you do housework as a child? What can children learn from doing housework? Should men do housework? What gadgets are commonly used for housework in your country? Do you think doing housework is good for your mental health?
  17. Languages
    • new languages, dictionaries, online learning, using google translate, visiting new countries and communicating, culture and languages, popular foreign languages, learning new words,
  18. Laughter, Smiling, Emotions
    • What makes you laugh? Do you smile often? Are you a moody person? What do you think of people who smile a lot? Is humour important in your country? Are people in your country emotional? Were you a happy child? Have you ever felt bored / embarrassed / impatient / annoyed?
  19. Luxury Items – spending money, items you own or would like to have, jewellery,
    • Do you spend money on luxury items? What luxury items are most popular in your country? Why do people spend money on luxury items? What would you buy if you could?
  20. Memory, Remembering
    • How do you remember things? Do you have a good memory? Is memory important?
    • Do you use calendars? Do you do puzzles to keep mentally active? Do you keep a diary? Do you think doing maths helps memory? Do you ever make notes or lists of things to help you remember?
    • Do you often forget things? Do you ever lose things? Model Answers: Concentration
  21.  Money
    • Do you prefer using cash or cards? Do you think cash will one day disappear? How can you keep your money safe online?
    • Do you think it’s better to save or spend? Do people often spend money unnecessarily in your country? How did you learn to manage money? Have you ever saved up for something special?
  22. Music
    • Types of music, your likes/dislikes, playing an instrument, foreign music, singing, learning music in schools, concerts, festivals, traditional music
  23. Names
    • Does your name have a meaning?
    • How do people choose names in your country?
    • Would you ever change your name if you could?
  24.  Nature
    • Do you like parks? Are there parks where you live? What do people do in parks? Do you like trees? What plants or flowers do you like? Are gardens common in your country? Is it better to live in a house or a flat?
    • Does your country have a lot of natural beauty? Do you like being in nature? Did you spend time in nature as a child?
    • Are picnics popular in your country? Do you like to spend time outside? What outdoor activities do you enjoy?
    • For model answers, click below:
  25. Places
    • quite places, noisy places, crowded places – where do you relax, types of noise in everyday life, popular crowded places, places for traditional events, places to socialise, your favourite childhood places
  26. Routines
    • morning/ afternoon/evening routines, weekday/weekend routines, changing your routines, childhood routines, work routines, doing housework, maintaining a routine, time management, scheduling, sleep habits and sleep routines
  27. Rural Life
    • Have you ever lived or visited the countryside? What do you like about the countryside? Why do some people prefer living there? Did you grow up in a rural or urban area? Do you think rural life is healthy? Have you ever grown your own vegetables or fruit? Do you think ever house should have a garden?
  28. Seasons & Weather
    • your favourite season, types of seasons in your country, your likes/dislikes, unusual weather, weather disruptions in your country, activities in different seasons, the night sky, rain, sunshine. For model answers about “the sky”, click: Sky
  29. Security – keys, personal safety, protecting private information online, sharing information
    • Do you have a lot of keys? Have you ever lost your keys? How do you keep yourself safe online? Do you share private photos or information about yourself online? Do you trust people easily? How do you know you can trust someone?
  30. Social Media
    • Is social media a good thing? Do you use it? Would you meet strangers on social media? Do you follow celebrities on social media? Should children mimic celebrities? Vocab: Advertising
  31. Sport
    • Do you enjoy sports? Do you enjoy swimming? Do you prefer team sports or individual sports? Do you ever watch sport on TV? Is sport popular in your country? Do you enjoy watching international sporting events?
    • How do you keep fit? Do you do any exercise? What type of exercise do you enjoy? Do you think exercise is important? How can elderly people stay fit? Are there many sports facilities near where you live?
    • Did you play sport at school? What kinds of games did you play at school? Do children benefit from doing sport?
  32.  Stress
    • how you relax, how you destress, the importance of mental health, outdoor activities (jogging, running, fishing, photography, bird watching, dog walking etc), indoor activities (reading, collecting things, art, yoga, meditation) work /life balance, stress for children, different types of stress between past and now, being patient
  33. Technology
    • Robots, apps, computers at work or study or free time, social media, recent purchases, gadgets you want, likes/dislikes. Model Answers: Robots
  34. Transport
    • How do people get around where you live? Do you often walk? Do you ride a bike? What form of transport is healthiest? Do many people in your country own cars? Do you have a driving license? How do old people get around where you live? Do you think children should walk to school? What’s the public transport like where you live? How could the public transport be improved?

Let me know how your test goes.

All the best


IELTS Speaking Model Answers & Tips

For model answers to various topics, including some of those above, and tips, click here: IELTS SPEAKING MAIN PAGE


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HAPPY NEW YEAR *** 2024 ***

Hi guys,

It’s 2024! I would like to wish you all a very wonderful 2024!

May this year bring you joy, health and prosperity.

And my wish for the world this year is …. understanding, respect, peace and love. May each of us in our own corners of the world strive to bring this about in 2024 in our own special way.

My love to you all,

Liz xxx


Vocabulary for Government Topic

Below is a list of vocabulary relating to the topic of “Government”. This word list will help refresh your memory and also expand your range to learn new words. Although the topic of politics doesn’t appear in IELTS, questions relating to general government policies do appear frequently in both IELTS Writing and IELTS Speaking.

On this page, you will find:

  1. Word Forms
  2. Synonyms and Types of Government
  3. Useful Government Vocabulary
  4. IELTS Speaking Questions & Model Answers
  5. IELTS Writing Task 2 Essay Questions

1. Word Forms:

  • government (n)
  • to govern (vb)
  • governmental (adj)

Common Errors 

There are two common errors when using the word “government”.

  1. “n” – don’t forget the spelling – goverNment.
  2. article “the” – when we refer to the government, we usually use the article “the”.
    1. For example:
    2. Wrong = Many people think government should improve the infrastructure in rural areas.
    3. Correct = Many people think the government should improve the infrastructure in rural areas.

2. Synonyms & Types of Government

Below is a useful word list for synonyms. However, please note that is fine to repeat the word “government” in your essay even for high band score candidates.

  • the political system
  • the administration
  • the central government
  • the local government
  • the authorities
  • the people in authority
  • the leadership
  • those in power

Note, as with all synonyms, they cannot all be used in the same context in the same way. They do differ.

Types of Government and Governing

Below are words relating to types of government and the way countries are run.

  • republic = a country with no monarch and has an elected leader, usually a president
  • democracy = the government is elected by the people, each person has a single vote
  • autonomy = a self-governing country or region
  • dictatorship = a country ruled by one person who has not been elected and uses force to keep control
  • totalitarian state = a country with only one political power and people are forced to do what the government tells them
  • regime = an authoritarian government
  • capitalist = a free-market country
  • communist = a political and economic system with a classless society where business, factories, farms etc are publicly owned
  • monarchy = a country has a king or queen – in traditional monarchies, the monarch has absolute power but in a a constitutional monarchy (such as the UK), there is a democratic government, and the monarch is largely symbolic and politically neutral
  • anarchy = a situation where there is no government
  • constitutional government = a government which is limited in its power by a constitution
  • coalition government = with no direct winner after elections, a government can be formed in which two or more parties cooperate

3. Useful Government Vocabulary

Within a Government

  • politicians = people who hold an office within politics
  • branches of government- legislative, executive and judicial
  • executive branch = this is the part of the government which carries out the law
  • legislative branch = this part of the government makes the laws and raises money to run the government
  • judicial branch = this part of the government decides laws and settles disputes
  • state government = a local government within a particular region or area of a country
  • enforcement agencies = bodies within a government which can enforce the law, for example, the police
  • political party = a group of people with similar political aims that hopes to have a member elected to government
  • diplomats = people who represent their country in communication with other countries

 Useful Government Vocabulary

  • to pass a law / to enable a law / to bring in a new law = to have a law accepted
  • to abide by a law = to follow a law without breaking it
  • to elect = to choose
  • to have political influence / political power = the extent of a group’s or person’s ability to change the way political decisions are made
  • a citizen = a person living within a country
  • election = the process of voting for someone to come into power or into a role
  • laws = rules for governing a country
  • liberty = freedom
  • maintain order = providing organisation and safety for the people of a country
  • rights = freedoms which are protected and should be guaranteed
  • taxes = money paid by citizens to run and maintain a country
  • raise / lower taxes – to increase or decrease the money paid by citizens to the government
  • budget = money that is allocated to spend in a particular area
  • to increase the budget on X = to give more money to X
  • defence spending = the money that the government spends on the defence of its country
    • note that the word “defence” can also be spelled as “defense” in American English
  • policies = action proposed by an organisation
  • charismatic = a characteristic that attracts and appeals to other people – many successful politicians are charismatic
  • long term / short term goals
  •  to be proactive = doing something rather than just waiting for something to happen

Citizen’s Actions

  • campaign for something
  • demonstrations
  • to be involved in protests
  • organise a petition
  • speak at public meetings
  • put up posters
  • organise a public meeting
  • write to politicians

4. Government Topic Questions for IELTS Speaking 

IELTS Speaking doesn’t have one single topic called “the Government”. But most topics in IELTS Speaking, do contain questions that relate to how official organisations, such as the government, can improve aspects of life. Below are some examples of questions with model answers. Most of these questions are more likely to appear in Speaking part 3 which deals with broader issues.

  • Q) What is the role of a government?
  • A) A government is responsible to decide how a country is run and for managing how it is run. It rules and governs a body of people to make sure that those people abide by laws.
  • Q) Do you think the government should be responsible for public health?
  • A) While the government should be proactive in opening more exercises facilities for the public and to raise awareness of public health, I think it is ultimately the role of the individual to improve their own health.
  • Q) Do you think the government should pay to support the Arts?
  • A) Yes, in a way. I think the government should definitely provide some support for the Arts as a way to promote our cultural heritage. For example, local people can learn about their own culture from watching the dramatic arts and also from paintings and sculptures. This is also a huge draw for visiting tourists who wish to experience local culture. However, I do think that artists also need to be responsible for ensuring their own income and not just rely on the government.
  • Q) What do you think the government could do to protect natural beauty spots in your country?
  • A) Well, I suppose one of the key things that those in power could do is to establish stricter laws to ensure people treat places of natural beauty with respect. For example, littering is a huge problem in my country and this needs to be taken more seriously. Another thing is for the government to spend more money on conservation as well as raising awareness among the local population of the importance of these places.

5. IELTS Writing Task 2 Essay Questions Samples

  1. Many people think people should pay for their education, while others think the government should fund all education. Discuss both sides and give your opinion.
  2. Some people believe the government should be responsible for the homeless and that society is not responsible. Do you agree?
  3. Do you think artists should have the right to express any opinion through their work or do you think the government should censor their work?
  4. Do you think the government should focus on supporting science or the Arts?
  5. Do you think the government should be solely responsible for public safety or do you think individuals should also be held responsible for their own safety?
  6. Some people believe that the government should spend more money on protecting wildlife. Do you agree or disagree?
  7. Some people think that the government is wasting essential funds on space research and that these funds would be better allocated to health care. To what extend do you agree?

Tip: Don’t suggest in your essay that the government could introduce a particular law if there is already one in place. If you know a law is already in place, then you can suggest that the law serves harsher punishments and give examples of that. Try to keep your essay real. Think your ideas through and be sincere in your essay for a high score.



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Answers to Job Application Listening Lesson

Hi guys,

I’ve posted the answers back on the original page. Please take a look. Click here: Answers to Job Application Listening

All the best


IELTS Listening Practice Lesson: Job Application

This listening practice lesson is based on IELTS Listening Section 1. The topic is a Job Application which is a very common topic in the listening test. Section 1 requires you to listen for specific information and is the easiest section in the listening test, which means you should aim to get at least 90% or, if possible, 100% right (for people aiming for a high band score).

This listening lesson focuses on two different types of IELTS listening questions i) form completion  ii) multiple choice. It is usual to get more than one type of question in one section of the listening test. In the real test, you will get 10 questions in section 1, but not all at the same time. IELTS usually break the questions into groups to make it easier. However, with my listening practice below, I’ve put them all together.


  1. Read through ALL questions from 1 to 10 so that you are prepared.
  2. Tip:
    1. Be ready for different accents
    2. The first question might be tough to answer but keep listening because the answer will be repeated again.
    3. Always keep calm, never panic and keep track of the questions
  3. Listen to the recording only once and note down your answers.
  4. Post your answers in the comments box at the bottom of the page.
  5. I’ll post the answers later this week with the transript.

Listening Section 1 Practice – Job Application

Questions 1- 3: Complete the notes below using no more than two words.

  1. Job Title Enquiry: (1) ……………
  2. Name: (2) ………………….
  3. Current Occupation: (3) ………………….

Questions 4-6: Choose the correct letter.

4. What work days will there be?

  • a) all week days plus one full weekend day
  • b) Monday to Friday only
  • c) all week days and half a day on weekends

5. How many hours will the job actually require in reality?

  • a) 40 hours
  • b) over 40 hours
  • c) 50 hours

6. What is the overall income per annum?

  • a) £2,000
  • b) £25,000
  • c) over £25,000

Questions 7-10: Complete the notes below using no more than two words and/or numbers.

7. Job Reference Number: ……………

8. First interview date: ………………..

9. HR contact: ……………….

10. Start date: ……………..

Audio Recording



Click below to reveal the answers and the transcript. The transcript is provided by me so you can check your answers whilst listening to the recording and reading the transcript. It’s a great way to improve your listening skills and develop your English. You won’t be given the transcript in the real test.

    1. This was tricky when you first heard it, but the answer was repeated twice more in the recording which should have given you a chance to get this right. A sales rep means a sales representative of a company.
    1. You need both first name and last name for a correct answer.
    2. IELTS will often spell out names, but Rachael is a common name and you can find a list of common names with pronunciation in the Vocabulary section of this website.
  4. c / C
    1. “Well, from Monday to Friday it’s 9am to 5pm and you’ll also have to work either a morning or an afternoon, which is about four hours, on either Saturday or Sunday.”
  5. b / B
    1. “…while the job is advertised as the standard 40 hours per week, it’ll go beyond that because of the weekend work”
    2. This question is testing your ability to differentiate between advertised hours and actual hours. The real hours will be more than 40 because of weekend work.
  6. c /  C
    1. “… you’ll get a guaranteed income of £2,000 per month which works out more or less at about £25,000 each year, but as you’ll definitely be earning commission as well, you can add that on top …”
    2. This question is testing your ability to hear the difference between guaranteed income and overall income, which means everything together.
    3. It is very common in IELTS to be given one answer but then more information comes along which changes the answer. This is something to be ready for in IELTS listening.
  7. A76401
  8. 3rd AUGUST / AUGUST 3rd
    1. “,,,to the initial round of interviews which are being held on August 3rd.”
    2. The other dates mentioned were for second and third interviews. The applicant first had to get through the first interview on Aug 3rd in order to do the other interviews.
  9. Bob Castor
    1. You need both names spelled correctly.
  10. AUGUST 30th
    1. “…we hope to get the lucky candidate signed up by 30th August”
    2. The following dates were about induction and training which happens after a person joins the company.
    3. This means the official start date for the job is August 30th. A start date for a job is when you sign a contract and become part of the company.

Please note that answers can be written using small or lower case letters. If you are taking the paper based test, writing in capitals for listening and reading answers will help the person marking to read your answer clearly.

These practice lessons are not about getting it all right. It’s about learning and developing. Make a note of which answers you got wrong and why you think you got them wrong. This way, you will improve next time.

All listening exercises on ieltsliz.com have been written by myself to help you prepare for your IELTS test.   


  • B: Hello, XDM Sales, how can I help you?
  • A: Hi, I’m calling to apply for the job that you advertised this morning for a sales rep.
  • B: Certainly. First, I’ll need to take some details. Could you give me your full name?
  • A: Yes, it’s Rachel Jones.
  • B: Thank you. Are you working at the moment?
  • A: Yes, I’m working as a receptionist for a large multinational company.
  • B: And you’re interested to change your position? It’s quite a change to go from working as a receptionist to a sales rep.
  • A: I’m ready for a change. I want to do something more challenging. I feel my work as a receptionist has given me a lot of insight into customers and how to approach them. So, I think I’ll be well suited to work as a sales rep. Although, I would like to know a bit more about the position if that’s ok.
  • B: Of course. What would you like to know?
  • A: Could you tell me more about how many days and hours a week it involves.
  • B: Well, from Monday to Friday it’s 9am to 5pm and you’ll also have to work either a morning or an afternoon, which is about four hours, on either Saturday or Sunday. I know it isn’t ideal to have to give up part of your weekend, but it won’t be every weekend and you can apply for the occasional weekend off.  As for hours, while the job is advertised as the standard 40 hours per week, it’ll go beyond that because of the weekend work. Luckily, it isn’t likely to be as many as 50 hours per week.
  • A: OK. That sounds fine. How about the salary?
  • B: Well, you’ll get a guaranteed income of £2,000 per month which works out more or less at about £25,000 each year, but as you’ll definitely be earning commission as well, you can add that on top to make a nice bit extra over the course of the year.
  • A: That’s not bad, but I guess it depends how much commission I’ll earn. Still, I’d like to apply. Could you let me know the application procedure?
  • B: Yes, of course. You’ll find an application form to download on our website. Put both the job title and reference number: A76401 on the form. Then fill it in and email it to the applications department. Applications will be collected over the next five days. We’ll let you know if you’ve made it through to the initial round of interviews which are being held on August 3rd. For applicants making it through the first round, there will be two more sets of interviews on August 10th and August 21st. After that the final selection is made. If you don’t hear back from us regarding your application, please get in touch in case your application has ended up in spam or been misplaced.
  • A: Who should I call in that situation?
  • B: Call the senior HR manager, Bob Castor (that’s C A S T O R ), you’ll find his contact details on our website. He’ll let you know if you’re through to the interview round or not.
  • A: Great. Can you let me know when the job is due to start and whether there will be an induction or not?
  • B: Of course. As I said, the first set of interviews will be in early August and we hope to get the lucky candidate signed up by 30th August.  Once the sales rep officially becomes part of the team, there will be an induction period from August 30th to September 7th during which time the new sales rep will learn more about the company, products and sales procedures. After that, the new sales rep will shadow one of our more successful reps for 10 days to pick up extra tips.
  • A: That all sounds very exciting. I’ll get my application off today. Thanks.
  • B: Not at all. Best of luck with your application. Bye.



For more free IELTS Listening Practice Lessons with Liz, click here: IELTS Listening Tips & Practice

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IELTS Bar Chart Model Answer for Change over Time

An IELTS bar chart and model answer which shows change over time. The IELTS bar chart below was reported in IELTS writing task 1 (Academic) in 2023 and is likely to be repeated in following years. I’ve created a model answer lesson which has a useful language focus for you.

While this task 1 is in bar chart form, it actually shows change over time which means you will be also using language that is typically used for describing line graphs. It is different from the usual bar charts you see in IELTS which show comparisons of categories. This means it is more similar to a line graph than a normal bar chart. For this reason, I like to call such bar charts: bar charts of change over time. These types of bar charts do appear in IELTS writing task 1 quite regularly so look out for them.

IELTS Bar Chart for 2023

Note that the chart depicted above was sent to me from an IELTS candidate.

Model Answer for 2023 Bar Chart

Instructions: Fill in the model answer using the language options presented below:

The bar chart illustrates how much energy was produced by wind in four countries (India, Denmark, Germany and the United States) in four years (1985, 1990, 1995 and 2000). Units are measured in megawatts.

Overall, the US produced the most wind energy over the period given except in the final year when Denmark produced the most. India, Denmark and Germany witnessed 1) ……….. over the years in the amount of energy they generated, whereas the US showed 2) ………. followed by a slight decline.

In terms of the US, energy production stood at 1200 megawatts in 1985. It peaked in 1990 at just over 1600 before 3) ……….. around 100 to 1500 in the final year.

On the other hand, the energy generated in Denmark was just over 200 megawatts in 1985 and then 4) …………. over the years 5) …………  just over 1600 in 2000. India also saw 6) …………. in energy generation, starting at 200 and ending at 1200. Lastly, Germany saw 7) ………….. , only doubling over the period to reach just over 800.

Fill in the gaps with the following words:

  • A.   a significant rise
  • B.   falling by
  • C.   to peak at
  • D.   a steady climb
  • E.   a much lower growth rate
  • F.   an initial increase
  • G.   rose almost eight-fold


Click below to show the answers:



  1. D
    • This refers to all three countries (Denmark, India and Germany). Some countries had significant increases but not all. So, using the word “steady increase” is a better description to use for all three.
    • Having D in this gap will then allow the use of “a significant rise (A) for gap number 6 which relates to India only, which definitely was significant in energy growth.
  2. F
    • We can see that the only country with a growth rate that happened only in the first year was the US.
    • The answer can’t be G because an eight-fold rise means it grew from, for example, 100 to 800 (8 times in growth) – this isn’t true.
    • The answer can’t be D because the word “steady” refers to an even rise over a period of time as shown in the chart – the chart only shows a rise from one single column to the next, not over all columns.
    • It can’t be E because the growth rate wasn’t slower than other countries at the time.
  3. B
    • Nearly all of you got this right. Well done!
  4. G
    • Most of you got this one right too. Well done!
    • The answer can’t be A because it would be incorrect grammar. The sentence is “the energy generated was X number and then …..”. This gap requires a verb to follow the word “and”.
  5. C
    • Most of you got this right. Well done!
    • The final year for Denmark is significant because it is a special peak in the whole chart. Nearly all charts showing change over time will have one special peak that you should mention.
  6. A
    • This rise is significant. We can also say “considerable”. It rose from 200 to 1200 – that’s a huge rise.
    • Certain we could describe this as a steady rise (D) because it was consistent in growth over the period. But this doesn’t highlight how big the rise was which is the main point and also, we used option D already. So, the answer must be A.
  7. E
    • Most of you got this right. Well done !
    • This final paragraph is about Demark, India and Germany. From those three countries, Germany definitely showed the slowest growth rate over the period.

Don’t use this model answer only as a gap fill exercise. Notice the structure, organisation and content of paragraphs. Notice the grammar used. Notice the paraphrasing used.


I hope you found this lesson useful, Liz 


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IELTS Speaking Part 2 Topic: Concentration

IELTS Speaking Topic: Concentration – Questions, Model Answer and Vocabulary. The topic of Concentration is common in IELTS speaking and can appear in part 1, part 2 and part 3.  Below you will find a list of Cue Cards about this topic for Speaking Part 2 followed by useful vocabulary and a model answer. I’ve also added questions for part 1 and part 3 as well so that you can prepare fully for this topic.

Concentration Cue Cards for IELTS Speaking Part 2

Something that helps you concentrate at work or in your studies

You should say:

  • what it is
  • how you use it
  • how it helps you concentrate
  • how you feel about it


A method that helps you focus

You should say:

  • what it is
  • when you use it
  • how it helps you
  • whether you like it or not


Something that helps you remember things

You should say:

  • what it is
  • how often you use it
  • how effective it is
  • how you feel about it


A time when you struggled to concentrate

You should say:

  • when it was
  • what happened
  • how you reacted
  • how you felt about the incident


A time when you forgot something important

You should say:

  • when it happened
  • what happened
  • how you responded
  • how you felt about it


Someone you know who is very focused

You should say:

  • who it is
  • how you know this person
  • in what way they are focused
  • what you think of the person


A job that requires a high level of concentration

  • what the job is
  • what tasks are involved in it
  • why concentration is so important
  • and whether you think this is a useful job

Ideas & Vocabulary for Concentration Topic

In Speaking Part 2, it can be difficult to decide what to talk about for your topic. It’s important that you choose something easy to talk about that you are familiar with. This way, you will easily be able to expand your talk with extra details from your own memory or feelings. Below are a list of ideas and vocabulary of what to talk about for the topic of a method of concentrating or something that helps you concentrate. I’ve underlined useful language for you.

  1. Ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones
    1. Many people find that using ear plugs helps them focus on the task in hand without being distracted by surrounding noise.
  2. Eliminate distractions
    1. Getting rid of things that distract you from concentrating, such as closing down unused programs or personal social media on your laptop, removing files from your desk, clearing away mess etc. Some people are more easily distracted by such things than others.
  3. Go for a walk or take a break
    1. Taking some time out often helps clear brain-fog. It can give you a fresher perspective and more energy.
  4. Create an hourly plan
    1. Sometimes having a schedule can help you concentrate and get things done on time. Being more focused usually leads to higher levels of concentration.
  5. Set an alarm
    1. Setting regular notifications on your phone to ping helps remind you of what you are supposed to be focusing on.
  6. Distraction blocker apps or focus apps
    1. These apps can block incoming calls, messages pinging and prevent you accessing any website pages until the time you set has expired. Focus apps are designed to reward you if you focus on one task and give punishment if you switch to other apps or tasks during the time period set.
  7. Have a to-do list
    1. Having a clear list of tasks you must complete will help you focus as you tick them off one by one. This way you will be less preoccupied with things hanging over you and can work through them systematically.
  8. Multitasking
    1. Many people find doing more than one task at a time can save time, but others find it lowers their performance and ability to concentrate.
  9. Set deadlines for yourself
    1. Doing this gives you the drive to get things done and not fritter your time away.
  10. Avoid social media
    1. Time seems to disappear when people go on to social media and can lead to shorter attention spans in the long run.
  11. Drink water
    1. One of the main reasons people start to struggle with concentration is because they are dehydrated. Drinking water refreshes your mind and helps you focus. It is usually more effective than drinking caffeine.

Model Answer for Concentration Topic: IELTS Cue Card

The model answer below offers you another option for tackling the topic of concentration problems. I’ve again underlined useful language. Notice how I use a range of tenses and even manage to add some past tense and future forms even though the cue card is in the present – this is a very good way to boost your grammar score.

A method you use to concentrate

You should say:

  • what it is
  • when you use it
  • how it works
  • and how you feel about it

Model Answer

One great way that I ensure I can concentrate at work is by taking some time out for mindfulness. I know it probably sounds strange, but it really works. I find that my concentration starts flagging usually around 3pm after having eaten lunch and I also struggle to focus sometimes when I am overloaded with work. When I first started my job, my performance at work really dropped at those times. But having just a short break of just 15 mins to revitalises my body and mind through mindful breathing and creating a bit of peaceful space around me works wonders. Other people at work seem to take a break and spend their time gossiping, eating junk food or just stressing about unfinished tasks. But I use my short break to go for a short walk alone to clear my head and do some deep calm breathing. With a fresh mind, I can return to my work and tackle things in a more logical order without getting flustered.

Another aspect of mindfulness is having a clear work space. The more cluttered my desk is, the more overwhelmed I feel with tasks. It’s like everything gets on top of me. So, I make sure to take time to regularly clear my desk, check my task list and keep things organised. This creates a peaceful work environment which helps keep my mind focused on the task in hand.

But I know that everyone has their own methods. My friends says that the best way to focus in a busy office is to use noise cancelling ear plugs which help cut out ambient noise that can be very distracting. Another friend of mine found that by improving their sleeping and eating habits, they increased their ability to concentrate and were more attentive to smaller details. So, I guess everyone is different and you need to find what works best for you.

Model Answer Feedback

This answer doesn’t necessarily tackle each of the prompts on the cue card one by one. That’s ok and is acceptable in IELTS speaking part 2. It also offers multiple methods which isn’t asked for in the cue card. It also introduces methods used by others rather than just the speaker. This is all 100% fine and it’s a great technique for lengthening your talk. IELTS Speaking part 2 talks can be adapted as long as you stick to the main topic which in this case is “concentration”.  This model answer is packed with incredibly natural, high band score vocabulary and expressions. It also contains a lot of topic based vocabulary which is important for the examiner to hear. Whatever your topic, the examiner will be looking for vocabulary relevant to that topic. This answer also contains various grammar tenses, a comparative statements, superlatives and a wide range of sentence structures.

IELTS Speaking Part 1 Concentration Questions

  1. Do you ever struggle to concentrate?
  2. How do you improve your concentration?
  3. Did you struggle to concentrate at school? Why?
  4. What kinds of things makes it hard to concentrate?
  5. Do you think older people struggle to concentrate more than younger people?

IELTS Speaking Part 3 Concentration Questions

  1. Do you think technology has impacted our concentration?
  2. Do you think people concentrate better now than in the past?
  3. Do you think modern technology can be intrusive?
  4. What methods are there to improve someone’s concentration?
  5. How could employers help their employees concentrate more?
  6. Are there any jobs that require more concentration than others?
  7. Can exercise impact concentration?
  8. Why do some children struggle to concentrate in class?
  9. Can teachers do anything to help children concentrate better?

I hope you found this page useful. If you wish to learn more about IELTS Speaking, go to the main Speaking page on this website for tips, topics and model answers: IELTS Speaking Main Page. All main sections of this website are found using the RED Menu Bar at the top of the website.

All the best



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IELTS Candidate Tips for an Overall Band 8.5

Below are IELTS Tips for Band Score 8.5 from a successful IELTS candidate. These tips are written by Esha who is happy to share her experiences of the IELTS test and her exam preparation with you all. I have added some extra essential tips for the writing test at the bottom of the page to help you guys push your score to band 7 and above.

IELTS Candidate Tips for Overall Band 8.5

I am Esha Chaugule. I recently took IELTS and scored more than I expected. Firstly, I’d like to say a huge THANK YOU. I diligently scoured through every section of this website. They were all tremendously helpful, and I owe my score to you, Liz. I secured 8.5 overall band in my IELTS Test. I would like to share my tips with you, so that you can post them up on the website and hopefully, my tips might help students in the future. (I’ve attached my score card below).

Esha’s IELTS Results

  • L 9
  • R 9
  • W 6.5
  • S 8.5

Here are my tips…

Listening Band 9

Initially, I practised online from various websites, but later realised that these are not accurate, are unnecessarily high level, and the answers are sometimes wrong. I realised the only source I can trust is the official IELTS Cambridge books. These are curated exactly like the official IELTS Exams, and thus, provide the most accurate formats and practise questions (comment from Liz – these books are past papers published by IELTS). My biggest tip for Listening would be to read the questions ahead of time. The IELTS exam format gives you time to read questions beforehand, but it might not always be enough (eg. in the last section). Along with the reading time, I would advice to use the “introduction of the section” time and the “answer checking” time as well. Reading questions ahead gives you an idea of what to expect for an answer (i.e., a number, a street name, an adjective, etc.). Focus and concentration play a crucial part of course. Practicing gets you equipped with the Listening test format, accents and your focus increases as well.

  • Tricky part: when the answer to a blank comes way before in the audio, than we expect it to. Thus, we need to keep close attention to everything that’s being said in the audio.


  • Phrases are rephrased in the audio, so reading questions beforehand, to get the gist of what is going to be said, gives you a heads up on when an answer to a blank might be coming up.

Eg. The audio might say: There’s a lot of litter on the beach. This might be harmful for children playing or adults walking on the beach. So, we need people to clean this up from the beach.

The test might have the question: “making sure the beach does not have ________ on it.”

The word “litter” is never repeated after the first time it’s said. Thus, we need to keep close attention to the audio and concentrate to find answers even if the sentences are paraphrased.

Reading Band 9

Again, use only Cambridge Tests for practise. I would advice to read a couple questions first, and try to LOCATE the answers to those questions, by skimming through the passage. Try to identify a particular word or couple words in the question that are unique, and find those in the passage. Begin from the first paragraph, because 90% of the questions come in order.

Tricky parts:

  1. True/False/NG or Yes/No/NG: When not sure about False/NG or No/NG, rephrase the question with the exact opposite meaning, and try to find if that opposite meaning is given in the passage. If it’s given, the answer is False/No. If it’s not given, the answer is NG.
  2. Matching Information/Matching Headings: Read the paragraph in it’s ENTIRETY, get the gist of what it’s trying to convey, match. Sometimes the answer lies in one sentence, other times, you need to read the entire paragraph. When it’s confusing and taking too long, skip, and come back to the question after you’re done with the rest of the questions.

Writing Band 6.5

Not a great score, but I can give my tips. I went through ALL the sections of IELTS Liz Writing. Kept in mind specific words like slightly, marginally, rose, dropped and phrases like “number stood at X”, “number witnessed a peak of X” and “number accounted for X% of the total”. This was for part 1 of course.

Apart from this, just follow Liz’s tips, and you’ll be good to go to score at least 6. I knew I wouldn’t be able to score more than 6.5 in Writing, so I focused more on the other three sections. (Comment from Liz – I’ve added useful tips for Writing Task 2 at the bottom of this post.)

Speaking Band 8.5

I actually completely forgot everything that I had prepared for the Speaking test. I had prepared to incorporate a few high vocab words and complex phrases into my speaking test. But what came out at the time, was a natural conversation and genuine thoughts. I just tried to speak as much as possible, without any pauses. I never ended my answers by myself in section 2 and 3, the examiner did that for me, I just kept speaking while maintaining a coherent logic of my thoughts. I remember using a couple high vocab words, but the rest of it is a blur to me, so I don’t know what kind of grammar I used. Have a strong (but not loud) voice and be confident. A smile goes a long way! (Comment from Liz – here’s a link to my free tips for IELTS speaking)



You’ll get comfortable with the format of these tests, and with the level of questions as well. You’ll know what to listen for during Listening and know what to locate during Reading much easier only with practise.

Liz’s site helped a lot. If you follow only her website diligently and practise from the official Cambridge Tests, you’ll be good to go!

All the best!

Comments from Liz

Well done, Esha! A great overall score and some very useful tips for all future IELTS candidates. I want to stress how important your tip is about using the authentic listening and reading test materials. The only full tests you should use are ones directly offered by IELTS in their books, not ones you find on other websites. I also want to commend your listening tips regarding answers that appear before keywords are given – very well spotted. These questions are so challenging!

EXTRA WRITING TASK 2 TIPS from Liz (Target band 7 plus)

Task Response in writing task 2 is 25% of your marks. Each main point must be relevant to the topic given. Each sentence should be 100% relevant to the main point in the paragraph. Your essay should not contain any padding. So, aim for a focused and highly relevant essay. For all Writing Task 2 tips, click here: Writing Task 2. For writing task 1, it is about task achievement for both Academic reports and GT letters. See this page for tips: Writing Task 1 Tips

Coherence and Cohesion is 25% of your marks and many we forget to focus on this. Using a range of linking devices is crucial. Click: key linking words. You should have an introduction, conclusion and either two or three body paragraphs. This is the easiest marking criterion to get a high score in as long as you plan paragraphing and check your linking words.

Grammar is 25% of your marks. Do not over-complicate your sentences. A complex sentence does not mean a complicated sentence. Just one clause can change a simple sentence to a complex sentence for IELTS tests. Use a range of grammar features, such as noun phrases and noun clauses, and also aim for accuracy with articles (a/the/plurals), word order and prepositions. See this video lesson: Adding a Clause to your Sentence. Remember that too many errors means a lower score.

Vocabulary is 25% of your marks. Don’t try to push fancy, flowery words into your essay because the essay must be in formal style. Words should be suitable, appropriate to the topic and conveying precise meaning. Use phrasal verbs, rather than idioms (which are mostly too informal). Don’t try to over-paraphrase as it’ll lead to too many errors. Spelling counts.

Band Scores – learn more about them. Know the requirements of the band score you are aiming for and what causes your score to go up or down. Click here: IELTS Writing Task 2 Band Scores Explained

Note to Other Successful IELTS Candidates: if you wish to share your tips as Esha has done above, please email me: liz@ieltsliz.com. I can’t promise to post all candidate tips but any that are posted will be deeply appreciated.

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