Speaking, Part 2: Water

We recently looked at this part 2 question about water in class.

Describe an important body of water in your country (river/lake/sea).

You should say:

  • what it is called
  • where it is located
  • what one can do there

and explain why it is important.

Tip: There’s a huge range of possibilities – a body of water can be one these

Many students spoke about a river which runs through their hometown, and the numerous activities they do there – jogging, cycling, enjoying a picnic with friends.

Others chose to speak about the sea & the seaside – being on the beach, swimming in the water and enjoying fresh seafood.

You could think about lakes where you can go fishing, camping or canoeing, enjoying the great outdoors. You could even talk about reservoirs where water is stored – perhaps for drinking water or hydroelectricity.

Sample answer Continue reading “Speaking, Part 2: Water”

Speaking, Part 2: Describe a Museum…

Describe a museum that you have visited.

You should say:

  • when you visited the museum
  • describe the museum
  • how you felt after going there

and describe your experience of the visit

Sample answer

Last summer I was travelling around Europe and I had the chance to visit the Louvre museum in Paris. It’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to go ever since I learned about it in my high school French class, so going was a dream come true.

It’s a famous Parisian landmark and of course it’s home to some of the world’s most iconic pieces of art. 

The museum itself is absolutely enormous – when I first arrived it took my breath away. It’s right in the heart of the French capital, next to the river Seine, but the sheer size and scale of it is truly incredible. It was a royal palace at one point in time and for me it still maintains that sense of grandeur and opulence – no wonder it’s the biggest museum in the world!

I pre-booked fast-track tickets online because I didn’t want to waste any time waiting to get in. I was really glad I did because even though I arrived early, the queue already went back as far as the eye could see.

The Louvre has a rich collection of artworks but the star of the show is undoubtedly the Mona Lisa – it was the masterpiece I just had to see with my own eyes.

I was really disappointed when I saw the painting up close, however. It was much smaller than I had expected, and given the iconic portrait’s historical and cultural significance it’s protected by bulletproof glass. On top of that, there were hordes of tourists crowded around snapping photos – even though I’m quite tall I wasn’t able to get an unobstructed view. The gallery felt stuffy and claustrophobic and I was thoroughly underwhelmed.

Instead, I spent the rest of my time there strolling through the quieter corridors at a leisurely pace – I saw many pieces I’d never even heard of before. I enjoyed being able to explore the nooks and crannies of the building and appreciate the art in relative peace and quiet.

Visiting was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me – I don’t know if I’ll get the chance again in the future but I was thrilled I finally had the chance to tick it off my bucket list.

Try timing yourself reading this sample answer at a natural pace – how long does it take you?

Speaking: Part 2

Part two is the only time in the exam where you can write something down. The examiner will give you a cue card with a question on it – typically you’ll be asked to describe something. You’ll have one minute to prepare your answer, then two minutes to speak.

Let’s take a look at a sample question:

Describe a band/singer you enjoy listening to. You should say:

who they are

what kind of music do they play

when you first heard them

and say why you like them so much.

Continue reading “Speaking: Part 2”

Adverbs of Frequency

Saying how often you do something is very common in the speaking exam, especially in part one. 

Think about the gym – how often do you go there?

Are you addicted to the gym and go there everyday, without fail? Maybe you work out regularly and go 2 or 3 times a week. Or just once a week. Perhaps you’re not quite as motivated so you go less often – twice a month, twice a year. Or maybe never…

Whatever your answer, we can use adverbs of frequency.

Let’s look at a couple of ways we can express this:

  • adverbs of definite frequency
  • adverbs of indefinite frequency

Continue reading “Adverbs of Frequency”


Here’s a useful tip for completing your listening and reading answers.

According to the the official IELTS handbook, Information for Candidates:

“You may write your answers in lower case or capitals” (Test Tips, page 6)

Writing in block capitals is a good idea here as it should be clearer for the examiner to read.

A curious thing is that you can also do the writing part of the exam ENTIRELY IN CAPITALS TOO! It’s not something I recommend but it’s interesting to know that it’s a possibility.

Enhancing Your Listening Skills

There are numerous resources available online to help you hone your listening skills.

BBC World Service is an excellent choice, and one of my favourite things is the short new bulletins they have on their website.

Listen as you commute on the bus to and from work, during your lunch break, or whenever you have a spare 5 – 10 minutes. The newsreaders have a variety of accents so you can also practice tuning in to that too.

Try making it part of your daily routine and see what improvement you make.

Building Your Vocabulary

In IELTS it’s important to demonstrate a range of language.

I’ve banned discouraged my students from using the following:

  • Good ❌
  • Bad ❌
  • Things ❌
  • Stuff ❌
  • Nice ❌

Of course native speakers use these all the time. I’m guilty of this too – I had a nice weekend, my lunch was good, and I need to pick up some things from the supermarket later…

Try, instead, to find a topic specific word or a high quality synonym.

Be aware of your usage of these words as you prepare for the exam.

As you build your vocabulary you’ll be able to find suitable alternatives.

Tip: Remember to review vocabulary regularly, and, of course, use it in your speaking and writing practice.no_stuff_etc

The IELTS Exam

If you haven’t already done so, the first thing I’d suggest is familiarising yourself with IELTS – this will help you to understand exactly what is expected of you and will help you to prepare.

Check out the IELTS website here – it’s an excellent resource and contains a wealth of information. There’s also this handy PDF.

I’d also recommend reviewing exactly how your score will be calculated – you’ll also find this on the IELTS website. This is particularly useful if you must achieve a certain band – what is the difference between Band 6 and Band 7, for example?



I’m a CELTA qualified instructor, with a number of years’ experience teaching English to students of all levels.

Currently, I’m working with candidates preparing for the IELTS exam.

Ideas for IELTS features hints, tips & suggestions for the exam, based on my own classroom experience.