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SPEAKING PART THREE: TEST QUESTIONS

Part three of the speaking test is a conversation with the examiner. This means the examiner is free to ask more questions if they want.

In the questions below, you will see three boxes for each topic. These are ‘easy, medium and difficult’ level questions. The examiner will choose questions from two of these levels, either easy and medium or medium and difficult but NOT all three. The examiner will only choose difficult questions for test-takers whose English level is advanced.

For each question, the examiner wants to hear a developed answer. Try to make each answer longer by explaining your ideas and giving examples. Stop (or pauses) each question once you have heard it, answer the questions, then press the play button again for the next question.

Be careful not to talk about yourself and your personal experiences too much. These questions are about bigger ideas and issues and you should answer them with general ideas, not personal.

And always remember IELTS is not an interview, so you DO NOT have to answer truthfully. The examiner is only interested in the quality of your English responses. For this reason it is a good idea to practice answering questions twice; once with a true answer and once with an invented response.


The questions below are hidden. If you want to read the questions, click the + sign on each topic.

BUYING THINGS 

Tell me some of the most common places people shop in your country.

Would it be fair to say that people spend too much money on things they don’t need?

How are the things that people tend to buy these days different from what people used to buy in the past?

SHOPPING ONLINE

Why do you think online shopping has become so popular nowadays?

What would you say are some of the major drawbacks to shopping online?

In terms of the environment, do you think this move to online shopping will have a positive or a negative impact?

ONLINE COMPANIES

Some people say that online retail companies have become too big and too powerful now. What do you think about that?

Would you say that it’s dangerous for these online companies to have so many personal details about us?

How likely do you believe it is that online shopping will completely replace shopping in stores in the future?

BECOMING AN ADULT

Tell me about the ages that people in your country become legally responsible. For example, when they can drive or get married. 

When do you think is the best age for people to be given adult responsibilities?

In the future, do you think legal age limits will change? 

STAGES OF LIFE

What are the stages of life that are celebrated most in your culture. By which I mean things like graduation, parenthood and retirement. 

Some people say that when people reach a new stage in their life it’s important to have a formal celebration of this. Is that something you also believe?

When people reach a news stage in life, for example, starting a new job or studying abroad, how do you think other people can help them to prepare?

OLDER PEOPLE IN SOCIETY

In your society, what is the general attitude most people have towards older people? 

What about employment opportunities for older people? How do you think these compare to other people in society?

And lastly then, the trend seems to be that people are living to be older than before. How do you think this will affect society in the future?

LEARNING TO PAINT

Do you think it’s right that all children should have art lessons at school?

Tell me some of the ways in which art lessons can be good for adults.

How true is it to say that everyone can learn how to paint or draw?

PHOTOGRAPHY

A lot of people take photos with their mobile phones these days. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?

Would working as a photographer be a satisfying job, do you think?

There are some that say photography is not really art. Why do you think people have this view?

FAMOUS ARTISTS

How do artists these days become famous or get a lot of attention?

Art works by a country’s most famous artists should not be sold to private buyers. Do you think this statement is correct?

Why do you think the art of certain famous artists keeps being sold for more and more money?

DISAGREEING WITH OTHER PEOPLE

What are some of the main things children tend to disagree about? 

Why do you think it is so common for teenagers to disagree with their parents?

Some people have difficulty telling other people they disagree with them. Why do you think that is?

GETTING ON WITH OTHER PEOPLE

Tell me some ways that children can learn to get on with other children. 

Would you say that friends should always agree with each other?

What type of person do you think is usually easy to get on with?

AVOIDING CONFLICT

In what situations do you think polite behaviour varies in different countries across the world?

When involved in international business, how important is it to be sensitive to the different cultural norms of other people?

Do you think different cultures have a better understanding of each other these days than they used to in the past?

YOUNG PEOPLE AND KEEPING FIT

Tell some of the most common activities young people in your country do to keep fit. 

I’ve heard some people say that children should do sport everyday. What do you think?

How do you think schools should teach children to keep fit?

ADULTS AND FITNESS

What are some reasons that some adults find it difficult to stay healthy?

If public sports facilities were free, do you think people would use them more often?

Would you say it’s true that it is the government’s responsibility to keep their citizens fit and healthy?

THE FITNESS INDUSTRY

Around the world, the fitness industry has grown in recent years. Why has this happened?

In what ways does fashion have an impact on the fitness industry?

How do you think the health of the population would be different if the fitness industry didn’t exist at all?

FOOD AND SOCIAL LIFE

Tell me about the different types of cafe and restaurant you can find near where you live. 

What do you think are the most important factors that make a café or restaurant successful?

How important is eating out in your culture?

FOOD AND HEALTH

Are the most popular foods in your culture good for your health?

Some people say that advertisements for unhealthy food should be completely banned. What do you think about this idea?

Is it true to say that people are a lot more aware of the need to eat healthily now than they used to be in the past? 

THE GLOBALISATION OF FOOD

It’s certainly true to say that food from some countries has become popular around the world. Why do you think this is?

What impact has technology and technological developments had on the food production?

We know that some richer countries sometimes have a surplus in food production, ie. they produce more than they need. How do you think this surplus should be used?

BUSINESS IN YOUR COUNTRY

What are the main types of company that do business near where you live?

Have there been any changes recently to the types of business common in your country?

Why do you think some companies are more successful than others?

RUNNING A BUSINESS

What qualities does a person need to be a successful businessperson?

Would you say it is better to own your own business than work for someone else?

What would you say are some disadvantages of working for a family business?

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENTS

Do you think it’s easier to start a business now than it was in the past?

Tell me some ways in which information technology has affected businesses.

Looking to the future, how do you think concerns about the environment will affect the way businesses behave in the future?

Learning outside the classroom

Which places do children in your country usually visit for school trips?

Some people say that educational visits are the best way to make education more fun for children. What do you think about that?

How important are the teachers that go with the children on these school trips?

LEARNING AT HOME

In what ways can parents best support their children when they study at home?

For adults, what might be some of the benefits of being able to study at home?

Is it likely that study at home courses will become more popular in the future?

LEARNING AT WORK

Do you think university students are well prepared for the realities of working life?

Many companies send their employees on training courses. Would you say these are usually useful?

Some professionals completely re-train and start a different career. What do you think motivates this change?

MAKING NEW FRIENDS

Tell me some different places where it is usual to meet people you haven’t met before. 

If you were trying to make friends with someone from another country, what problems do you think you might have?

Would you say it is easier to make friends now, or was it easier in the past?

CLOSE FRIENDS

Tell me what you think ask the qualities that a close friend must have. 

Do you think it is really possible to have more than three or four close friends?

People can live without close friends. Do you agree with this statement?

RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN NATIONS

Some people say that certain events can help bring nations closer together. What events are they talking about?

Would you say that international travel is helping to improve understanding between different nations?

Some people say that every nation needs to preserve their own identity. What do you think? 

LIVING TOGETHER IN A COMMUNITY

In your local area which places do people commonly go to meet friends?

Many people feel that it is important for people in a local community to communicate with each other. Why do they think that? 

In some communities everyone knows everyone else. What might be some disadvantages to this situation?

CHANGES TO COMMUNITY LIFE

Compared with the past, how important do you think community life is these days?

In the modern world, what effect is modern technology having on community life?

And how do you think community life will be different in the future?

ADAPTING TO CHANGE

Certain people seem to find adapting to change really difficult. What do you think are the main causes of this?

I have heard it said that in the long term, change is always positive. Is this a view that aligns with your own?

Is change something that we, as humans, need in order for society to continue developing?

CHILDREN AND TEAMWORK

How important is it to encourage children to play team sports?

When at school, what are some activities that children will do better as part of a team than alone?

Why is it that some children don’t like being part of group activities?

SUCCESSFUL WORK TEAMS

At work, what characteristics make someone a good team member?

Is it true that every successful work team needs a leader?

What do you think people enjoy more: individual success or team success?

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Most countries try to be part of international organisations of some sort. What are the main benefits countries experience as a result?

Would you say that international cultural events are an effective way of bringing countries closer together? 

In the future, do you think we are likely to see countries working together more or less often?

TYPES OF GAMES

In your country, what are the most popular games for kids?

Do you think that girls and boys should play the same types of games?

How are games children play these days different from the ones children played in the past?

THE IMPORTANCE OF PLAYING GAMES

Some people say that children can learn a lot from playing games. What is it that they can learn?

What positives can be gained from families playing games together?

There are people who believe that computer games are beneficial for children’s development. What is your take?

COMPETITION

What do you think about competition in the workplace? Is it necessary or important?

What about international competitions like the Olympic Games? Do these have any value?

To what extent do you believe competition contributes to the progress we make as human beings?

BUYING GIFTS

In your country, what are some of the most popular or normal gifts people give to each other?

Some people say that a gift should be something that is actually useful. What do you think?

Most people would say that it’s easier to find a gift for some people that for others. Why is that?

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF BUYING GIFTS

In your culture, what are some of the main reasons people give gifts to each other?

Do men and women treat buying gifts differently?

When a gift is given, how significant do you think the price is to the person giving the gift and the person receiving it?

THE IMPACT OF GIVING GIFTS

Is it true that the pressure parents feel to give their children a lot of gifts has increased in recent years?

How do you think giving gifts benefits the economy of a country?

Some people say that giving gifts causes increased materialism, or the belief that money and possessions are the most important parts of our lives. Do you think then, that the commercial and economic benefits of gift-giving are more important considerations? 

EARLY MORNING

What are some reason why people have to get up early in the morning?

What type of person do you think finds it easy to get up early in the morning? 

Some people think that the best time to study or work is in the morning. What do you think?

SLEEP PATTERNS

What benefits are there to taking a nap at some point during the day?

How do you think working at night affects people’s sleep patterns?

What about age? Do you think a person’s age makes a difference to the amount of sleep they need?

THE INFLUENCE OF THE SUN

In some parts of the world, the hours of daylight and darkness don’t change very much throughout the year. What do you think is good and bad about living in these places?

Would you say that governments and businesses around the world are doing enough to harness the energy we can collect from the Sun?

Is it true that the amount of sunlight a country gets makes a big difference to the prosperity, or the success and wealth, of a country?

OUTDOOR PLACES

Tell me some of the places you can think of that people like to spend time in. 

Tell me about some of the different activities that people can do outside.

Would you say it is always heathy to spend time outdoors?

NATURE AND CITIES

In your opinion, how much do cities need their green spaces?

Why is it often difficult for cities to provide enough green space?

How does the growth of a city impact the surrounding countryside?

THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT

How have humans affected the Earth’s natural environment?

Do you think that government campaigns are an effective way to improve the cleanliness of the natural environment?

Some people seem to believe that human development means pollution is unavoidable, or perhaps inevitable. Tell me what you think about that idea.

LEARNING THROUGHOUT LIFE

How important is it for people to continue learning new things?

In your country, how easy is it to keep learning or studying throughout life?

Would you say that governments should fund courses for retired people to take?

SOURCES OF INFORMATION

What differences are there between now and the past in terms of how easy it is to get information?

There is a lot of information on the Internet. How reliable do you feel this information is? 

Is it true that life experience is the most reliable source of information 

GENERAL KNOWLEDGE VS. SPECIALIST KNOWLEDGE

How important is it for a country’s population to have a good level of general knowledge? 

Some people have a lot of general knowledge, whereas others only have knowledge about very specific things. What are the benefits of these two different situations?

Which do you think is more beneficial to society as a whole: having a lot of specialists, or a higher level of general knowledge for the general population?

GOING TO SPECIAL PLACES

What special places are there in your country that people like to visit? 

Why do people go to these special places?

We can see special places on TV or in person. What benefits are there to these different ways?

BUSINESS TRAVEL

What are the reasons that business people feel they need to travel to other countries? 

These days, I think a lot of people believe that business trips are unnecessary because of modern technology like the Internet. What do you think about that? 

As people become more concerned about the environment do you think the amount of business travel will fall in the future?

SPACE TRAVEL

Why do you think some countries choose to invest in space travel?

Space tourism is a misuse of the Earth’s resources. Do you agree with this statement? 

How likely do you think it is that humans will really ever establish colonies in space?

SPEAKING OTHER LANGUAGES

How possible do you think it is to learn to speak a foreign language well? 

Would you say it’s easier to learn to write a foreign language or to speak it?

I often hear people say that it’s easier for children to learn languages than adults. Do you think that is true?

ENGLISH AS AN INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE

How do you think the ability to speak English benefits people in terms of their career opportunities?

Do you think it’s easier to learn and practice English now, or was it easier in the past?

Do you think that English will continue to be the main language used in international business and communication or do you think that will change in the future?

LANGUAGES AND CULTURE

Without speaking the language of a country, do you think it is possible to understand its culture?

Is it true that countries that speak the same language have similar cultures?

In the long term, does it really matter if small or minority languages die out?

ANIMALS IN ZOOS

What types of animals are usually kept in zoos in your country? 

Some people say that it would be better for all animals to be free rather than in zoos. What is your opinion about that?

Are zoos a good use of public money?

WILD ANIMALS

What are the biggest dangers wild animals face in your country?

Are there any differences in the attitudes younger and older people have towards the protection of wild animals?

How do you think human activity will affect wild animals in the future?

ANIMALS IN HUMAN SOCIETY

Why do some people choose to have dangerous animals as pets?

Some people believe that animals should never be used for entertainment purposes. Why do they think that?

OK, and lastly then, is it true that you can tell the quality of a society by the way it treats its animals?

CHILDHOOD

Tell me some things that most children find funny? 

What do you think about the idea that children learn better when they are enjoying themselves?

I’ve often heard people say that childhood is the best part of life. Do you think that’s true?

PARENTHOOD

What do you think is the ideal age to have a child?

Tell me what you think makes a good parent? 

There are some people who believe new parents should have to undergo training to learn how to be a good parent. Is that your opinion, too?

SOCIETY AND FAMILY

Do you think that children in modern societies are allowed too much freedom?

There is some debate as to whether people without children should have to contribute to the education system. Do you think they should, and if so, to what extent?

In general, how much do you think broader society outside of the family group should be involved in bringing up children?

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