IELTS Speaking Part 1 tips. How to answer IELTS Speaking Part 1?

As we know, in Part 1 of the Speaking Test in IELTS, you will be asked personal questions and you are expected to provide brief answers.

It goes without saying that you need to quickly answer the question without hesitations and pauses. Moreover, you have to speak clearly with proper pronunciation.

Here, we will focus on the content of the answer. What exactly do examiner in the Speaking section want to hear? What types of words, phrases, and grammatical structures to use? These IELTS Speaking Part 1 tips will help you to boost your score.

Paraphrase, paraphrase, paraphrase

The first and one of the most important IELTS Speaking Part 1 tips is you should remember to never repeat the wording of the question into your answer.

For example, if you are asked “Where do you live?“, it is advisable not to answer “I live in Kathmandu.

Or, if the question is “What do you like to eat?”, do not say “I like to eat burgers.

As the question is asked, your brain should immediately start searching for synonyms or idiomatic expressions to substitute the words in the question when you respond.

So, instead of “I live in Kathmandu.“, you could say “I am a resident of Kathmandu.

Similarly, rather than saying “I like to eat burgers.“, you should say “I love to have burgers.

Try as much as possible to not use the same words from the questions while providing your own response.

To learn more about the process of paraphrase, click here »

Examples of paraphrase

Do you enjoy watching movies?

I’m a big fan of Hollywood cinema. I particularly love superhero films like The Avengers and Joker.

What do you do in your free time?

Whenever I get some leisure time, I check social media notifications on my phone. I also spend my time off playing the mobile game PUBG.

What type of music do you like?

I’m really into hip hop. I love listening to my favorite hip hop artists like Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Kendrick Lamar.

Do you exercise?

Yes I workout daily. I go to Total Fitness Gym, which is near my house, everyday and lift weights.

Do you enjoy traveling?

I’m very fond of visiting new places. I usually arrange short vacations to different hill stations near my hometown.

IELTS Speaking Part 1 tips: Be direct; do not beat around the bush

boy singing into microphone

While learning to paraphrase, many students develop a bad habit. That is to talk in circles instead of hitting the nail on its head.

Take for example this question: “What do you like to eat?”

A bad response to this question would be: “I like many kinds of food. I do not have a specific favorite food but I love to have spicy food.”

From my experience as a teacher, I have realized that most students, especially from Asia, are very humble and do not want to directly state their mind. Although such an attitude is considered a polite behavior in Eastern societies, Westerners may deem you to have a lack of conviction and assertiveness.

A better answer for the questions is: “Egg fried rice is my favorite food. My mom is an excellent cook, and she prepares egg fried rice as my afternoon snack everyday.”

Another one of the IELTS Speaking Part 1 tips is to always pick a straightforward answer to whatever is asked, and then elaborate on that answer by providing reasons or examples.

What do you enjoy watching on television?

Bad answer: I do not watch tv much, but I sometimes watch news and sports.

Better answer: I am a big football fan, so I never miss English Premier League matches on Star Sports Select HD1 channel. As live matches are usually broadcasted on the weekends in the evening, I set reminders on my phone so that I never miss football.

Do you like your neighbors?

Bad answer: Yes. All of my neighbors are very nice and helpful. We live peacefully and my neighborhood is a pleasant place.

Better answer: Attached to my house on the southern side, there live the family of The Gelals. They are fine people. While both Mr and Mrs Gelal are elderly, their son Suresh Gelal is around my age and we sometimes hang out. Similarly, Mr Chaudhary and his wonderful family live across the street from my house. Mrs Chaudhary regularly visits our house, and she is a very kind and thoughtful woman.

Use cohesive devices

Many times while answering questions in the Speaking test, examinees say a plethora of things by stringing together words, phrases, and sentences which might not be making sense to the examiner. The response might be meaningful to you, but due to errors in structure, the listener may struggle to comprehend. Therefore, cohesive devices, which are words or phrases that link ideas together, should be used appropriately.

Consider this example:

What makes you laugh?

Bad answer: I like to watch comedy shows on television and there are many funny actors and my friend Rahul is really funny so he makes me smile and I also watch funny videos on Youtube.

Good answer: I prefer to watch memes on Youtube in order to laugh. Similarly, there are many shows on television like talk shows and sitcoms which are really good for comedy. For example, I watch the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon as well as South Park. Therefore, whenever I am feeling bored or tired, I tune in to such programs for a hearty laugh.

The words and phrases underlined above are examples of cohesive devices. Notice how the second answer flows better than the first. The “in order to” in the the first sentence provides a link between the two parts of the sentence. The “Similarly” in the second sentence makes it clear that additional information about laughter is going to be said. The “For example” in the third sentence helps the listener to be prepared for an example of the earlier point. The “Therefore” in the last sentence primes the listeners for the conclusion of the response. And, the “such” in the last sentence refers back to earlier examples and thus avoids repetition of things already said.

Let’s look at one more example:

Do a lot of tourists visit your hometown?

I live in Biratnagar Metropolitan City which is an industrial area. Nevertheless, there are some beautiful parks, restaurants, and shopping centers where people from nearby cities come to visit. Also, the historical and religious monuments in the old part of the town attract a lot of travellers.

children in exotic location

Here is a list of some common cohesive devices you could use in your next speaking test.

Adding information

FurthermoreAdditionallyOn top of that
Apart from thatAlsoBeyond that
BesidesIn additionWhat is more

Comparing and contrasting

HoweverOn the other handIn contrast
By comparisonMeanwhileNevertheless

Giving examples

For exampleFor instanceTo take an example
Let’s look atA well known example isTo illustrate

Linking ideas

AnywayAnyhowI mean
WellBy the wayRight
You knowAs a matter of factOkay

How to answer IELTS Speaking Part 1: Complex sentences

Complex sentences do not refer to complicated sentences which are difficult to understand. In fact, complex sentences refer to a grammatical structure.

Consider this sentence:

I am hungry.

This sentence has one subject (I), one verb (am), and one object (hungry). Such sentences with just one verb are usually called simple sentences.

Consider these two simple sentences:

I am hungry. I want to cook dinner immediately.

There are multiple ways of combining two related simple sentences. One method is by using a conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so).

Look at the following sentence which combines the two sentences from earlier into one long sentence.

I am hungry, so I want to cook dinner immediately.

When two simple sentences are joined using a conjunction, a compound sentence is formed.

But there is another way to combine simple sentences. Consider the next example:

As I am hungry, I want to cook dinner immediately.

This is a complex sentence. In this example, the word “As” is used in the beginning in order to avoid having to use a conjunction. A comma separates the two parts of the sentences. The part before the comma introduces a problem and the part after the comma offers the solution. Also notice that if we divide the sentence into two parts by putting a full-stop (or period) instead of the comma, we get this:

As I am hungry. I want to cook dinner immediately.

The first sentence is incomplete. It is dependent upon the second part so as to complete the meaning. Such clauses (phrases) are called dependent clauses.

However, the second sentence is a complete sentence. It does not rely upon the first to give meaning. It can stand alone as a grammatically correct sentence. Such clauses are called independent clauses.

Therefore, a complex sentence is a sentence with one dependent clause and one independent clause. If both the clauses in the sentence are independent, then such a sentence would be a compound sentence. One part should be dependent and the other independent for a complex sentence.

man holding UK flag

Examples of complex sentences

If I get free time in the evenings, I play football with my friends.

Unless I have drunk a cup of coffee in the morning, I do not feel fresh.

Instead of watching movies on tv, I would rather go to the cinema.

Although I have completed high school, I still read books to broaden my knowledge all the time.

Even though my sister lives in Canada, she has not learned to communicate properly in English.

In addition to singing in a band, I am a member of a drama club.

Apart from visiting South Asian countries like Nepal and Bhutan, I have been to several African nations like Liberia, Mozambique, and Chad.

Due to the fear created by the media, the public are afraid to leave their homes.

In order to study for a Bachelor’s degree, I want to migrate to Australia.

When I am feeling lonely, I play my guitar.

Because of her hard work, she has become an excellent dancer.

During my summer vacation, I had gone to my uncle’s cabin in the woods.

In all the examples above, the first part of the sentences before the comma are dependent clauses. They need the second part to realize their meaning.

Please note: It is not necessary to always have dependent clause in the beginning of sentences and independent clause at the end. But in the examples above, this has been done to make the concept clearer by using the comma as a separator. A reversal of the order of the two clauses and removal of the comma still creates complex sentences. For an instance, I play football with my friends if I get free time in the evenings.

You have to practice creating such complex sentences because it might be very difficult to speak in such sentences naturally. You can follow the sentence structures of the examples above. To get a good score in the Speaking test, it is compulsory that you use complex sentences.

Next lesson:

IELTS Speaking Part 2: Giving a speech

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3 years ago

I like the article especially essay very much

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