Tricky or strange IELTS part 1 speaking topics.
Part 1 of the IELTS speaking test is actually the easiest. The topics are nearly always about you and your experiences. Usually, the topics are pretty easy everyday topics such as Job/studies, hobbies, food, travel, hometown, music, daily routine and so on. The examiner asks between 9 to 12 questions around 3 topics and this part of the test lasts around 5 minutes.
However, sometimes the examiner might ask you questions around an unusual topic. This is quite normal as the examiner wants to check whether you have memorised answers to the most common topics and needs to evaluate your true ability. Do not memorise stock answers as the examiner is trained to spot these and you could lose marks.
What’s the best approach?
Well quite simply just answer the question in a clear direct manner and don’t panic. There is no need to give complex answers or go into too much detail either. For each topic, you will be asked around 4 questions and there are 3 topics in IELTS part 1 speaking.
Here I have chosen some questions from random topics as an example.
Answer the question directly
Remember to answer the questions according to the grammar. So if you are asked yes-no questions such as ‘Do you….?’ then answer with ‘Yes I do’ or ‘No I don’t’ or a hypothetical question with ‘Would you…?’ then answer with ‘Yes I would….’ or ‘No I wouldn’t... ‘ and then you can go on to explain in a little more detail.
Important: Make sure you directly answer the question, don’t mis-answer like in the example below.
Q: Do you like to travel?
A: When I was younger I travelled all over Europe and had a great time, so I want to go back to Spain and Italy again one day.
How long should your answers be in this section?
In part 1 of the speaking test, the examiner has only 5 minutes to get through about 9 to 12 questions. So you should not go into long convoluted answers. Answer the question directly in 1 or 2 sentences. However, some questions might require you to go into a bit more detail, and that is fine too. See these examples below.
Don’t restrict yourself if you feel you can give a longer answer. But also be aware that the examiner is keeping time and needs to get through the questions in 5 minutes, so not every answer can be very long.
In some cases the examiner will adjust it and ask only 9 questions if time is running out. This is normal so don’t worry about that.
Part 3 of the speaking test is where you are expected go into more detail in your answers.