January 2017 IELTS Speaking Topics

Below are reported IELTS speaking topics for January 2017. These topics will probably be used from January to April 2017 so it’s worth preparing ideas for them and practising them. You can also find useful tips and links further down this page.

Speaking Part 1  Topics for Jan 2017

Indoor Games

Hospitality / Visitors

Bags

Celebrities

Future Plans

Teachers

Holidays

Photography

Colour

Books

Shoes

 

Speaking Part 2 & 3 Topics for Jan 2017

A decision you disagreed with / Making Decisions

A place to live for a short time / Living and working in different places

A good service from a company / Business and services

A garden/ Growing food and the Environment

Best Holiday / Tourism and Travel

Starting a business / Business Success

A time you couldn’t use a mobile phone / Technology

An interesting advert / Advertisement

An appointment you forget / Time Management

Your favourite movie / Film Industry and Cinema

A tall building / Buildings and Town Planning

A person you met recently / Making friends and Socialising

A time you worked in a team / Team work & Leadership

Two people who were related to each other / Family

Tips and Useful Links

Read these useful tips and follow the links provide to learn more:

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Going Off Topic in IELTS Speaking Part 2

Is it wrong to go off topic in IELTS speaking part 2? Will you get a lower band score if you go off topic? Do you get a higher band score if you stay with the topic and follow the prompts given in IELTS speaking part 2? See the tips below to learn how your IELTS speaking is marked.

  • Is it essential to follow the prompts on your cue card for speaking part 2?
    • No, it isn’t. The prompts on the cue card are guidelines and support to help you build your talk.
  • Will you get a lower score if you don’t complete the cue card prompts?
    • No, you won’t. You can choose which prompts you want to use. You can ignore some and use others. You don’t get a lower score if you don’t complete the cue card prompts.
  • Are there questions to answer on the cue card?
    • No. There are no questions on your cue card. There are only prompts which are suggestions that will help you give a full talk. It is your choice to use them or not.
  • Can you add information in speaking part 2 that isn’t on the cue card?
    • Yes, you can. It is recommended that you add information to expend your talk. You will not get a lower score if you go off the topic by adding extra information that is not on your card.
  • Is the examiner marking your ability to use the prompts on the cue card?
    • No. You are not marked on ideas at all. You are only marked on your use of English language.
  • I heard that going off topic will reduce your score. Is that true?
    • Not for IELTS speaking. It is true for IELTS writing. In IELTS writing, you are marked on your response, ideas and being on topic. This is not the case for IELTS speaking. You can learn how band scores are marked on the links below.
  • Should you follow the prompts on the card?
    • I recommend that you use the prompts and also add extra information. The prompts are useful and provide a structure to your talk which will help your score. Adding extra information is a useful way to showcase your English language for a higher score.

Learn about how your speaking and other skills are marked: IELTS Band Score Explained

Prepare ideas for Common IELTS Speaking Part 2 Topics

Learn more tips for IELTS Speaking on the Main IELTS Speaking Page of this website.

Learn How to Start your Part 2 Talk

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Is Cursive Writing Recommended for IELTS?

Many students have been asking me about cursive handwriting and the best style of handwriting to use in the IELTS test. So, I want to explain to you what the examiner is looking for in your essay and how your handwriting will affect your score.

Can you use cursive script in IELTS writing?

Yes, you can use any style of handwriting you want. It is completely your choice.

Is it better to use cursive writing?

It is neither better nor worse. It makes no difference to your score.

HOWEVER, if your writing is difficult to read, you might lose points. If the examiner can’t read it, he or she won’t be able to give you a high score. Your writing MUST be clear and easy to read at all times!!

More Hand Writing Tips:

See the following link for Tips on Using Pen or PencilIf you want to learn about practicing your hand writing on the answer sheet for IELTS writing, see this link: Official IELTS Writing Task 2 Paper & Tips

Should you indent your paragraphs? See this page to learn about indenting or leaving an empty line between paragraphs:

You can find more tips and model essays for writing task 2 on the Main Writing Task 2 Page. All other main pages for other parts of the IELTS test can be found below. For advanced writing task 2 lessons, see my online store: IELTS Liz Store

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Sept 2016 Speaking Part 2 Topics

Below are speaking part 2 topics reported in the exam this month (Sept 2016).

IELTS Speaking topics and questions are recycled which means it is possible to get the same topics and questions again in the test. So, prepare all the topics below as well as common speaking part 2 topics: Common Speaking Part 2 Topics.

You can also find useful links and a free video at the bottom of this page to help you with speaking part 2.

Current Speaking Part 2 Topics: Autumn 2016

Describe your favourite film or movie.

Describe something you shared.

Describe something interesting you have done recently.

Describe a country you would like to work in for a short period of time.

Describe a place affected by pollution.

Describe a difficult choice you made that was the right one.

Describe a lesson you’ve learned from your mistake.

Describe a time when you were busy.

IELTS Speaking Tips:

IELTS Speaking Part 2 Video: How to start your talk

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Is Spelling Important in IELTS Listening

Yes, spelling is crucial in IELTS listening.

IELTS Listening scores are based on correct answers. This means for each question you answer correctly, you get one point. You don’t lose points for incorrect answers.

To get an answer correct, it must be spelled correctly. Any answer that is not spelled correctly will be marked wrong. IELTS accept both American and British English spelling.

Correct spelling includes the use of hyphens when necessary and knowing when compound nouns are written as one word.

Lessons for improving your Spelling

Click on the links below to practice your spelling:

How to improve your spelling

  1. Once way to improve your spelling is learning by heart. This means writing words down again and again until you can spell them correctly. Improve your vocabulary for IELTS with appropriate words lists for topics.
  2. Use spell checker on your laptop. When you do this, make sure you write down the list of words that you got wrong.
  3. When you write an essay at home, underline words that you think might be spelled wrong. Check them in a dictionary.
  4. Read more. Most people find that the more you read, the better your spelling will become. However, this is a passive method of learning and can take time. If you are short of time, then be active and make spelling lists.
  5. Use free spelling websites. You can find a link to one on this page: Useful Websites and Links for IELTS
  6. There is no quick easy way to improve your spelling, it takes time and dedication by you.

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Can I write a long introduction for my IELTs essay?

How long should your introduction paragraph be for IELTS writing task 2? Some students write two sentences (about 50 words) while other students write three or four sentences (about 70 words).

How long should my introduction be?

You should have two statements for your introduction. You should have a background statement which introduces the essay question and a thesis statement which introduces your position or main points. This means you will write about two sentences.

Can I write a longer introduction?

There is no reason to write a longer introduction. The only reason for the introduction is to introduce the essay topic and your position, any other information is unnecessary. Unnecessary information is a waste of time and shows a lack of focus for a short, concise essay.

The key to a good score for your IELTS essay is to write strong body paragraphs which each contain a clear, relevant main point that is extended and developed. So, don’t waste more time adding more to your introduction. You will be marked down if your essay includes unnecessary information or lacks focus.

What about a hook?

Many essays have a very general sentence at the start of the introduction to get the readers interest. For example “In the modern world, technology is playing an increasingly important role“. This is not needed in IELTS. You just need to introduction the essay question and then introduction your position or ideas. You must use your time wisely and spend more time planning your ideas and writing your body paragraphs.

How can I write a good introduction for IELTS writing task 2?

Just follow this link to a free video lesson on how to write an introduction for writing task 2.

Is the introduction the same for GT writing task 2?

Yes, the technique and aim for the GT essay is the same as the academic essay. That means all tips, models and lessons given on this blog can be used by ALL IELTS students.

 

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IELTS Speaking Using Contractions: wanna, gonna

Should you use contractions in your IELTS speaking test? Will you get a lower mark if you use contractions like “gonna”?

What are contractions?

A contraction is when you combine two words to make them shorter. It is = it’s. Most contractions are used in speaking and sometimes in informal writing.

Wonna / Gonna

  • want to = wanna
    • I really wonna go to the cinema tonight.
    • The majority of students wonna travel before starting university.
  • going to = gonna
    • He’s gonna visit his grandmother this evening.
    • The local council are gonna improve the roads in this area.

Wonna and gonna are only used in spoken English and not in formal writing (see below).

It is fine to use these words in your IELTS speaking test and in fact will help with your pronunciation band score.

Are these contractions in the Cambridge dictionary? Yes, they are. Follow the links: wanna and gonna.

Common  List of Contractions

To Be

  • I am = I’m
  • you are = you’re
  • he is = he’s
  • she is = she’s
  • it is = it’s
  • we are = we’re
  • they are = they’re

To Have

  • I have = I’ve
  • you have = you’ve
  • he has = he’s
  • etc

Will

  • I will = I’ll
  • you will = you’ll
  • he will = he’ll
  • etc

Negatives

  • is not = isn’t
  • are not = aren’t
  • does not = doesn’t
  • did not = didn’t
  • has not = hasn’t
  • have not = haven’t
  • should not = shouldn’t
  • would not = wouldn’t
  • could not = couldn’t

The contractions above for the verb to be, the verb to have, will and negatives are all used:

  1. in speaking
  2. informal writing, such as a letter to a friend or a personal email

However, they are NOT used:

  1. in formal writing, such as in IELTS writing task 2
  2. report writing
  3. formal letters or business letters

Advanced Contractions

The contractions below are only used in speaking and NOT in writing. It is good to use these types of contractions in IELTS speaking.

  • I should have = I should’ve
  • should not have = shouldn’t’ve
  • I could have = I could’ve
  • I could not have = I couldn’t’ve
  • I would have = I would’ve
  • I would not have = I wouldn’t’ve

Example Sentences Using Contractions:

  1. I should’ve finished my homework last night but I didn’t.
  2. He wouldn’t’ve gone traveling if he’d’ve known how expensive it was gonna be.
  3. The government should’ve developed better public transportation. If they wanna limit global warming, they need to limit the use of cars and the best way is to provide cheaper and more efficient bus services.
  4. If you’re gonna learn a language, then improve your pronunciation.

IELTS Speaking Pronunciation

Pronunciation is 25% of your marks for IELTS speaking. This means the way you pronounce sounds, words and sentences. Part of that does include linking sounds and linking words, such as gonna, wonna, it’s and doesn’t. So, try to learn these contractions are use them naturally in your test.

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IDP or British Council: Which is best for IELTS?

Which is best for IELTS, British Council or IDP? Where should you take your IELTS test?

  • There is no difference between the IELTS test at the BC and in IDP.
  • There is also no difference between examiners and marking in the BC and IDP.

Who owns IELTS?

Both IDP and the British Council are part owners of IELTS along with Cambridge English Language Assessment. This means they are all one company. Learn more information about the IELTS Test.

IELTS Test Difficulty Level

IDP and British Council conduct IELTS tests but they do not write them. All tests used at the BC and IDP are compiled by Cambridge English Language Assessment who is one of the joint owners of IELTS.

This means you will get the same tests if you are at BC or IDP.

IELTS Examiners & Marking at IDP & BC

All examiners for IELTS, both IDP and BC examiners, are trained in the same way, following the same guidelines.

Listening and Reading answers are marked clerically. They are based on right or wrong answers. Each right answer gives one point and your score is calculated based on the number of right answers. So, this never differs between test centers.

Writing and Speaking are marked by an examiner. All IELTS examiners, for both IDP and BC, complete the same training course, follow the same marking criteria and also the same band score descriptors. Examiners are also checked regularly to ensure they are not marking too high or too low.

Accents

IDP is Australian and BC is British but they both use a range of accents. In the listening test, you will get a range of accents (even American sometimes). In the speaking test, the examiner could come from any country and have any accent. You can use any accent you want in your speaking test: Australian, British or American.

IELTS Band Scores:

How to Choose: British Council or IDP?

  1. Choose a test center close to your home.
    1. The listening, reading and writing test is 2 hours and 40 mins. You will need to arrive at your test center feeling fresh and ready to concentrate. Choosing a test center near your home will help you do this.
  2. Check if the listening test uses speakers or head phones.
    1. Most students prefer to use head phones because they can concentrate better. You might want to check with your test center which they use.
  3. Test Dates in IDP or BD
    1. Decide which center offers you the test date you want. You should always take the test when your IELTS skills and English language is strongest. Also make sure you frequently hit the score you want in practice tests before booking your real test.

Share your Experience

Post a comment with your experience of BC or IDP for an IELTS test. Give some tips to other students.

 

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