New IELTS Speaking Topic February 2017: Riots

Riot: New IELTS Speaking Topic Feb 2017

The topic of Riots is a new IELTS speaking topic for February 2017. It appeared this month in IELTS speaking part 2 and part 3. Below are sample questions and ideas for the topic.

I’ll upload a pdf file to download later this week with the vocab and tips below.

Meaning: Riot & Demonstration

Lets look at the meaning of “riot” and “demonstration”.  Below you can see two pictures, one of a riot and one of a demonstration.

Riot:a violent disturbance by a crowd of people (in public areas), sometimes a violent protest

ielts riot topic 2017

Demonstration or street protest: an action by a mass or group of people in favour of or against something. This is often in the form of a peaceful march (a walk) with signs and messages.

deomonstration vocab ielts

Connection between demonstrations and riots

As you can see there are similarities, they both involve a group of people gathering in public. A demonstration might start peacefully but as strong emotions rise and people become angry, it may turn violent and become a riot.

Most people go to demonstrations because they want to share their message to the world and have peaceful intentions. However, some people go there because they want to start violence and their intention is not related to a message but an opportunity to start trouble. So, people’s intentions and aims are deeply involved in the difference between riots and demonstrations.

Reasons for riots

  1. people are provoked by police and turn angry
  2. society has broken down and rules no longer count
  3. an opportunity for violent people to enjoy themselves and cause trouble
  4. poverty and unemployment which creates desperation and anger towards the government and state
  5. government brutality towards a person or a group of people causing anger and violent protests
  6. once there is a trigger and anger turns violent, it starts building and grows in violence becoming a riot
  7. sometimes violent people see this as a chance to be violent because their identity is hidden in a group

Recent Riots and Demonstrations Worldwide:

France Riot: Violent protests over alleged police brutality that began in the mainly immigrant suburbs earlier this month spread to central Paris and other cities on Wednesday night (15th February 2017) and 49 people were arrested. Link: A newspaper article with video about this riot:

Greece: A protest which turned violent due to austerity measures in Greece, Dec 2015. Link: A newspaper article:

USA: Protests and demonstrations caused by Trump’s inauguration as President. Link: World Wide Protests: Riots in America:

Sri Lanka: The information below was written by a student called Thoshanka, who posted it on my Recent IELTS Exams Questions page. Thanks, Thoshanka.

Sri Lanka

I would like to share the following on riots if it may help anyone for their speaking test. I’m from Sri Lanka. My country accounts for a tale of woe in riots in 1983. In brief, the dominating ethnic group in the country Singhalese started attacking the minority of Tamils in the country based on the reason where an ambush by the LTTE (Tamil militant group) killed a number of Army soldiers. 

The violence in the country created such horrific consequences on people they burnt people’s houses and it was called “race riots”. People encountered great inconveniences due to the curfew that was imposed every now and then. It was an era of darkness until the Govt intervened and took necessary measures to control the situation.

Vocabulary and Collocations for Riots and Demonstrations Topic:

tear gas = gas that irritates the eyes and is sometimes used by police in riot control

police brutality = violence by the police

the protest drew people = the protest attracted people

normal life skidded to a halt = normal life stopped abruptly

molotov cocktails = a bottle which contains liquid that is flammable and acts like a fire bomb

looting = stealing goods from shops and houses during a riot or war

clash (between police and protesters) = violent confrontation

placards = signs which are carried and contain a message

outbreaks of violence = sudden occurrence of violence

participate in a demonstration = take part in …

This topic is very difficult to deal with in IELTS speaking so you definitely need to prepare for it. Hopefully the above comments will help you in part 2 and 3. Below are typical questions with some suggestions for ideas.

Riots: IELTS Speaking Part 2 Topic 2017

Riot: IELTS Cue Card February 2017

A time when you heard about riots in another country

  • what did you hear
  • when did you hear it
  • how did it make you feel to hear about it
  • what suggestions can you make for reducing riots

what you can talk about in your talk:

  1. talk about the news program when you heard about it or a person who told you about it
  2. talk about what happened in the riot
  3. when you heard it, where you were, who was with you
  4. talk about how you felt (confused, angry, frightened) and why you felt that
  5. talk about if you agree with riots or think they are wrong
  6. talk about why demonstrations are better as a way to deal with social problems and problems of justice
  7. talk about common attitudes in your country toward violence
  8. talk about how social problems or justice problems can be solved to reduce riots
    1. increase employment
    2. increase benefits
    3. investigate injustice
    4. control and monitor known violent people who participate in riots and encourage others to violence
    5. better police training to deal with riots and violence
    6. harsher punishment for those who participate in violence

You can add any information you want to your talk. Although there are only about 4 prompts, my suggestions create 8. Always expand your talk.

What happens if you can’t remember any riots in speaking part 2?

You can choose to talk about something close to the topic but explain that at the start of your talk “I haven’t been following news and don’t know about riots, so I’m going to tell you about a problem which happened recently in my country…” You won’t lose marks for doing this!!

Riots 2017: IELTS Speaking Part 3 Questions & Sample Answers

What are the advantages and disadvantages of riots?

There are few advantages but one is that sometimes social or injustice problems are solved quicker and more attention is brought to the issues. On the whole, riots are wrong and this is because they disrupt social order, cause damage to property, can result in deaths or serious injury. Also there are economic drawbacks, such as businesses having to close and lose business or tourists deciding not to go to that country.

Notice: If you think there are no advantages, just say that. The examiner is looking for you to take control of the question and express your views clearly – that will give you a high score.

How do riots affect society?

Riots have a really negative impact on society. People feel that rules are breaking down which means they feel threatened and feel less confidence in their police or government. Another problem is that riots can increase prejudice against groups of people which in turn can make people feel unsafe and sometimes lead to more violence.

IELTS Tips and Model Answers

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  1. In ilets exam can we change our cue card mam?

    • No. You can’t change any topic in IELTS. You do not need to have any special knowledge, just talk about what you think – your own experiences, your own opinions, your own feelings, your own hopes, your own memories.

  2. Hi my exam was on 8April and my speaking topic 1 was about dreams how often do you see on your dreams, can someone told you about your dreams, how is your view about dreams?? About robots?? Topic 2was your future holiday? Unfortunately i didnt able to exptend my answers about dreams and robot😌

    • Thanks for sharing 🙂 You were unfortunate to get those topics. They are not great topics for part 1. I’ll keep my fingers crossed you still do well 🙂

      • Hello Liz,
        In IELTS speaking, I answered all question in part 1 and 3 but in part 2 I kept silent for about 10 seconds and then started speaking. But overall, I was fluent.
        Also some of the facts I stated weren’t true and it looked like I didn’t have much idea.

        Is this gonna affect my score ?

        • It might affect your score. But it really depends if your fluency was strong otherwise. Just a short pauses isn’t usually a problem.

  3. Hi Liz, You are wonderful. God bless you.

    I am preparing for my IELTS that’s coming up on the 8th of April. I have written it before and scored L 7.5, w 7.5, R 7 and Speaking 7.

    I need higher scores especially in Listening. Your site been helpful in my preparation.

    Thanks and keep up the good work

  4. I am having my speaking test just after two days and i am much afraid specially after reading the new topics these are really very scary.

  5. Please anybody tell to me is there any chance of changing cue cue card (jan2017-april) in month of april or not ….because i filled exam test date of 29th april acadamic ..

  6. thanks maam 🙂

  7. Hi Liz,
    I am from Melbourne, and just finish my ielts exam.
    First of all, i would like to thank you Liz for all your blogs and information you provide to us. Last night, i was looking for some information regarding TRUE/FALSE/ NG.. i check your page, it was so helpful for me.
    Today in exam, i found 8 questions on true/false/ NG in my reading (section 4). Rest of the reading was quite simple except the last section.
    writing topic task 2:” Some people think that learning paint or drawing in school is useful while other believe its a wastage of time”. what extend do you agree? give your opinion on both side..
    Task 1: Invitation to your friend to join you for holidays .. further information, where (place) ? explain why you want him to join you? why you need holidays?
    Listening : quite different, as in all sections under instruction- answer in ‘ one word only or a number’ just one word..
    Speaking : All about where i live? why? what is special about that place? in general
    Topic, your favorite speaker? who? have you recently attend any ? why? Any influence on your life?
    Part three speaking, examiner ask me about robotic movies? my interest ? why? and some questions on my studies, some on future planning.

    Again many thanks LIZ.

  8. Kristal Hambury says

    Hi Liz,

    I have found your website incredibly useful and thank you so much for sharing your insight on the IELTS tests. I had my speaking test today in Abu Dhabi. I’d like to help other test candidates and share what it was about.

    Part 1
    Do I live in a house or apartment?
    Do I work or am I a student?
    Do I like being near water?
    Do I like to take vacations where there is water?
    Are there small businesses where I live?
    Do I think small businesses success can vary from place to place?

    Part 2
    Would I start up an online business, if so what, where and why?

    Part 3
    Would I prefer working for a company or working as my own boss?
    Was it easier now or in the past to set up online businesses?

    And that’s as far as I can remember 🙂

  9. Hi Liz, Let me express my gratitude towards you for taking such an effort on IELTS. All contents of your website are informative and useful.Let me be a part of your sharing community and post some of the questions I had for my speaking test.It was GT IELTS-British council conducted on 3/3/2017 at Thrissur,India

    Part 1-Questions -Doyou like Robots, why?. what do watch in Televison and why? As a child did you watch too much television and why? did you want a robot and would you give an activity like driving a car to a robot?Why/why not

    Part 2:Children, give me an instance when you had to spend time with them did you enjoy and how did you spend it with them?

    (part 3- I felt was very region specific and culture specific…..Hence in caps)

  10. hi liz.. can we get marks in points in speaking

  11. Liz: I just sat for my test today, February 26, 2017 at 1520hrs and literally just finished. I can not thank you enough for all the material you have provided on the site to assist us with preparation.

    For those who are about to sit for the test, please I can not encourage you enough to practice, practice, practice using the material on this site. I was tested on robots, mirrors, a visit to the countryside and the environment. Hope this helps another candidate!

    • Thanks for your message. Sounds like you got some tough topics in speaking. Robots and Mirrors are not easy topics. Fingers crossed you did well 🙂

  12. Hi Liz,
    I would like to thank you because your IELTS pages were extremely helpful for my preparation.
    Today I had the speaking assessment (Academic module) at the British Council,Muscat.
    Section 1 :
    Where do you live?
    How does your apartment look like?
    Who was your favorite teacher is school?
    what qualities about her did you like?
    Why do you think these qualities are important for a teacher?
    Have you had any experience as a teacher?
    What do you like about bags?
    What are the features you look for when buying bags?
    Do you use different bags for different occasions?
    Section 2:
    Describe a place where people come together to play various sports in your hometown
    who comes there?
    what are the facilities available?
    why is this space so important?
    do you think there must be more emphasis on sports/
    what are the qualities which a person develops by playing sports?
    as a family is it a good thing to play sports?
    will you encourage your children to play sports?
    section 3:
    do you think competitiveness is on the rise in today’s world?
    why do you think people are so competitive?
    is it a good thing?
    do you agree that competitiveness is essential?
    what are the drawbacks of competitiveness at all the places?
    do you encourage competitiveness in your family?
    is materialism a direct result of competitiveness?

  13. Hello Liz,

    I’ve just finished my IELTs speaking test.(24/2/2017)
    Module : academic

    I was very nervous and I did very verg bad. I hope I can get above 5.5 in that section.
    The exam was as following:

    Part 1
    The usual question in my name.
    Then I Had some questions about :
    1. Living in house or apartment
    2. Describe your apartment
    3. What to you look at from your apartment.
    4. Where do you live?
    5. Why do you like living in your town?
    6. Will you live in your town in th future.
    7. Do you like chocolates?
    8. Why people love chocolates?
    9. Will you give someone a chocolate gift?

    And part 2 was the really hard section .. the topic was not hard but unpredictable at all.
    “Describe a situation in which you faced a wild animal”
    Why do you remember.

    I talked for 1 min and for 20 seconds and I paused I didn’t know what to talk about even I did take notes, I repeated my self two or three times.

    1.Do your people like zoo?
    2. What animals are interesting in zoo?
    3. Is zoo visiting educational?
    4. Do you agree that all animals can be kept in a zoo? ( I answered yes all animals can be kept in a zoo.
    5. She then continued even if they dont provide good habitate like wild life.
    ( and here I give reasons that if we cannot provide good enviroment and mimic nature we should release them to the wolf where they belong)
    6. Is it good for people and animal to protect indangered animal ( something in that meaning)
    7. Is it good to have an international organization for protecting animal ( again, i cant remember the exact question) ( it was so unexpected that I spelled extincted as extented 😂)
    The last two questionswas very long she even had to repeat the question because she couldnt call it out. I asked to repeat those questions)

    Thats all I can remember.
    I wish I can help others with my comment.
    Wish me good luck in completing the exam tomorrow ( listening, reading and writing sections)

    At last, I would like to thanks you Liz, ai have watched your videos and they were very useful for me.

  14. Lynette Dmello says

    Hi Liz,

    I just gave my speaking exam today. My test was really confusing. The examiner asked me random questions and I had to jump my thought process from one to the other. Wanna post some stuff to help the others. Following are the questions:
    Topic 1
    Do you work or study?
    What kind of a job do you do?
    Why are you doing that kind of a job ?
    If you ever had a chance to work somewhere else where would you work and why?
    Do you like to go out on a holiday?
    Where do you go often?

    Topic 2
    Describe a person whom you met recently
    1) Where did you meet him?
    2) How did you meet him?
    Something that you really liked about the person

    Topic 3:
    Where do you meet new friends?
    Do you like to stay at home or go out on a holiday?
    Do you think it is important to have friends at work?
    Do you think you should make your boss your friend?
    Do you think it’s important to socialize over work?

    I would like to thank you for all the videos you have shared on your site. It has really helped me. I will definitely share my results here too.

    • Thanks for sharing 🙂 The examiner can sometimes be challenging when it’s a high level student – mostly because they are trying to extract high levels of English from you which is required for the high scores. So, for now, I’ll take it as a positive. But lets wait and see – fingers crossed 🙂

  15. Hi Liz,

    Had my speaking test today in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    These are some of the question that was asked

    Part 1
    – what do u always bring when you travel
    – do you bring the same thing if you go out during the daytime and evening
    -have you ever forgotten to bring something important?
    -How do u make sure that you will not forget it the next time?
    – tell me about the public transport in your country/city?
    – the longest time you ever travelled in a public transport?
    – do you think people will travel with public transport in the future?

    Part 2
    – describe the holiday that you want to go in the future

    Part 3
    – what is the appropriate age to travel
    – why do people travel
    – what is the problem can arise when people travel
    – do you think people will travel more in the future

  16. Doshab Siddiqui says

    I am from Pakistan
    My speaking test was on 22-Feb-2017.

    My topic for speaking test part 2 was ‘ Describe your encounter with a wild animal’

    1) What was the animal doing?
    2) How did you feel?

    For speaking part 3 the examiners asked the flowong questions:

    1) Is it OK to keep animals as pets?
    2) Why do people keep animals as pets? How does it benifits them?
    3) Is it OK to kill animals to make various products?

  17. Feruza Fayzieva says

    Hi Liz! I’m Feruza from Tashkent.Today I took Speaking test. Part 1 was about my atudies, home town.etc
    Part2 Talk about a place in another country that you would like to work
    Why would you like to work there
    Whom you heard about this place
    Part3 was about benefits of working in international company, abroad
    I hadn’t seen this Part 2 question before
    In part 1 l was confident, but during Part 2 and 3 my self esteem undermined, l guess l repeated a lot of words and ideas

    • Thanks for sharing 🙂 It is common to get places in part 2. For example: a place you would like to go, a foreign country, a place to relax, a place with water etc. Work and foreign countries is typical as well as education and foreign countries. But lets wait for your results. Hopefully you did better than you think 🙂

  18. I really liked your teaching approach may Allah bless you. I like to improve my writing skills from your website

  19. His Liz, thanks for keeping us up-to-date!
    You are doing a great job!
    A pdf would be of help,

  20. His Liz,
    thanks a lot for sharing and for keeping us up-to date!
    A Pdf would be of great help, thanks

  21. thanks liz for sharing information,,,anyways i would like to seek your support on how to wirte report on pie chart

  22. hi,liz i am going to take Ielts on February .is “riot” the topic for all ielts tastes for this month.A pdf will be appreciated.Thanks

  23. Hi, Liz! Thank you very much for the topic! It’s really helpful. Could you please send the PDF file?

  24. Today is my Ielts speaking test

  25. Imran Muhammad says

    I had a topic of “In door Activities” and question on Risk taking with advantages and disadvantages – on 11th February in Saudi Arabia

  26. Hassan Mohammed says

    Thanks Ali Liz really Ur an amazing person
    I do like to have a PDF about thus topic

  27. Thanks Liz for the updates. May God Almighty bless you.

  28. Please give pdf file on these topics

  29. Reena Chaudhary says

    Thanku Liz for sharing this topic.

  30. hi liz
    if some don’t know the meaning of word in part 2 as ”RIOT” then what should we do as all the topic is just based on the meaning of this (one) word.

    • You explain that at the beginning of your talk and decide what you will talk about. You can see from the prompts that it is an event relating to a country, so use that and start your talk. Take control of part 2.

  31. Dear Liz,
    I just started watching your educational videos on YouTube and I’m your new subscriber. I really like your teaching approach and I admire your kindness for sharing your knowledge. I am learning a lot from you. Regards, Maria

  32. Hello. It’s new topic for me. Please, send me the pdf

  33. Patel Disha says

    Thanks for such a helpful information about the topic. Please send me a PDF

  34. Dear liz
    I have been browsing your blog for quite sometime and found it very useful. My test date is 25th feb and i was wondering if the examiner would ask questions on the latest or current news . Please advise me on this.

    • You are not going to be tested on your knowledge in IELTS. In writing task 2, your ideas and how you answer the question is marked but not your own opinion or knowledge. In speaking, even your ideas are not marked. You are marked on your language only. The speaking topics are mostly everyday topics: sport, family, weather, water, imagination, memory etc. You could get common topics which are repeated year after year. Or new topics such as that presented on this page. The topic of RIOTS is one of the worst I’ve ever seen which is the reason I wrote so much on this page. So, in answer to your question, no you won’t be asked about current events in the news but IELTS do like to use topics which are trending in the world today.

  35. Thanks for the detailed post Liz. And thanks for publishing my piece of information on Sri Lanka.

    Many thanks

  36. thanx a lot.
    a pdf will be very effective for me
    23rd of february, my speaking test

  37. Yes please share it

  38. Thank you and please do send a PDF.

  39. Thank you Liz, this is very helpful… Could you please download this topic as a pdf file ? Thank you..

  40. Liz, its so interesting and i want it in pdf

  41. Thank you Liz
    I wish if you could share us the pdf file.

  42. TASLIMA BEGUM says

    I am very interested about this topic, please send me the pdf.

  43. yewande aderibigbe says

    Interesting and new. Really new. A pdf will be appreciated. Thanks.

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