IELTS Speaking Part 2: Describe a place where you read and write (not your home) – This topic was from the previous season, however, it is still a current topic! Check out how to master all “place” topics here.

See below for suggested language, vocabulary and examples, suitable for band 7+

About this topic: A place where you read and write (not your home)

In recent months, this seems to be one of the most popular topics amongst the examiners for ‘places’ because it’s a specific place you go to for a purpose which makes it quite challenging. Consider a few possible subject/examples that could be used for other tasks & topics in the IELTS Speaking test Part 2.

Think about using libraries, cafes or parks as your subject/example because they can be used for around 5+ other current topics. I recommend either a Park or a Cafe even if you usually go to a Library.

Carefully read through the suggested language as it can be applied to other topics in the IELTS Speaking test too. As the saying goes, ‘hit two birds with one stone’. Most of this language can be used to talk about these topics too. It can, of course, be applied to the wider questions you will be asked in Part 3 also on the same topic as this one.

If you’re aiming to score band 7+ in IELTS Speaking, it is absolutely essential to have a well-rounded database of language that you can easily use in the test for a variety of topics.  Practice using this language around 5x times in your own sentences, then apply it to your answers.

With a topic like this, if you find it difficult to generate enough ideas, you can always speak briefly about the place then move onto using our F.O.E method to add more valuable language to your answers so that you can speak for the full 2 minutes.

We always recommend that you join our community so you can speak with other IELTS Speaking 123 users (for FREE) and practice “A place where you read and write” topic for as much time as you feel you need.

Describe a place to read and write (not your home) cue card

Suggested language & examples of use with definitions

“(get/be) in the zone” – I go there to focus and get in the zone (informal; a state of mind, to be completely focused on something // high levels of concentration)

“frame of mind” – Whenever I’m in the right frame of mind I can write epic novels (phrase; a mood or state that influences your attitude or behaviour)

“quiet space” – I’m isolated (alone) there, it’s my quiet space (common collocation; a quiet area/space/zone)

“me time” – We all need some me-time every ‘once in a while’ (informal noun; time to yourself, alone away from others)

“as if the world around (subject, me/us/them) doesn’t exist” – When it’s just me and the pen, it’s as if the world around me doesn’t exist and I do my best work. (‘as phrase’ / expression; when you don’t notice your surrounding area)

“mind wanders / wandering mind” – When I’m at home I suffer from(with) a wandering mind // My mind wanders when I’m at home because of all the distractions. (similar to absent-minded, you can’t focus on something because your thoughts are somewhere else)

“go-to spot” – It’s my go-to spot whenever I want to read/write (informal adjective; something you seek due to it being reliable “go-to guy” “go-to player” etc)

“side-track(ed)” – It’s easy to get(be) side-tracked at home because of my family & other distractions (verb; to cause someone to be distracted or a distraction)


“attention span” – I have a much longer attention span whenever I go there (noun; length of time someone can concentrate on something/length of time something can keep someone’s attention, commonly collocated with a length adj) 

“hit the books” – Somewhere I go to hit the books and study hard (idiomatic, verb; to study with intensity or convictions)

“(worked my fingers) to the bone” – I wrote so much that I worked my fingers to the bone (informal, expression; to do something intensively, usually in preparation for something)

“bookworm” – I’m not normally a bookworm but when I’m there I wiggle (read- a funny ‘play on words’) all day ?  (idiomatic; someone who reads many books) 

“glued to (subject’s, my/her/his) hand” – The pen was glued to her hand that day (idiomatic; overuse – to do/use something too much)

“the task at hand” – I can concentrate on the task at hand better when I’m there (noun; as in workload, what you’re doing or referring to doing)

“writer’s block” – I just couldn’t get in the zone… I had writer’s block because of all the noise (phrase; when a writer cannot think what to write next)

other useful language & collocations: spots (places), avid writer <-> novice writer, totally focused, completely consumed by, maximum productivity, the hours fly by, every so often, needs must, crack on, chop chop, &more (I’ll update this tomorrow)

Example in use:

Well, to be perfectly honest with you… I have a few go-to spots that I’m a regular at whenever I want to crack on and get some real work done.

Too many to count actually, my city is full of great spots for it, however, if I had to talk about one today, it would have to be The Coffee House in Cau Giay district, Hanoi, Vietnam.

I always find that my mind wanders when I try to read/write at home due to all the usual distractions, as you can imagine it’s so easy for me to get side-tracked by my family.

Whenever I want to have some ‘me time’ to get in the zone and hit the books, I’ll go there for a few hours of maximum productivity. It’s definitely my quiet space where I can really hit the books and get on with it, I guess it just puts me in the right frame of mind to work when I’m away from home.

I definitely have a longer attention span there than I do at home, I’m not sure why but I feel totally focused on the task at hand – I never suffer from writer’s block at The Coffee house either, it must be the coffee!

Every so often I write so much my fingers are worked to the bone because completely consumed by the pen, it’s as if the world around me doesn’t exist anymore.


Again, this is just an example of the language above in use, pay close attention to the use of other languages too underlined.

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