Well, here we are. We made it to the May-August season! I’m very excited about the topics currently being used as there are some that I haven’t seen in a few years and others that are brand new!

If there are any topics on this list of IELTS Speaking 2021 topics May-August that are inaccurate, then I will adjust them immediately. 

Find your topic, click the button, see the possible questions, and read my model answers carefully 🙂 

IELTS Speaking Part 1 topics 2021 May - August
IELTS Speaking (Part 1) topics 2021 May-August

IELTS Speaking 2021 topics May-August

Part 1 - Newly added topics: Possible questions & model answers

1. Advertisements
  • Where do you usually see advertisements? 

Well, considering that I don’t watch TV anymore, I mostly see them on YouTube and Social Media. As you probably already know, they’re full of ads so I must see thousands of them every year.

  • Can you remember any advertisements you saw recently?

Sure. One that really stood out among the many was a decent BMW ad I saw on YouTube not so long ago. It was showing off their latest model of GS series motorbikes, I was absolutely blown away by the production quality and attention to detail

  • How do you feel about advertisements?

To be perfectly honest with you, I can’t stand them any longer. Having said that, when I was a kid, I actually used to love watching different ads on the TV, but the same can’t be said for the ads I see online these days. There’s just something about them that makes me count down the seconds to skip them. 

  • Have you ever bought something after seeing the advertisement? 

Yeah, I have, actually. I was scrolling through Facebook one day and saw an infomercial about a water repellent spray or somet’ like that. Once I saw how effective the product was, I immediately clicked the link and ordered a few cans of it. Surprisingly, it did exactly what it said on the tin, haha. 

  • Do you think the advertisement helped you make your decision to buy it?

Definitely. I wouldn’t have even considered getting it if I didn’t see it in action on the ad. Even though I despise most ads I see online, when I see a decent infomercial about a product that may prove useful in my day-to-day life, I usually give it the time of day it deserves

  • How effective are online advertisements? 

Hmm, it’s difficult to say, really. From what I’ve experienced, it’s safe to say that they tend to be more of a nuisance than anything. That may not be the case for everyone though, they may work as intended for a different audience than myself. For me personally, I can’t help but ignore them, or try my very best to ignore them anyway. 

2. Barbecues (BBQ)
  • Do you like barbecues? 

Yeah, I love ‘em, who doesn’t, right? I honestly reckon that they bring out the sweet, meaty flavour of beef n’ pork which conventional ovens or grills in the kitchen can’t. Not to mention, there’s just something about the sound of burgers sizzling on the grill that really whets my appetite, too. 

  • What kind of food do you barbecue?

All sorts, really. My personal favourite has to be a whole rack of spare ribs or pork chops that have been marinated overnight. I can’t think of anything better than lighting up a bunch of red-hot coals, sitting back with a cold beer, and tending the grill. It’s one of the few pleasures in life that makes the daily grind worthwhile, right? 

  • When do you usually have barbecues? 

Gosh, not as much as I’d like to. I wish I could have one every day of the week, but it’s simply not possible, y’know. I treat my wife n’ family to an authentic Korean Barbie a couple of times a month. Also, every now & then we love to go camping n’ have a good ole’ cookout

  • How popular are barbecues in your country? 

Hmm… Even though I can’t speak for everyone, I’d say most people love to have a good cookout whenever we get a spot of sunshine. Unlike many countries across Asia, the UK doesn’t have so many indoor BBQ joints where people can go to enjoy one regardless of the weather. Believe it or not, there are only a couple of months per year that we can have one, so people tend to take advantage of that whenever they can. 

  • Do you have any plans to go for a barbecue soon?

Yeah, at some point this month I’ll probably go for one, but I’m not exactly sure when that’ll be. I’m pretty swamped with writing content for the current season of IELTS topics at the moment, so once that’s out of the way, I’d love to go to my favourite Korean BBQ restaurant with my family. 

  • Do you prefer to barbecue indoors or outdoors? 

Y’know, if I had to choose between them, I’d have to say outdoors. There’s nothing wrong with having a Barbie indoors though, actually, sometimes it’s better, but I just love doing it outdoors. That way I don’t need to worry about making the house smell like a bonfire or burning it down 😛 

 

Useful vocabulary: 

Have a barbecue / To barbecue (just like picnic, we typically use the word barbecue in its noun form more often than its verb form)

Cookout / Barbie = synonyms for barbecue.

Grill (noun) = a metal framework used for cooking food over an open fire.

Sizzle (verb) = when food makes a sound similar to a hiss, typically when it is fried or grilled.

Light up (phrasal verb) = to ignite, typically a cigar, cigarette, pipe or charcoal.

Charcoal (noun) = a black or dark brown rock widely used as fuel for heating / barbecuing.

Red-hot coals (collocation) = when the charcoal has been ignited and it extremely hot.

Whet my appetite (phrase) = Whet means to excite or entice, typically someone’s interest, desire or appetite. The phrase means to excite your appetite which basically means it makes you desire the food even more.

Marinade (noun) = a sauce, typically made of oil, vinegar, spices, and herbs, in which meat, fish, or other food is soaked before cooking in order to flavour or soften it.

Marinate (verb) = to soak the foods mentioned above in marinade.

To marinate overnight = a cooking term, to allow the meat to rest in the marinade overnight, typically between 8 to 24-hours.

Conventional ovens (noun – collocation) = an oven widely used in kitchens or restaurants.

BBQ Joint (informal noun) = a restaurant where you can have a barbecue.

Korean barbecue (noun) = a style of barbecue that originated in Korea which is famous all over the world.

 

Useful structures: 

I’ve used loads of my usual structures in this topic, you’ve probably noticed by now that most of the structures I’ve used here were also used in many other topics. Try to learn from the way I use them and try to apply them to your own answers.

“There’s just something about ______________ that ____________” = used when you know the effect/result but can’t say exactly why (for example “There’s just something about Keith O’ Hare’s videos that makes me feel more confident using idioms”).

If I had to choose between them, I’d probably pick A = my typical response to do you prefer questions.

There’s nothing wrong with _______________ though, = used for “Do you prefer A or B” questions.

Believe it or not, = used when you want to say something that is true (the truth might also be surprising or unexpected to the listener, too).

Not as much as I’d like to = expression of frequency (used when you want to do something more than you do).

Every day of the week = expression of frequency (when you do something every day).

Every now & then = expression of frequency (around 50% of the time, like; sometimes).

At some point = at an unknown or unspecified point in time (I’ll reach 1,000 subscribers at some point).

My personal favourite has to be = I shouldn’t need to explain this one 😛

Even though I can’t speak for everyone, I’d say (that) = used when you don’t want to speak too generally but want to.

A spot of sunshine = a typically British way of saying “a period of good weather”.

 

3. Cars
  • Do you drive a car?

I do, yeah. I got my driver’s licence back when I was a teenager and I’ve been driving ever since. Besides being behind the wheel, I also ride a motorbike.

  • How often do you drive? 

Hmm… It’s hard to say exactly, but not as much as I used to, that’s for sure. Basically, since I’ve lived in Viet Nam, I haven’t gotten behind the wheel of a car, and quite honestly, I wouldn’t want to drive here. I think riding is much more suitable for these narrow roads and chaotic traffic.

  • Was it difficult for you to learn how to drive a car? 

From what I remember, it was pretty tough to wrap my head around it at first. My driving instructor almost lost his patience with me after the first few sessions, haha. Thankfully, after a couple more sessions, I managed to get to grips with the fundamentals of driving and got a real sense of how to drive.

  • What is the furthest place you have driven to before?

It’d have to be from Manchester to London. It must’ve taken me about 4 or 5-hours to get there one-way. I was a new driver at that time though, so I reckon I could do it in half the time these days 😛 Honestly, that was my first real road trip, and I haven’t driven that far since. Besides that, I’ve done a few tours on my motorbike which were much, much further.

  • Do you prefer to sit in the front seats or the back seats of a car? 

If I had to choose between them, I’d probably pick the front seat. Whether it’s in the driver’s seat or the front passenger’s seat. I dunno why but whenever I’m cooped up in the back seats, I get kinda carsick ‘cuz I can’t see what’s in front of us clearly. I never used to get carsick though, just since I’ve been driving myself. Funny, right?

  • Would you like to learn how to drive a car? 

(Answers for people who don’t drive) At some point, yeah! Though I have to admit that I’m worried sick about driving myself. I know it’s something we all need to learn one day, but I’m gonna put it off until I feel like I can handle it.

  • How would it help you? 

Well, it’d make the journey to university/work a heck-of-a-lot easier, that’s for sure! I’m sick and tired of relying on public transport to go to and from university/work, plus, here in (name of country), the trains/busses/subways are always packed full of commuters.

  • Do you think you would like to go on a long car journey?

Yeah, I probably would. Whether I’m driving or not, it’d be great to get out of the house for a few days and hit the road. I haven’t seen much of my country outside of my hometown, so I reckon a road trip would be the best way to soak up the sights and stop by new places.

 

Useful vocabulary: 

(get or be) Behind the wheel (phrase) = to drive a car/truck/bus.

To wrap my head around sth (idiom) = to understand something that may be challenging or confusing.

To get to grips with sth (phrase) = to begin to deal with something or understand how to do something.

Driving test (noun) = a test people must pass in order to legally drive a car (in most countries, the driving test is done in 2 parts, a theory test and a practical test. Think of the theory test as a paper-based exam that tests a person’s knowledge of road-safety laws, and the practical test like an exam that tests a persons ability to drive in the real world).

Driving instructor (noun) = a person who teaches others how to drive a vehicle.

Driving lessons (noun) = a lesson conducted by a driving instructor, typically an hour or two.

A new driver (noun) = someone who recently passed their driving test.

Carsick (adjective) = to feel sick whilst in a car, you can also be seasick and airsick.

Motion sickness (noun) = another way to say carsick “I have motion sickness” rather than “be/get/feel”

Road trip (noun) = a long journey that is done on roads.

Tour (noun/verb) = a long journey, or to do a long journey.

Driver’s seat (noun) = the seat in a car that the driver sits in.

Passenger’s seat (noun) = the seat in a car that a passenger sits in.

Road signs (noun) = signs on a road that gives drivers information.

Driver’s licence (noun) = a licence required (by law) to drive a car or vehicle legally (American English = License).

Car insurance (noun) = a form of insurance that protects your vehicle against financial loss in case of an accident or theft.

Commute (verb) = to travel from home to work, or from work to home.

Commute (noun) = a regular journey made from home to work, or from work to home (typically possessive; “my daily commute”).

Commuter (noun) = a person who is commuting.

 

Useful structures: 

“I’ve been _____ ever since” = I’ve done something since I started it (this is a great structure to use when you talk about your work, for example; “I started tutoring the IELTS back in 2015, and I’ve been tutoring it ever since”).

“Fundamentals of _____” = the basic concept of something.

“A real sense of ______” = a great structure when speaking about your home country, for example; “most people in Viet Nam have a real sense of national pride”.

“It must’ve….” = contraction (like I’ll or she’d) must + have (must’ve) = we use “Must’ve” to express an opinion about a past event that is based on our knowledge of it. It can be difficult to fully understand how and when to use “must + have” so just think of it this way: If you have some knowledge about something that leads you to form the opinion stated.

“I dunno why but” = very similar to “for some reason” and “there’s just something about ______ that _________”. If you are unsure about those 2 structures, check out my other model answers and read about how to use them.

“At some point” = at an unknown or unspecified time (“I’ll get 1,000 subscribers at some point”).

“Do sth in half the time” = to do something twice as fast (to do something 2x faster).

“If I had to choose between them, I’d probably pick….” = my usual response to “Do you prefer A or B” questions in Part 1.

 

 

4. Costumes
  • Did you ever wear costumes as a child?

No, not at home. My parents never got me one, but to be fair, I never asked for one either. Now that I come to think of it, I did wear one when I performed in the Nativity Play at school. I dressed up as one of the 3 Wise Men, it wasn’t much of an outfit though, it was more like a towel made into a robe 😛

  • How did you feel when you wore that costume?

Uhm… At first, pretty embarrassed, actually. Even though I wasn’t the only kid who was dressed up for the performance, I was the only one wearing a fake moustache. Plus the robe was a bit too small for me, so it looked more like a skirt than anything. Once I got over the initial stage fright, it ended up being one of my most treasured memories in school.

  • Do you like to wear costumes?

These days I do, yeah. I’ve been to loads of fancy dress parties over the years, and I absolutely love role-playing as a character. The thing I love the most is gathering all the bits n’ bobs I need for the costume, then putting it together and showing it off to everyone. It’s become a bit of a ritual every Halloween.

  • Which is your favourite costume? 

I’ve got a few that I love, but I’d have to say a traditional Vietnamese garment which is called an Áo dài. From the very first moment I wore one, I fell in love with them. It’s a national garment here worn by both men and women on formal occasions. If you didn’t know already, it’s a colourful, long, split tunic dress worn over trousers.

  • Are there any traditional costumes people wear in your country?

Hmm… In the UK? Honestly, I can only think of a Tuxedo. Although I’m pretty sure it originated in America during the 1800s, we’ve adopted it as our own for formal events. Over the past few decades, James Bond flaunted his Tux in every movie, and it’s since become an iconic garment in modern pop culture.

 

Useful vocabulary: 

Dress up (phrasal verb) = to dress in special clothes.

Garment (noun) = an item of clothing.

National garment (collocation) = an item of clothing worn by people of a certain nation.

Traditional garment/outfit/costume (collocation) = an item of clothing traditionally worn by people of a certain culture.

Outfit (noun) = a set of clothes worn together, typically for a particular occasion or purpose.

Flaunt (verb) = to display something (like clothes or achievements) in a way that causes people to envy or admire.

Show off (phrasal verb) = to display something or someone in a proud way (the child showed off his picture to everyone).

Fancy dress (noun) = an unusual or amusing costume worn to make someone look like a famous person, fictional character, or animal, especially as part of a theme at a party

A Fancy dress party (noun) = a kind of party where the dress code is fancy dress.

Dress code (noun, collocation) = a rule which states what clothes people should wear, for example, the dress code at our office is formal wear.

Black tie (noun) = extremely formal clothing worn on formal occasions, also used as a dress code (it’s a black-tie dinner event).

Formal wear (noun) = a formal set of clothes typically worn at formal occasions such as weddings and business meetings.

Casual wear (noun) = a casual set of clothes typically worn for everyday activities.

Smart casual (noun) = a mix of formal and casual clothes, typically worn at work or informal parties.

Role-playing (noun) = the acting out of the part of a particular person or character.

Look my best (idiom) = to look very, very good 🙂

Dress to impress (phrase) = to dress in clothes that will impress others.

 

Useful structures: 

An integral part of our culture = a very important part of a culture.

Defines us = something that defines who we are.

When people come to think of (country), they always think of (something) = something that people associate with a country or culture (when people come to think of Vietnam, they always think of Pho).

(Something) symbolizes (something) = The sakura flower symbolizes renewal and optimism.

We (wear it) out of respect for our ancestors/traditions/history = to do something because you must respect it.

But to be fair, = a fair contrast.

5. Environment
  • Do you worry about the environment? 
  • What do you do to protect the environment? 
  • Do you think enough people care about the environment? 
  • Did you learn about the environment at school? 
  • Would you like to change anything about your life in order to protect the environment?
  • Was the environment better when you were younger than it is nowadays?
6. Festivals
  • What is your favourite festival? 
  • Was that your favourite festival when you were younger, too? 
  • Can you tell me about some special festivals in your country? 
  • Have those festivals changed in recent years? 
  • Are western festivals becoming more popular in your country? 
7. Flowers
  • Do you like flowers? 
  • Have you ever received or sent flowers as a gift? 
  • Do you think flowers are a good gift? 
  • Are flowers expensive in your country?
  • How often do you buy flowers to decorate your home? 
  • What kind of flowers is your favourite? 
8. Holidays (vacations)
  • When was your most recent holiday?
  • Where did you go? 
  • How often do you go for a holiday?
  • Do you have any plans to holiday abroad? 
  • If you could choose any country in the world to visit on a holiday, where would you go? 
  • Do you prefer to have a long or short holiday?
9. Primary school
  • Did you enjoy studying in primary school?
  • Do you speak to any of your friends from primary school?
  • How difficult were classes in your primary school?
  • Do you think it was a good school? 
  • Have you ever visited your primary school since you left?
10. Relaxing
  • What kinds of things do you do to relax? 
  • When do you need to relax? 
  • Do you have enough time to relax each day?
  • Did you relax more when you were younger than you do nowadays?
  • How often do you relax at work?
  • Are there any places nearby where you live that you go to relax?
11. Wallets / Purses
  • Do you have a wallet or purse? (if no, why not?) 
  • What do you keep inside your wallet? 
  • Have you ever lost your wallet? 
  • Have you ever bought or received a wallet as a gift? 
  • Do you prefer big or small wallets? 
12. Wild animals
  • What is your favourite wild animal?
  • Would you like to have that as a pet? 
  • Are there any places nearby where you live that you can see wild animals? 
  • Do you enjoy watching TV shows about nature and animals? 
  • Did you learn about wild animals at school? 
  • Do you think it is important to protect wild animals? 
13. Sky and Stars
  • Can you see the stars at night time where you live?
  • How often do you look at the stars? 
  • Do you prefer to look at the sky during the day or at night time? 
  • When you were younger, did you ever think about going to space? 
  • Did you learn about the stars at school? 
  • Was the sky clearer when you were younger than it is nowadays? 

Reused topics Part 1 from the previous season:

1. Decorations
  • Do you like how your home is decorated?

Sure. It’s contemporary and quite minimal. I take great pride in my home’s appearance, though some people have said it doesn’t feel so homely, to me it’s perfect. 

  • How often do you redecorate your home?

Never, I don’t think my landlord would allow me to repaint anything or replace the furniture that came with the apartment. In terms of decorations, I have a few new plants and banzai trees, some paintings that I put up, but that’s about it, really.  

  • Are there any special or unique decorations in your home?

None that I can think of, no. Unless you consider a banzai tree as special, actually, I guess for back home’s standards, a banzai tree is remarkable, but here in Vietnam, it’s nothing out of the ordinary. 

  • Which room in your home is decorated better than the others?

I’d have to say my bedroom. There’s nothing wrong with the other rooms in my home, but my room has the most greenery dotted around, plus it’s the only room with noticeable decorations like paintings n’ flowers. 

  • Do you prefer to decorate your home or employ someone to do it?

Well, I’m really into anything DIY so I’d have to say doing it myself. The same can be said about other things, too. Like, a few weeks ago, I bought a new shoe rack which needed to be assembled by hand. I absolutely loved putting it together and following the instructions provided. 

2. Farms & Farming
  • Have you ever visited a farm before?

Yeah, back when I was in primary school we went on a school trip to an animal farm. It was pretty cool actually, I got to feed the pigs and watch the cows, etc. I have quite a few fond memories of it.  

  • Have you ever worked on a farm?

Uhm, no. Unless you consider what I just mentioned as working on a farm, then yeah, sure. Because I’ve lived in major cities throughout my entire life, I haven’t had so many chances to…  

  • Do you like farms? Why / why not?

Yeah, I suppose so. Believe it or not, I absolutely love the smell of them. There’s just something about it that makes me feel alive, y’know? Plus, I reckon it’s necessary to understand where our food comes from and how it’s cultivated, I guess that’s something I’ve always been interested in. 

  • What kinds of farms are common in your country?

Uhm, I’m not sure, really. I guess it’d predominantly be livestock and crops here in the UK. We’ve got plenty of grasslands dedicated to livestock where sheep n’ cows can roam freely and graze… In terms of crops though, I honestly haven’t got a clue. 

  • Are there any farms near where you live?

No, non at all. Like I mentioned earlier, I’m a typical city boy. The nearest farm I know of is a fair drive away, although, if there are any nearby, I haven’t discovered them yet. 

  • When you were younger, did you want to be a farmer? Why / why not?

Not that I remember, no. I always thought that one day I’d become an artist or a teacher, obviously the latter ended up coming into fruition as I’ve been tutoring the IELTS for the past 5-years. 

  • How important is farming?

I reckon it’s absolutely essential. Though most people consider medicine and education the most vital industries within society, I actually believe that farming is the backbone of all other industries. Agriculture should be seen in a different light, rather than unattractive, manual labour, people should realize how noble and crucial it really is. 

3. Waking up early
  • How often do you wake up early?

Uhm, each and every single day of the week, but over the weekend, hardly ever, I try to get a few hours extra on Saturday and Sunday. 

  • How do you feel about that?

Great. I think it’s the best way to live, y’know? The way I see it, if I wake up 3 or so hours before I start work, I get 3+ hours extra time to do whatever I want with. Usually, I’m too tired to do much after work, so those extra hours really help me stay productive.  

  • Do you need to use an alarm clock to wake up early?

Not anymore, no. My body clock is pretty reliable now. For some reason, I just naturally wake up at the same time each day, it’s quite spooky actually, but I suppose it’s a good thing.

  • Have you ever missed your alarm clock?

Yeah, that’s happened a number of times, mostly whilst I was attending university. I was a rather lazy, typical student back then- I’d go to bed late and wake up when it was necessary. Once I even missed a lecture because I hit the snooze button on my alarm. 

  • Do you wake up early on weekends? Why / why not?

Not usually, no. I try to get a few hours extra sleep over the weekends as I mentioned before. I consider it as a little treat at the end of each week, especially during any national holidays.

  • What do you do in the early morning?

I have quite an odd habit, actually. Each morning I start my day off with a cold shower, then I’ll clean my bathroom before making breakfast. Once I’ve showered n’ eaten, I’ll brew some green tea and check the news. After that, I tend to have around 2-hours before I start work so I’ll either read or work on my blog. 

  • Do you wake up earlier nowadays than you did when you were younger?

Definitely, haha. Looking back to when I was a kid, I used to sleep as much as possible… That’s to say, as much as I could before my mum would come and kick me out of bed. Having said that, these days I take pride in my sleeping habits more and try to be more productive. 

4. Happiness
  • What makes you happy?

Gosh, all kinds of things, really. Uhm, it’s quite tough to pinpoint exactly what makes me happy. It could be a special moment or a new gadget, even having some free time makes me happy, whether it’s a day off or just a short break from work… 

  • Are you a happy person?

Yeah, I’d say so. Well, at least for the most part, yeah. I always try to maintain a positive outlook on life, and I reckon it’s vital to do so, especially during difficult times like we’re all experiencing now thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

  • Do you stay happy all of the time?

No, of course not. I think it’s only natural to experience negative emotions throughout our lives. That being said, I’m much happier recently as I’ve been able to rebuild my website and gain new clients again. I’d say that I’m happier more often than not these days. 

  • Were you happier as a child than you are nowadays?

Hmm… It’s not easy to say. Looking back to when I was a kid, I used to have way more free time and I had less responsibility than I do now. Having said that, these days I have more freedom to do the things that make me happy, plus because I’m financially stable, I can get whatever I want, when I want, unlike when I was younger.

  • What made you happy recently?

Without a shadow of a doubt, rebuilding my website. Over the past 2 years, I put my heart and soul into developing my blog, writing model answers, offering free advice to students who might not be able to afford professional help whilst preparing for the IELTS. Now it’s back up and running, I couldn’t be happier. 

  • Do you think money can make you happy?

Wow, errr… yes and no. It can certainly give us the ability to do whatever makes us happy, though I don’t believe it can buy happiness. I’ve met a few people over the years who are financially sound but aren’t happy. I guess it really depends on what we do with the money and the way we look at it. 

  • How do you feel when you speak to a happy person?

Great. There’s just something about meeting someone who oozes positive energy, it’s infectious, right? I always feel better when the person I’m speaking to is smiling and giving off a really nice vibe. I reckon the conversation flows smoother, I feel more secure and generally just love it.  

5. Math / Numbers
  • Are you good at math?

Yeah, I’m alright at it even though I wasn’t exactly a whiz-kid in math classes. That said, it’s a skill I hardly ever use these days. 

  • How difficult were math classes at school?

Hmm… They were relatively challenging, I guess. I used to be much better at English and Science than I ever was in Math. Yet I still I managed to scrape a grade B in my GCSEs.

  • Do you use a calculator to solve math problems?

Always, haha. I guess it’s because I’m either too lazy to work out sums in my head, or I just doubt my own ability so I wanna’ make sure I get it right the first time. 

  • What do you use math for nowadays?

Not much, really. I only really use it totally up my daily expenses VS earnings. My parents emphasized the importance of money management from an early age, and the habit of calculating all of my expenses has kinda’ stuck with me, y’know? 

  • Are there any lucky or unlucky numbers in your culture?

Yeah. I reckon there are loads of people who associate the number 13 with their superstitions, I’m not sure why though as I’ve never looked into it before. Personally, I don’t believe any numbers hold any significance in my life. 

  • Can you remember your own phone number?

That’s a funny question, do you actually want to know it or? Ahhh, embarrassingly, no. Whenever I need to provide my cell, I always need to check my phone to find it out, simply because I’ve switched numbers so many times since I’ve lived in Vietnam, it’s hard to keep track of ’em. 

  • How often do you need to remember numbers?

Luckily, not so much. In my line of work, remembering numbers is totally unnecessary, though I do need to associate numbers with certain uses of the English language in order to assess my students accurately. 

6. Museums
  • How often do you visit museums?

Uhm, not as much as I’d like to… Actually, I can’t even remember the last time I went to one. To be perfectly honest with you, I’ve only been to museums a couple of times throughout my life.

  • What kind of museums do you like?

Honestly, I don’t have any particular kind that I like more than others, I guess I like any museum that takes my fancy, really. Because I’m keen on technology, I’d love to visit any museum related to science or technology.  

  • When you were younger, did you visit any museums?

Yeah… If my memory serves me well, I went on a school trip to a children’s museum which is called Eureka. It’s a pretty famous museum in the UK that most kids who are in a primary school visit. I can’t remember much about it though- cuz’ it was such a long time ago…

  • Do you think the museums in your country are of good quality?

Uhm, I’m not sure, really. I guess it depends on how well the museums kept and what’s inside them. I’m sure the more well-known museums are fantastic, but the smaller, local ones might not be up to par with them.

  • Are there any famous or special museums in your country?

Yeah, there must be, but I haven’t got a clue what they’re called. I’m not exactly an expert on the subject, nor do I have much interest in history or museums in general. I’d say the one I mentioned before is pretty famous as most of my mates who went to different schools visited it at some point or other. 

https://youtu.be/hy9qxsHav_g

7. Names / Your name
  • Do you like your name?

Sure, it’s got a nice ring to it. 

  • Does your name have any special meaning?

Uhm… It might have, though I’m not aware of it. As far as I know, I’m named after a saint. 

  • How popular is your name in your country?

It’s a typically British name, for sure. James, Jamie, Jim, and Jay are pretty common among people my age. Actually, so many of my mates have the same name as me, it can get quite confusing at times so we typically alter the name, hence, I’m known as Jim rather than James. 

  • Is it easy for you to remember other people’s name?

Yeah, I think so. Every now and then I may mistake someone’s name for someone else’s but nine times out of ten I can. Whenever I meet a new face, I try to repeat their name back to them at least 3 times during the encounter, that way it sticks with me. 

  • Are there any special or unique names in your country?

Sure, they’re usually names of Saints or important figures throughout history though. Names like Michael and Jacob for boys, and names like Elizabeth and Rose for girls. There are probably loads more but I can’t think of them so easily off the top of my head. 

  • Do you want to change your name in the future?

No, no. I’m quite happy with Jim. I couldn’t imagine ever going by another name. 

  • How do you feel when someone doesn’t remember your name?

Hmm… If it’s someone who I’ve spent a fair amount of time with, then pretty upset. Although, if it’s just someone I’ve met once or twice before, there’s no harm done, really. We’re all human after all so mistakes happen.

8. New year
  • How do you celebrate the new year?

Well, I usually have a small gathering with some mates at my friend Mark’s home. He has a sizeable garden which is perfect for a do-it-yourself firework display, I usually bring a few rockets and snacks with me in order to help cover the costs. We’ll just socialize for most of the evening, till the hand strikes midnight, then we let some fireworks off.   

  • How do people traditionally celebrate the new year in your country?

In the UK, it’s kinda changed in recent years… There used to be more people celebrating at home with fireworks and social gatherings, but these days, it seems like the majority of people want to go out to town or stay at home. 

  • What did you do on New Year’s eve?

This year, I went to see the firework display here in Hanoi. I have to say, it was absolutely spectacular! The atmosphere was electric, everyone I met seemed to be carefree, plus, after the year we’ve had, it was such a great way to bring about 2021. 

  • Do you think the new year is a new beginning?

Uhm, I do and I don’t, really. Personally, I don’t do any new year resolutions, nor do I publicly announce any plans for the year like so many do. That being said, I do try to spend a fair bit of time reflecting on the previous year to see how far I’ve come. 

  • Did you celebrate the new year when you were a child?

Yeah, some of my fondest childhood memories are of New Year’s Eve. Every year, my father would take us to buy fireworks, firewood and apples. We’d rush home, make ‘toffee apples’, start a bonfire, and wait to welcome the new year. 

  • Have new year celebrations changed in your country?

I think so, yeah. Back in the day, there were more fireworks being set off in people’s gardens, yet these days, I hardly see it happen anymore. I’m not sure exactly why though because it’s all part of the fun, right?

  • Do you have any special plans for next year?

Ideally, once the pandemic is over I’d like to go back to the UK to celebrate the New Year with my family again. I managed to do so 3 years back, but haven’t since so I think it’d be a great way to welcome 2022. 

9. Reading
  • Do you like reading?

I do, yeah. Depending on my mood, I actually prefer to read than watch.

  • How often do you read?

Uhm, it’s quite tough to say, actually. I haven’t picked up a new book for a while now, but I’m constantly reading the news online. I reckon I used to read way more than I do these days because the kind of books I read aren’t readily available here in Vietnam, it’s rather difficult to get my hands on them.

  • Do you prefer reading at home or in other places?

Well, if I had to choose between them, I’d definitely pick at home. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with taking a book out into the world, but I just prefer to stay at home and read because there are fewer distractions. I feel like my mind is more at ease at home, plus, I find it easier to become immersed in the text. 

  • What is your favourite book?

This might sound odd, but I absolutely adored the book I read a number of years ago about the study known as “NLP”. This was probably the most informative, life-changing book I’ve ever read. It totally changed the way I think throughout my daily life. 

  • Are there any famous authors in your country?

Yeah, plenty. Joanne Rowling is, of course, the first that comes to mind. She’s better known by her pen name J.K Rowling, but I know her not just as an author, but as a philanthropist, too. I’d say she is one of the most successful authors of all time in the UK. 

  • Which book would you recommend me to read next?

If you haven’t already, then I’d strongly recommend “NLP, the new meta”. It’s all about being more conscious of the things we think about in certain situations and our daily lives in general. Plus, it’s related to the language we use in our own internal dialogue with ourselves. I believe more people should be careful about what they say to themselves. 

  • Did you read books when you were younger?

To be perfectly honest with you, no. I was too busy playing outside with my friends back then to read, though I probably should’ve read more, I preferred to play outside than anything else, especially sitting around the house with a good book. 

10. Singing
  • Are you good at singing?

I think so, even though others don’t. Whenever I hear a track by Queen, I can’t help but sing along, y’know? 

  • Do you want to take any singing classes in the future?

Right now, I’ve got no plans to try any. It’s simply something I have no interest in doing whatsoever, but I may do if any pop up which takes my fancy. 

  • When you listen to music, do you sing along with the song?

Embarrassingly, I do, loudly, too. For some reason or another, I think I can sing exactly like Freddy Mercury whenever I listen to Queen, how alike is another story, but in my mind, it sounds great. 

  • Do you know anyone who is very good at singing?

I may do without knowing that they sing, but off the top of my head, I can’t think of anyone right now who has a decent set of pipes on them. 

  • Did your parents sing songs to you when you were a child?

That’s a funny story, actually. Whenever my dad would clean the house or cook, I can still clearly recall him singing along to tunes by AC/DC and Queen… Like father like son, I guess. 

  • Are there any famous singers in your country that are famous in other countries?

Yeah, too many to mention right now, actually. The UK has always had a booming music scene on an international scale. I won’t say any names now because I’ll probably get carried away, but I’m confident you’ve heard of tons of English artists. 

  • What is your favourite song to sing?

Gosh… Believe it or not, that’s the most challenging question you’ve asked me so far… Uhm… I’d have to say a tune by Led Zeppelin which is called Over the hills and far away. There’s just something about it that makes me sing along every time I play it. 

11. Your area (the area you live in)
  • Are you happy with the area you live in?
  • What do you like the most about the area you live in?
  • Would you recommend others to live in your area?
  • Are there any services or facilities nearby you?
  • Do you want to change the area you live in?
  • If you could, what would you change about your area?
12. Trees
  • Are there many trees near where you live?

Yeah, I’m fortunate enough to have quite a bit of greenery dotted around my area, which is quite lucky considering I live in the capital city.

  • Do you want to live somewhere near lots of trees?

Uhm, I haven’t thought about it, actually. I suppose it’d be great to live by more, but that isn’t really something I’ve given much thought to before. 

  • How often do you visit forests?

Gosh, not as much as I’d like to… Actually, I can’t even remember the last time I went to one. To be perfectly honest with you, I’ve only been to forests a couple of times throughout my life. (Note, this is the exact same answer to “How often do you visit museums?”)

  • Do you think trees are important in your city/town?

Yeah, most definitely, they’re absolutely essential to anywhere with lots of people n’ traffic, right? They’re not just nice to look at, they help clean the air we breathe, too. Honestly, I’d love to see more trees planted around Hanoi, that’d definitely benefit everyone.  

  • Are there any special or unique trees in your country?

Hmm, there must be, but I haven’t got a clue what they’re called. I’m not exactly an expert on the subject, nor do I have much interest in trees or nature in general. Here in Vietnam, bamboo is pretty special, I guess.  (Note, this is almost the exact same answer to “Are there any famous or special museums in your country?”)

  • When you were younger, did you climb trees?

Yeah, I reckon most kids who grew up in the late 80s n’ early 90s did, even though my parents told me not to. I used to love climbing higher than my mates could. We even built a den (treehouse) in a giant oak tree which was next to my childhood home, I must’ve spent hours chilling up there whilst reading comics with my friends. 

  • Have you ever planted a tree?

Unfortunately, no. I’d love to do my bit for the environment, but I’ve never gone out of my way to plant one. I know it’s something we should all do, yet I haven’t thus far. 

13. TV / TV programs (shows)
  • Do you watch TV? Why / why not?

Yeah, but not on the TV. I just stream shows online these days rather than tuning in on the TV.

  • What is your favourite program/show?

I have a few, though I absolutely adore The Sopranos. It was one of the first HBO programs I ever saw, and even to this day, I still think it’s the best bit of television programming I’ve ever seen. I can’t think of a single fault with it, but then again, there are so many great shows that deserve a shoutout. 

  • How often do you watch TV?

Sadly, not as much as I’d like to. I’d say maybe once or twice per week if I had to put a finger on it. After I finish work, I cook dinner, work on my business or go out with my wife. There’s just not enough time in a day to watch it regularly.  

  • Did you watch more TV as a child than you do now?

No, I wouldn’t say so. Looking back to when I was a kid, I spent most of my time outdoors with my friends and cousins, plus, we didn’t even have a TV at home because my dad didn’t agree with them. That being said, these days I tend to use TV shows as a form of escapism. It’s not that I’m lazier now than I used to be, but it’s just come with age, y’know? 

  • When you were younger, did you want to be on TV?

Not that I remember, no. I always thought that one day I’d become an artist or a teacher, obviously the latter ended up coming into fruition as I’ve been tutoring the IELTS for the past 5-years. (Note, this is the same answer I gave in the topic about ‘farming’)

  • Are there any famous TV shows in your country?

Yeah, loads. Us Brits are well-known for enjoying a good bit of telly. There were a bunch of shows back in the day that took the UK by storm, like: “Brass Eye”, “Only fools and horses” and “The vicar of Dibley” to name a few. In recent years though, I haven’t got a clue.

  • Do you prefer to watch TV shows or movies?

Hmm… If I had to choose between them, I’d probably pick TV Shows. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with movies, but I just prefer TV shows because I can pick them up n’ put them down when I please, whereas, with movies, I need to sit down for a while longer.

14. Scenery / Views
  • Can you see any nice scenery from your home?

Luckily, yeah. I’m fortunate enough to live in a really nice part of town so I have a decent view of my area. It’s nothing special, but compared to other properties I’ve lived in here in Hanoi, it’s absolutely wonderful. 

  • Which room in your home has the best view?

My bedroom, for sure. I can look out over the street and surrounding area which might not sound great, but I live in a quiet neighbourhood with rather unique-looking houses. Plus there are plenty of trees outside on the street which is quite special in Hanoi. 

  • How often do you look out of the windows at home?

Hmm… Quite frequently, I guess. I usually spend 15-20 minutes each morning by the window to enjoy my morning coffee. There’s just something about watching the world from within a window frame that feels great, y’know?

  • Do you think it’s important to live in a home with nice views?

For me personally, no. I think it’s vital to consider everything about a property before I rent or buy it. Some things I consider before the views are nearby amenities and its location. A decent view is simply an added bonus, right? But, if the price is right and it ticks all the right boxes, sure. 

  • Do you prefer to live somewhere affordable or with nice views?

Well, if I had to choose between them, I’d probably pick affordability over the scenery. Though it’d be great to live somewhere with a view, I always consider the costs beforehand. 

  • Where is the best scenery in your area?

There’s a great spot nearby where I live along ‘The Red River’. You can chill out at one of the cafes by it and look out over the entire city, honestly, it stretches as far as the eye can see. In terms of my area, it’s definitely got the best view. 

  •  Are homes with some nice scenery around them expensive in your country?

Of course, homes, in general, are expensive in the UK. Naturally, if the surrounding area is beautiful, it’ll add value to the property. I’m sure the same could be said about anywhere. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not to say houses with unremarkable views are cheaper, take South London for example. A single terrace house can sell for a few million pounds and the view isn’t exactly something to write home about. 

15. Your home country
  • Will you live in your home country in the future?

Possibly, at some point, though I haven’t got any plans to right now. I’m quite happy with my life here in Vietnam, but then again, if something happens back home that I need to deal with, then I may need to move back temporarily. 

  • Which part of your country would you like to live in?

In the UK? Uhm, I’d have to say Manchester, simply because it’s where I was born and it’s what I know and love about the UK. All of my friends are there, my entire family is in and around the city, there’s no reason for me to want to live in any other part. 

  • Do you know your country’s history?

Yeah, quite a bit but not as much as some people. I needed to learn all about it at school, plus I chose to take up history as a subject in high school in order to learn more about it and avoid doing music classes. I reckon it was a good move. 

  • What interests you about your country’s history?

Hmm… I’d probably say the industrial revolution that happened between the 1700s and 1800s in the UK fascinates me the most. When I read about the ingenious contraptions British inventors came up with, and the utterly shocking quality of life the workers experienced, it really sparks my interest n’ gets my imagination running in overtime. 

  • Are most people proud to be from your country?

I’m not sure, I guess for the most part, yeah. The majority of people tend to have some sense of national pride, but I guess the same could be said for all countries, right? Even though we’ve had quite the embarrassment over Brexit and the EU, I still think we’re all proud to be British. 

  • What makes you proud of being from your country?

Hmm… I’ve never really given that much thought before. I can’t say the food because we mostly eat other nation’s cuisine, I can’t even say our culture because we’re such a diverse, multicultural society… Maybe the way we speak our language? It’s poetic and there are endless ways to express ourselves orally.   

  • How would you improve your home country?

Personally, I’d love to revert the tuition fees back to what they were when I was at university. I reckon that’d encourage more teens to consider furthering their education, and it’d provide more skilled workers to fill up our nation’s workforce. Though I understand why tuition fees were increased, I genuinely believe everyone would benefit from it. 

Newly added Part 2 topics: Possible questions & model answers

1. Describe an old person you know that you respect or admire
  • Who this person is
  • How you know them
  • What they do (or did when they were younger)
  • And explain how you feel about this person
2. Describe a singer or musician that you like
  • Who this person is
  • How you know them
  • What kind of music they make
  • And explain why you like this singer or musician
3. Describe a friend you helped
  • Who you helped
  • What you did to help your friend
  • Why you helped your friend
  • And explain how you felt about helping your friend
4. Describe your favourite movie
  • Which movie it is
  • When you watched it
  • What the movie is about
  • And explain why this is your favourite movie
5. Describe a piece of equipment in your home that you like using
  • What it is
  • What you use it for
  • How often you use it
  • And explain why you like using this piece of equipment
6. Describe a large building in your town/city that you like
  • What building it is
  • Where it is
  • How large it is
  • And explain why you like this building
7. Describe a quiet place that you like spending time in
  • Where it is
  • Why it is quiet
  • How often you visit 
  • And explain how you feel about this quiet place
8. Describe a town/city that you want to live in sometime in the future
  • Where it is
  • What you know about it
  • When you want to live there
  • And explain why you want to live in this town/city
9. Describe some local news that people were interested in
  • What the news was about
  • When you learned about it
  • Where you learned about it
  • And explain why people are interested in this news
10. Describe a talent you have that you would like to improve
  • What talent it is
  • When you use it
  • How you want to improve it
  • And explain why you would like to improve this talent
11. Describe a puzzle game that you enjoy playing
  • What game it is
  • How difficult it is
  • When you play it
  • And explain why you enjoy playing this puzzle game
12. Describe a company in your area that employs many people
  • What company it is
  • Where it is
  • How many people it employs
  • And explain how you feel about this company
13. Describe an activity that you enjoy doing on the beach
  • What it is
  • How often you do it
  • When you first did it
  • And explain why you enjoy this activity
14. Describe an article about health that you read online or in a magazine
  • What the article was about
  • When you read it
  • Where you read it
  • And explain how you felt about this article
15. Describe a life plan you have that is not related to your work or study
  • What you plan
  • When you hope to achieve it
  • Why you made this plan
  • And explain how this plan will affect your life
16. Describe something interesting you saw on Social Media
  • What you saw
  • Where you saw it
  • When it happened
  • And explain why you think it was interesting
17. Describe a time when you failed to achieve something
  • When it happened
  • What you tried to do
  • Why you failed to achieve it
  • And explain how you felt about failing to achieve it
18. Describe a time you bought something from a street or outdoor marketplace
  • When it happened
  • Where you were
  • What you bought
  • And explain how you felt about buying it from a market
19. Describe a time when you helped a good friend
  • When it happened
  • Who you helped
  • What you did to help him/her
  • And explain how your help affected your friend
20. Describe a time when you shared something with others
  • When it happened
  • What you shared
  • Who you shared it with
  • And explain how you felt about sharing it with others
21. Describe a time when you had an argument with someone
  • When it happened
  • What the argument was about
  • Why you had this argument
  • And explain how you felt about it afterwards
22. Describe a time when you could not use your mobile phone
  • When it happened
  • Where you were
  • Why you could not use your phone
  • And explain how it affected you
23. Describe a time when many people smiled
  • When it happened
  • Why they smiled
  • Where you were
  • And explain why many people smiled
24. Describe a time you tried a new craft or art activity
  • When it happened
  • What craft or art activity it was
  • Why you tried it
  • And explain how you felt about it

Reused topics Part 2 from the previous season:

1. Describe a time when you went somewhere and got lost
  • When it happened
  • Where you were
  • Why you got lost
  • And explain how you found your way
2. Describe a time when you were near to a wild animal.
  • When it happened
  • Where you were
  • What you were doing
  • And explain how you felt about being close to a wild animal
3. Describe an occasion when you needed to wait in a queue for a long time.
  • When it happened
  • Where you were
  • Why you waited for a long time
  • And explain how you felt about it
4. Describe a time when you made a promise to someone you know.
  • Who you made a promise to
  • What you promised
  • Why you made it
  • And explain how you felt about it
5. Describe a time when your computer broke or had a problem.
  • When it happened
  • What you were doing with the computer
  • How you fixed it
  • And explain how this affected you
8. Describe a time when you felt bored.
  • When it happened
  • Where you were
  • What you were doing
  • And explain why you felt bored
6. Describe a time when you encouraged someone to do something that they didn’t want to do.
  • When it happened
  • Who you encouraged
  • What you encouraged them to do
  • And explain what the result was
7. Describe a time when you gave advice to others.
  • When it happened
  • Who you gave advice to
  • What advice you gave
  • And explain how your advice affected this person
9. Describe a time when you needed to use your imagination.
  • When it happened
  • Where you were
  • What you imagined
  • And explain why you needed to use your imagination
10. Describe an occasion when you needed to tell your friend the truth.
  • When it happened
  • Who you told the truth to
  • What you told him/her
  • And explain how he/she reacted to it
11. Describe a time when you made a promise to someone you know.
  • Who you made a promise to
  • What you promised
  • Why you made it
  • And explain how you felt about it
12. Describe someone’s home you visited that you wouldn’t want to live in.
  • Who you visited
  • Where their home is
  • How the home looked
  • And explain why you wouldn’t want to live in it
13. Describe a job which you would like to have in the future.
  • What job it is
  • What you know about it
  • Who currently does this job
  • And explain why you would like to have this job
14. Describe your favourite kind of weather.
  • What kind of weather it is
  • Where you go during the weather
  • What you normally do during this weather
  • And explain why this kind of weather is your favourite
15. Describe a trip or journey you occasionally do which you don’t like.
  • How often you do it
  • Where you go to and from
  • Why you occasionally do it
  • And explain what you don’t like about it 
16. Describe a toy from your childhood which you liked.

Detail: Describe a toy from your childhood which you liked.

  • Which toy it was
  • Who gave it to you
  • When you got it
  • And explain why you liked it
17. Describe a live game of sports that you have seen.
  • Which game it was
  • When you watched it
  • Where you were
  • And explain how you felt about it
18. Describe a skill that you think you could teach others.
  • What skill it is
  • How you learned it
  • Who you would teach it to
  • And explain why you think you could teach it to others
19. Describe a part of your city or town that you enjoy spending time in.
  • Where it is
  • What you normally do there
  • How far away it is from your home
  • And explain why you enjoy spending time there
20. Describe a polite person you know.
  • Who this person is
  • What they do
  • How you know them
  • And explain why you think they are polite
21. Describe a person who you think wears interesting or unusual clothes.
  • Who this person is
  • What they do
  • What kind of clothes they wear
  • And explain why you think they wear interesting or unusual clothes
22. Describe a famous person you are interested in.
  • Who this person is
  • How you know of them
  • What they are famous for
  • And explain why you are interested in them
23. Describe something you ate for the first time.
  • When you ate it
  • Where you were
  • What you ate
  • And explain how you felt about it
24. Describe an interesting conversation you had.

Detail: Describe an interesting conversation you had.

  • Who you spoke to
  • When it happened
  • What you spoke about
  • And explain why you think it was an interesting conversation
25. Describe something you bought which you were happy with.
  • What you bought
  • Where you bought it from
  • How expensive it was 
  • And explain why you were happy with it