Topic: Society & Culture

IELTS Speaking: Talking about food

Questions related to food are quite popular with IELTS test-makers – probably because most people enjoy food and usually talk about it extensively in their day-to-day lives.

In my latest podcast, I’ll introduce you to some useful vocabulary to talk about food. Have a listen, make notes and then attempt the quiz on Schoology. Good luck!

 

IELTS Speaking: Talking about family and friends

Here’s another SoundCloud podcast. This one has lots of great vocabulary to use when talking about your friends and family. Listen carefully and identify the collocations.

https://soundcloud.com/msielts/ielts-speaking-family-friends

IELTS Speaking 3: Behaviour – Model answer

Here is the answer to last week’s question on behaviour. 

I cannot tolerate rude and narrow minded behavior towards myself or other people. I dislike people being extremely egoistic and refusing to listen to other people’s opinion. I feel regardless of our belief, we should be considerate towards everyone else’s viewpoints and give them a chance to state their point. Cutting someone off or arguing with them about the rationality of their belief is unnecessary as it is not important that you have to agree with whatever anyone else feels. As they say, you can agree to disagree. Raisin your volume and patronizing someone else is unacceptable behavior.

Similarly in my country, impolite behavior especially towards elders is unacceptable. You are taught basic courtesy towards anyone you interact with. People older than you are always spoken to with more respect than usual keeping in mind their experiences and that they want the best for you. Answering back to them, not heeding their advice and being inconsiderate towards their needs is all forms of unacceptable behavior. In a lot of homes in my country elders live with their children and grandchildren and so, the emphasis on being kind to them is greater.

The media promotes kinds of behavior that are acceptable or that which are not and as media evolves, these standards evolve as well. Earlier opposing your parents’ choice for your marriage partner was considered unacceptable whereas now with changing times and perceptions of people choosing their own partner, it has become common to do so. Not all changes are good though because media also glorifies celebrities, fame and money and this can lead to people choosing to behave in a manner that focuses on these. The media needs to be taken with a pinch of salt as well, knowing what constitutes changing for the better and behavior that can lead to downfall.

IELTS Speaking Part 2: Birthdays – Model answer

Here is the model answer to the question I posted last week about Birthdays. 

My own Birthday is not important to me but the ones of my friends and family are. I used to enjoy my birthday when I was a child but for the past 5 years I have not celebrated it. My family are also not much into celebrating borthdays and so, we don’t usually make a big deal of our birthdays. Many of my friends get excited about theirs work hard to make sure it’s always a grand affair.  The only good thing about birthdays, I think, is that you get to catch up with friends becaues everyone usually makes it a point to call or text or meet up on your birthday.

I think birthday celebrations have gotten fancier over the years. When I was a child, birthdays used to be cozy affairs but now there are people who hire professional event managers to celebrate their kids’ birthdays. Some people have DJs and bouncy castles for birthdays. I would go as far as to say that birthdays are now only second to weddings, in terms of the amount of money spent and grandeur people have come to expect at birthday parties.

I have to admit there is one more thing I like about birthdays and that is presents. I love receiving presents, of course, but I also love giving presents to my near and dear ones on their birthdays. For kids, I prefer giving toys because I find parents often focus on education and children, at least the ones I know, don’t have enough toys. When I choose toys though, I try to avoid gender prejudices, so I tend to buy handmade dolls and figurines for little boys and what may be considered more boyish toys such as cars and truck and dinosaurs to the girls.

I think the best birthday presents for adults are electronic gadgets. Most people I know now are addicted to their smartphones, so any accessories usually go down well as presents. There are books of course, and I feel like, even if the people I know may not spend much time reading, they do like having books in their home. I gift books a lot – perhaps one day, my friends will pick them up and read a few pages.

IELTS Speaking Part 3: Conversations – Model answer

Here is a model answer to the question I posted last week about conversations. 

Most of my conversations with strangers would happen only because of books. Apart from that unless I am asking for directions or seeking help of that nature, I do not talk to strangers. Strangers often start conversations with me though. People usually start conversations with strangers if they are bored, curious or need help.  Waiting in airports for example you are more likely to start a conversation with a stranger who is waiting for the same flight. Some people like me can be curious about book strangers are reading and strike up a conversation to know what the book is about or how it is as well. You are more likely to talk to strangers if you are facing an emergency like an urgent phone call when your phone is not working.

Social media has provided more avenues for strangers to interact from specific websites for strangers to connect or a website like Facebook where you see you have mutual friends and hence add someone who is unknown to you but not a complete stranger altogether. In that sense we are all a little bit more connected now and the definition of a stranger has changed post the advent of social media. So talking to strangers is not only more acceptable but common as well now. I think people are less hesitant to talk to strangers as mentioned because there are more platforms available to do so. Through the Internet people have found a medium to be share problems, feel less lonely and make more friends making it easier for people to have conversations with strangers now.

Emotions (Anger) – Model answer

Here is a model answer for the Speaking part 3 question I gave you earlier.

  1. I think men and women value different things which can lead them to feel angry about different things. I think women are more likely to get angry about irresponsible behavior than men while men are more likely to lose their temper. However some issues could cause anger in the both of them such as violence.
  1. Anger is justified in many instances such as when we are on the receiving end of unreasonable behavior, when we are faced with crime, perhaps even small things such as someone being late without reason for a meeting. It depends on each individual what they perceive to be accepted standards of behavior and any deviation from it could reasonably evoke anger. Though simply because anger is justified should not be seen as a reason to act upon it and cause distress to others.
  1. An increase in your rate of heartbeat, trembling, sweating, clenching your jaws and grinding your teeth are physical symptoms of getting angry whereas mental symptoms include feelings of anxiety, stress in terms of more pressure and in some cases even sadness. Anger is universally known to be detrimental to both, physical and mental well-being.
  1. In my culture, people usually have verbal confrontations when they are angry. There is often yelling and swearing but very rarely does it lead to a physical altercation. However in the northern parts of my country, it is not uncommon to hear of people engaging in fights, especially in groups.

Is your answer similar in structure? Share your comments below.

IELTS Speaking Part 3: Art – Model answer

Here is a sample answer to the question about art I posted last week.

Art plays an important part in our life. Not only does it add meaning and bring beauty into our lives but it also makes us feel but evoking out emotions. It exposes us to new ideas, ways of being and philosophies. It has the potential to make us smarter by introducing to us diverse perspectives and challenging the accepted norm. They make us aware of our environment; make us contemplate on things that do not occur to us on our own. Art can also serve as a way to comment on society and bring to forefront the issues in our society.

Life without art would be a lot more controlled, predictable and dull. We would not have had entertainment to distract us from reality or new ideas that change us. Most importantly, there would be no channel to focus our creativity and energy. Less inspiration would exist and motivation to change would decrease since there would no art to showcase the things unheard of.

Photography is definitely an art as capturing the essence of a moment whether in candid photography of people or clicking the vista of a place and creating an aesthetic model of it in a photograph requires skill and talent.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words and so, photography clearly makes enough of an impression upon humans to be considered an art.

I feel art is inspired by life but may not necessarily imitate life. If we only created art that we see around in life, its scope would be much less. Our imagination is not limited to simply imitating life which is why art is so importance because it goes beyond the conventions. It is the artist’s imagination that is art, it is a medium of expression for them which does not always imitate life.

IELTS Speaking Part 3: Pets

Here are some sample IELTS Speaking Part 3 questions relating to animals, specifically pets.

 

1. Do you think some people are too attached to their pets?

2. Why do some people not like pets?

3. Is it morally right to spend hundreds of dollars on pets?

4. Pets are considered to be a burden to most of the city dwellers. To what extent do you agree?

 

Read how to answer IELTS Speaking Part 3 questions. Write your answers in the comments below. I’ll give you a sample answer next week.

IELTS Speaking Part 3: Emotions (Anger)

Here are some sample IELTS Speaking Part 3 questions relating to emotions, specifically anger.

 

1. Do you think men and women feel angry about the same things?

2. When is anger justified?

3. What are the physical and mental effects of getting angry?

4. In your culture, how do people generally respond to anger?

 

Read how to answer IELTS Speaking Part 3 questions. Write your answers in the comments below. I’ll give you a sample answer next week.

IELTS Speaking Part 3: Youth – Model answer

Here is the model answer to the question I gave you last week. 

I do not think the youth of today are more selfish than the older generations or that the youth of tomorrow will be more selfish than our generation. Every generation thinks that they are better than the next one but I feel since every generation grows up in different circumstances compared to the previous ones, a comparison is futile. The environment we grew up in is vastly different from our parents and will be even more different from the next one but that is not to say that our choices are more selfish than the ones of the prior generation. With each successive generation arise better technology and more opportunities which result in the options available for each being distinct and unique to them. So while some of our choices can seem selfish to our elders, for us our priorities are probably different. Like a lot of women today choose to focus on their career and not stay at home with their children and while that might seem selfish to a person from an older generation, it is a perfectly reasonable choice.

The youth of today can learnt a lot from the older generation as they can be great source of knowledge and advice. They have seen  things we have not and maybe never will and this experience that comes with age must be respected by younger individuals.  It is easy for the older generation to be out of touch because our world involves so much more options in every aspect today which seems unfamiliar to them. It makes our lifestyles sometimes even incomprehensible to them but any open minded elder can still keep in touch with the youth today as long as there is communication from both sides.

IELTS Speaking Part 3: Age – Model Answer

Here is a sample answer to last week’s question relating to age.

I think every age is unique to a person’s life so there is no perfect or best age to be.  Being younger in your 20s is generally seen as the best time since you have fewer responsibilities and you can take more risks. The next decade is probably when you start settling down so each age has its charm.

The appropriate age for getting married in my culture differs for men and women. While the latter are expected to get married starting the age of 23, men are given time till their late 20s to settle down. This might not be true for everyone but is by and large indicative of the societal expectations. (more…)

IELTS Speaking Part 3: Culture and politeness

Here are some sample IELTS Speaking Part 3 questions about society and culture .

 

Lets talk about your culture.

1. How important is it to be polite in your culture?
2. How do you show politeness in your culture?
3. What are some behaviours that are considered impolite in your culture?
4. Do you think we are more polite with strangers than people we know?

 

Read how to answer IELTS Speaking Part 3 questions. Write your answers in the comments below. I’ll give you a sample answer next week.

IELTS SPEAKING PART 2 – Q.15 MODEL ANSWER

Here’s the answer for last week’s Speaking Part 2 question.

I am going to talk about Hindustani and Carnatic music. They’re the traditional forms of music in India.

Hindustani music is prevalent in the northern part of the country while Carnatic is associated uniquely with the southern states. They’re both based on ragas, but the style differs according to the “gharanas” that one trains in. There are also many instruments such as the sitar, the tabla, the harmonium, etc., that are integral to these forms of music.

Neither form of music is widely popular, however, fusions with Western music are becoming increasingly popular. Most commercial singers are trained in classical Indian music to some extent.

Personally, I enjoy both forms of music. Although, I prefer instrumental performances as I have never been trained in classical music and so feel that I cannot appreciate the nuances of a vocal performance.

In case you missed it, here’s last week’s question.

Q1

Learn more about how to answer questions in Speaking part 2 and manage time efficiently.

IELTS Speaking Part 2 – Q.16

Here’s another IELTS Speaking Part 2 question. Questions about traditions and culture also appear occassionally in this part of the exam. Write your answer in the comments box below. Next week, I’ll post a model answer.

Q1

Before you begin, see how to answer questions in Speaking Part 2 and manage your time effectively.

IELTS Speaking Part 3: Culture and Politeness – Model Answer

Here are a sample answer to the question I posted last week on society and culture.

It is very important to be polite in my culture. Your character is based on how you treat people and so it has been ingrained in us from a young age that we should treat everyone with courtesy. Being well mannered is a sign of good upbringing and your behavior in our society reflects on your parents. Being respectful to everyone talks volumes about the values instilled in you by your family. (more…)

IELTS Speaking Part 3: Tourism and hospitality – Model answer

Here is the answer to last week’s question. 

My country is a popular tourist destination and so receives a lot of foreign tourists around the year. Since religion is of profound importance in my country as well, we receive many foreigners who come to reside here in monasteries and such.  They are treated with a lot of respect as in our culture we equate guests to God. However lately there have been incidents of racism against people of African background. Instances of violence towards them have seen a spike with men being beaten up and women even being molested. This however is a very recent occurrence and I think in this specific case, people were more hospitable in the past than today.

At the same time due to expanding technology, people host and receive more foreigners now with the help of websites such as Airbnb that allow natives to put up their houses for rental. This has led to an increase in natives being more hospitable today than before where such concepts were unheard of and people would be more afraid to host strangers especially of a different nationality.

It is definitely better to stay with a friend when visiting a foreign country than staying at the hotel. The added intimacy of friendship makes your trip more worthwhile. You get a peek into how people in a different country live as well such as their food preparations at home and everyday lifestyle.  When you stay with locals, you can visit the hidden gems and not just the destinations that tourists visit. Natives know more about the best places to eat, shop, travel to and the best modes of travelling. This can really help you in having a better trip since otherwise you have to rely on travel guides or tour packages which are not personalized.

 

 

IELTS Speaking Part 2 – Q.15

Here’s another IELTS Speaking Part 2 question. Write your answer in the comments box below. Next week, I’ll post a model answer.

Q1

Before you begin, see how to answer questions in Speaking Part 2 and manage your time effectively.

IELTS Speaking Part 3: Emotions – Model answer

Here is the answer for the question I posed last week. 

I think men and women can be equally emotional but women tend to be more expressive and so, vocal about their emotions.  It is not fair to decide the emotional depth of an individual based on their gender though the fact that women are more open about their feeling as compared to men is generally known. (more…)

IELTS Writing Task 2 – Q.16

Here’s a sample Writing Task 2 question on global issues.

 

Differences between countries become less evident each year. Nowadays, all over the world people share the same fashions, advertising, brands, eating habits and TV channels. Do the disadvantages of this trend outweigh the advantages?

 

Note the way the question is worded: it’s asking you to examine the advantages and disadvantages of cultural globalization. Before you start writing, look at how to organize your answer for this type of question.

Here’s a good article that examines the same question. Read it carefully and note down vocabulary that you could use. Then, jot down some ideas in the comments below.

IELTS Writing Task 2 – Q.15

Here’s a sample Writing Task 2 question on an unusual but fairly easy topic.

 

Happiness is considered very important in life. Why is it difficult to define? What factors are important in achieving happiness?

 

This is a classic two-part question. Here’s an essay structure for this type of question.

I found this great article that discusses some of the points you can include in this essay. Here, I have taken brief paragraphs and highlighted good band 7+ vocabulary: (more…)