IELTS Speaking Band 9
S: First of all, can you tell me about the kind of music you like?
O: Sure, well, I’m a big fan of what you might call alternative electronica. It’s hard to classify,
because when you say ‘electronica’, people think of dance music, but I wouldn’t call it that.
Basically, I listen to a lot of stuff with hip-hop, funk or disco influences, but most of my friends
think my taste in music is a bit weird.
S: I see. And, where do you like to listen to music?
O: I listen to music pretty much any time that I’m at home. So, if I’m doing housework, or
cooking, or anything like that, I’ll put some music on. Sometimes I also listen to music on the
bus. Especially if I’m going to play sport or to the gym, I’ll listen to some high-energy tunes on
the way to get myself pumped up.
S: Yeah, okay. Why do you think music is so important in many people’s lives?
O: Hmm… That’s a big question… [pause] Well, first of all music has always been part of
human culture, so in that sense obviously it’s an important part of our lives. I guess that’s
because music can have such a powerful effect on our emotions. Music can lift you up, or
inspire you, or make you feel sad. I’d certainly find it hard to live without it!
S: Uh-huh. I’d like to move on and talk about transport. What’s the best way to get around
O: I live in quite a small town, so it’s very easy to get around. You can walk or cycle to a lot of
places, although some roads are a bit dangerous for bikes. There are buses which are fairly
reliable, but they’re not the fastest way to get around. Finally, you can take a taxi or an Uber if
you want to get somewhere fast and you don’t mind paying a bit extra.
S: Alright. And, have you ever learned to drive?
O: Yes, I learned in the UK as soon as I was old enough, although I have to say I haven’t driven
for several years! I’m not sure if you’d want to get in a car with me, but I guess I’d pick it up
again quite quickly. There’s just not much point in having a car where I am now, because I can
walk or ride my bike around town, and take public transport if I want to go somewhere else, for
the weekend or whatever.
S: I see. Do you think everybody should learn to drive?
O: Er… That’s a strange idea. I think it’s up to each person to decide. It can be very useful in
some places. For example, where I grew up in the UK… It’s a rural area, and if you don’t have a
car you’re pretty isolated. If you live somewhere like that, you should probably learn to drive.
But, it’s still a choice, right?
He also used linking words and connecting devices well. Let’s look at one answer as an example:
I live in quite a small town, so it’s very easy to get around. You can walk or cycle to a lot of places,
although some roads are a bit dangerous for bikes. There are buses which are fairly reliable, but they’re
not the fastest way to get around. Finally, you can take a taxi or an Uber if you want to get somewhere
fast and you don’t mind paying a bit extra.
2. Part Two of the IELTS Speaking Test
Olivier: Now, I’m going to give you a topic and I’d like you to talk about it for one to two
minutes. You have one minute to think about what you are going to say. You can make some
notes to help you if you wish.
Describe something difficult you learned to do.
You should say:
– what you learned to do
– how you learned to do it
– why it was difficult
and explain whether you’re glad that you learned to do this or not.
O: Okay, please tell me about something difficult you learned to do.
S: So, I’m going to tell you about learning to drive a car with manual transmission. I’m from the
States, and almost no one drives a manual there; most cars are automatic. When I came to
Europe, I found it was totally the opposite here; driving a manual is the norm, and automatics
are rare. I guess here they’re associated with very expensive, luxury cars. Anyway, I had to learn
to drive stick, and it was so difficult! It was doubly hard because I already knew how to drive, so
it felt extra frustrating to be behind the wheel but unable to do the things I would normally do.
Maybe it wasn’t a good idea but I didn’t get any help; I could have gone to a driving school but I
didn’t. I just practiced and tried to learn by myself, by driving around car parks and open spaces
and things like that. That was okay, but when I went out and drove properly, on the streets with
traffic, it was super stressful. I just couldn’t get the clutch right, and then I’d stall and I’d be
stressing out while everyone was honking at me. I can’t say that I’m glad that I learned it. I
mean, I just learned to do it because I had to, and I didn’t enjoy the experience! If it were up to
me, I’d rather just have an automatic car.
O: Thank you. So, what do you use your car for?
S: Mostly for getting to work. I live quite far from the nearest metro station and the bus lines
aren’t good, so it’s much easier to drive. Sometimes we go out of town for the weekends, too.
3. Part Three of the IELTS Speaking Exam
Olivier: Right, I’d like to ask some questions related to this topic. First, let’s talk about learning
new things. What motivates people to learn new things?
Stephanie: Wow… that’s a big question! Well, there are lots of reasons. The main one I guess is
just necessity. For example, if you want to work in a particular field, you’ll need some specific
training, skills, qualifications… Then, when you start a new job, you generally have to adapt and
learn a lot of new things, even if you came in with a lot of theoretical knowledge. What else? I
think also interest is important… I mean, people learn to do new things because they’re
interested in them or they find something enjoyable. For example, no one needs to learn to play
a musical instrument, but a lot of people do so because it brings them pleasure.
O: Do you think the way that people learn new things has changed compared to the past?
S: Absolutely. Of course, the Internet and the development of smartphones and other new
technologies have had a huge influence. We all have easy access to so much information now,
which wasn’t the case in the past at all. Before, people would need to dedicate a lot of time and
effort to finding an expert, or doing research in order to learn about something new. Now, you
can find tutorials online, ask people for help in discussion forums, and things like that. So, it’s a
big difference, but I think it’s mostly for the better.
O: How do you think technology will change the way people learn new things in the
S: Hmm… I’m not sure. I think we’ll see the same trends developing… What I mean is: the big
changes have already happened, but I don’t think they’ve run their course yet. So, a lot of people
still have the idea that you learn something by going to a class, reading books, etc., and they
haven’t realised that you just have more options nowadays. To tie all this together, I think that in
the future, education and learning will be more globalised and democratic, in that everybody
will have similar opportunities to learn. I suppose that might mean that formal education
diminishes in significance, but I’m not sure that will actually happen.
O: Okay, let’s move on to talk about school and education. How can parents or students
choose the best school or university?
S: In my experience, the only way to know what a school or university is really like is to talk to
people who already study there and see what they say. Of course, you can go and look around,
but I don’t think you can learn very much just by walking around a school. If you talk to some of
the staff and students, you can get a feel of what kind of establishment it is, and whether it’s a
good fit for you, or your child, whoever you’re talking about.
O: Mm-hmm. How do people in your country feel about private education?
S: Huh… I really don’t know. I went to a public school, and so did everyone I know. It’s not
really a topic which comes up that much, you know? Personally, I don’t have strong opinions; if
someone wants to pay to send their child to a private school, then why not? Given that there
aren’t that many private schools, it’s just not something that people are so aware of.
O: I see. Do you think that university education should be free?
S: Definitely, yes. In the USA, university is insanely expensive; parents have to start saving up
from the moment their child is born. I think this leads to elitist outcomes… I mean that the
richest kids go to the best universities, and if you don’t have a lot of money behind you, your
options are more limited. That said, I realize that graduates tend to earn more, so it might be
fairer to have some kind of graduate tax, so that the people who erm… benefit from higher
education also help to fund it. That seems to me to be the fairest solution.
O: Thank you. That’s the end of the speaking test.