Learn IELTS Vocabulary: Cities

May 1, 2024 | IELTS Test

Welcome to our IELTS Speaking Test Preparation on Cities

One of recurring theme in the IELTS test is Cities.

You might touch on this theme in the very first set of questions if you come from a city, or it might be introduced as a separate part 1, 2 and 3 topic. 

Why Does IELTS Focus on Cities?

Cities are a part of the common human experience and IELTS wants to see how well you can interact on a range of topics.

What You’ll Find Here:

Model Questions: Explore a carefully selected collection of speaking-style questions that mimic the format and style of actual IELTS exams. These questions are designed to cover various aspects of cities.

Band 9 Answers: Alongside each question, we provide model answers to illustrate how to effectively structure your response, incorporate relevant vocabulary, and demonstrate fluency and coherence in your speaking.

Key Vocabulary: Pay special attention to the bolded words in both questions and answers. These are terms that frequently appear in discussions about leisure activities and are likely to enhance the quality of your responses. We’ve included definitions for these terms at the end of the page, ensuring you’re well-prepared to use them accurately in your own answers.

Before you read the conversation, you might like to download this free PDF quiz and have a go at completing the blanks.

Part 1: Short Answer Questions

  1. Which city would you like to visit in the future?

Model Answer:

“I would love to visit Paris. I’ve always been fascinated by its rich history, iconic architecture, and vibrant arts scene.”

  1. What do you know about this city?

Model Answer:

“Paris is known as the ‘City of Light’. It is renowned for its beautiful cityscape, museums like the Louvre, and historical landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame Cathedral. It’s also famous for its cafes and as a fashion hub.”

  1. Why do you think people are attracted to this city?

Model Answer:

“People are attracted to Paris because it offers a unique blend of culture, art, and history. Its romantic ambiance is appealing, and it’s also known for its culinary excellence, from gourmet restaurants to charming street-side bistros.”

Part 2: Long Turn

Describe a city you would like to visit.

You should say:

  • where the city is
  • what the city is known for
  • why you want to visit it

Model Answer:

“Um, so, the city I’d really love to visit is Tokyo, Japan. It’s, you know, right on the eastern coast of Japan’s main island, Honshu, and it’s just this incredible mix of ancient traditions and really dazzling modernity, which makes it, uh, super unique, I think, on the global stage.

Tokyo is famous, really famous actually, for a bunch of things. First off, it’s a world leader in technology. I mean, they’re doing amazing things with robotics and electronics, and they’ve got some of the top tech companies in the world. You can see this innovative spirit, like, everywhere in the city—from their architecture to, um, how they handle infrastructure and even in daily life, they have these automated restaurants and robot cafes, which sound really cool. 

And then, you’ve got this rich cultural side of Tokyo, right? There are these amazing historical sites, like the ancient Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa, which is one of the oldest temples there, and the Meiji Shrine, which is this serene spot dedicated to the 19th-century emperor who really modernised Japan. These places are like peaceful escapes from the city’s fast pace.

Oh, and the arts scene there is just, um, vibrant and really diverse. Tokyo hosts international film festivals, art exhibitions, and fashion weeks. Places like Shibuya and Harajuku are major fashion hotspots, where street fashion can often set global trends.

And, uh, let’s not forget about the food! Tokyo offers everything from Michelin-starred restaurants to these cosy local izakayas, which are like Japanese pubs, all crammed into narrow alleys. Their cuisine is a blend of so many culinary traditions, creating unique flavours that you just can’t find anywhere else.

I want to visit Tokyo because it kind of embodies this lifestyle of harmony between the old and the new, which is just fascinating to me. Being there would let me really dive into its rich cultural tapestry and see how such a dynamic city manages to keep a balance, you know, between preserving its legacy and being a leader in innovation.

So, yeah, exploring Tokyo feels like stepping into another world—one that respects its past while kind of driving the future. That’s what intrigues me so much about it, and why it’s at the top of my list of cities to visit.”

image of a busy street in Tokyo

Part 3: Discussion

  1. What benefits do you think tourism brings to a city?

Model Answer:

“Tourism can significantly boost a city’s economy by increasing spending in local businesses, such as hotels, restaurants, and shops. It also, err, creates employment opportunities in the service sector. Furthermore, tourism can help preserve historical sites and promote cultural awareness among both visitors and locals.”

  1. Do you think the city you want to visit is suitable for all types of tourists? Why or why not?

Model Answer:

“Um, Tokyo is quite versatile and can cater to various types of tourists, whether they are interested in history, technology, or fashion. However, it might be overwhelming for those who prefer a quieter, more relaxed vacation due to its bustling nature and densely populated areas.”

  1. How could visiting a city change a person’s perspective?

Model Answer:

“Visiting a city, especially one from a different cultural or economic background, can broaden a person’s perspective significantly. It exposes them to new ways of living and different social norms, which can lead to greater cultural sensitivity and appreciation. For instance, experiencing Tokyo’s blend of old traditions and cutting-edge modernity could inspire a visitor to appreciate the balance between history and progress.”

Definitions for IELTS Achievement Vocabulary

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Part 1

Culinary excellence — The exceptional quality and skill demonstrated in the preparation and presentation of food, often associated with gourmet cuisine.

Iconic architecture — Architectural designs that are widely recognised and celebrated as symbols of a city or culture.

Romantic ambiance — The atmosphere or mood characterised by a sense of love, intimacy, and enchantment, often associated with romantic settings.

Historical landmarks — Prominent structures, sites, or monuments that hold significant historical, cultural, or architectural value.

Vibrant arts scene — A dynamic and lively cultural environment characterized by a wide range of artistic expressions and activities.

Part 2

Innovative spirit — The inclination or attitude toward generating novel ideas and approaches, often leading to the development of new technologies or methods.

Cultural tapestry — The intricate and diverse patterns of cultural expression and heritage within a society or community.

Harmony between the old and the new — A balanced coexistence or integration of traditional values, practices, or elements with modern innovations or advancements.

Dynamic city — A lively and ever-changing urban environment characterised by rapid development, diverse cultures, and constant activity.

Preserving its legacy — Protecting and maintaining the historical, cultural, or architectural heritage of a place for future generations.

Part 3

Bustling nature — The dynamic and lively characteristic of a city or area, typically characterised by a high level of activity and energy.

Cultural sensitivity — The awareness, respect, and consideration shown towards the beliefs, customs, and traditions of different cultural groups or communities.

Versatile — Having the ability to adapt or be adapted to various functions, purposes, or situations, making it suitable for a wide range of uses or people.

Overwhelming — Intensely strong or overpowering, often describing a feeling of being emotionally or mentally overloaded or unable to cope.

Broaden one’s perspective — Expand or widen one’s understanding, outlook, or worldview, often through exposure to new experiences, ideas, or cultures.

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