Learn IELTS Vocabulary: Shopping For Something Special 

Jun 25, 2021 | IELTS, IELTS Speaking, IELTS Test

IELTS Speaking Test Sample:  

Shopping for something special has been a recurring IELTS test day topic. You could be asked this question in any part of the Speaking test. Whilst the exact wording might change, the vocabulary you will use is similar. 

Below you will find model answers for questions about shopping. Before you read the conversation, you might like to download this free PDF quiz and have a go at completing the blanks.

You will find definitions for all bolded words at the bottom of the page. 

Part 1-style questions

Examiner: Do you like shopping?

Candidate: I tend to find clothes shopping a bit of a chore, to be honest. I like to see something in person before I buy it, especially in a vintage store, but I’m also a bit picky – so I have to visit lots of different places on the high street, and that can be time-consuming. In a perfect world, I’d have somebody to just do it for me!  

Examiner: Do you prefer shopping alone or with others?  

Candidate: I definitely prefer shopping alone. I’d rather get it done as quickly as possible… but shopping with other people means you’ve got to keep their agenda in mind too. I can be more efficient with my day when I’m going solo

Examiner: Have you ever bought anything online?

Candidate: I tend to buy bulky things online so I can get them delivered straight home, like a kitchen appliance or a mattress. It’s more convenient. I’ve usually had good experiences with online purchases – except in one nightmare scenario when the wrong item turned up twice in a row! 

Part 2

Describe something special you are planning to purchase.

You should say:

    what it is
    what it is like 
    how long you have wanted to buy it

and explain why you want to buy it. 

IELTS Speaking Model Answer for Shopping by Andrew Turner @ EnglishWithAnExpert.com


I think my next pricey purchase will be a decent espresso machine – I’ve wanted one for a good couple of years now. Coffee is usually a big part of my day – I’m a bit of a caffeine junkie! I’ve found the cheaper machines don’t have much longevity though – they tend to malfunction after a year or two, and it can be tough to keep them squeaky clean.

So I’m going to get one that can grind my coffee beans, make a Barista quality brew and will last a good few years as well. That way, it’s more sustainable – especially since it won’t use the metal coffee pods you often see these days. It’ll be one that looks great, of course – maybe with a retro-style chrome finish. 

Part 3-style questions

Examiner: In general, are men and women the same when it comes to shopping? [Compare]

Men and women are pretty much the same when it comes to shopping. The people who say there’s a big disparity just want a talking point. In my experience, the only difference is that women might deliberate more carefully before they make a big purchase.

Candidate: Some people say shopping is a waste of time. What’s your view on this? [Evaluate]

That’s clearly not true – shopping is the only way we can acquire the food that sustains us. Unless you live out on a ranch and you can grow your own, that is! But for those of us with a less agricultural lifestyle, shopping is very much a necessity.

Examiner: How do you think shopping will change over the next 20 or 30 years? [Predict]

Candidate: I think shopping will be significantly different in two or three decades’ time. The pandemic has accelerated a trend that was already happening, where big department stores aren’t viable anymore and people are buying more things online. So there’ll be fewer of those, but there may well be more smaller, independent businesses too. 

Definitions for IELTS Achievement Vocabulary

Part 1

Chore – an undesirable or time-consuming task 

Vintage store – a shop selling used items 

Picky hard to please 

High street – the shops in a town or city centre 

Time-consuming takes a long time 

Agenda – a list of things somebody wants to do 

Efficient – not wasting time or energy 

Going solo doing something alone 

Bulky large, difficult to move 

Appliance – kitchen equipment, eg an oven or kettle 

Convenient – easy 

Purchases – things you’ve bought 

Nightmare scenario – the worst thing that can happen 

Turn up – arrive  

Part 2

Pricey – expensive

A good couple (of years) roughly two years – used to show this is a long time in this context

Junkie – someone who is addicted to something, eg coffee or drugs 

Malfunctions – (when something) breaks

Squeaky clean very clean

Barista – professional coffee maker 

Sustainable can be done or used for a long time 

Coffee pods – metal containers for coffee, used in some machines 

Retro old style 

Chrome finish a layer of shiny metal 

Part 3

Disparity – difference 

Talking point – a topic or issue to discuss

Deliberate (verb) – to think about  

Acquire – get 

Sustains – keeps something going or keeps a person/animal alive

Agricultural – from a farm

Necessity – something that has to happen or is needed

Significantly – enough to be important 

Accelerated faster

Department store – large shops where lots of different lifestyle items are sold, eg clothes, watches, perfume

Viable – able to continue 

Practise Your IELTS Achievement/Goal Vocabulary 

Record yourself answering this question and send it to us for professional feedback.

Our feedback is based on the official IELTS Speaking Descriptors and will give you precise information on how to improve.

We will publish the details of this service and its prices soon. In the meantime, you can contact us here if you would like to be one of the first.

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