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!
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.
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
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
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
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
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