Discussing friendship most commonly occurs in IELTS Speaking parts 2 and 3. It is the kind of topic that could also appear in Writing Task 2 — especially with regard to discussing social media.
Below you will find some model answers to questions you might get in each part of the Speaking test. Most of the words are formal enough to use in writing — but bear in mind one or two might usually only be found in Speaking.
Note words you have not heard — or can understand but never use. There are definitions for words in bold at the end of the page.
Before you read the conversation, you might like to download this free PDF quiz and have a go at completing the blanks.
Part 1-style questions
Examiner: Do you have a lot of friends?
Candidate: I like to think so – I’m definitely an extrovert! It’s important to lead an active social life; it makes a positive impact on your health and wellbeing. There’s empirical evidence to show it!
Examiner: How often do you see them?
Candidate: I see some of my closest friends infrequently; unforeseen life events can get in the way. Everybody makes a conscious effort to meet up when we can, though.
Examiner: What kind of people do you like to have as friends?
Candidate: I like people who are magnanimous with a big heart. And if they’ve got some fortitude in the face of adversity, too, then that’s a big plus. Your friends are often your role models in life after all!
Describe a time when you helped a friend. You should say:
– when it happened
– how you helped him/her
– why you helped him/her
And explain how you felt afterwards.
The last time I helped a friend was a fortnight ago, actually. I drove all the way to London – an exhausting drive – at 3 o clock in the morning to help her fix a mechanical problem with her front door. She was quoted four hundred pounds for an emergency locksmith callout, and that’s just completely unreasonable. Helping out is what any conscientious person would do.
All my friend needed was a few tools; we took a chisel to the lock and immediately managed to get the door open. We hadn’t realised quite how easy it could be! Perhaps locksmiths will soon be redundant. It felt incredibly gratifying to be there in somebody’s time of need. I had a brief period of introspection afterwards, and ruminated that helping other people way may well be the way to happiness.
Part 3-style questions
Examiner: How do people in your country meet others and make friends?
Candidate: The younger generations in my country spend lots of time on social media, particularly TikTok, a video platform. It’s been an invaluable medium on which they can socialise during times of lockdown. Lots of them use dating platforms like Tinder, too – but that’s more for interests of a romantic nature!
Examiner: Do adults and children make friends in the same way?
Candidate: I don’t think so! Children are free from preconceptions, so they’re less judgemental about people when they meet them for the first time. Adults can be inscrutable sometimes, too, which can make it harder to initially form a bond.
Examiner: Has social media changed friendship? [Suggest]
Candidate: Social media has changed pretty much every facet of life – and that certainly includes friendship. Some changes are positive, like deeper connectivity between people living in different countries.
Definitions for IELTS Achievement Vocabulary
Extrovert – somebody who is confident while around other people
Active social life – spending a lot of time with friends
Wellbeing – being happy and healthy
Empirical – scientific
Infrequently – not often
Unforeseen – unexpected
Conscious effort – deliberately trying to do something
Magnanimous – kind
Fortitude – showing strength in a bad/difficult situation
In the face of adversity – when something bad is happening
Role models – people you respect / people you aim to be lik
Fortnight – two weeks
Exhausting – tiring
Mechanical – in a machine
Quoted – given a price
Locksmith callout – when a professional who fixes locks visits a home or other building
Unreasonable – not sensible
Conscientious – thinking about other people
Chisel – a tool for working with wood, metal or stone
Redundant – not needed any more
Gratifying – satisfying
Time of need – when somebody really needs something
Introspection – thinking about yourself
Ruminating – thinking
Generation – people born at a certain time
Invaluable – essential
Of a romantic nature – for love, not just friendship
Preconceptions – opinions about something or someone before you meet them/experience it
Judgemental – critical of others
Inscrutable – difficult to understand or interpret
Initially – at first
Facet – one side of something
Connectivity – the connections between things or people
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