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Talking about hobbies in the IELTS speaking test

In the IELTS speaking test, the examiner could ask you to talk about your hobbies. Here’s a bad example of a response to a question about hobbies:

Examiner: What sports do you like?
Candidate: Football.

The main problem with the example above is that it is too short. In order to extend your answer, you could begin by describing how you feel about the sport by using adjectives. Here’s a slightly improved answer:

Examiner: What sports do you like?
Candidate: I think football is really exciting, both to watch and to play.

Here are some other adjectives that you can use:

  • breathtaking
  • physical
  • slow
  • aggressive
  • uneventful
  • terrifying
  • boring

You can then further extend your answer by giving reasons why you feel the way you do about certain hobbies, to make a far better answer:

Examiner: What sports do you like?
Candidate: I think football is really exciting, both to watch and to play, because there’s often a lot of action – players run up and down the pitch and there’s much more to get involved in compared to a sport like golf, which I find quite boring.

Practice by considering how you would answer the following questions:

  1. Do you have a favourite pastime?
  2. What do you do most in your free time?
  3. Do you prefer watching or playing sports?
  4. What hobbies are popular for people in your country?
  5. Are there any hobbies you wouldn’t be interested in trying?

Remember that when you are practising for your IELTS speaking test, get into the habit of recording yourself as you speak – most mobile phones or computers have a voice recording option, and recording then listening to yourself speak can give you the opportunity to identify your own errors. Don’t worry – most people don’t like the sound of their own recorded voice, but after a few tries, you’ll get more comfortable hearing yourself speak!

Talking about hobbies in the IELTS

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