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IELTS Accommodation Vocabulary

The examiner may ask you to talk about the place you live or would like to live in the exam. Read the following IELTS-style questions and answers below and pay attention to the phrases in bold. Use the ‘Definitions’ section at the bottom of the page to check the meaning of any phrases you don’t understand.

Part 1-style questions

Examiner: Do you live in a house or an apartment?
Callum: Actually I live on campus … in a single room in halls of residence … all first year students are encouraged to do that as they’re close to the university … next year I plan to move into student digs in town …

Examiner: Tell me about where you live.
Julia: I live with my parents in the suburbs of Madrid … we only moved in recently … in fact we had a house-warming party just a few weeks ago …

Examiner: What kind of accommodation do most people live in in your city?
Maria: In the city itself the majority of people live in apartment blocks … that’s what surprised me about England … most people seem to live in terraced houses with lovely back gardens 

Part 2-style task

Describe a house or an apartment you would like to live in. You should say

  • what kind of accommodation it would be
  • where it would be
  • who would live there with you

and say why you would enjoy living in this place.

Paolo:  I think most people when answering this question would say they’d like to live in a big detached house with spacious rooms … views of the countryside and so on … but actually my ideal home would be a lot different … I’ve always loved the idea of having a mobile home … a really expensive one with all the mod cons … so I could live wherever I wanted or at least have lots of holidays and be able to take all my home comforts with me whenever I travelled … I realise this would have to be a second home as I’d need a base … a permanent address … but the mobile home would be the accommodation I’d find it exciting to live in … I suppose once I settle down and have children I’ll want to get on the property ladder … I’ll be like everyone else … saving up to put down a deposit on a house or an apartment … I don’t think my family would want to live in a mobile home … but I like to think I’ll still keep that dream home in mind …

Part 3-style questions

Examiner: Is it better to own your own home or to rent?
Ana: I think both have their advantages … living in rented accommodation isn’t necessarily a bad thing … you don’t have a huge debt like you do when you take out a mortgage but I suppose the property market offers you an investment for the future … I’m sure that’s why most people prefer to own their own home 

Examiner: What options are available to young couples looking for accommodation in your country?
Toni: If they want to buy their own home it isn’t easy for first-time buyers … mortgages are hard to get so most people live with their parents or in rented accommodation … but that can also be very expensive … you often have to pay rent in advance … and if the accommodation isn’t fully furnished you have the expense of buying furniture …

Examiner: What are some of the pleasures involved in making a home for ourselves?
Suki: I suppose it starts with house-hunting … finding your ideal home … some people enjoy doing up an old property … giving a property that’s old and tired a new lease of life … others like making wherever they live feel like home with some home comforts …

Definitions

  • (all the) mod cons: technology at home that makes jobs easier such as a washing machine, dishwasher etc.
  • apartment block: a large building made up of smaller units of apartments
  • back garden: a garden at the rear of the house
  • detached house: a house that is not physically connected to another property
  • to do up a property: to repair an old building
  • dream home: a home you regard as perfect
  • first-time buyer: someone buying a property for the first time, especially when taking out a loan (mortgage)
  • fully-furnished: a rented property with all furniture included
  • to get on the property ladder: to buy a property with the aim of buying another bigger or more expensive one later in life
  • hall of residence: a college or university building where students live
  • home comforts: things that make a home feel comfortable to live in
  • house-hunting: looking for a property to live in
  • house-warming party: a party to celebrate moving into a new home
  • ideal home: a perfect home
  • to live on campus: to live on the university or college grounds
  • mobile home: a home that can be moved by a vehicle or one that has its own engine
  • to move into: to begin to live in a property
  • to own your own home: to have bought the property you live in
  • to pay rent in advance: weekly or monthly rent paid at the beginning of the week or month
  • permanent address: a fixed address
  • property market: the buying and selling of land or buildings
  • to put down a deposit: to pay an amount of money as the first in a series of future payments
  • rented accommodation: property owned by someone else and for which a person pays a fixed amount to live in
  • single room: a room for one person
  • spacious room: a large room
  • student digs: student accommodation
  • the suburbs: a residential area on the edge of towns or cities
  • to take out a mortgage: to borrow a large amount of money, paid back over several years, in order to buy a house
  • terraced house: a house connected on both sides by other properties
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IELTS Books and Films Vocabulary

It’s quite possible that the examiner will ask you questions about your reading habits or ask you to say something about a book you’ve read or a film you’ve seen. Read the following IELTS-style questions and answers below and pay attention to the phrases in bold. Use the ‘Definitions’ section at the bottom of the page to check the meaning of any phrases you don’t understand.

Part 1-style questions

Examiner: Do you like to read books?
Marie: Yes … I love reading … I like nothing more than to be engrossed in a good book … I regularly take out books from the library and usually read them from cover to cover in no time … and I can’t go to sleep at night without some good bedtime reading …

Examiner: How often do you go to the cinema?
Jemma: Unfortunately we don’t have a cinema near us so we have to go into the nearest town to catch the latest movie … I usually avoid seeing popular box-office hits which I’m not always keen on seeing … I prefer low-budget films … sci-fi especially … and there’s a great cinema I go to that has frequent showings of films like these …

Examiner: Do you prefer reading books or watching films?
Louisa: I’m not really a big reader … I find books quite heavy-going … so I much prefer to see a film … perhaps it’s the special effects or the soundtrack … I don’t know … I just prefer a film …

Part 2-style task

Describe a book you have read or a film you have seen. You should say:

  • what this book or film was
  • when you read or saw it
  • why you decided to see the film or read the book

and say if you enjoyed it and why.

Pauline  I like reading … especially English novels … it’s a great way to improve your vocabulary and there are so many fantastic authors to choose from … one book that came highly recommended by my teacher was The Mayor of Casterbridge … I was studying at a school in The UK at the time and she said it would give me a picture of what life was like years ago in the area I was living … well I have to say I absolutely loved it  … it was a real page-turner … it’s a historical novel and the setting was a fictional town called Casterbridge … but actually it was based on a town near where I was studying called Dorchester … it had such a great plot … to cut a long story short it tells the story of the downfall of a man called Henchard the central character who lives during a period of great social change around the time of the industrial revolution … the reason I enjoyed it so much … apart from the great story … it gave me a picture of what life had been like in the place I was studying at the time … I really couldn’t put it down … a fantastic story …

Part 3-style questions

Examiner: Is reading as pleasurable in digital format?
Alise: Personally I prefer reading a paperback or hardback … especially if I’m reading a classic which I don’t think feels right as an e-book … but I can see it can be good for others … my grandmother has an e-reader and she loves the way you can enlarge the text …

Examiner: Do you think bookshops will survive the digital revolution?
Thomas: I think so … at least I hope so … I love flicking through books in a bookshop … online shopping is useful … finding out on Amazon if a book you want has got a good review … maybe getting one that is difficult to find … but I still love the experience of being in a bookshop  …

Examiner: Statistics show that visits to the cinema are up despite the availability of DVDs and online downloads. Why do you think this might be?
Jamie: I think it’s the whole experience that the cinema offers … going out to see a film when it goes on general release … and seeing it on the big screen is more exciting than watching the film at home on TV … especially if it’s an action movie … and watching it with others makes it even more special …

Definitions

  • an action movie: a film with fast moving scenes, often containing violence
  • to be engrossed in: to be completely focused on one thing
  • bedtime reading: something to read in bed before you go to sleep
  • to be a big reader: someone who reads a lot
  • to be based on: to use as a modal
  • a box office hit: a financially successful film
  • to be heavy-going: difficult to read
  • a blockbuster: a film that is a big commercial success
  • to catch the latest movie: to see a film that has just come out
  • the central character: the main person in a film or book
  • a classic: of the highest quality
  • to come highly recommended: to be praised by another person
  • couldn’t put it down: wasn’t able to stop reading a book
  • an e-book: a digital book
  • an e-reader: a device for reading e-books
  • to flick through: to look quickly through a book
  • to get a good/bad review: to receive positive or negative feedback
  • to go on general release: when a film can be seen by the general public
  • hardback: a book with a rigid cover (see ‘paperback’ below)
  • a historical novel: a story set in the past
  • a low budget film: a film made with a small amount of money
  • on the big screen: at the cinema
  • a page turner: a book that you want to keep reading
  • paperback: a book with a flexible cover (see ‘hardback’ above)
  • plot: the main events in a film or book
  • to read something from cover to cover: to read a book from the first page to the last
  • sci-fi: science fiction
  • to see a film: to see a film at the cinema (see ‘watch a film’ below)
  • the setting: where the action takes place
  • showings: performances of a film
  • soundtrack: the music that accompanies a film
  • special effects: the visuals or sounds that are added to a film which are difficult to produce naturally
  • to take out (a book from the library): to borrow a book from the library
  • to tell the story of: to outline the details of someone’s life or an event
  • to watch a film: to watch a film on TV (see ‘to see a film’ above)
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IELTS Health Vocabulary

During the IELTS Speaking exam you may be asked questions to do with health and fitness. Read the following IELTS-style questions and answers below and pay attention to the phrases in bold. Use the ‘Definitions’ section at the bottom of the page to check the meaning of any phrases you don’t understand.

Part 1-style questions

Examiner: Have you got a relation you’re particularly fond of?
Sinita: Yes … my granddad … he’s 94 years old but generally he’s as fit as a fiddle … we’re very close and see each other a lot … whenever he goes down with a cold or is under the weather I make a point of visiting him …

Examiner: Do you do any sport?
Jon: Yes … I’m keen on skateboarding … but I haven’t done it for a while … I had a bad fall recently and pulled a muscle and had a few cuts and bruises … but I’m on the mend and hope to be doing it again soon …

Examiner: Is there anything you’re particularly afraid of?
Davide: The dentist … I hate going to the dentist … I only ever go if I have a toothache so it usually means I have to have a filling or even have a tooth out … I really don’t like it …

Part 2-style task

Describe a time when you were ill. You should say:

  • when this was
  • what your symptoms were
  • how long the illness lasted

and say how it affected your life at the time.

Pierre:  This is a tricky one really as I’m usually quite healthy … I’ve never been seriously ill … like everyone else I sometimes get a few aches and pains or catch a cold … I can remember a few months ago I had to have time off work with a heavy cold … I had the usual symptoms … a blocked nose … sore throat … it lasted quite a while … about 2 weeks I think though I didn’t have that much time off work … for a few days I remember feeling poorly but I was over the worst of it after a few days and went back to work … I always find it’s better to be active when you feel ill as it keeps your mind off your symptoms … I think my family get a little fed up with me when I’m ill though … I tend to feel sorry for myself and lie on the sofa all day as if I’m at death’s door … but as I said earlier … on this occasion it was nothing serious and didn’t really cause me any problems …

Part 3-style questions

Examiner: What costs are involved when you are ill in your country?
Anya: Well … people have to pay prescription charges which can be quite expensive … but fortunately general healthcare is free … unless you want to go private of course and then  you can pay a fortune for your treatment …

Examiner: In your experience are people too quick to take time off work when they’re ill?
Alicia: Yes .. I’ve got friends who have a day off work if they wake up with a runny nose … and in most cases they seem to make a speedy recovery after they’ve phoned in sick 

Examiner: Do women pay more attention to their health than men?
Julie: I think so yes … women are more likely to see their GP for a check-up if they’re concerned about something … men tend to avoid facing up to any health problems they have … my dad always seems to have a very chesty cough but refuses to go to make an appointment to see the doctor …

Definitions

  • aches and pains: minor pains that continue over a period of time
  • to be a bit off colour: to feel a little ill
  • to be at death’s door: (informal) to be very ill indeed
  • to be on the mend: to be recovering after an illness
  • to be over the worst: to have got through the most serious or uncomfortable stage of an illness
  • to be under the weather: (informal) to not feel well
  • a blocked nose: when the nose has excess fluid due to a cold
  • to catch a cold: to get a cold
  • a check-up: a physical examination by a doctor
  • a chesty cough: a cough caused by congestion around the lungs
  • cuts and bruises: minor injuries
  • to feel poorly: to feel ill
  • as fit as a fiddle: to be very healthy
  • to go down with a cold: to become ill
  • to go private: to choose to be treated by commercial healthcare rather than by services offered by the state
  • GP: General Practitioner (family doctor)
  • to have a filling: to have a tooth repaired
  • to have a tooth out: to have a tooth removed
  • a heavy cold: a bad cold
  • to make an appointment: to arrange a time to see the doctor
  • to make a speedy recovery: to recover quickly from an illness
  • to phone in sick: to call work to explain you won’t be attending work due to illness
  • prescription charges: money the patient pays for medicine authorised by a doctor
  • to pull a muscle: to strain a muscle
  • a runny nose: a nose that has liquid coming out of it
  • a sore throat: inflammation that causes pain when swallowing
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IELTS Work Vocabulary

If you’re employed, getting the necessary qualifications for a job, or still trying to decide what kind of career you’re interested in, you’ll need to be able to tell the examiner about this if you’re asked questions about work.

Read the following IELTS-style questions and answers below and pay attention to the phrases in bold. Use the ‘Definitions’ section at the bottom of the page to check the meaning of any phrases you don’t understand.

Part 1-style questions

Examiner: What do you do?
Sasha: I do a job-share with a friend in a boutique … I enjoy it … I like working with customers … unfortunately it’s only temporary work but one of the perks of the job is I get a discount on the clothes …

Examiner: Do you have any career plans yet?
Carly: Yes … I’d like to be my own boss one day … I’m interested in programming and I’d like to create apps for myself or for other companies … I know being self employed would be a challenge but the idea of doing a nine-to-five job doesn’t appeal to me at all …

Examiner: What do you see yourself doing in 10 years time?
Marie: I’d hope to be working … not a high-powered job … but I’m quite a creative person so something where I can work with my hands would be nice … as long as I’m not stuck behind a desk doing something boring  in a dead-end job I’ll be happy …

Part 2-style task

Describe your ideal job. You should say:

  • what this job is
  • whether you would need any qualifications
  • whether it would be easy to find work

and say why you would enjoy this job in particular.

Max:  I’ve always loved watching wildlife programmes on TV and often thought how much I’d enjoy working with animals … perhaps in a safari park … something like that … you’d probably need a degree to have any chance of being called for an interview and whether there are many full-time jobs I don’t know … I’m sure a lot of parks rely on voluntary work so it might not be easy … and it probably wouldn’t be well-paid either but money isn’t everything … I’d get so much job satisfaction … I can’t imagine it being the kind of job where you get stuck in a rut … and I think I’d be good at it as well … I’d love to work with animals I enjoy manual work and I’m a good team player … so even though the working conditions might not be the best I think that would be my ideal job …

Part 3-style questions

Examiner: If there are a limited number of jobs available who should be given priority, young people or older people with more experience?
Anna: Things are so different these days … a few years ago older employees would often take early retirement or go onto part-time contracts and there were always opportunities for younger people but now jobs are so scarce … I think younger people need to be given the chance whenever possible …

Examiner: What are some of the important things a candidate should find out before accepting a job?
Ali: Well  … you’d need to know about your area of responsibility … and your salary of course and then there are things like holiday entitlement … maternity or paternity leave … if you’re thinking of having children … and what the situation is regarding sick leave … that kind of thing …

Examiner: What are the advantages of having your own business rather than working for someone else?
Julie: Well … unfortunately being an employee at the moment is very stressful … people have very heavy workloads … they’re always under pressure to meet deadlines … running your own business isn’t easy … but I do think it would be far more satisfying …

Definitions

  • to be called for an interview: to be invited to attend an interview
  • to be your own boss: to have your own business
  • a dead-end job: a job with no promotional opportunities
  • to do a job-share: to share the weekly hours of work with another person
  • a good team player: somebody who can work well with other people
  • full-time: the number of hours that people usually work in a complete week
  • a heavy workload: to have a lot of work to do
  • a high-powered job: an important or powerful job
  • holiday entitlement: the number of days holiday allowed
  • job satisfaction: the feeling of enjoying a job
  • manual work: work that requires physical activity
  • maternity leave: time off work given to a woman about to have a baby
  • to meet a deadline: to finish a job by an agreed time
  • a nine-to-five job: a normal job that consists of an 8 hour day (approximately)
  • one of the perks of the job: an extra benefit you get from a job
  • part-time: working less than full-time
  • to run your own business: see ‘to be your own boss’
  • to be self-employed: see ‘to be your own boss’
  • sick leave: time allowed off work when sick
  • to be stuck behind a desk: to be unhappy in an office job
  • to be/get stuck in a rut: to be in a boring job that is hard to leave
  • to take early retirement: to retire early (retire: to reach an age when you are allowed to stop working for a living)
  • temporary work: work done for a limited time only
  • voluntary work: to work without pay
  • to be well paid: to earn a good salary
  • working conditions: the hours, salary and other entitlements that comes with the job
  • to work with your hands: to do manual work