In the IELTS Speaking exam you may be called upon to showcase your vocabulary to describe towns and cities. 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 is it like where you live?
Christiane: I live in a residential area of a busy town in the south of Spain … we have all the facilities you need … good public transport … a good shopping center … it’s nice …
Examiner: Do you like living in the city?
Andrea: Yes I do … I like going out with my friends and there are lots of lively bars and restaurants within walking distance of my apartment … I’m a bit of a culture vulture as well so it’s great to have access to art exhibitions and that kind of thing …
Examiner: Do you get many tourists visiting your area?
Mandy: Not really no … I live in the inner-city and the area is a little run down … it’s basically a lot of high-rise flats and many of the shops are boarded up … so nothing to interest tourists really …
Part 2-style task
Describe an interesting town or city in your country that visitors might enjoy. You should say
and say why visitors might enjoy going there.
Monique: Anyone who comes to my country really should spend some time in Barcelona … it’s a beautiful place … it’s not what you would call a sprawling city … it’s quite compact really and you could walk across the city in a couple of hours … but there’s no need to do that as we have a fantastic public transport system so it’s easy to get around … there are various districts all with their own character … you have the upmarket shops in the center … you’ll find lots of chain stores you’ll recognise from your own country but also local brands as well … we have the narrow streets in the Gothic district with lots of fashionable boutiques and tourist attractions … there’s the Olympic area and the beaches along the coast … and dotted around the city are some lovely public spaces … parks and squares in the city center and on the outskirts of Barcelona where people relax with their friends and family … and of course pavement cafes everywhere … all that and some great historical places of interest … so a great destination for tourists …
Part 3-style questions
Examiner: What are the advantages of living in a city or big town?
Carrie: I think it’s having access to local facilities really … local shops as well as access to larger shopping malls in the city center … and if you’re well-off you can afford to live in the suburbs away from the busy traffic …
Examiner: In your experience are city center usually attractive places?
Mary: Some can be yes … especially those with a historical interest … but sometimes they’re full of ugly office blocks … multi-story car parks … and residents living in poor housing … it depends on the city doesn’t it?
Examiner: What are some of the challenges facing towns and cities?
Penny: I suppose traffic congestion is a major problem … and the growth in out-of-town supermarkets and retail parks mean lots of town center shops are closing down … plus a shortage of good quality housing … I think these are the major challenges …
upmarket shops: expensive fashionable shops