What Are The Common IELTS Speaking Part 1 Topics?

The IELTS speaking test is a one on one interview style test between the examiner and the test candidate. The test consists of three parts and lasts for about 11 to 13 minutes. The test format is the same whether you are taking the test in Singapore or any other part of the world.

The first part of the test lasts for about 4 to 5 minutes. The examiner will ask questions based on personal information and everyday topics. These are all topics that you will be familiar with. For example, your hometown, the area you live in, travelling, studies, work, job experience, spare time, activities, family, and friends.  During this task, you should show that you can understand the questions and that you can answer and communicate accordingly. It will be relatively easy since you know what to expect, more or less.

In this article, you will learn about the common topics that are asked about during part 1 of the IELTS speaking test. To aid in your preparation I’ve also included some sample questions and high band scoring sample answers for these common topics.

Part 1 Common Topics

  • Home
  • Work
  • Study
  • Nature
  • Leisure Time
  • Media
  • Society
  • Finances
  • Your Past
  • Food
  • Transport/Travel
  • About you

Part One Topic Distribution

There will be ten to eleven questions in total for part 1. The usual distribution is:

  • 2-3 introduction questions (about your home, work or study)
  • 4 questions on the first topic
  • 4 questions on the second topic

The introduction questions will almost always be about 3 things, your hometown, your studies or your job (if you work). Thereafter, there will be 2 sets of questions about 2 different topics.

Common Topics – Sample Questions And Answers

Sample Hometown Questions

  1. Describe the town or city where you grew up.
  2. Do you still live there now?
  3. Does your family still live there?
  4. Do you think that the place has changed much since you were young?
  5. What do you like about your hometown?

Sample Hometown Answer:

Q . Tell me about your hometown. What do you like most about your hometown?

My hometown is a lovely place, I consider it to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world and a well – known tourist destination, with its many old historical buildings and palaces.  Although I admire everything about it, I really enjoy the less frequented hidden gems within the city, these are the places that tourists hardly ever visit. I find that these spots are often safer and more affordable. this part of town also has some good places to eat that don’t cost an arm and a leg.

Sample Studies Questions

  1. What are you studying?
  2. Why did you choose to study that major?
  3. What is the most difficult part of your studies?
  4. What do you like about your school?

Sample Studies Answer:

Q. What do you like about your school?

Well, my school is a public school, so it is not have been the fanciest or most elite school in the area, but do I enjoy the great camaraderie between my friends and me.

We are also blessed to have experienced teachers who are wholeheartedly invested in our schooling success. Despite the lack of resources and funding our teachers and school administration try their hardest to provide the best learning environment for us.

Sample Work Questions

  1. What do you do for a living?
  2. How much time do you spend at your job?
  3. How long have you been working?
  4. Do you like your job?

Sample Work Answer:

Q. What do you do for a living?

At the moment, I work for a call centre which specialises in cold calling an international real estate company. To be honest, I really don’t enjoy my job, it’s quite tiring to work long hours at night. Although it’s not my ideal career choice, it pays the bills at least. Hopefully, once I pass my IELTS exam and take admission abroad, I will be able to further my horizons and get a well- paying job in the field of software engineering.

Sample Leisure time Questions

  1. How do you usually spend your weekends?
  2. Which is your favourite part of the weekend?
  3.  What types of music do you like to listen to?
  4.  At what times of the day do you like to listen to music?

Sample Leisure time Answer:

Q. How do you usually spend your weekends?

Well, it depends on if I have any special plans or not. For example, last weekend I went to visit a friend for the weekend. I try to make it a habit to try to go out and do something different, either with friends, family or even by myself, every other weekend

But a normal weekend, when I have nothing in particular planned, would revolve around my family and just being at home relaxing.

I usually help my mother around the house and I might help her out with grocery shopping and preparing the meals and then we might watch a movie together, as a family, in the afternoon or evening.

Later in the day, I try to spend some time reading or planning what I need to do during the coming week.

Sample Food Questions

  1. What sort of food do you like eating most? [Why?]
  2. Who normally does the cooking in your home? [Why/Why not?]
  3. Do you watch cookery programmes on TV? [Why/Why not?]
  4. In general, do you prefer eating out or eating at home? [Why?]

Sample Food Answer:

Q. In general, do you prefer eating out or eating at home? 

I suppose I prefer eating out more than eating at home. To be more precise I love frequenting food stalls instead of typical restaurants. This is mainly because the entire street food experience is quite vibrant and much more enjoyable than dining at a fancy restaurant. In addition to this, it’s also a much cheaper option.

Sample Travel Questions

  1. Do you enjoy travelling [Why/ Why not?]
  2. Have you done much travelling? [Why/ Why not?]
  3. Do you think it’s better to travel alone or with other people? [Why?]
  4. Where would you like to travel in the future? [Why?]

Sample Travelling Answer:

Q: Do you enjoy travelling?

Well, in general, I would say that I really love exploring new places and seeing the world. However, I particularly enjoy visiting places that are not considered to be regular tourist spots. I suppose/think it’s because I believe that this type of travel helps me to learn about the diverse cultural aspects and demographics of those particular places.  

Sample Media Questions

  1. Which magazines and newspapers do you read [Why?]
  2. What kinds of articles are you most interested in? [Why?]
  3. How often do you watch television?
  4. Which television channel do usually watch?

Sample Media Answer:

Q. How often do you watch television?

I don’t really enjoy watching television, and so its quite rare to find me in front of the telly. I find that most of the programs available these days are fill of material that is unsuitable for families to watch. Besides that, a working professional, I don’t have that much time left at the end of the day to indulge in catching up on any programmes. I’m usually quite exhausted on weekdays and prefer to go out on the weekend instead of staying at home to watch TV.

Sample Nature Questions

  1. Do you like to have flowers in your home?
  2. Where would you go to buy flowers?
  3. Are there many animals or birds where you live? [Why/Why not?]
  4. How often do you watch programmes or read articles about wild animals? [Why?]

Sample Nature Answer:

Q. Do you like to have flowers in your home?

Yes, absolutely. Decorating my home with fresh flowers is a habit I picked up from my mom. Adding these gorgeous splashes of colour really improves the atmosphere of any room and often brightens up my mood on even the toughest of days.

Jonathan has been teaching students to prepare for the IELTS and PTE Exams for more than 10+ years. He's taught English to students in various countries in the world including Singapore, China, Australia, Canada and Colombia.