A Comprehensive Guide to IELTS Speaking Topics: Leisure, Hobbies, and Interests. 

 March 27, 2024

By  Jonathan

Questions about your hobbies and leisure activities are common topics in the IELTS Speaking test. Discussing leisure activities, hobbies, and interests seems straightforward, but targeted preparation helps you give informative and engaging responses that showcase your vocabulary range and English fluency

Why Prepare for Leisure-Related Topics?

  • Comfort and Confidence: Talking about enjoyable subjects puts you at ease and improves fluency.
  • Showcase Vocabulary: Hobbies offer opportunities to use specific vocabulary (sports terms, art techniques, musical genres, etc.).
  • Demonstrate Personality: Sharing your passions reveals your interests and individuality to the examiner.

Common IELTS Questions about Leisure

  • How do you spend your free time? (General overview)
  • Do you have any hobbies? (Specific activities)
  • Why do you enjoy [hobby]? (Reasons, benefits)
  • How did you become interested in [hobby]? (Origins)
  • Have your hobbies changed over time? (Progression)

Preparation Strategies

  1. Reflection and Brainstorming
    • List your hobbies: Be inclusive – even simple activities count (reading, listening to music, spending time in nature).
    • Why you enjoy them: Consider the benefits (relaxation, challenge, skill development, socializing).
    • Relevant details: How long you’ve done each hobby, frequency, and any interesting experiences connected to them.
  2. Build Descriptive Vocabulary
    • Learn specific terms related to your hobbies: equipment names, techniques, locations, or relevant artistic or sporting concepts.
    • Utilize action verbs for dynamic descriptions (paint, sketch, compose, perform, compete, etc.).
    • Employ sensory adjectives to make descriptions vivid (energetic, soothing, intricate, vibrant).
  3. Practice Explaining & Elaborating
    • Practice answering “Why?” questions about your hobbies to articulate their appeal.
    • Move beyond one-word answers: “I enjoy reading because it allows me to escape into different worlds and broaden my perspectives.”
  4. Organize Your Thoughts
    • Use logical transitions to describe sequences (“First… Next,.. Finally”) or make comparisons (“Compared to…, …is more/less…”).
    • Briefly mention the history of your hobby: “I’ve been practicing photography since I was a child…”
  5. Prepare for Opinion-Based Questions
    • Consider which of your hobbies are most important to you and why.
    • Reflect on the value of leisure time in general: its role in a balanced life, stress management, or personal growth.

Sample Questions & Enhanced Responses


  • Question: “What do you do in your spare time?”
  • Basic Answer: “I like to read and watch movies.”
  • Enhanced Answer: “I have a few ways I enjoy relaxing. I’m an avid reader, usually historical fiction or thrillers. I also enjoy watching movies, especially independent films or thought-provoking documentaries.”

Benefits of a Hobby

  • Question: “What skills have you developed through your hobby?”
  • Basic Answer: “My hobby has made me patient.”
  • Enhanced Answer: “Photography has taught me the importance of patience and attention to detail. Waiting for the perfect lighting or composition has helped me develop a more observant mindset in other areas of my life.”

Importance of Leisure

  • Question: “Do you think it’s important to have hobbies?”
  • Basic Answer: “Yes, it’s important.”
  • Enhanced Answer: “I definitely believe hobbies are important. They offer a much-needed outlet for creativity or relaxation, adding richness and balance to our often hectic lives.”


  • Honesty Trumps Complexity: It’s more impressive to speak vividly about a simple hobby than hesitatingly about one you find difficult to describe.
  • Enthusiasm Matters: Expressing genuine enjoyment for your hobbies adds a positive tone to your responses.
  • It’s About Communication, Not Perfection: The examiner is focused on your clarity, fluency, and word choice.

By preparing responses that are informative, well-structured, and showcase diverse vocabulary, you can confidently and successfully tackle this familiar and enjoyable IELTS Speaking topic.

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.