Video Lesson: IELTS Speaking Skills – It Depends

Video Lesson: IELTS Speaking Skill:
“It Depends”

Many students consider Part 1 of the IELTS Speaking Test the easiest part. This questions are often very simple and very direct. 

For example:

  • What do you do in your free time? 

  • Do you like shopping? 

  • How often do you see your friends? 

But do you sometimes find these IELTS questions too simple? 

As in, you can probably think of 2 or 3 different answers. You want to impress the examiner, you want to show off as many English skills as you can, but you might feel like the question is too simple to do that.

In these situations, you can say: “It depends.”

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The Basics: “Well, it depends.”

“It depends” can be an answer all by itself, without any chances or additions. It also works as a great hesitation device, which means it also gives you some extra time to think.

What do you usually do at this time of the day?

“Well, it depends. At this time of the day during the week, I’m usually driving to my office. But at the weekend, I’m probably still asleep!”

Do you usually have a lot of homework from university?

“Hmm, it depends. In the weeks and months leading up to my final exams, I don’t get much homework because my professors just tell me to revise for the test. But during the semester I usually have a lot to do.”

In these examples, I used “It depends” to explain two different possible answers. I also used ‘But’ to start explaining my second option. 

You can get even more specific though.

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The Next Step: “It depends on…”

Do you like exercising outdoors?

“It depends on the weather. I really like jogging through the park when it’s sunny outside, but if it’s windy or rainy and cold then I will just exercise at home.”

Do you prefer staying in or going out at the weekends?

“It depends on my mood. When I haven’t seen my friends for a while and I want to catch up with them, I’ll definitely go out and meet them. But if I had a stressful week at work, I would prefer to just unwind and chill out at home.”

You can use specific nouns (the weather / my mood) to share more details with the examiner.

Don’t forget, take advantage of the simple, short questions in Part 1 to score some grammar points. In these examples explained my two different options with “But if…”. so that means I used Conditional Sentences, (If it’s windy…If I had a stressful week…), the Present Perfect (I haven’t seen my friends…), and But to create a complex sentence – all of these are high-band techniques!

Here are some common collocations:

  • It depends on the weather

  • It depends on the time of day / the time of year

  • It depends on the occasion

  • It depends on my mood

  • It depends on my schedule

  • It depends on my friends

Big Points: Relative Clauses

Last but not least, you can use Relative Clauses, such as: Who – What – When – Where 

  • You can talk about People with: It depends on who…

“It depends on who I’m with. With my parents, I would visit some museums and parks. With my friends though, I would rather relax on the beach.”

  • You can talk about Objects / Ideas / Activities and Actions with: It depends on what…

“It depends on what my family wants to do. At Christmas, sometimes we all meet at my grandparent’s house, and other times we meet at my aunt and uncle’s house. It changes every year.”

  • You can talk about Time Periods with: It depends on when…

“It depends when I travel. During summertime, plane tickets are more expensive, but in the winter they are usually much cheaper.”

  • You can talk about Places with: It depends on where…

“It depends on where I go shopping. At the supermarket I can buy cheaper food, but at the local market things are fresher and better quality.”

So when can I use this again?

Use this whenever you can think of two or more different answers to very simple questions. 

It’s especially useful to use with these kinds of Part 1 Questions:

  • Do you like…?

  • Do you think…?

  • Do you usually…?

  • How often…?

  • How long…?

  • Are people…?

Don’t forget, you also use this phrase in Part 3 of the IELTS Speaking Test. Part 3 questions are more difficult, and there are lots of different answers you can give. So use “It depends” there as well!

Have a look at the Part 1 examples in the video below! If you have any questions, or if you want to write your own answers, go ahead! Happy learning!

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IELTS Vocabulary Lesson: Politeness and Birthdays

IELTS Speaking Test Vocabulary
IELTS Speaking Test Vocabulary

Politeness & Birthdays

In this post, we will look at some vocabulary and expressions on two topics which have appeared in recent IELTS Speaking Tests.



If you’re a teacher or a student looking for worksheets. You can download our FREE PDF exercise worksheets and separate MP3 files here.

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IELTS Speaking Test Vocabulary: Politeness

Read the examples answers, highlight and write down words you don’t know. You should also try to write down the verbs you see used with new vocabulary. This makes it easier to create your own sentence.

Who taught you to be polite?

I would say my parents, more than anyone else. They taught me to be considerate and mindful of other people. They also told me to mind my manners, especially with guests and strangers. If I was rude or impolite, they would punish me and tell me what I did wrong.

How important is politeness to you?

I think it’s very important. Good manners can make a big difference to the interactions you have with people every day. I think being polite makes life much easier, as as people are more likely to like you and help you if you are courteous and respectful first. Manners cost nothing anyway, and I don’t think it’s difficult to be polite in most situations.

How do you people in your country show politeness?

In my country, there are lots of different ways. People hold the door open for each other, they apologise if they disturb you, and say ‘thank you’ when someone else is considerate. It’s also polite to bring a small gift, like a bottle of wine or a some dessert to a dinner party, as a token of respect.

Exercise #1

Match the definition to the word. If you don’t know, then look back at the reading passage.

  1. Rude                                                                            A. Not caring about other people
  2. Polite                                                                           B. Very polite, good manners
  3. disrespectful                                                              C. Thinking of others / showing respect
  4. Punish                                                                         D. Being offensive, not showing respect
  5. Say sorry                                                                     E. Showing gratitude
  6. Say thank you                                                            F. Apologising
  7. Courteous                                                                   G. Discipline


Exercise #2
Finish / Complete the sentence with the new vocabulary:

1. Sharon lost her job because she was (rude / polite) to her boss.
2. Parents should definitely (punish / help) their children if they are being rude.
3. My mother taught me to say (thank you / sorry) if I was disrespectful.
4. People should always say (sorry / thank you) if someone helps you.
5. Thinking about other people means you are (courteous / rude).
6. It’s quite difficult to be (polite / rude) when you feel upset.
7. I really liked my teachers at school, they were always (respectful / punishing us.)


Exercise #3 

Listen and fill in the gaps with one of the phrases:

A token of respect

Mind your manners

Manners cost nothing

Makes a big difference

Makes life easier

We have a saying in English: ______________________. It means that little gestures, like saying thank you and apologising go a long way, and are always appreciated. When someone doesn’t say sorry or show any gratitude, it can make a bad impression, and it certainly ___________________ to the relationship you have with another person. Although it’s not always easy to _________________, especially when you’re upset or frustrated, if you can get along with your family, your colleagues, or people you need help from, it certainly ____________________.


Little _____________________ can also go a long way. Some snacks for your colleagues at work, or a bottle of wine and chocolates for your friends at a dinner party, are some popular ways to get your relationship started on the right on the foot.

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IELTS Speaking Test Vocabulary: Birthdays

How do children celebrate birthdays in your country?

Parents usually throw a party for their children. They also invite their friends and relatives over so they can celebrate together. When the children are young, people often decorate their houses with balloons and ribbons to make it a special occasion.

When kids grow up, they might prefer to have parties outside their home, like at the zoo, or at an amusement park. I think older kids prefer that because they get to spend more time with their friends that way.

How did you celebrate your last birthday?

On my last birthday, I went to a water park with my close friends. I didn’t want to have a huge blow-out with loads of people, so I kept it low key and just invited a handful of my best friends. After we had an awesome time at the park, I had another small get together at one of my favourite restaurants with my family. It was a really fun day and I had a great time.

What kind of birthday gifts do you like to receive?

Well, I don’t expect to get any gifts on my birthday now I’m older, but I prefer to receive gifts that are thoughtful and personal. My friends and family know what I like, and what my passions and interests are, for example, last year, my father gave me a big book about Formula 1, which is my favourite sport. It was a huge book full of pictures and interesting stories, so that was a really thoughtful gift. I appreciate those kinds of presents much more than gimmicky or novelty presents, which I will only use once and then forget about.

Exercise #1 IELTS Speaking Test Vocabulary
Match the definition to the word. If you don’t know, then look back at the reading passage.

  1. A handful of                                                               A. Get older / become a teenager /adult
  2. Thoughtful                                                                 B. Small, quiet, casual
  3. Grow up                                                                      C. Think of others’ interests
  4. Gimmicky                                                                   D. A small number of
  5. A blow out                                                                  E. Make smth. looking nicer, more attractive
  6. Low key                                                                       F. A large celebration or party
  7. Decorate                                                                     G. Unique, but with no value
  8. Get together                                                              H: A party or gathering


Exercise #2 IELTS Speaking Test Vocabulary
Complete the sentence with the new vocabulary:

  1. The show was extremely popular, so only (a low key / a handful of) tickets are available.

  2. My sister’s wedding was a huge event. Around 200 people came to the reception, it was (low key / a blow out)!

  3. My husband and I are going to (decorate / grow up) our apartment for our daughter’s birthday with ribbons and balloons.

  4. My brother knows I love animals, so he took me to the zoo for my last birthday. He is very (low key / thoughtful).

  5. When kids (decorate / grow up), they want to spend more time with their friends than their family.

  6. I don’t like parties, so I just invited (my close friends / a blow out) to dinner for my 30th birthday.

  7. I stayed at home, opened a bottle of wine and watched movies all day. My birthday was very (low key / thoughtful).

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Exercise #3
Listen and fill in the gaps with one of the phrases:

Decorate the house

Throw a party

Make it a special occasion

Invite (someone) over

Get together


When you’re getting ready to _______________________ there are a couple of things you can do to __________________________ Firstly, you should figure who you want to come to your party. These days most people _________________________ on Facebook, via text or through email. Once that’s sorted, you can head to a stationary or an arts and crafts shop to buy some balloons, streamers, ribbons and stickers, so you can ___________________. Then, on the big day, you can enjoy the _________________ with your guests, and the birthday boy or girl.

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Full Vocabulary List / Cheat Sheet:


Words, Phrases and Collocations:

Rude / Disrespectful / Inconsiderate / Impolite

Polite / Respectful / Considerate / Courteous

Good manners / Be mindful of others

A token of respect

Mind my manners

Manners cost nothing

Makes a big difference

Makes life easier

Punish me / Discipline me

Say sorry / Say thank you / Say excuse me / Apologise

Hold the door open

Bring a gift


Words, Phrases and Collocations

A handful of

A get together

Thoughtful / Personal / Special gifts

Gimmicky / Novelty presents

Grow up / Get older

My close friends

A blow out

Low key

Celebrate / Decorate the house

Throw a party / Have a party

Make it a special occasion

Invite over / Get together / Spend time with  

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You can download these vocabulary exercises and self-study worksheets here! 

Good luck! Happy learning! 

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IELTS Speaking Test Tips: Pausing to Think

IELTS Speaking Test Tips Pausing to Think Profile

IELTS Speaking Tips: Pausing to Think

Using Fillers, Intonation and Linking Words
or What to say when you need a few seconds to think

Today, we’re gonna focus on more overall IELTS Speaking Test Tips. So you’ve just told a fantastic, full-length story for Part 2 (thanks to your PDF strategy) in your IELTS Speaking Test. 2 minutes disappeared in a flash. You’ve already been speaking for about 8 or 9 minutes – trying to use as many different sentence types and grammar tenses as you can. It’s only natural that your brain is getting a little bit tired.

And then comes Part 3.

The most difficult questions in the test, difficult topics with several different possible answers and question types thrown in for good measure.

So naturally, you might need a few extra seconds to think and gather your thoughts.

As well as that, even during the short and sharp questions of Part 1, you might worry that your examiner will cut you off before you’ve finished.

So today I’ll show you some natural ways to use your words and your voice to let others know that you have more to say in English, while you pause to think. These techniques are especially useful in the IELTS Speaking Test and other standardised English tests, when the questions can be really difficult.

Native speakers naturally use their voice (intonation), fillers (uhm… annnnddd…. sooooo…) and linking words to let others know that they are taking a moment to think or that they would like to keep speaking… So… today we’ve got some incredibly useful tips to use with your words and with your voice to help other English speakers, like your IELTS examiner, understand that you’re going to keep talking.

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Technique #1: I understand, but I need time to think.

The easiest technique that we’ll start with is to use a few fillers when you need a little extra time to think, at the beginning of your sentence.

Here are four of the absolute basics:

  • Well…

  • Okay…

  • So…

  • Hmm… (our go-to word when hesitating or thinking)

They’re great to use instead of a long awkward pause. In general, and in any kind of conversation, these words immediately tell the other person that you understand the question and that you’re thinking about your answer. A long pause makes most people feel uncertain, and they may try to keep talking or may continue on to another question/topic to avoid being awkward!

As another top IELTS Speaking Test Tip, a good technique is to repeat the keywords in the question out loud. It isn’t necessary to repeat the entire question, that can be difficult to remember!

Here’s a couple of examples you can listen to: 

 Q: How do you think technology has changed education in the last few decades?
A: Hmmokaywelltechnology and education…well, when I was at school we only had a small computer lab which we could use about once a week, but nowadays I see that there are computers or laptops in almost every classroom…

Q: How could the public transportation be improved in your city?
A: Hmmpublic transport in Sao Paulo…well first of all the city should make it cheaper to use. Right now it’s too expensive to take a train to work, that’s why I take the bus instead.

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Technique #2: Voice Intonation

Using your voice to go up at the end of a phrase indicates that you intend to continue talking.

A lot of students worry that the examiner is going to cut them off before they can finish their full answer. This is probably more likely in Part 1, where your answers are expected to be shorter and more concise than in Part 2 and Part 3.

To show the examiner that you have more to say, and you just need a second to think about your next sentence, use a rising intonation at the end of your sentences.

Checking out these listening clips to hear the intonation:

How often do you exercise each week?
A: Uhm… exercising each week… well, I’d like to exercise more… , but I just don’t always have the time during the week.

What’s your favorite way to travel?
A: I guess I used to like travelling by bus but…I think I prefer trains and planes now because they go so much faster. And, I can start my vacation right away.

A falling or deepening tone marks the end of a phrase or answer. So naturally, use that at the end of your answer, when you’re finished, and you feel you have nothing more to add. The examiner should pick up on the cue, and ask you the next question.

Technique #3 – Use your Linking Words

Another option is to simply use Linking Words to give yourself a little more time to think and to show the examiner you have more to add. A lot of speakers use both intonation and a linking word to think about what they want to say.

You can hear this technique used in Mark’s answers:

What’s your favorite way to travel?
A: I think I like to travel by car, because…it’s so much easier to get around, and..I can go wherever I like – I don’t have to follow a timetable – I don’t have to follow a schedule, and I can go to places that are off the beaten track so…cars are my favourite way to travel.

How often do you exercise?
A: I used to go to the gym about twice a week, but since I started my new job, uh, I don’t really have time so… I just go jogging a couple of times a week.

Now remember, Kat and Mark are native speakers, so there are only small pauses in their recordings… but the fillers, linking words and intonation will help give you a second or two to pause to give you the important time that you need to finish speaking!

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So these are some basic IELTS Speaking Test Tips and tricks you can use with any Part 1, 2 or 3 question as well as in any conversation with English speakers. So now you know how to buy yourself a little extra time, sound more casual, and show that you have more to say!

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IELTS Speaking Test Part 2 Video Lesson: Writing Notes in 60 Seconds

IELTS Speaking Test Part 2 How to

IELTS Speaking Test Part 2
How to Answer Part 2 Questions

Producing Effective Notes in 60 seconds
Plus Example Cue Cards

In the IELTS Speaking Test, Part 2 can be one of the hardest parts of the test for many students.

You might be asking yourself: Will I be able to talk for long enough? What if I can’t think of enough ideas? What if I just end up repeating myself?

While there is no magic solution (apart from practice!) there is reliable technique I’ve been using with my students to help them take on Part 2 more confidently and coherently.

When you start taking notes in the 60 second preparation time, it’s tempting to scribble down everything you know about the topic. The result? Unorganised, unhelpful notes that will just confuse you when you’re giving your full answer.
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Here’s a more reliable strategy that can help: P – D – F

  • P stands for ‘Past’

  • D stands for ‘Describe’

  • F stands for ‘Future’

This means you should start in the past, continue to describe, then finish in the future.  

These are the only three things you need to keep in mind to create a coherent, natural and high-scoring IELTS Speaking Test Part 2 answer.

This strategy also extends to your 60-second notes as well. Divide your notes into the same 3 sections. Write down a grammar-specific sentence in each section. Make something like this:

IELTS Speaking Test Part 2: Video Lesson with High-Band Strategy

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This IELTS Speaking Test Part 2 Video Lesson comes with Free Worksheets to practice your new note-taking technique: Give yourself the 60 seconds to prepare 4 Part 2 Example Prompts and read through the Written Transcripts so you don’t miss anything in our Video Lesson!

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