IELTS Speaking Test Part 1 Question Types: Closed Questions

IELTS Speaking Test
Part 1 Question Types:
Closed Questions

Part 1 of the IELTS Speaking Test Part 1 features 12 Questions on 3 different topics.

In the past, topics have ranged from Chocolate and Mirrors to Shoes and Magazines, so preparing for these random and oddly specific topics can be challenging. But don’t worry, you don’t have to practise every single topic in the under the sun in order to be ready for the exam.

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A much easier way to prepare is by familiarising yourself with the IELTS Part 1 Question Types.

IELTS Speaking Test Part 1 Question Types:

With this knowledge, you can even make your own questions to practise talking about a specific topic, or get really comfortable with IELTS Speaking questions.

Below, I’ve provided examples of Closed Questions. I’ll help you with grammar tips, as well as high band IELTS example questions and answers, so you can be confident you are demonstrating the best of your English skills!

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What are Closed Questions?

Listen to the audio clip (there is also a transcript below) for an explanation. 

“Do you like fruit?

“Can you ride a bike?”

“Is it cold in your country?”

“These are all called Closed Questions, because you can answer these questions with “Yes” or “No.” You can even say “Sort of…” and then explain yourself.

Part 1 of the IELTS Speaking Test focuses mainly on you – your opinions, your preferences, your hobbies, your family and so on. So closed questions are common in Part 1 because they allow you to share your opinions and preferences quickly, without going into incredible amounts of detail. From the examiner’s point of view, they want to see how comfortably you can talk about yourself as well as ordinary, daily objects or topics.”

Here is a complete list of Closed Questions:

  • “Do you / Can you / Is it / Are you / Did you / Were you / Have you / Are there?”

Listen to some Part 1 IELTS Example Questions:

  • Do you like reading?

  • Can you play any musical instruments?

  • Is it often sunny where you live?

  • Are you working at the moment?

  • Did you enjoy playing sports when you were younger?

  • Were you a good student at school?

  • Have you been abroad before?

  • Are there many places to eat out in your neighbourhood?

How to answer Closed Questions

Always answer the question directly. The examiner must see that you understand, before you start sharing and explaining any further. 

Important tip: use the same modal verb as the question.

  • Do you like reading?

Yes I do

No I don’t

  • Can you play any musical instruments?

Yes I can

No I can’t

  • Is it often sunny where you live?

Yes it is

No it isn’t

  • Are you working at the moment?

Yes I am

No I’m not

  • Did you enjoy playing sports when you were younger?

Yes I did

No I didn’t

  • Were you a good student at school?

Yes I was

No I wasn’t

  • Have you been abroad before?

Yes I have

No I haven’t

  • Are there many places to eat out in your neighbourhood?

Yes there are

No there aren’t

The examiner might ask about other people in your country.

Here you will need the pronoun: They

For example:

  • Do people in your country like to own boats?

Yeah, they do.

No they don’t.  

  • Are people interested in foreign films in your country?

Yes, they are.

No, they aren’t.

The examiner might also ask about your family.

Use the pronoun: We

For example:

  • Does your family get together often?

Yes we do

No we don’t

So far, this might seem very easy and very basic. So here are some more natural, conversational phrases to help you answer Closed Questions.

Yes 🙂 

  • Sure

  • Of course

  • Definitely!

  • Absolutely

50/50 :/ 

  • Sort of…

  • Kind of…

  • Yes and no

No 🙁 

  • Not really

  • Not at all!

  • Definitely not!

The best thing about these phrases? They don’t need the modal verb! You don’t need to add anything.

For example:

  • Do you like reading?

Sure!

  • Can you play any musical instruments?

Not really.

  • Is it often sunny where you live?

Sort of.

But of course, simple answering “Yes” or “No” is not enough.

You should share more about yourself.  

THINK:

  • Why do / don’t you like it?

  • What instrument would you like to play?

  • What’s the weather like where you live?

  • Why did / didn’t you enjoy playing sports?

  • Why do / don’t you think you were a good student?

  • Where did you go abroad?

  • What kind of restaurants are there in your neighbourhood?

Remember: 

  • Share

  • Explain

  • Describe

Don’t wait for the examiner to ask you these follow-up questions!

Here are some high-band answers to closed questions:

Can you play any musical instruments?

“No, I can’t. Not anymore. When I was younger I tried to learn how to play the guitar, and I practised for about 6 months or so, but then I gave up. I would love to pick it back up again but I never seem to have any spare time.”

Is it often sunny where you live?

“Sort of. Our summers are quite short here in Moscow, so we only get around 1 or 2 months of sunny weather at that time. The rest of the year is usually overcast, with occasional showers. And of course, in winter, we are covered in snow for about 3 or 4 months.”

Are you working at the moment?

“Yes I am. I’ve been working as a senior software developer for a large company here in Jordan for the last 4 years.”

Did you enjoy playing sports when you were younger?

“Not at all! I’ve never been a very sporty person, so at school I didn’t really like P.E class or playing football or rugby with my classmates either. I much preferred to read and just play video games instead.”

Were you a good student at school?

“Yes and no. My behaviour wasn’t terrible, and I only got detention every now and again along with my friends. I think when my friends and I were all in the same class together, we usually got into trouble, but otherwise I’d say I was quite well-behaved.”

That’s it!

Now you can do two things:

  • Answer closed questions confidently and fluently 

  • Make your own closed questions! Then practice with a tutor, speaking partner or a friend.

Try out your new skills with an IELTS Teacher Online here:
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