Essay Task 2 Ielts Band 8 Speaking

Before you listen to the model answers to a full IELTS speaking test, please do the test yourself by watching the practice test video and answering the questions – full practice speaking test video. After you have finished your test, listen to the model answers below or read the answers by looking at the transcript.


  •  Do you live in a house or a flat?
    • Answer = I live in a house which is located on the outskirts of a small town. I’ve lived there for almost 5 years with my parents.
  • Which is your favourite room?
    • Probably the sitting room. To be honest, we all spend most of our time in the sitting room because it’s the cosiest room in the house. It’s much nicer than all the other rooms in our house.
  • Can you describe it?
    • Well, it’s not particularly large but even so, it feels quite spacious. There are two huge comfy sofas, an open fire which we light in the dark winter months and on the walls there are some rather beautiful oil paintings of country scenes from the area where we live. It’s quite a pretty room, lots of natural light.
  • If you could improve one thing in your house, what would it be?
    • Well, if I could change just one thing, I’d probably choose to change my bedroom. At present it’s rather small with almost no view at all. If I could alter it in any way, I would enlarge it to have a private study area, where I could do some work, and I would improve the view by planting some lovely trees and shrubs outside the window. I think being able to sit at a window and see nature is really important.



  • Do you enjoy watching films?
    • Oh yes. I’m a bit of a film fanatic actually. I watch films most weekends and quite often during the week as well. I much prefer films to TV programs.
  • What kinds of films do you like most?
    • I really like a wide variety of film genres. But if I had to choose a type of film. I’d say I mainly go for suspense, psychological thrillers. In fact some of my favourite films are the old Hitchcock films – he really was the master of suspense.
  • Did you watch much TV as a child?
    • No, I didn’t. My parents encouraged us, that’s my brothers and me, to spend time outdoors rather than sitting inside watching TV. So we only ever had the chance to watch TV for an hour each evening before we went to bed. I can’t say it was very common because most of my friends watched loads of TV.
  • Are foreign language films popular in your country?
    • No, they’re not really that popular compared to domestic films. I mean there are some Asian films from India and China, as well as some films from Europe as well but I think having to read the subtitles puts people off watching them. It’s a shame really because I think it’s important for people to watch more foreign language films in order to learn more about other cultures.


Greeting People

  • How would you greet someone who was visiting your house?
    • Well, I’d probably welcome them into the house and offer them a cup of tea. That’s usually the way it’s done in my country. We don’t really have any formal way of welcoming people.
  • Would you greet an old friend and a stranger in the same way?
    • No, definitely not. If it’s a close friend who I’ve known for a long time, I give them a hug and kiss, but if it’s just a stranger I would either shake hands with them or just say “hello, nice to meet you” and nothing more.
  • How do you meet new people?
    • I mainly meet new people through friends. Whenever I have dinner with a friends there’s nearly always someone there that I haven’t met before and that how I usually extend my circle of friends.
  • Do you think first impressions are important?
    • Oh yes. From the first time you set eyes on someone, you already form some kind of an opinion about them, about their lifestyle, their background or what kind of person they might be. That’s why I always think it’s really important to give a good impression when you meet someone for the first time.

I’d like to move on how. I’m going to give you a topic to talk about. Here is some paper and a pen. You’ll have one minute to make notes and then you’ll need to speak for 2 minutes. I’d like you to talk about a holiday you recently had. Please start making notes, I’ll let you know when it’s time to begin talking.


A Holiday you Recently Had

Describe a holiday you recently had

You should say:

  • Where you went
  • Who you went with
  • What you did there
  • And why you enjoyed it


I’d like to talk about a holiday that I took to the south coast of England just two months ago. I went to a small village in a coastal region called Cornwall. It’s really well known for its dramatic coastal scenes, stunning landscape and also for its tasty food. I went with my parents who had never been to this area of England before. They’d always wanted to go but just never had the chance because of work commitments. Anyway, Cornwall is quite far from where we live so we decided that it would be better to fly there rather than take the car. The roads and traffic are notoriously bad in that part of England. On our arrival, when we found got to the little village, we found our way to the cottage we had booked which overlooked the sea. I can’t tell you how gorgeous it was there. It was just lovely. The windows of my room overlooked a little harbour and I could see all the boats coming in and out and all the seagulls flying around.

We spent most of our holiday sightseeing. We visited all the local towns and villages and tried most of the local delicacies such as fresh crab and lobster. My father is a keen fisherman so he did a bit of fishing while my mother and I relaxed in little cafés somewhere just chatting with locals. It was so relaxing.

I think the thing I’ll remember most about the holiday, will be just how friendly and welcoming all the locals were. It felt like home from home. By the time we’d finished the two week holiday, we had made loads of friends and I’m sure we’ll all keep in touch. If I ever get the chance to go back, I’d love to go and possibly stay longer, maybe for a few months. There’s still so much of the countryside that we didn’t explore, so there’ll still be plenty to see when we return.

Now I’d like to talk more about holidays and travelling.

1. If you had the chance to travel anywhere, where would you go?

That’s really difficult for me to answer because there are so many places I’d like to go to. But I suppose, if I had to pick a place, I’d choose India mainly because of the incredibly landscape and also because of the fascinating culture there. I always like to go to countries which have a rich culture steeped in history and India certainly has that. I think I’d be blown away by the colours, the sounds, the aroma of amazing food and by the local people. I’ve heard that the locals are very welcoming and hospitable to foreigners. I think going to India would be a dream come true for me.

2. Why do you think some people like to travel alone?

Well, I suppose one reason could be that when you travel alone, you are completely free to do exactly what you want. You don’t need to consider anyone else when you’re planning your itinerary or when you change it. It can be quite annoying not to be able to do exactly what you want when you’re on holiday. Also, another reason why some people might prefer travelling alone is that it’s easier to make friends and meet people. What I mean is, other people are much more likely to start chatting to you when you’re on your own than if you are already with someone. So, travelling on your own can be more exciting and more interesting.

3. Do you think travel has changed much over the last few decades?

Yes, I do. It’s changed beyond all recognition really. In the past, only wealth people were able to travel, not only because of the expense but also because of the time it took to travel long distances – you know it could sometimes take days to go from one culture to another. They would either have to travel over land or by sea. Nowadays, of course, there are budget flights all over the world and anyone can afford to travel. Travel has become so cheap that it’s often cheaper to travel abroad than in your own country. So, not only is it easier to travel, it is also more accessible to the average person.

4. How does travel change people?

I guess it changes people in a number of different ways. For the individual traveller, it gives them a chance to learn about how other people live and other cultures. This helps them to become more tolerant and accepting of differences which is really important nowadays in a time when there is so much tension between cultures and religions. Also travel can affect the local cultures a lot. What I mean is, it brings foreigners to more remote places in the world where previously there was little outside contact. This can change the way they earn money and the type of work they do as instead of doing traditional jobs, they focus more on making money from the tourist industry. I think that’s quite a worry actually, because if there’s a sudden drop in the number of people travelling, local cultures will suffer as a consequence.

5. Do you think there are any disadvantages to modern travel?

Yes, for sure. I think the main drawback is of course pollution, air pollution. Because there are so many budget flights these days, it has really increased the number of people travelling by plane and the number of flights each day. This has led to serious problems with air pollution which affects the entire world not just the country with the most flights. So, I think this is a major world problem and really needs to be addressed either by reducing the number of flights or finding a cleaner energy source. Another disadvantage is that people are able to move so easily from one country to another that they almost forget their in a new country. I mean, if you take Thailand as an example, many tourists are so busy just having fun and doing what they want, that they forget they are in a relatively traditional culture and they act and dress inappropriately. I think that really is quite a disadvantage of modern travel.


Overall IELTS 9: A student’s Tips

Learn how Gokul, an IELTS student, got overall band score 9 in IELTS this year. He shares his useful tips and experience with you in order to help and inspire you to achieve your best in your IELTS test.

IELTS Test Results: Band 9

Date – 15th July, 2017
Location: Colombo, Sri Lanka.

  • Overall Band Score 9
  • Listening: 9
  • Reading: 9
  • Writing: 8
  • Speaking 9

Gokul’s Tips for IELTS Overall Band Score 9

This was my first ever IELTS attempt. I had never thought that I’d be required specifically to do IELTS, since my studies have only ever been in English. Even the university that I’d applied for my Masters seemed happy enough to accept me without an IELTS requirement. However, I was told by my destination country’s embassy that they can only issue a visa given that I show an IELTS grade of 7 overall or above.

I had barely 10 days to prepare and do the test, since the results would take roughly 2 weeks to be released.

I’m listing some of the things that I followed, and I hope that you find it useful in your own preparation.

IELTS Listening Band Score 9 Tips

I’d say that the listening test is all about practice. I did about 8 practice tests, and I as I was doing them I was able to see that I was getting better at picking up the points needed for the answer the more I practiced.

In my own test, I had a woman who spoke in a Scottish accent, and I’d say that this is one of the accents that people outside of the UK seldom come across. This is why I recommend that it’s imperative that you try out some practice tests by yourselves. This would enable you to get used to the formats as well as the intonation and accents used by the people that you hear in the recording. Liz has a number of excellent practice lessens on the blog at the IELTS Listening page.

You might sometimes find that you’ve missed the answer to a given question. If this happens – don’t worry! Panicking will only reduce your concentration and might cause you to lose more answers.

I also also recommend writing the answer in capital letters so that the examiner would find it easier to read what you’ve written.

Finally, make good use of the extra 10 minutes that you’re allowed at the end of the test. This can be used for filling out any answers that you may have missed.

IELTS Reading Band Score 9 Tips

I found the reading exam the easiest of the lot. You can read the passages on your own pace as opposed to following a preset sequence of events as in the listening test. I finished the test in about 40 minutes and had time to go through my answers again to check them for errors.

While there are some that say reading the entire passage is not worth it, I would still suggest that you at least skim the passages to get the gist of the content before you start. I recommend this in particular to people whose reading speed is high. This way, when you encounter a question, you’d have an inkling of where in the passage you saw the answer point.

Another point that I can’t stress enough is that you should never overthink the question. This was my biggest problem in the reading practice tests. Over-analysing the statement will often lead to incorrect answers. For YES/NO/NOT GIVEN type questions, if the passage explicitly agrees with the statement, say YES, and if it explicitly contradicts the statement, say NO. In all other cases, say NOT GIVEN.

Again, Liz has a set of excellent tips as well as practice questions in the IELTS Reading page.

IELTS Writing Band Score 8 Tips

My writing test for Task 1 involved a bar chart which compared bottled water vs. soda consumption in some western countries, while for task 2 I had the following:

Most countries want to improve the standard of living through economic development, however, others think the social value is lost as a result. Do you think the advantages of economic development outweigh the disadvantages?

I followed Liz’s tips on writing task 1 / writing task 2 to the letter and found that having a strategy helped me immensely. If you’re just starting out answering the tasks without a plan, it would likely end up costing you more time. As Liz rightly states, time management is vitally important in the writing test. I’d also recommend that you go through the answers you’ve written as well, which will help spot any errors that you may have made. A quick once-over may help you save points that you’d have lost if you’d misspelled any word.

IELTS Speaking Band Score 9 Tips

My speaking test went very well, and I almost felt as if I’d had a pleasant chat with the examiner as opposed to being graded.

My speaking part 1 was mostly about work/life balance (probably because I’d said that I was working full-time).

Then, for part 2, I was asked to speak about an important historical event and how it had helped shape the present. I picked the Assassination of Julius Caesar and it went without a hitch.

Part 3 then followed up on history and why it’s important to learn it.

For part 2, I took some short notes on the notepad given to me, which helped me marshal my thought before the test itself. You can also structure your own flow which would enable you to showcase your language skills without being held up by lack of content. This is important because pauses due to language limitations will negatively impact your score.

It’s also worth noting that what’s being tested is your language level and not the content you’re presenting. Hence, if you don’t have an answer, you can say no and take it as an opportunity to display your proficiency. For instance, I was asked whether I had any pets, and I said something along the lines of “No, I’ve never really had the chance, but my neighbour has a beautiful Labrador that I enjoy playing with..” and so on.

Be clear and confident, and you’d do fine.

Closing thoughts from Gokul

Lastly, though you’re probably here to prepare for your exams, I’d urge that you develop an interest in the English Language in general. Not only would you find that it provides you with new opportunities, it would also help you enjoy some of the finest literature ever produced.

Liz – I can’t thank you enough for your collection of resources and materials for prospective test-takers. They were invaluable to me, and doubtless to countless others as well. Keep up the good work.

Message from Liz: Thanks for sharing your tips and your experience, Gokul. You’ve done amazingly well and clearly understand IELTS. I hope this will inspire students to learn more about their test before taking it.

High IELTS Band Score Tips

Click below to read more success stories about students:

How I got band 9 in IELTS speaking

How I got overall band score 8.5

How I scores band score 9 in reading

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