Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

Collaboration or competition?

What benefits come from being part of a team or club?

These are common questions on both IELTS Speaking and Writing.

Today we chat about our thoughts and provide sample answers.

There is a good chance this will come up somewhere on your IELTS exam.

Be ready with today’s brainstorm and sample answers!

For all the strategies you need, sign up for 3 Keys IELTS!

Why are we talking about clubs today?

We just got some great news from the Clubhouse app!

It has been doing beta testing and giving out minimal invites.

Previously, we didn’t have invitations to give out.

Now we can give out 1,000 invitations every time we host a room!

Follow us on social media for our latest news!

All Ears English has a club on Clubhouse!

You can practice speaking with us on Clubhouse!

Lindsay and Aubrey host a room every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. EST.

We discuss that week’s All Ears English episodes.

You can listen in the audience or come up on stage and practice speaking with us!

Follow us on Instagram for a link to join!

IELTS topic #1: Collaboration vs. competition

A common IELTS Task 2 topic asks your opinion about whether collaboration or competition is more effective.

This might be about children working together or adults.

  • Collaboration: working together cooperatively
  • Competition: competing against one another in an attempt to outperform others

Jessica shares that she prefers to complete tasks herself.

This is because she was forced to collaborate with groups in school and the other participants didn’t do the work!

Aubrey shares that she has her twins compete with each other to increase motivation and engagement.

There are definitely advantages and disadvantages to both sides!

Advantages of collaboration

The business world is changing.

The top-down style of leadership is evolving.

Soft skills are being valued as much as hard skills.

This helps companies be aware of and maximize the skills of all team members.

This creates many benefits.

  • Increased efficiency
  • Time savings
  • Improved performance

Advantages of competition

Competition increases engagement.

If you’re on a league sports team and no one is keeping score, people lose interest.

Some people wouldn’t go at all.

The competition creates an end goal.

It gives you something very clear that you’re working toward.

It give you motivation to be proud of yourself as you succeed.

Strategies Created by a Former IELTS Examiner

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How can this help you on IELTS Listening?

Students might get nervous or their mind might wander.

Suddenly, you realize you’ve missed 30 seconds of the audio!

It would be easy to get discouraged and maybe even give up.

You can miss a few questions and still get an 8!

Don’t let yourself get discouraged and stop trying.

It takes a lot of work to fight our first impulses at times.

Be ready to experience nerves and anxiety so you are prepared!

How to use this on IELTS: Speaking Part 1

Speaking Part 1 questions are more personal.

They will ask you about your habits and daily routine.

Be prepared to get personal!

  • Were you part of any teams or clubs in school?
  • What is your favorite sport?

Use slang and informal fillers to get the range of Vocabulary you need for 7+!

How to use this on IELTS: Speaking Part 2

In Speaking Part 2 you will be asked to describe something.

This might be an experience or a person.

Be ready to describe your experience on teams, clubs or even work committees!

  • Describe a team you were on in school.
  • Describe a time you collaborated with someone at work.

Introduce your answer in an interesting way!

Be sure to fill the entire 2 minutes.

Tell a story and provide details!

How to use this on IELTS: Speaking Part 3

Part 3 questions will be about more serious topics.

You might be asked about collaboration at work or school.

  • Should schools allow students to complete work independently, or encourage group work?
  • How does being on a team help children develop interpersonal skills?

For these, use higher level Vocabulary and more formal fillers.

Check out our past episodes about sports

We have done many episodes about sports vocabulary.

So many idioms in the English language are about sports!

Check these out for high level sports vocabulary.

Sports is a common IELTS topic and you need to be ready!

When discussing collaboration vs. competition, sports will likely come up!

Don’t talk like a student on IELTS

You want to sound more like a student and less like a native!

It’s vital that you use informal fillers like natives do.

These increase your Fluency and Coherence scores.

You also need to use high level vocabulary.

Don’t start Part 2 with a couple of boring sentences before providing any Band 7+ vocab.

Pull out high level vocabulary right away and impress the Examiner!

Varied intonation is a must!

You must have a variety of intonation for a 7 or higher on Pronunciation.

Also, you need to be ready to use informal vocabulary and tone.

This will get you that variety you need for Pronunciation and Vocabulary scores.

Notice the difference in our intonation on these sample answers.

We don’t sound the same when we describe our bedroom and when we talk about more serious topics like taxes.

No Speaking time limit

Students have informed us that tutors told them their answers should be very short.

One tutor incorrectly informed our student that there is a time limit for Speaking Part 1 questions.

  • The truth: You can indeed speak for more than 20 seconds in Speaking Part 1.

The Examiner does not time individual answers.

Do not be concerned about the length of time of your answers.

Instead, focus your attention on the content of your answers.

If you have spoken too long and they need to ask another question, the Examiner will stop you.

This is no way affects your score.

In fact, it shows you are very fluent and could speak even longer!

Use hand gestures and facial expressions!

One of our students was told that he should not use hand gestures during the Speaking exam.

  • The truth: You should use your hands if it helps you feel more relaxed and natural.

Using hand gestures in no way affects your score.

The Examiner does not pay attention to them at all.

In fact, if you try to keep yourself from using hand gestures, it could make it more difficult for you to speak.

This could actually affect your score negatively.


There is a good chance you’ll be asked about being part of a club or team on IELTS Speaking.

Practice answering these questions with at least 2-3 sentences.

Provide details!

Vary your intonation and avoid speaking monotonously or like a student.

Mimic our answers by listening and repeating specific phrases with the same intonation.

Use filler phrases and speak slowly and clearly.

For more strategies, sign up for 3 Keys IELTS!

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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