How long ago did you attend high school?

Do you remember it?

This is secondary education you complete at about age 15-18.

It may have been several years ago!

Nevertheless, you may have to talk about it on IELTS Speaking!

Listen in for our sample answers for this tough-to-answer topic!

Where will this come up on IELTS?

  • Speaking Part 1
  • Speaking Part 2

You may be asked about elementary school, which is also called primary school.

This is for children about age 5-12.

In the United States, there are often middle schools and junior high after.

You could be asked about schooling when you were very young or your teen years.

Prepare in advance!

Think about it now!

You will need to recollect what it was like.

  • recollect: remember

This is a band 9 verb because students don’t use it often.

Think about what you studied.

Who were your favorite teachers?

What did you do with your friends?

What extracurricular activities did you do?

  • Sports
  • Music
  • Debate
  • Drama

It won’t be enough to answer IELTS Speaking questions with, “I don’t remember.”

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Can you admit you don’t remember?


Use this great filler phrase:

Oh, gosh! I don’t remember much. I may not look it, but I’m old and that was forever ago!

You will, however, need to follow that up with some details.

Share anything you remember!

Make something up if you have to!

Sample answer #1: Favorite teacher

Who was your favorite teacher in high school?

  • Linking phrase: oddly enough

Oddly enough, I don’t remember any of their names!

It’s ok to admit this!

Listen to Aubrey’s intonation.

She slows down to give words space and emphasis.

How long should your answer be?

Aim for 3-5 sentences.

Notice that Jessica cuts Aubrey off with, “Thank you.”

The examiner will need to do this to ask more questions.

If you have a lot to say, keep talking.

This shows your fluency!

Don’t get thrown off if the examiner stops you.

Sample answer #2: Favorite subject

  • Linking answer: By far and away

This is a great phrase to introduce an answer

  • By far and away
  • By far
  • Hands down

Listen to her great vocabulary!

onomatopoeia: words formed from a sound

autonomy: freedom to choose

Speaking strategy: follow the branches

Students worry about their answers being organized.

This is not necessary!

Listen to how Jessica shares related details.

She doesn’t just describe the rhetoric class the entire time.

She talks about the types of students that took it.

Additionally, she describes the types of things they learned about.

She followed the branches!

This is to give details about anything related.

Sample answer #3: First day of school

Listen to Aubrey’s response about whether she remembers.

“Absolutely not!”

  • vague recollection: an unclear memory

Listen to the intonation.

It’s funny! You can laugh on IELTS!

Your tone should be appropriate for what you are saying.

Strategy: Say what you don’t remember!

If you are asked about something from a long time ago, say what you don’t remember.

Listen for this in Aubrey’s sample answer.

  • I don’t remember what I did.
  • I don’t remember any people!
  • I don’t remember what I ate!

These details are also related!

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking everything you has to say must be directly answering the question.

It’s a fluency exam!

Show your fluency by talking about anything remotely on topic!

Go off on a tangent!


You may be asked about high school on IELTS!

There’s a chance you’ll be asked about memories from long ago.

Be ready with something to say!

Today’s sample answers give you great strategies to use when talking about something you don’t remember well.

Practice using these strategies when answering IELTS Speaking questions!

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

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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