Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

On the Speaking Exam, what can you say to answer questions and sports and art, if you don’t know about these topics?

These are common topics, but not all candidates have experiences and ideas to talk about.

We got a worried email from a student, which sparked today’s episode:

I’m a regular listener of All Ears English. I have a question. I do not do any competition, especially sports competition, so if I get any question in Speaking Part 2 like ‘describe a competition’… I’ve never done it before. I watched a YouTube video of Jessica regarding this. She described a soccer competition. I don’t have any confidence in this. I’m so nervous and tense.

Not everybody plays sports!

The good news is, there are many kinds of competitions!

One perspective is to think about how you compete with yourself. You are adults and are highly motivated. For instance, if you got a 5.5 on your last IELTS Exam, you want to beat that score next time and get an 8!


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In Speaking Part 1, there are also questions about sports.

Did you play sports as a child?

You could say:

Well, I didn’t play sports as a child, but I did compete with my brother in thumb-wrestling.


Well, to be honest, I’ve never enjoyed sports. I’m not an athletically talented person, but I do love board games. Probably the funnest board game I used to play with my family was Monopoly. We used to sit around on a Sunday for, like, 6 hours, having mammoth games of Monopoly.

You could also talk about trivia games or cards. Just focus on the idea of playing games!

Our sample answers today employ 2 of our signature strategies: the brain box, and being honest.

Now, what can you talk about if you don’t like art, but are asked to talk about it on the Speaking Exam?

Just as with competition, broaden your definition of ‘art’, such as fashion, design, architecture, literature, comic books, dance, etc.!

Also, there are countless kinds of museums, besides art museums, like science museums, wax museums and train museums.

In order to prepare yourself for museum questions, research museums in your city, and visit the weirdest one!

Questions for you to practice:

Speaking Part 1

Did you play sports as a child?

What was the last museum you visited?

Speaking Part 2

Describe a competition you took part in.

Describe a work of art you admire.

What do you think of today’s advice?

Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below!


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