Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

You may be asked on the IELTS Speaking exam to describe qualifications.

This could be asking if you have certain qualifications.

It could also be a question about what qualifications are required for a particular task.

Today you’ll learn how to answer these questions.

We provide high level vocabulary in example sentences.

Practice using this new vocabulary so you are ready for test day!

Watch the video now!

Today’s question

Today’s video answers 3 Keys IELTS student Samira’s question:

In the speaking test, part 1, if the examiner asks me:

“Have you gained/Do you hope to gain any qualifications?”

Qualifications in that case are something related to studies, for instance, a graduation degree or a master?

Qualifications do include education, but also skills, experience and personal qualities.

Verbs for discussing qualifications

You don’t want to just list off skills and qualities.

Share details!

How did you develop these qualities?

Three verbs to do this:

  • Gain 
  • Build
  • Develop

I have gained skills and am able to build relationships easily with coworkers.

Adjective #1: Interpersonal

Boost your Vocabulary scores with adjectives!

That sentence about gaining skills needs high level adjectives for a 7+!

  • Interpersonal – relating to relationships or communication between people

I have gained interpersonal skills.

Add a high level parallel for strong or impressive, like:

  • Palpable
  • Noticeable

I have gained palpable interpersonal skills.

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Adjective #2: Abiding

To describe the relationships as long-lasting, use an adjective such as:

  • Enduring
  • Abiding

I have gained palpable interpersonal skills and am able to easily build abiding relationships with coworkers.

With the addition of this higher level, less common language, your Vocabulary score jumps to 7+!

Bonus idiom: over the course of

A great idiom to describe something that has happened over time is “over the course of.”

  • Over the course of: in or during the process of

I have gained a myriad of skills over the course of my years working.

This is used for something that took time.

Many qualifications aren’t developed over night, but are a time-consuming process.


You may definitely face a question on IELTS Speaking about your skills or qualifications.

You could also be required to describe another person’s qualifications.

Be ready with today’s verbs and adjectives!

Provide details and include high level vocabulary to boost your Vocabulary score to a 7+!

For more Speaking strategies, join our 3 Keys IELTS Success System!

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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