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

On the IELTS Speaking exam, you may need to talk about loved ones.

Questions are asked regarding topics such as friends, family, and gifts you’ve given.

You need high-scoring vocabulary to describe those you love.

Today you’ll learn band 9 phrases so you are ready for these questions!

You’ll also hear advice from a current Examiner about a common Speaking Part 2 mistake to avoid.

Congratulations on amazing scores!

We want to shout out 3 Keys IELTS student Bruno!

He got amazing scores on his IELTS exam including an Overall 8!

  • Listening: 9
  • Reading: 8
  • Writing: 7
  • Speaking: 7

This was on his first attempt!

You can also get the scores you need with our online course!

#1: Bond over

This is a great phrasal verb to describe relationships.

The structure is bond over + activity.

  • My daughter and I like to bond over our shared love of classic rock.
  • I love bonding over books with people.

Keep in mind that “bond” can also be a verb and a noun.

These would be used differently.

verb: I was able to bond with my baby right away.

noun: The two of us have a very strong bond.

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#2: Connect over our mutual love of

This is similar to the phrasal verb “bond over.”

Just as you bond over shared likes and interests, we say we connect over our mutual love of something

  • My boyfriend and I connected over our mutual love of horses.
  • I connected with my coworkers over our mutual love of beach vacations.

#3: Carefully curated gift

You may be asked on IELTS about a gift you have given or received.

A band 9 term is to describe a gift as carefully curated.

This means a lot of thought was put into picking something specific that someone would love.

Jessica shares an example of choosing a gift her mother would love.

  • I spent some time finding a carefully curated gift for my mother.

#4: It’s the thought that counts

This is an expression used when something doesn’t work out.

It means the intention is important even if the result wasn’t as hoped.

  • The chocolate was melted when I gave it to her, but it’s the thought that counts!

Sample Part 2 answer

Jessica provides a band 9 sample answer to a Speaking Part 2 question

  • Describe a party you’d like to give for a friend or family member.

So, honestly, I don’t really like hosting parties and it seems like a lot of work, but I will tell you a celebration day that someone planned for me recently!

She then describes a mother’s day that her son made very special for her.

He made her breakfast and then they went shopping, watch Supernatural, and went on a bike ride.

They then ate ice cream, went to a spring water corridor, had a deep talk about church friends and religion, and then she read to him before bedtime.

Avoid this IELTS mistake!

Jessica spoke with a friend who is a current IELTS Examiner.

He said that students often freeze on Part 2 and have nothing to say.

This especially happens for a topic like this if they can’t think of a specific example.

You don’t have to describe a party you hosted.

You can talk about anything as long as you mention the topic on the card first.

Notice in Jessica’s answer she just says she doesn’t like hosting parties.

She then shares a seemingly unrelated story.

It doesn’t matter as long as you mention the topic!


There’s a good chance you’ll be asked about relationships on IELTS.

You might also be asked about birthdays, parties and how you spend your free time.

You need high-scoring vocabulary to describe these relationships.

Use today’s phrases and sample answers to boost your IELTS scores!

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

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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