A red heart filled with smaller icons sits on a yellow background. The images inside the heart represent the common topic that students are asked to discuss in IELTS speaking Part 2. In particular, questions that start with the expression "Describe your favourite".

Hey! One of the most common types of Speaking Part 2 topics is talking about your favourite something. On the face of it, it should be easy, so why so many test-takers struggle with these questions?

THEY ARE HARD TO CHOOSE!

Yes, I think that the problem with “favourites” is that they are hard to pick – there can be so many different criteria! Do you choose the book you liked as a child, or the one you liked most recently? Do you choose the piece of music you like dancing to most, or the one that makes you feel calm when you’re stressed? And as for films – well, choosing only one as you absolute favourite can be a nightmare (it’s like choosing your favourite child or pet!) So,htat’s why I would encourage you to decide what they are BEFORE EXAM DAY! 😮

Now I want to make it clear straight away that I am NOT suggesting that you memorise whole 2 minute talks about your favourites that you can use in the exam. THIS IS A RECIPE FOR DISASTER 💀. Not only will any decent examiner realise that you have memorised your words and ignore your answer (trust me, it is OBVIOUS when this happens), but you also run the risk of talking off topic.

But, it is definitely a good idea to think about what you would talk about for some of the more common topics. For one, you might discover that what is true in real life isn’t suitable for the exam. Maybe the plot of your favourite film is too complicated to describe. Or perhaps you don’t have enough vocabulary to explain your favourite advert accurately? Or maybe you simply don’t have a favourite period of history and will need to think about it for a few days! All of these are good reasons why it makes sense to practise ahead of the exam.

So, here are some of the topics I tell my students to be prepared to speak about on exam day (and some useful vocabulary to help you do it!): 👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇

• favourite book (plot / set in / main character / scene)

• favourite film (plot / directed by / cinematography / ending)

• favourite piece of music (beat / melody / rhythm / catchy / ear worm)

• favourite sportsman (dedicated / determined / respect / look up to)

• favourite part of city (green space / suburbs / outskirts / city dwellers)

• favourite animal (habitat / fur / claws / whiskers / mane / feathers / fluffy)

• favourite period of history (century / decade / the way people dressed)

• favourite advert (memorable / persuasive / subtle / not annoying)


👉 TOP TIP 👈 

A lot of Part 2 tasks ask you to describe people. The obvious temptation here is to use adjectives: e.g. funny, interesting, motivating, kind, etc However, if you only use adjectives, you will run out of things to say very quickly. ⏰

The way around this is to USE EXAMPLES. If you tell me that your brother is funny, give me an example of a situation when he made you laugh. If you tell me that your friend is generous, describe the time when they gave you an amazing birthday gift! If you tell me that your teacher is motivating, describe how they managed to make you want to work harder to achieve a goal. 💥

In my class, every time a student describes a person with an adjective, I make them give a clear example to illustrate it. And usually it is the examples that take up 99% of the speaking time. 


So, think about what your favourites are today! Good luck! 🚀

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