Question Type 1: Basic Description Questions. Ielts speaking test. Part 1

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Question Type 1

Question Type 1: Basic Description Questions. IELTS SPEAKING TEST. PART 1.


Question Type 1: Basic Description Questions
Look at the example question: "Tell me about your hometown."
This seems like a simple question. Candidates must remember that the examiner is NOT asking this question because he or she wants to know something about your hometown.
Remember: The examiner is not interested in you, your life or anything you say. The examiner is doing a job. The job is to award a score for your spoken English in relation to the marking system.
So again we can see that content becomes irrelevant. The examiner is actually asking the following question: "Show me your ability to describe something (a place) and give me some town or city vocabulary."
Look at the example answer:
"I come from Beijing. I am native of this city. Beijing is the capital of China. In Beijing there are many historical buildings. Beijing Duck is very famous - I always eat it with my friends. "
The problem with this response is that it "answers" the question but it doesn't offer the examiner any evidence of your ability to describe something. A description needs to offer detailed and precise information and the points need to be developed in some way.
If we consider the marking system we can also add that the answer does not contain any features of native-speaker style spoken English.

  • The answer is short / direct.

  • It does not contain any linking words or phrases.

  • It does not contain any redundant language.

  • There are no examples of uncommon vocabulary.

  • There is no idiomatic language.

  • The grammar is correct but it is very basic grammar.

  • There are no complex sentence structures.

  • The tense use is limited.

This answer is therefore typical of a lower score (4-5).

Now consider the following answer:
Well as you can probably guess I come from Beijing and I have lived here all my life, although at the moment I'm studying in another city - Tianjin. I suppose if I had to describe Beijing, the first thing I would say is that it's absolutely enormous, maybe even one of the biggest cities in Asia I guess. It's so big in fact that even the locals have problems finding their way around. Another significant characteristic is that it offers examples of both classical and contemporary architecture.
This response is much better in quality than the first answer for the following reasons:

  • It is long but doesn‘t move away from the topic / question.

  • · It contains redundant language.

  • · It contains linking phrases.

  • · It contains one idiom.

  • · It contains some uncommon vocabulary.

  • · The vocabulary is topic-specific.

  • · It contains examples of complex sentence structures.

  • · It contains a mix of tenses.

  • · The grammar is correct (even in the longer structures).

Because this answer meets many of the marking system descriptions required to achieve a higher score it would be typical of a score of 7+.

In the answer above find examples of the following:

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