IELTS Speaking topic – Food and cuisine #1

IELTS Speaking topic - food and cuisine 1

This is a sample response for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3. In addition to the model answer there are highlighted words and phrases. Teal is for vocabulary relating to this topic, yellow is for generally useful words and phrases.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Talk about a time you had a meal at a café or a restaurant.
You should say:

  • what the place was
  • the meal you had
  • whether  you enjoyed it

and say if you would like to eat there again.

Model answer

When I was in high school I had to have a meeting with my tutor. She called me and said that she was running late so I decided to have lunch at school cafeteria. It’s a nice place on the ground floor with reasonably priced dishes. That’s where you would usually meet your fellow students and teachers during midday break.

As I hadn’t been too hungry I only ordered a couple of beef sandwiches, a slice of lemon pie and a cup of coffee. Because there are so many visitors to this place the food doesn’t go stale, so it’s always nice and fresh. You could really tell that they bake their own cakes rather than order them from another place like many other eateries. Overall, the meal was really great and I spent almost no money on it.

I did go there again, in fact I would habitually go there for lunch. Since I had been spending the better part of my day there, I would only have dinners at home. I really miss this place as now I have graduated and have no reason to go back to my high school building.

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Cuisine

Is it important to preserve national cooking traditions? Why?
I believe so, yes – we have to hold on to the tried and true approach to cooking. As world becomes more globalised, the old saying “we are what we eat” becomes as relevant as ever. Fast food franchises rapidly take over the world and you can eat the same exact chicken and French fries wherever you please. While this can be a positive development for some fussy eaters, it also takes away the uniqueness and character of travelling. People are less likely to go for the less known but much more exciting street food vendor if there is their favourite burger chain restaurant just around the corner.

What can you tell about a country from their cuisine?
I believe that country’s cuisine is a reflection of their world view as well as their cultural heritage. Let’s take Italy to exemplify a country that is rich in both their recipes and culture of eating. Their food is cooked using only the finest natural ingredients with fair amount spices and seasoning. One the other hand, we have fairly young countries like the US. Americans can be puzzled when asked about their cuisine, and they would often name hamburgers as their national signature dish. Naturally, fast food should not be considered a part of cuisine. All of this is owing to the relative short period of American culture existing hence it hasn’t had time to nourish proper culture of cooking and eating.

Food and health

Some people people that fast food is unhealthy. Others disagree. What do you think?
On one hand it has been scientifically proven that excessive consumption of fast food often leads to a number of health conditions. Obesity and various heart problems are the most common results of overindulging on fast food. We should keep in mind that fizzy drinks and burgers go hand in hand, so increased sugar levels and likelihood of diabetes are on the menu as well. However, one has to understand that these terrible consequences are a result of having too much fast food. Ultimately, most things are good in moderation, even the frowned-upon chicken wings and milk shakes.

Which is more dangerous – eating too much or not eating enough? Why?
The situations in the question normally have different causes – one can choose to eat less but if you have insufficient food you simply can’t magically have more of it. Therefore the latter is probably more risky – your muscles grow weak from malnourishment, your immune system becomes more vulnerable, you feel irritable and feeble. You have no control over how much you eat in this situation, unless you willingly limit your daily calorie intake. And while overeating is harmful to your body, you can choose to eat less, and therefore it is not as bad.

Even nowadays, many people on our planet don’t have enough money to eat. How can this be changed?
It is very sad that we are still facing the problem of famine in 2022. In order to tackle the issue, we first have to establish the causes of this sad state of affairs. The two most common reasons are unexpected droughts and human conflicts such as ongoing warfare operations. The latter falls out of the scope of the question as this is a much more complex problem. The problem of insufficient irrigation can be mitigated by anticipating unreasonably hot summers and stockpiling on water supplies. Doing due diligence in farming is crucial and by making sure there is no waste of resources or mismanagement, the crop yield can be increased considerably.

Food and cuisine vocabulary

Cafeteria (n) – a type of restaurant where you have a tray and choose food you want to eat then pay for it at the end of the line
Slice (n) – a thing piece of some food, e.g. a cake or meat
Go stale – (about food) – to grow hard and inedible because it’s been sitting for too long
Eatery (n) – a place such as a café or a restaurant
Franchise (n) – a ready-to-use business model where you pay a fee to join it and open a branch, e.g. McDonalds
Fussy eater – a person who is very picky or peculiar about the food they eat
Seasoning (n) – spices and other additives that change the taste of food
Signature dish – a special dish unique or associated with a particular place or person
Overindulge on smth – have too much of something, esp. something that you like and which is not very good for you
Fizzy drinks – carbonated drinks such as Cola or Fanta
Malnourishment (n) – the condition of not eating enough food
Daily calorie intake – the amount of calories you receive in a day
Famine (n) – global state of hunger

General vocabulary

To run late – another way of saying ‘to be late’
Habitually (adv) – if you do something habitually, you do it regularly, as a habit
The better part – about time: more than a half. Has nothing to do with it being good or bad in a literal sense
Hold on to smth – keep something
Tried and true – old but effective, traditional
Exemplify (v) – to use as an example
Nourish (v) – to encourage growth and development
Excessive (adj) – more than needed, used negatively
Frowned-upon (adj) – unwelcome, berated by society
Irritable (adj) – if someone is irritable they are easily upset and get angry quickly
Feeble (adj) – physically weak
Drought (n) – a natural phenomenon when there is not enough rainfall in the area
Out of the scope – if something is out of the scope of something, it does not include it or does not concern itself with it.
Irrigation (n) – a technical term that means ‘to give water to plants or crops’
Anticipate (v) – to understand or expect that something is about to happen
Stockpile (v) – to collect and gather something in great amount

IELTS Speaking topic – Holidays and celebrations #1

IELTS Speaking topic - holidays and celebrations 1

This is a sample response for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3. In addition to the model answer there are highlighted words and phrases. Teal is for vocabulary relating to this topic, yellow is for generally useful words and phrases.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Talk about a celebration in your country.
You should say:

  • the name of the celebration
  • how people celebrate it
  • if it is known outside of your country

and say what you like or dislike about it.

Model answer

I’m going to tell you about Oktoberfest, the renown festival of beer that, naturally, is in the month of October. The finest beermakers come there for the public to have a taste of their product. Naturally, this celebration of beer attracts many enthusiasts from all around the world. It is no surprise that many plan their trip around visiting it!

The celebration itself does not have too much variety – people go from one tent to another to taste the finest beer Bavaria has to offer. In addition to drinking, there are other activities available such as fun rides, and dancing. During the festival they play traditional Bavarian music which really sets the mood of the celebration. It is quite popular with foreigners – as I have said, we get many folks coming over just to experience this unique atmosphere of revelry and merriment.

One thing I find upsetting though is the culture of drinking. Here in Bavaria we nurture the idea that you drink beer to savour the taste, not to get drunk. With many festival visitors it doesn’t seem to be the case. Often they would get so drunk they could barely walk. However, I tend to think it is the irresistible taste of fresh beer so they simply can’t have it enough!

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Holidays and consumerism

Some say holidays exist do encourage people to buy presents and other things. What do you think?
I agree with this statement to some extent. As people’s financial well-being grew over the years, they could afford to spend a little bit extra. The disposable income often goes to treating their nearest and dearest with presents, sometimes extravagantly expensive ones. But is it such a bad thing after all? I believe that a reasonable person will not overspend if they can’t afford it – therefore, there is no need to be too concerned with the issue. The increased spending rate is an indicator of a healthy economic situation rather than people being too eager to part with their hard-earned cash.

Are holidays more or less materialistic than they used to be?
I will probably have to count on my grandparents experience to draw parallels between nowadays and the way it was some decades ago. According to them, holidays in the past used to be more about reuniting with your friends and family. A celebration would mean getting to see your distant relatives and others of kin that you wouldn’t normally meet. Today it seems more about an excuse to splash out on some trip abroad or treating yourself and your family to a nice dinner, things like that. So I guess yes, the holidays have indeed become more about buying rather than seeing your close ones.

Holidays and celebrations

Some people stay at home for holidays while others choose to travel. What are the advantages of each choice?
People love to say that travelling broadens your mind. I think this can be misleading – what exactly do they mean by that? If we talk about holidays, most just spend a fortnight soaking in a pool, drinking complimentary, watered-down drinks counting the days till when they have to go back to work. This isn’t much different from walking around your hometown, but it sure is much less expensive. So while travelling is a nice change indeed, financially it makes more sense to stay at home since your holiday is going to be pretty much the same anyway.

Do birthdays and anniversaries lose their significance to people as they grow older?
They probably do – I mean the novelty of birthday parties really wears off after some twenty years. Looking at older people I can see how they definitely do not feel as excited about their upcoming birthdays. I believe that as your grow older the days just means that you have lived one more year, while when you are young you look forward to the awesome presents and the great party you are going to throw. With anniversaries it might be another situation, like. a marriage that has stood the test of time means that both spouses have made the right choice and they understand the idea of commitment.

Holidays and celebrations vocabulary

Set the mood – to create a certain atmosphere
Revelry (n) – a big, noisy celebration that usually involves consumption of alcoholic drinks
Merriment (n) – the state of being happy and drunk
Nearest and dearest – your closest relatives
Reunite (v) – to get back together after a long time
Of kin – related to one another
To splash out on smth – to spend a large sum of money

General vocabulary

Renown (n) – fame or popularity of something or someone
Plan around – if you plan around something, you see it as a key part of your plan. I usually plan my vacation around visiting as many museums as possible
Have to offer – to have available
Savour (v) – to enjoy something slowly and thoroughly
Irresistible (adj) – difficult to refuse or turn down, tempting
Disposable income – the amount of money you have after you have paid for essentials such as food and bills
Draw parallels between – to compare
Misleading (adj) – not being what it appears to be
Complimentary (adj) – free of charge
To stand the test of time – to keep working or existing after a lot of time has passed

IELTS Speaking topic – Weather and climate #1

IELTS Speaking topic - weather climate 1

ThenThis is a sample response for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3. In addition to the model answer there are highlighted words and phrases. Teal is for vocabulary relating to this topic, yellow is for generally useful words and phrases.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Describe an unusually hot or cold season in your country.
You should say:

  • what season it was
  • how long it lasted
  • how you coped with the extreme temperature

and say how you felt about it.

Model answer

My country is in a moist continental climate zone, so the summers are warm but never too hot. However, about two years ago we had a massive heatwave that bumped up the thermometer all the way to 40 degrees Celsius. This was in the month of June, normally a pleasantly warm period with fair amount of precipitation. That year was a different story – the air was sultry, you could feel the ground almost burn under your shoes. It lasted for well over a week – they say that the emergency room was overfilled with people who had suffered a heatstroke. I know the older people had it the hardest as they are more sensitive to weather extremes.

As the climate is normally much more forgiving here, people have no air-conditioning, and neither did I at the time. I remember how we decided to buy a fan and apparently so had everybody else in our town. This resulted in a deficit which some people took advantage of, reselling fans for a profit. Surprisingly, after a couple of days it didn’t feel so bad, we gradually got used to the conditions. I really hated it the first days, but eventually I came to terms with the situation and after seven or eight days the head subsided. One thing I had learned is I wouldn’t want to live in a hot climate!

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Weather and climate

Is it healthier to live in a colder or hotter climate? Why?
I’d have to go with warmer climates. First of all, you get more sunny days over the year and as we all know exposure to sun is an essential element of well-being. Because of that people naturally spend more time outdoors, more than they would in a colder country. According to publicly available data, people in warmer climates tend to have higher life expectancy. I think this is a good indicator of how life there is actually healthier. However, there is one important point to consider. Some people suffer from heat intolerance – they find it difficult to stay outside if the air is hot and dry. It goes without saying that living in sultry weather is not an option for these particular individuals.

Do you think that people will be able to have control over the weather? Is it a good or a bad thing?
I am sure that we already can control it, for instance planes can spray chemicals to make clouds disappear. They do this for some big scale festivals and celebrations. If we talk about more intrusive control, such as shifting air masses, forcing rains and such then it is definitely a possibility. It is tricky to give a prediction when we will be capable of doing that, probably within the next decade. Controlling the weather has innumerable applications – one big one is controlled irrigation of crops. Just imagine a region suffering from drought that has to spend sky-high amounts of money for artificial watering. This would no longer be an issue.

Climate change

How much impact do humans have on climate change?
The environmental effect of humanity is difficult to measure precisely, but it is clearly enormous. We should probably categorise this impact into two rough types – direct and indirect. The former is driving and using other forms of transportation, leaving trash as a result of consumption, using electricity and contaminating water. Forest fires and other human-provoked disasters fall in the latter category. No matter the category though, it is clear than humans are the strongest negative driver of climate change in general and global warming in particular.

Other than the humanity, what else is affected by this change?
Flora and fauna are the biggest groups that feel the negative consequences of changing climate. As median temperatures crawl up, many species are forced to migrate further North. This shakes up the natural balance, often disrupting the food chain. It goes without saying that trees and plants have no such option so eventually they die out. The results are reduced biodiversity which in turn leads to other, more complex issues.

Weather and climate vocabulary

Heatwave (n) – a period of unnaturally hot weather during warmer seasons.
Precipitation (n) – a technical term for rain, snow, hail and similar phenomena
Sultry (adj) – dry and hot
Heatstroke (n) – feeling of nausea, weakness, possible loss of consciousness due to too much time spent in the sun
Heat intolerance – a human condition when the person can’t be exposed to high temperatures.
Irrigation (n) – same to watering but usually on a bigger scale i.e. in farming
Crops (n) – any edible cultures planted by humans
Drought (n) – a natural phenomenon when the amount of frequency of rainfall is too low so the plants suffer from lack of water
Watering (n) – the process of giving water to plants
Contaminate (v) – to make something dirty
Flora and fauna – plants and animals, respectively
Median temperature – average temperature. The average can be a day, a month, a year and so on.

General vocabulary

Bump up – to increase, to make bigger
Extreme (n) – a very high number or amount of something
Take advantage of smth – to exploit something, to use something in your interest
Come to terms with – to accept something, to agree to it. Usually used with something negative or unpleasant
Subside – to decrease gradually
Intrusive (adj) – disturbing and involved in something to a degree that is too much.
Capable of – if someone or something is capable of doing something, it can do it
Innumerable (adj) – too much or many to count
Application (n) – (here) a way or method of using something
Former, latter – words used to refer to something mentioned previously. ‘Former’ refers to the first thing and ‘latter’ – to the last one.
Shake up – to change something considerably.

IELTS Speaking topic – City and the country #1

IELTS Speaking topic - city and the country 1

ThenThis is a sample response for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3. In addition to the model answer there are highlighted words and phrases. Teal is for vocabulary relating to this topic, yellow is for generally useful words and phrases.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Talk about a time you had to live in the countryside.
You should say:

  • where it was
  • how much time you had to live there
  • what you liked about it

and say if you would like to go there again.

Model answer

This is a story from my adolescent years, I think I was in my early teens at the time. It was summer school break and my parents decided it would be good for me to spend the summer at my grandparents’. The place is a short bus trip away from Munich, but it would surprise you how much different things are out there. If I had known I would enjoy my stay there so much, I would have gone there every single summer!

To start with, people in the country have a very different attitude. They are not as eager to befriend you at first, but once you get to know them better it turns out they are much more frank and friendly than the urbanites. If you were to compare these two kind of people you would soon find out that the latter are much more superficial and less involved in your friendship. Secondly, and this should go without saying, is the nature. Lush fields and rolling hills, the peace and quiet of the place really set the mood. You simply feel more comfortable and safe.

As I have said, I’d gladly go back there again and again. Sadly, free time is at a premium for me at the moment as I have to study and go to my part-time job. I hope to visit my grandparents again in the foreseeable future.

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Urbanisation

Do people in your country tend to live in smaller towns or bigger cities? Why?
One would assume that people all around the globe are concentrated in big metropolitan areas. While this is generally true for most countries, mine is a pleasant exception. There is no disproportionate number of population living in the city, the distribution is pretty even here. I am sure this is owing to much higher living costs in bigger urban agglomerations and the undue levels of stress associated with living there. While living in the country might not be as exciting, it seems well worth it seeing just how many people choose it as their permanent residence.

How can be people encouraged to live in the country?
The easiest way and the one that is most likely to succeed is making people more informed about the innumerable benefits of living out of city. Once people realise that life has so much more to offer than city hustle and bustle they will think twice before moving there. Some born in urban areas might even consider moving to the country to see if it is really their thing. This should especially easy in the current working environment. What I mean to say is quite a bit of people nowadays work from home – there is no commuting, no having to turn up at the office. As we know, work is the main reason many live in cities, so take care of that and folks will flock to the rural areas!

Will urbanisation increase further in the future? Why/Why not?
Not necessarily. As we become less dependent on the location where we work from, we might choose to relocate and enjoy a much less stressful lifestyle of the countryside. In fact, this could be welcomed by the law or regulations of some kind. As we will likely be facing overpopulation in the future, people will have to be spread across the glove more evenly, so it makes a lot of sense to incentivise relocation.

City and the country

What are the differences of living in a city and in the country?
First and foremost it has to be the pace. People in the city are always in a hurry. They have to be in time to work, a meeting, their yoga class and a dentist’s appointment. Then they drive at excessive speeds, honking at each other, probably enjoying the rush. They live like that day in day out and eventually they forget that it doesn’t have to be that way. The country folk are usually more in touch with nature. It is no secret there that life is not a race so the rhythm is much more regular, even sedated. This takes time getting used to and it is not to everyone’s liking.

Why do young people tend to live in bigger cities?
Work, education and entertainment. When they graduate from high school they have to get a degree and a smaller town normally just doesn’t have that – so they have to move. Once they graduate, they have to put the degree to good use, and a smaller town is unlikely to need it – so they have to move again. Finally, when you are young and eager and adventurous you want to have fun! And while fun is not about just bars and night clubs, for many it is. So yeah, I believe these are the reasons they go to live there.

Do you think that more people will move to the countryside in the future?
Yeah, probably. As I have said, we grow less attached to the place and everybody uses computers for work nowadays. There is no reason to believe that we will get less dependent on technology, the opposite is likely to be the case. As a result cities will lose their significance as the business centres of the world. With growing decentralisation and more even distribution of talent we will see people leaving cities to pursue more comfortable lives.

City and the country vocabulary

Urbanite (n) – a person living in the city
Lush fields – fields that are rich with grass, flowers and other vegetation
Rolling hills – hills that flow evenly from one onto another
Urban agglomeration – a general term for big city and its immediate surroundings
Hustle and bustle – state of being busy or full of activity
Relocate (v) – to change the place where you live, usually for a long time or permanently
In touch with – close to, not losing connection with something

General vocabulary

Adolescent (adj) – aged 10-19
Grandparents’ – possessive case used here to mean somebody’s place.
If I had known… – a Third Conditional sentence here is highlighted to emphasise how IELTS Speaking assessors like more advanced vocabulary to be included in your answer
Attitude (n) – approach to or opinion of something
Frank (adj) – honest, telling the truth
Superficial (adj) – not real, appearing as something else on the surface
At a premium – if something is at a premium, it is rare or difficult to find (and/or costly)
Owing to – because of or thanks to
Undue (adj) – unneeded or more than necessary
Flock to – rush to, come to in great numbers
Incentivise (v) – give reason or stimulus to do something e.g. by giving money
Sedated (adj) – slow and calm, can be used negatively
To put smth to good use – to find usage or application for something

IELTS Speaking topic – Travelling #1

IELTS Speaking topic - travelling 1

This is a sample response for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3. In addition to the model answer there are highlighted words and phrases. Teal is for vocabulary relating to this topic, yellow is for generally useful words and phrases.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Talk about a country or a city you would like to visit.
You should say:

  • what the city or country is
  • how long you have wanted to go there
  • why you want to visit it

and say why you haven’t visited it yet

Model answer

There is this one country that has always fascinated me – Italy. It is the perfect tourist destination for a number of reasons. First and foremost, Italian cultural heritage can’t be beaten. I doubt there is another country that can boast having such rich and diverse history of sculpture, fine arts as well as general historical significance. Secondly, Italy is famous for its good taste in finer things – cuisine, clothing, engineering. The gentle Mediterranean climate is another point that seals the deal for me.

I’ve been meaning to go there for the past decade, but a trip like this requires meticulous planning to make sure you don’t miss anything on your to-do list. Another reason why I haven’t been there yet is the more mundane one – the plane tickets get really pricy, especially in the high season. Basically, if you want to go there for a reasonable price you have to book tickets and accommodation well in advance – we’re talking up to a year beforehand! So it might take me a while to plan this.

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Travelling

Should people spend money on travelling or save up for something else?
People have different priorities and therefore there can’t be one-size-fits-all answer. There is no denying that travelling broadens your mind, however it largely depends on the type of travelling you do. A package tour won’t help much with that as you will simply spend a fortnight lying on the beach and haggling over some trinkets at a local bazaar. A more inventive, off the beaten track approach is to always be on the move once you set foot in a foreign country. This is the kind of travelling that is definitely worth taking, albeit it won’t be to everybody’s liking. Of course there is always the option of not travelling and saving up for a place of your own and buy it in your late forties.

Is it better to travel when you are young or in your older years?
I’d say age is of little importance in this matter. Young people are more impressionable, risky and willing to try new things. Travelling young is about daring, diving deep into the foreign culture, making friends in unexpected places. It is about exposing yourself to the unknown and accumulating experience. In one’s more mature years a person becomes more observant, reflective and introspective. They might not enjoy the active and adventurous type of journeys, but instead focus on the fine details. Being aware of the cultural peculiarities, watching the nature, noting the little differences compared to their own home country – that is where the joy of travelling lies for the more adult. In short – it doesn’t really matter how old or young you are, travelling is an activity anyone and everyone can enjoy.

Tourism

Is you country popular with tourists? Why/why not?
It is for many different reasons. Some come to look at all the monuments, churches and other example of last century architecture. Others want to take in the rich arts scene in museum and exhibitions. Many of the foreign visitors have no winter and have never seen the snow so it is a kind of a sight for them as well. However, my country is by no means a popular tourist destination if you think about sunny sandy beaches. It is more of a cultural journey.

What are the possible negative effects of a country too dependent on tourists?
A country that grows too complacent with its popularity among tourists is at risk of becoming too dependent on this industry. It is very tempting to invest in the tourist sector disregarding manufacturing and other important aspects of economy. This can lead to the country shooting itself in the foot because tourism is a highly-competitive field so it doesn’t last forever – and if it doesn’t, the country will be left without a lump part of its income budget. Another negative effect of an overdeveloped tourism industry is crime – tourists often fall victims to scammers and pickpockets. This can tarnish the country’s reputation and make living there unsafe for everyone, tourists or not.

How can the negative environmental impact of tourism and travelling be reduced?
There are two main sources of environmental damage associated with tourism – increased emissions due to travelling itself and tourists’ negligent attitude toward the nature of destination country. The former can be offset by either increasing awareness of the damage done or introducing a travel tax that comes with air travel. The tourists’ negligence could be addressed by littering fines or a point system where too many infraction would equal administrative or criminal offense.

 

Travelling vocabulary

Tourist destination – a common city/country tourists go to.
Cultural heritage – the traditions that have been passed and preserved over generations
Historical significance – how important and influential something was historically
Mediterranean climate – mild climate characterised by dry, warm summers and winters that are not too cold.
High season – time of the year when the popularity of something is at its peak
Fortnight (n) – two weeks
Haggle (v) – to try and convince the shop owner to sell you something a lower price
Bazaar (n) – a common name for outdoor market in the Middle East
Off the beaten track – original, not used or chosen often
Set foot in – to go or arrive somewhere
Take in – to understand, to open yourself to new experiences
Sight (n) – something that is worth seeing
Emissions (n) – (here) harmful gases produced as a result of burning fuel.

General vocabulary

Boast (v) – (here) to have something impressive
Cuisine (n) – local dishes
To be meaning to do smth – to want to do it
Meticulous (adj) – paying attention to small details
To-do list – a list of things that you plan to do or see
Mundane (adj) – not worth paying attention too, regular
One-size-fits-all – something that works for everybody.
Impressionable (adj) – easily impressed by something, not jaded
Dive deep into smth – to get more involved in something
Observant (adj) – attentive, noticing finer details
Reflective (adj) – tending to think things over, analyzing
Peculiarity (n) – something strange or unusual
Complacent (adj) – too happy about the current situation and achievement, used negatively
Disregard (v) – to pay no attention or ignore something
Shoot yourself in the foot – (figurative) to do harm to yourself either through action or inaction
Highly-competitive field – a sphere that is lucrative (financially attractive) and has a lot of competition
Fall a victim to smth – become affected by something or someone bad
Pickpocket (n) – a person who steals things from your pockets without you noticing
Tarnish (v) – if somebody tarnishes your reputation, they make others think worse of you
Negligent (adj) – not paying enough attention to something important, used negatively.
Littering (n) – act of putting or throwing litter (trash/garbage) where it does not belong
Fine (n) – a financial penalty paid for breaking some law or regulation

IELTS Speaking topic – Modern problems #1

IELTS Speaking topic - modern problems 1

This is a sample response for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3. In addition to the model answer there are highlighted words and phrases. Teal is for vocabulary relating to this topic, yellow is for generally useful words and phrases.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Talk about a problem your town or city faced
You should say:

  • what the problem was
  • what was done to solve it
  • if the solution was effective

and say what could else could be done to solve it

Model answer

Over the past twenty or so years my city has been suffering from increasing smog levels. Mist and fog would mix with exhaust fumes produced by the many cars and form a thick, greyish blanket enveloping the city, especially in the morning hours. Concerned about emotional and physical well-being of citizens, the local government decided to introduce a number of measures to battle the issue.

The first measure was to discourage using cars with just the driver in it and incentivize carpooling. They installed cameras that would record the amount of people in the vehicle and charge empty cars a small fee. Conversely, cars with multiple people in them were allowed to use dedicated carpooling lanes. Unfortunately, both measures were met with lack of enthusiasm. People were reluctant to share their commute with others.

Another attempt to tackle the problem was stricter vehicle inspection. As it turned out, the procedure had been rather lenient and perfunctory – nobody would bother to check if cars were roadworthy. The more thorough inspection found out that as much as 70% of road-going vehicles failed to meet modern emission standards. Naturally, the new requirement upset the drivers, but the regulation was non-negotiable, so they had to oblige. As a result, the city air became considerably cleaner.

I think I would’ve approached it in a less punitive way. Instead of charging people money, the government could educate people on the other ways of commuting such as bicycles or even walking. After all, an angry commuter is less productive at work.

 

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Globalisation and population

The world around us grows increasingly globalised. Is it a good or a bad thing?
There is no straightforward answer to that. On one hand people grow more alike and therefore become more understanding of one another. The cultural borders slowly disappear and become one. They say that the multitude of languages we have now will be reduced to a handful of English dialects and Chinese. Therefore, communication will become almost effortless. On the other hand, the variety of cultures, habits and views that still have will be probably gone as well. Sure enough, we will learn whether a homogeneous world is a good thing or not, even during our lifetimes.

How will growing population affect our lives?
We can already see one alarming trend – that is, soaring housing prices. Very few people can afford a down payment on a place of their own, which was almost never the case in the past. As land prices go through the roof, we are likely to see more block of flats type of buildings and fewer single-family houses. One more likely change associated with population growth is likely shortage of meat. At the current rate the amount of produced meat products is unsustainable which will mean that meat substitutes are likely to replace genuine meat. In the future soy, synthetically-grown meat, algae and even insects could be the main protein source for most of us.

Man and the environment

In what ways does humanity affect the environment?
Well, there are too many to name all of them. Deforestation, hunting for game or food, oil spills and industrial waste, cars and other emission-generating vehicles. The latter destroy the ozone layer and as a result heat from the sun gets trapped in the atmosphere, creating the dreaded greenhouse effect. This in turn leads to climate change that tips the intricate balance maintained in the biosphere and leads to animal migration, many species eventually dying out. Forest fires are on the rise partially because of this reason too. It’s all a big domino effect situation.

Should humanity prioritise colonising other planets or preserving Earth?
Colonising another planet in not realistic in the near future. The technology is simply not there – we have no means to transport people to another celestial object en masse. We have no way to terraform the surface of, say, Mars. We can’t haul enough construction materials to create self-sustaining infrastructure there. And we will not be able to do any of the above in the next fifty years or so. It is very likely however that an environmental catastrophe of huge scale will happen in the same time scope. Therefore, taking care of our mother world is of utmost importance.

What recent development is likely to reduce human impact on the environment?
The biggest change that is coming in the next decade is overall shift from petrol and diesel engines to electric ones. The legislation is already there to gradually oust obsolete technology in favour of the new, better and greener one. It is uncertain how welcomed this change is going to be, but as we all know producing electricity on industrial scale is much less damaging to nature than billions of small, inefficient and poorly-maintained gas cars.

Modern problems vocabulary

Cultural borders – differences between different cultures and nationalities
Homogeneous world – a world that is uniform, i.e. more or less the same wherever you go
Alarming (adj) – worrying or concerning
Shortage of – insufficient amount of something
Unsustainable (adj) – impossible to continue for long period of time. Unsustainable lifestyle is the one you will not be able to lead or afford for a long time.
Emissions (n) – (here) harmful gases produced as a part of working process, e.g. cars
Greenhouse effect – a situation when sunlight is trapped inside the atmosphere of the planet unable to escape which leads to rising temperatures
Species (n) – biological class of animals or other living things.
Self-sustaining (adj) – able to support one’s life
Legislation (n) – the process or situation of making and upholding laws
Oust (v) – to replace something that is outdated or obsolete

General vocabulary

Alike (adj) – similar, like one another
Multitude (n) – variety, difference between
Soaring (adj) – increasing quickly and considerably
Down payment – an initial payment on a loan that you have to take in addition to monthly payments (or installments)
To be the case – to be like so. All of my friends have found jobs already but that is not the case for me
Substitute (n) – replacements for something
Algae (n) – seaweed that grows underwater and can be used as food
Dreaded (adj) – feared or hated
Domino effect – a situation when one event triggers another and creates a chain reaction
Means to – resources, materials or ways to do something
En masse – (French) together or at the same time
Haul (v) – to transport goods or cargo
Utmost (adv) – great or extreme
Obsolete (adj) – out of date, archaic
Inefficient (adj) – not used or functioning in the best way possible

IELTS Speaking topic – Arts #1

IELTS Speaking topic - arts 1

This is a sample response for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3. In addition to the model answer there are highlighted words and phrases. Teal is for vocabulary relating to this topic, yellow is for generally useful words and phrases.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Describe a visit to a museum or a gallery that you didn’t enjoy
You should say:

  • what was the place
  • who you went with
  • what kind of exhibits it had

and explain why you didn’t enjoy the visit

Model answer

When I was 12 my parents decided that I needed more exposure to fine arts. We picked a day and boarded a train to the nearest city which held an exhibition of both traditional and contemporary art. To this day it puzzles me why they took me there since they had no understanding or interest in art themselves.

Anyway, the gallery had around two hundred exhibits from all parts of our country. It was probably the biggest art showcase to date that the city had ever seen. You could tell that it was quite a hit with tourists – there were plenty of foreigners there. Still life, portrait, landscape drawings – they were all there, some more traditional, others morbid and confusing.

The reason I didn’t like it much was the absence of any guidance. There were no visual or audial prompts explaining the pictures, no person taking you through the exhibition, nothing. There were just the names of the pictures and their authors. I firmly believe that all art is highly contextual and cannot be fully comprehended without going deeper into the history of its making.

 

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Importance of art

Is art necessarily a good thing?
This is a rather big question to address in just a few sentences! In short – yes, art is a good thing. Art is evocative – that is, it makes us feel in a certain way, it promotes imagination and helps abstract thinking. It shows us the beautiful side of life, for the most part. Some art can try to achieve the opposite – be provocative and ugly in order to appeal to our senses. Of course there are examples when art can be tasteless and even revolting. Thankfully such cases are quite rare.

How can young people be made more interested in art?
Making younger generation more engaged with the world of art is an uphill battle. Youngsters nowadays have a very short attention span thanks to smartphones – they seek immediate gratification. Most forms of art require analysis, introspection and patience. Perhaps music is one of the few types of art teenagers can show genuine interest in. Of course, there is always the film industry, with some of the movies specifically targeted at younger audiences. However, if we talk about higher forms of art such as sculpture, we need to foster interest starting from primary school.

Why do people attend museum, art galleries, music concerts?
There is a multitude of reasons for that. Surprisingly, for many it’s socialising – meeting fellow art enthusiasts, that is. After all, it is better to appreciate beauty with somebody else. Some say that seeing or hearing something live is a whole different experience. That’s why people flock to music concerts, festivals and other such performances to see if it’s true. Many are in for a shock when they find out how live sound can be very different from studio recording!

Art and history

What do you believe to be the greatest piece of art in human history?
Of all the multitude of fine pieces created throughout recorded human history I’d pick “The Blue Rider” by Kandinsky. I believe that this work is the pinnacle of the school of impressionism – the movement where the form is supposed to convey the emotions and feelings rather than literal visual information. The colour choice is superb, the composition is beautifully arranged, the picture feels rapid, alive, evocative. It’s a shame many people don’t give enough credit to this particular artist and his contribution to the craft.

How has art in your country changed compared to the past?
The umbrella term of “modern art” that encompasses the the shift in art paradigm is probably shared among most countries in the world. In short, art has become much less visually appealing with the idea of the message as the more important component. This is a concerning trend as many artists stray away from the fundamentals of art – showing the beauty of nature, the human body and celebrating life itself. Instead, the newest development seems to be to try and evoke the strongest possible emotions – anger, disgust, lust. Although this is not a dominant art direction, it has definitely become more pronounced lately.

What other art forms are we likely to see in the future?
I’d say we will see more digitalised versions of the more traditional art forms – pictures, sculptures, pieces of music. The change might focus around the idea of owning an intangible version of any particular piece – possessing it in the computer world rather than the real. We can see it nowadays with so-called NFTs selling for millions of dollars – an unthinkable amount of money, especially since you don’t even get to touch them! 

Art vocabulary

Fine arts – any kinds of visual art e.g. sculpture or painting
Exhibition (n) – a collection of art items (exhibits) shown at a special place either for a charge of for free
Contemporary (adj) – connected to the current period, the period we live in
Showcase (n) – see exhibition. Showcase can also mean a container with something valuable protected by glass
Still life – a picture of a table with some objects on it such as food or flowers
Landscape (n) – a picture of land, woods and other terrain
Evocative (adj) – producing images in your head through strong association with something
Introspection – the process of thinking and analyzing within yourself
Appreciate (v) – to be grateful for something, to truly understand how much something is worth (not necessarily about money)
Flock to – gather around or rush to something in great numbers
The pinnacle of – the top of, the best of something
Convey (v) – to give or transmit some message

General vocabulary

Exposure (n) – familiarity or experience of something
Morbid (adj) – strange in an unpleasant and worrying way
Prompt (n) – a tip, a hint or guidance
Contextual (adj) – relating to the whole, working only as a part of the whole rather than in an isolated way
Appeal to – to request, ask or address
Revolting (adj) – making you feel very negatively, esp. in a disgusting way
Engage with – to interact or connect with something
Uphill battle – a situation that is difficult to deal with and requires lots of mental and physical effort
Attention span – how much time one can keep focus before losing it by getting bored or distracted
Immediate gratification – getting a positive effect from something immediately. For example eating a candy you feel sweetness at once, whereas reading a complex book can take hours or days to enjoy.
Target at (v) – to choose something as aim for some action
Foster (v) – to encourage, to promote
To be in for – to be in a situation where something (good or bad) is likely to happen to you but you don’t know this yet
Give credit to smb. – to acknowledge somebody’s efforts or contribution to something
Umbrella term – a general term for many different things. For instance ‘dolphins’ is an umbrella term that includes river and sea dolphins, orcas and others.
Encompass (v) – to include
Celebrate (v) – (here) to honour or praise publicly
Intangible (adj) – something that you can’t touch because it does not exist in the physical world.

 

IELTS Speaking topic – Studying #1

IELTS Speaking topic - studying 1

This is a sample response for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3. In addition to the model answer there are highlighted words and phrases. Teal is for vocabulary relating to this topic, yellow is for generally useful words and phrases.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Describe a difficult test or exam you had to take
You should say:

  • what was it for
  • what was the subject
  • how you did in this test or exam

and explain why you found it difficult

Model answer

About this time last year I was trying to graduate from secondary school. As my plan was to carry on with my education in college I had to take entrance exams. If I did well in these exams I would be eligible for scholarship. Anyway, one of the exams was math. Don’t get me wrong – I have no problems with numeracy! However, more complex and abstract calculations are usually beyond my ability. As they say, some people were not just cut out for such tasks.

When I received the task I felt intimidated, there is no other way to put it. The math problems there were way more challenging than anything I had ever faced before. I even though I would have to resit this exam which meant spending whole summer with a tutor. This wasn’t the greatest of prospects, to say the least.

I ended up passing the exam on the verge of failing it. I couldn’t get scholarship, but at least I entered the college I wanted to. As for the reason why the exam proved to be so hard – I’m just not good at maths!

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Teaching and teachers

How can teaching be made a more prestigious profession?
I can see two possible ways of making that happen. The first approach is a straightforward one – higher salaries. Make teachers the ones who students look up to and want to be like. A snappy-dressed teacher who arrives to school in a new flashy car gives a very clear message – study hard and become smart and successful like I have. Another approach is less direct – make teachers heroes in popular media. Novels and other forms of fiction could help promote the image of modern teacher, movie adaptations could help further the idea. The opportunities are vast.

Has teaching changed over the past decade? If so, how?
I will be mostly talking about my own country as I have little knowledge about situation worldwide. One of the more evident changes is ubiquitous use of technology. We watch and listen more than we ever have. The computers definitely contribute to facilitation of learning. Another noticeable development is that student nowadays have more freedom. The curriculum became modular – in other words we chose what we want to study, it has become less dogmatic and prescriptive. Finally, the teaching staff seems to be getting younger!

What new teaching methods can we expect to see in the future?
I think we might end up with fewer teachers. With the availability of study from home programmes the student-to-teacher ratio has increased dramatically. It showed that such approach can help scale the teacher’s effort almost indefinitely. In all likelihood, there is a possibility of no-teacher programmes, where students will be led by smart AI tutors. This might sound too far-fetched now, but let’s see how it all pans out in ten years’ time!

Studying and tuition fees

Expensive private education increases the gap between the rich and the poor. Do you agree or disagree?
There are two sides to this argument. It is a given that high tuition costs go into ensuring that only the best teachers and professors are employed. However, this will not necessarily foster good studying environment as there will be plenty of students from privileged background. This type will not always have come there to study – on the contrary, they might be after socialising and partying. Therefore, such places can be counterproductive if it is actual education one is after.

Is making higher education free a good or a bad idea? Why?
As we know, there is no such concept as “free” – ultimately, somebody has to pay what someone else gets or perceives as “free”. In this case, the money is most likely to come from taxpayers’ pockets. Therefore, the question is whether you would be willing to pay for a fraction somebody else’s tuition? I believe this system could work on the basis of merit – academically able students could be identified through tests and granted free education. This would ensure that only keen students are admitted, creating a healthy academic environment. In fact, this should be the way it is today, but unfortunately it is not. No matter how smart and zealous you are, it is unlikely that you will have all of your tuition fees paid by a third party.

Do you think that higher education should be made compulsory? Why/Why not?
To be frank, the opposite should be true. Schools and teachers have to be held responsible for promoting awareness about higher education. Today most students associate degree with guaranteed job placement and competitive salary. However, for many the reality is huge student debt and a job that has no connection with their newly-got profession. Learning a trade instead of wasting time and money on a degree should be an encouraged alternative, if not the first option a student should consider.

Studying vocabulary

Take entrance exams – to take the exams needed to enter a college or university. Note the verb ‘take’ used with ‘exam’.
Scholarship (n) – an agreement between the student and the school/college/uni or prospective employer where the latter pays some or all tuition fees (see below)
Numeracy (n) – ability to calculate and handle numbers
Math problems – any math equation
Resit an exam – to take an exam again
Tutor (n) – normally a privately hired and funded teacher who works individually or with a smaller group of students
Curriculum (n) – all the classes and subjects that together create the course of a school/college/uni
Prescriptive (adj) – mandatory, non-negotiable, compulsory
Tuition fees – the amount of money you have to pay for education
Foster (v) – to encourage development of something
Privileged background – coming from a well-off/well-known family, well-connected
Merit (n) – qualities or advantages of something/someone
Keen (adj) – eager, enthusiastic
Zealous (adj) – having strong beliefs in something
Trade (n) – a set of practical skills, i.e. a plumber or an electrician have a trade.

General vocabulary

Carry on – to continue
Eligible for (adj) – to have the right to do, have or get something
Be cut out for – to be made for a particular role or deed
Intimidated (adj) – feeling nervous or scared because of how difficult something is
Prospect (n) – possibility of something happening in the future
On the verge of – about to happen, very close to happening
Message (n) – (here) idea that someone tried to communicate
Fiction (n) – made up, not real, imaginary
Further (v) – to help something develop or progress, to encourage
Vast (adj) – huge in size or quantity
Ubiquitous (adj) – being everywhere
Facilitation (n) – making something easier, promoting something
Scale (n) – size (not literal) of something, e.g. business
In all likelihood – most likely
Far-fetched (adj) – unlikely

 

IELTS Speaking topic – Nature and the environment #1

IELTS Speaking topic - nature and the environment 1

This is a sample response for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3. In addition to the model answer there are highlighted words and phrases. Teal is for vocabulary relating to this topic, yellow is for generally useful words and phrases.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Describe a memorable visit to a park or the country side
You should say:

  • where it was
  • who you went with
  • what you did there

and explain what made the visit memorable.

Model answer

About two years ago when I was still studying at school we went on a field trip to a local natural reserve. It was situated pretty far from the city so we had to rent a bus to get there.
Even though attendance wasn’t mandatory almost all of my classmates turned up – they were so excited to see the famous cliffs and the abundant wildlife the reserve had to offer.
We spent almost the entire day hiking, climbing up the steep hills, taking pictures of various birds and rodents there. It was a nice change from our regular classroom activities.
What made the trip stick in my mind was the perfect combination of fresh air, gentle summer sun and the pleasant physical exertion. After coming back I felt fresh and well-rested despite having walked over 20 miles on that day.

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Nature and humanity

Some say that almost all emissions come from industries rather than people. Do you agree or disagree?
First of all, I believe the data is published out there somewhere so if one was so inclined it would be fairly easy to answer this question. However, owners of such industries and other parties with vested interest might try to hide the real statistics in order to stay in business. To be frank, seeing thousands of cars on the street puffing and blowing clouds of smoke, leaving puddles of oil it is difficult to say that personal contribution to emissions is sole responsibility of industries.

Do you believe that humanity will be able to coexist with nature peacefully in the future?
To address this question we have to take a look at the current trend of human-nature relationship. We’ve been systematically destroying the environment over the past 150 years and only recently have we realised the extent of harm we have caused. If we focus on mitigating the damage we have done the nature might be saved, and yes, in this case peaceful coexistence is possible. However, if the situation gets out of hand and we go back to our old ways of production which disregard the environment, then the definition of ‘nature’ might change itself. Consequently, it will turn into a different kind of question.

Understanding the environment

What is the importance of nature in human life?
The first reason of nature being important is biodiversity – the number different species existing and coexisting. This is a very delicately balanced system where animals and plants are interdependent. For instance, a common result of deforestation is loss of habitat for many animals who have no choice but to migrate to other areas, creating an excessive presence of certain species there. This triggers backlash and nature tries to balance itself, sometimes at the expense of humans. One example is thousands of fish jumping out of the sea onto the shore, displaced by oil spills and consequently leaving bigger species who rely on it as food hungry.

Has society’s attitude to nature changed over the years?
It definitely has – mostly thanks to the media coverage of the issue. They show us the heart-rending pictures of orphaned polar bears – such imagery is a very powerful tool. Many documentaries set out to depict the scale of the problem we have on our hands. Thankfully it did have an effect and people have become more environmentally-conscious. On the flip-side however one particular movement has been on the rise – one that denies climate change. These people state that climate and mean temperatures are cyclical and change all the time over the periods of hundreds of years. Bottom line here is that people are no longer indifferent to the issue, and that is what really counts.

What are the ways to raise environmental awareness?
I can see at least two rather different approaches to this – to educate or to penalise. Educating both young and old about the importance of natural world, how fragile the biosphere and the environment in general is likely to be effective. Once an individual learns the true scope of their impact and how it affects next generations is a truly eye-opening experience. The other way is to introduce penalties and fines for littering, improper oil disposal and other such infractions. Penalties could be as harsh as prison sentences, especially if the individual (or the business) has broken the rules several times.

Nature and the environment vocabulary

Field trip – a visit to the countryside, usually as a part of school curriculum, led by one or several teachers
Natural reserve – a piece of land with its animals and plants protected by the government. It is normally forbidden to do any development in such area.
Hiking (n) – a recreational activity that involves walking in hilly or mountainous  areas.
Rodent (n) – a group of animals such as rats, mice, squirrels
Emissions (n) – (here) a collective word for all the harmful gases produced as a part of production or existence.
Mitigate the damage – make or try to make the harm lower
Habitat (n) – the area where a particular animal or plant exists naturally
Heart-rending – making somebody cry or regret something
Fragile (adj) – very easily broken, brittle.

General vocabulary

Mandatory (adj) – if something is mandatory, use must do it and have no choice about it, (see ‘compulsory’)
Turn up – (also ‘show up’) to attend a meeting, a party or other gathering where you should come to
Abundant (adj) – if something is abundant it is present in high quantity and easily available
Stick in one’s mind – be very memorable, difficult to forget
If one was so inclined – if you (or somebody else) really wanted to
Vested interest – if someone has vested interested in something they are interested in it to succeed because they will profit from it in some way
Systematically (adv) – done following some plan at even intervals of time and successfully
The extent of – the amount of something, how much something has been done or caused
Get out of hand – go out of control, to lose control over something
Disregard (v) – to deliberately pay no attention to something
At the expense of – if something is done at the expense of someone or something, it means it is done at their disadvantage, they lose or suffer something because of it
Media coverage – how media (the news, TV, radio, press) present something, such as an event or a situation
Imagery (n) – visual materials, e. g. pictures
On the flip side – on the other side
Eye-opening experience – experience that changes your attitude to something
Harsh (adj) – rough, hard, unforgiving

 

 

IELTS Speaking topic – Transport #1

IELTS Speaking topic - transport 1

This is a sample response for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3. In addition to the model answer there are highlighted words and phrases. Teal is for vocabulary relating to this topic, yellow is for generally useful words and phrases.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Describe an time when your journey didn’t go as planned
You should say:

  • where you went to
  • when it happened
  • what form of transport you used

and say what happened during the journey.

Model answer

Once I decided to visit my grandparents who lived in a remote village around 150 miles from the city. I borrowed my parent’s car because mine was too old and I wasn’t sure if it would make it all the way there and back. They were kind enough to lend me the car on condition that I would drive carefully. What could possibly go wrong, I thought to myself.
It was late November and we were getting quite a bit of snow. The snow would melt during the day and freeze up the roads at night, so in the morning the road surface would be covered with black ice. I’d just got my license back then and therefore didn’t have much experience driving.
I drove out of the city no problem and onto the motorway. The traffic was calm, the cars were few and far between. Then out of the blue I saw a bunch of stationary vehicles with their hazard lights on. I decided to slow down and pressed the brake pedal. Nothing happened, the car carried on in the same direction without reducing speed. It was black ice – I was rapidly sliding towards a pile-up of other cars.
The crash wasn’t too bad. The front bumper cracked and I smashed one of the headlights. I guess the important bit is I learned a valuable lesson – have better judgement behind the wheel!

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Public transport

How can people be convinced to use public transport more?
We have to understand the underlying reasons for public transit not being popular among commuters. First of all, the public transport network capacity could be insufficient – there can simply be not enough trains and buses to move everyone in comfort. Second reasons is that such form of transportation is often seen as unprestigious – many of us take pride in car ownership and want others to see the make and model of the vehicle we drive. By imposing additional taxes on private car ownership the government would kill two birds with one stone. There would be additional funding to buy more buses and at the same time people would be discouraged from using their cars.

What are the ways to make one’s commute less stressful?
One surefire way to enjoy your commute is to introduce variety. Take the bus one day, walk the next one, use your bike if the weather permits. Alternate your entertainment on your way to the destination – read a book, watch a movie, listen to an audio lecture or your favourite music. If you drive to work or place of study – choose a different route. You might want to change the hours you set off to avoid peak times during the rush hour. Ultimately, the advice is to stay away from routine and repetition which can really take a toll on your mood and well-being.

What future change might public transport system undergo?
It’s hard to speculate on this topic as I’m no expert in the field. They say that many major cities are inevitably going to suffer from serious overpopulation, so to battle the traffic congestion the government will have to increase road network efficiency, otherwise the entire system will turn into one massive traffic jam. Therefore we might see a dramatic increase in bus and bike lanes as both take up much less space on the road when compared to a regular car with just one person in it. Another viable change is expansion of underground transit system to the point of creating huge cities with their own infrastructures deep down below. However, as I have said I don’t know much about this so don’t take my word for it!

Transport and the environment

How can private transport regulation change in the future to reduce environmental impact?
If we take today’s situation as a starting point then we can see how almost every mature first-world country individual owns a car. While this benefits local and global economies, it also puts a huge strain on the environment. While it is illegal to force people to sell their cars, the government might resort to other drastic measures such as artificially increasing fuel prices or even introducing monthly travel quotas. What clear is that the current rate of car ownership increase is unsustainable and one way or another it will have to be curtailed.

What new ways of local and international transport can we see in the future?
A suggestion by Elon Musk was an interesting one – creating underground tunnels for cars to be taken to key points in a city. Whether this is technically viable is another question – for all we know, he could be having a laugh with this suggestion. With air travel we might consider going back to supersonic plane, something like the Concorde but more technologically advanced. After all, it has been more than twenty years so the tech must have improved dramatically.

Is it possible that intercontinental air travel gets banned in the future because of the amount of pollution it produces?
It is indeed possible – they keep talking about the carbon footprint that we leave when we buy a plane ticket. I do not think they would ban it outright, but some restrictions are likely to be introduced in some form. Making plane tickets prohibitively expensive is the most likely option. The extra money paid could be used to offset the environmental damage. I have no idea what other restrictions they could impose, but banning it altogether sounds unrealistically dystopian.

Transport vocabulary

Remote (adj) – located far away from any major town or city
Make it all the way – manage to reach the destination
License (n) – (driving license) – a legal document that allows you to operate a vehicle
Motorway (n) (also highway in the US) – an out of city high-speed road with multiple lanes (paths for cars) that connects other towns and cities
Hazard lights (n) – amber lights on vehicles that blink, used to indicate that the car has broken down or to make it more visible
A pile-up – (here) several cars caught in one crash
Commuters (n) – people that go to and from the same place everyday, e.g. place of work or study
Route (n) – the way that you take in order to reach your destination
Rush hour – time of the day that usually happens during the week in the morning and in the evening when the majority of people go to (or from) work or place of study
Traffic congestion – the higher the traffic congestion, the more cars are on the roads
Bus/bike lanes – lanes (paths on the road) dedicated to buses or bikes respectively
Transit system – transportation system
Unsustainable (adj) – impossible to support for a long time. For instance, if the city growth is unsustainable it will not be able to keep growing at this rate for a long time.
Carbon footprint – the amount of harmful emission gases that we produce directly (e.g. by using our car) or indirectly (by purchasing goods the production of which generates such gases)
Offset (v) – to make something harmful less so
Impose (v) – force some regulations on something or somebody whether they like it or not

General vocabulary

On condition that – pretty much just a fancy replacement for “if” or “as long as”. Throw it in so that your IELTS assessor could tick one more box.
Few and far between – rare, very uncommon
Out of the blue – unexpectedly, without warning
Underlying (adj) – unseen on the surface, hidden beneath
Take pride in – to be proud about something
Kill two birds with one stone – to accomplish two goals at once
Surefire way – something that is certain to work
If the weather permits – if the weather is good/appropriate
Alternate (v) – take turns doing two things – first one, then the other, then the first one again and so on
Take a toll on – have a negative effect or impact on something on somebody
Speculate (v) – to guess something without having any knowledge or information on it
Viable (adj) – something that might be used or something that might work, e.g. renting is a viable alternative to buying a place of your own
Don’t take my word for it – a code word for “I am not totally sure about what I have just said so be advised that I might be wrong”
Put a strain on – to make something or someone do more than they realistically can
Resort to (v) – to choose an option you wouldn’t have chosen otherwise but there are no better options
Drastic (adj) – radical, extreme (about measures)
Quota (n) – an artificial limit on how much you can have or buy something, usually used in times of deficit
Curtail (v) – to use authority to officially stop or reduce something
Outright (adv) – totally, completely
Prohibitively expensive – to expensive for most people to afford