Talk About An Activity
In today’s episode I share a few tips on how you can answer an IELTS question about activities. I also share a sample question and a sample answer. Enjoy:)
Hi amigos y amigas, you are listening to the English Made Simple show, and this is episode number 1-2-2, number one hundred and twenty two, numero ciento veintidós.
Welcome muchachos y muchachas, my name is Milena from Englishmadesimple.net, qué onda? What’s up? What have you been up to? How are things? Have you done any fun outdoor activities lately? Have you been outdoors?
I haven’t done as many as I would like to. It has been quite cold here in Melbourne, I had to be indoors most of the week. Which is boring boring! Haha
Anyway, welcome to my new listeners and welcome to my old listeners, welcome for the 122nd time.
Guess what amigos y amigas, I am planning something exciting for you muchachos y muchachas, something exciting for you guys.
You will need to take action, it will help you with your Speaking skills. I will not reveal my plan yet, I will not share it yet, but you will hear about it very soon. Just remember this, it will help you with your speaking skills.
Most of my students are really good at grammar, but they struggle when it comes to Speaking English. They just need more practice. So I am planning something that will help you out with this. Just stay tuned and keep listening! More to come very soon!
So today, amigos, we are going to try to answer an IELTS question to do with hobbies and activities.
This is a topic that often comes up in English exams, if you are doing IELTS or TOEFL exams for example. And, if you are NOT doing English exams (and you are probably thinking now, Milena why do I have to know this?) – Well you must know it- this is a popular topic amongst friends and people you work with, like your colleagues. And this is why you need to know how to answer these type of questions and sound confident and fluent when you are answering them ok?
So I assume, you’ve listened to my previous 2 episodes about fitness and exercise as well as learning about leisure time especially when talking about activities outside of the gym. These activities are something you could be doing in your spare time. I mentioned ‘walking’ as an activity in the last episode, episode number 121. I hope you found that episode useful.
So today, I want to teach you about useful phrases and keywords – keywords are like important words – that you need to use when you get asked this question. This will help you expand your vocabulary. Today will be all about expanding your vocabulary.
I will also share a sample question and a sample answer so you can try answering this question by yourself.
First of all, before we carry on, let me just explain something here, there are different ways you could be asked this question…about this topic.
This question could appear in the following way:
What do you enjoy doing in your free time? What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
What do you like doing in your free time?
Replace free time with spare time. They mean the same thing here. In Spanish this is tiempo libre.
Leisure time is another one, we’ve also learnt this one in the last episode.
Other typical questions you will hear are: what do you like to do in your leisure time?
How do you spend your free time? What do you like to do on weekends? Do you have a hobby and what is your hobby?
Cool bananas, easy peasy so far.
Some keywords or important words you need to remember are: leisure time, spare time, free time, outdoor activities, hobby or hobbies in plural, customs and traditions, customary and typical (and traditional).
These keywords would indicate the question is related to something that you do on a regular basis. Which means you do it regularly. Also, remember the question doesn’t have to be addressed to you personally but it could be aimed at the general population, for example at people in your country. It could be aimed at the people in your country.
Here is an example question:
What is a customary greeting in your country? Compared to other countries like Australia and the Us What is a customary greeting, how do people greet each other in your country?
If you are from Chile, you could answer this question by saying: Whenever you meet someone, either a stranger or friend, it is a custom to kiss on the cheek, whereas in Australia this is only common with close friends not with someone you met for the first time. So in Australia it is not customary to greet a person you met for the first time by kissing them on the cheek.
Customary in Spanish is costumbre. When I say it is not customary would be, no es costumbre.
Here is a tip amigos y amigas, for these types of questions the best way to answer them is to use the Present Simple tense.
We use Present Simple tense to talk about our habits, repeated actions, and facts in general.
Here is a fact. I live in Australia. I like to go for walks. I enjoy good food and good wine. Sometimes too much. Sometimes I enjoy good wine a little too much haha
I hope that’s all making sense guys. So far so good.
I do recommend you start thinking about your daily activities, your habits and your hobbies, how would you describe them to someone? How would you describe them in your own language? Then think about how you would talk about your hobbies in English.
I recommend writing your answer down on paper and then reading it out loud. If you can, if possible, record yourself while reading it out loud, just to see how you actually sound! It will really help you get out of your comfort zone. Plus if you are doing exams, you must time your answers, I think for IELTS you have to speak for 2 mins approximately for the Speaking part of IELTS exam.
And if you are at job interviews you also need to take care when answering interview questions you will also be required to talk for at least 2 minutes. So what I wanted to say here is – you will need to time yourselves when practicing for English exams or even job interviews (entrevistas laborales.)
It will improve your Speaking skills. Cool Bananas!
By the way, I can help you prepare for IELTS, I helped a lot of students pass IELTS exams.
For those listeners who don’t know, IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System and it measures the language proficiency of people who want to study, migrate or work in countries where English is spoken, such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada or the US.
You can also sit one of these exams to test your own English skills.
If you’d like to prepare for IELTS or any English exam, go to my website, englishmadesimple.net and click on the link Learn With Me to find out how I can help you with IELTS. You are welcome to contact me if you have any questions.
So amigos, let me give you a sample IELTS question and a sample answer.
Hang on a sec, I need to find a question here…. aha here it goes:
Describe an outdoor activity you perform.
Great, I know how to answer this question because I listen to the English Made Simple show and because I listened to episodes 120 and 121. So we covered some vocabulary in those last two episodes. I know now what they mean by outdoor activity. Yeeey.
So the question was: Describe an outdoor activity you perform.
Here is my sample answer, I modified it a bit:
“I enjoy the outdoors, you could say that I am an outdoor type. I really enjoy being outside and going for walks. I don’t like to stay at home for too long, I get bored. In my spare time, during weekdays, I take short walks, however on weekends I like to take longer walks. And if the weather is nice, I would go hiking. I love being in the nature, I enjoy sightseeing and getting out of the house. Apart from hiking and whenever I get a chance I cycle or go outside for a run. I am not as fit as I used to be, so I don’t run for too long, I tend to go for a light jog. But, the main outdoor activity I enjoy the most is walking.”
That’s it guys, well this is one way of answering that question. It was a very simple answer.
You can use my answer but modify it slightly. Say it in your own words, explain it in your own words: So, what outdoor activities do you enjoy the most?
You will notice that I’ve used a couple of linking phrases in my answer, I said: Apart from and another one was whenever. I actually said: Whenever I get a chance.
These are good to know when you want to add something to the answer.
So for example: Apart from walking there is something else I like to do.
Whenever I get a chance – or in other words ‘if possible’ or in Spanish this would be cuando puedo o cuando tengo la oportunidad.
For example: Whenever I get a chance, I go swimming.
Another linking word I used is HOWEVER. Instead of saying But, you can say However – it sounds more fluent and it is a fancy shmancy word to know. However or another one similar meaning is Nevertheless.
Hopefully, the simple examples I shared with you will help you remember these very useful linking phrases. They will make you sound more fluent.
Now, let me share with you some other questions you could expect from IELTS or TOEFL, related to activities, you could be asked:
1. Describe your hobby.
2. Describe how you like to spend your free time.
3. Talk about an activity you do.
4. Describe a healthy habit you have.
Remember guys: use the Present Simple tense to answer these type of question.
The last tip I’d like to share with you before we wrap up, before we finish today is:
Make sure you speak slowly so that you can pronounce every syllable and every letter, try not to swallow or miss any sounds.
That’s my last tip for today.
And now, your homework amigos, is to try to answer this question all by yourself.
The question you need to answer is: Describe an outdoor activity you perform. Describe an outdoor activity you like to do.
And if you are not too shy, you could share your answers with me either in the Facebook group or via email. I will review your answers and give you a quick feedback.
So I think this is just about enough for today. I think we had enough, I hope your head is not spinning.
It’s been a pleasure amigos y amigas, you’ve been an amazing audience yet again, and I shall see you next time. If you would like to improve your English don’t forget you can go to my website to see how you can learn English with me and start speaking English today. You’ve been jamming with Milena. Until next time, hasta la proxima!
IMPROVE IN ALL 4 DISCIPLINES
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Podcast Host at English Made Simple Podcast
Milena is the host of the English Made Simple Podcast and is passionate about helping English learners break their fear of speaking English so they can confidently make conversation and be understood by other English-speakers.
Milena lives in Australia with her Chileno husband and loves anything podcasting and online coaching and is honoured to be supporting and guiding immigrants from all over the world with her products, programs and coaching services.
Click here to learn more about how you can work with Milena.