Describe a Skill You Want To Learn: IELTS Speaking (3 Cue Cards With Example Answers)

In Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking test, your cue card might ask you to describe a skill you want to learn. Here, we’ll look at the easiest way to answer this question. 

First, we’ll discuss a few tips on the best way to answer part two questions like this. Then you can see three good answers to this question (go straight to the answers here).

What Skill You Can Say

It’s best to answer honestly. Really talk about a skill you want to learn in the future. This will make it easy to talk about. 

You could also talk about a skill you learned in the past and now want to learn more of. 

If you learned to play the piano when you were a child, for example, you could say you want to learn it again one day. This will be easy to talk about for two minutes. 

To help you with ideas, here are a few common types of skills people like to learn:

  • A language (English, Italian, Chinese, Spanish, Russian…)
  • A work-related skill (programming, communication, project management, productivity, engineering, games design, digital marketing…)
  • A practical skill (cooking, woodworking, auto mechanic skills, gardening, DIY, plumbing…)
  • An artistic skill (painting, a musical instrument, writing, photography, music production, drawing, dancing…)
  • A physical skill (yoga, martial arts, pilates, archery, weight lifting,  running…)
  • A hobby skill (juggling, computer games, fishing, stargazing, hunting, hiking, camping…)

Focus on Vocabulary

In part two, it’s easiest to focus on using interesting vocabulary and things to talk about. 

If you try to think about grammar, you’ll probably run into problems.

Just focus on things to say for two minutes, and also on vocabulary. The grammar will take care of itself. 

One good way to use many cool words in part two is to use one or two word groups. A word group is a collection of words that you prepared before all describing one aspect of someone or something.

For example, a ‘useful activity’ word group can include words like: ‘handy, effective, practical, real-world application, invaluable life skill…’ And more. 

You can then use this ‘useful activity’ word group in your answer to many different part two questions. 

You can learn more about word groups here, and see how they work in the example answers below.

Tell Stories

Another good strategy for part two is to tell stories. Always try to tell at least one story.

Stories are great because they:

  • Help you keep speaking for 30 seconds
  • Show that you can use the past tense well

While you’re preparing for your IELTS Speaking test, prepare lots of little stories. One story could be when you learned a skill in the past, how it helped your life, and why you enjoyed it.

You can then use this same story in many different answers.

Example Answers

Notice how stories and vocabulary word groups are used in these three answers. Perhaps you can borrow a few ideas for your own answer.

Learning a Skill Cue Card 1

Describe a skill you want to learn.

You should say:

  • What the skill is
  • How you could learn this skill
  • If you’ve learned it before

And say why you want to learn this skill in the future.

I think the skill that I would like to learn is programming. I believe that programming would be an incredibly useful, handy, and effective skill to have in my life. Not only would it be a valuable skill to have in the current job market, but it would also be a practical and applicable skill that I could use in many different areas of my life.

You know, these days, technology is everywhere and I think it’s becoming increasingly important for people to have some understanding of how all this technology works. Being able to program would allow me to effectively use and manage computer-related technology, making it an indispensable life skill. 

It also has real-world applications that can be beneficial to my life. For example, I could use programming skills to automate tedious and time-consuming tasks, make my own websites and apps, or analyze data to make more informed decisions. That would be amazing.

I spent a little time learning the basics of programming when I was younger, about ten years ago. But I didn’t really get into it. I was too distracted by work and life. 

If I learn it properly in future, I’ll learn it through a combination of online resources and structured courses. There are many free online resources online that offer pretty comprehensive programming courses. I could also invest in more structured, in-depth courses that are available through websites like Udemy or LinkedIn Learning. I’ve used those platforms a few times before. 

I think it would be a worthwhile investment of my time and money. Programming is a skill that’s worth its weight in gold. 

Word Group Used: Useful Activity

In this answer, we focused on describing how useful the skill is. This allowed us to use many interesting words and idioms from the ‘useful activity’ word group:

  • Useful
  • Handy
  • Effective
  • Efficacious
  • Valuable 
  • Practical
  • Applicable 
  • Indispensable 
  • Real-world application
  • Beneficial to my life
  • A worthwhile investment of my time and money 
  • Help me reach my goals
  • Invaluable life skill 
  • I couldn’t manage without it
  • A skill that’s worth its weight in gold 
  • It’s helped me in so many ways 
  • Worthless
  • Of little worth 
  • Fruitless
  • Ineffective
  • Impractical 
  • No use in the real world 
  • As useful as a chocolate teapot 

Learn more about how to use word groups here. 

Skill Cue Card 2

Describe a skill you want to learn.

You should say:

  • What the skill is
  • When people use this skill
  • How to learn this skill

And say how this skill would help your life.

I’m going to talk about rock climbing, which is a hobby and skill I would love to learn better one day. I think rock climbing is an incredibly demanding, tough activity and it would be quite a formidable and daunting challenge to learn well. I’m sure it would push me to the limit and help me grow as a person. 

I’ve tried rock climbing once before. It was quite scary because of the height but I was amazed by how much I enjoyed it. The experience was both great fun and very challenging. I had to use all my strength and focus to get to the top of the wall, and I really had to push myself to overcome the obstacles and also overcome my fear! 

Fortunately, I was able to face my fears and take the bull by the horns, and I made it to the top several times. And it felt fantastic! That was just a climbing wall indoors in a climbing center. If I learned rock climbing properly, I could go out to climb real rock faces and boulders outdoors, and I think that would definitely help me grow through adversity.

What makes rock climbing so challenging is that it requires both physical and mental strength. You have to use your muscles to get to the top, but you also have to think about the next move and plan ahead. It forces you to think in different ways and to dig deep for a solution. This makes it an incredibly rewarding activity, as you can see the progress you’ve made and the challenges you’ve overcome.

Word Group Used: Challenging Activity

By focusing on a challenging skill, we can use many words and idioms in the ‘challenging activity’ word group. This sounds great to the examiner. Here’s the word group:

  • Challenging
  • Demanding
  • Tough
  • Hard
  • Formidable
  • Daunting
  • Challenging task
  • Challenge myself
  • Enjoy a good challenge
  • Push myself (to the limit)
  • Really had to push myself 
  • Overcome a challenge 
  • Grow through adversity
  • Face my fears
  • Take the bull by the horns 
  • Grow as a person
  • Outside my comfort zone
  • Forced me to think in different ways 
  • Had to dig deep for a solution 
  • Dig deep 

Learn a Skill Cue Card 3

Describe a skill you want to learn.

You should say:

  • If you’ve learned this skill before
  • What it’s useful for
  • Where you can learn it

And say why you want to learn this skill.

I would love to learn to play Warhammer 40,000 really well. It’s a kind of strategy war game but with little models on a tabletop. It’s such an entertaining game, a real blast to play. I’ve watched my friends play it before quite a lot. 

I’ve only played it once myself, and I really enjoyed it. I had a fantastic time. I was hooked from the moment I started playing and couldn’t wait to try it again. It’s so engrossing, and I think many players find it addictive. I actually can’t imagine a more diverting and captivating pastime. I’ve always enjoyed different kinds of challenging strategy games, so it’s just my cup of tea. 

What makes Warhammer 40,000 so much fun is that it’s a strategy game that requires you to use your creativity and imagination to build your army and conquer your enemies. It’s a great way to have a laugh with your friends. When I was playing, I remember I completely lost track of time and before I knew it, it was time to end the game hours later.

The only problem is that I think it’s quite an expensive hobby to get into. Also, I don’t really have time for it now. I’m so busy with work. If I did have more free time and money, I suppose I would learn to play Warhammer 40,000 by practicing with my friends and reading the rules and tutorials. I would also watch videos and join online forums to learn more about it and to get tips and tricks from experienced players.

Word Group Used: Fun Activity

This game skill is a perfect topic to use the ‘fun activity’ word group:

  • Entertaining
  • Amusing
  • Delightful
  • A blast 
  • Surprisingly enjoyable 
  • Totally engrossing
  • Diverting pastime
  • Captivating 
  • Truly amazing
  • Addictive
  • I was hooked
  • So much fun
  • I had a fantastic time
  • Couldn’t wait to try it again
  • Have a laugh
  • A barrel of laughs
  • More fun than I’ve had in years / I’ve ever had
  • I completely lost track of time
  • It turned out to be great fun 
  • My cup of tea
  • Right up my alley

Your Turn To Answer

Now you give this question a go. 

Prepare an activity word group. You might use one of the word groups on this page or see more examples here.

When you’re ready, set up the voice recorder on your phone and then set the timer for 60 seconds. 

Ask yourself aloud to describe a skill you want to learn.

Then write notes for 60 seconds, preparing what you’re going to talk about (include a story if you can) and words from the word group to use. 

When 60 seconds is finished, start talking!

Keep speaking for two whole minutes if you can. When you’re done, listen to the recording and think of some ways you could improve your answer. 

By repeating this process, you’ll soon be ready to give a great band-seven answer in part two of your IELTS Speaking test.

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