If you begin talking about clothes in part one of your IELTS Speaking test, then you might be asked, “Have you ever worn a uniform?”
Here, we’ll look at how you can give a great band-seven answer to this question. Below, you can also see 10 good examples (go straight to the answers here).
When People Wear Uniforms
Can you remember if you ever wore a uniform? Here are some situations when you might have worn a uniform before:
- School uniform
- Sports team
- Cheerleading team
- Cub Scouts
- Band practice
- A costume party
Or maybe you’ve worn a uniform in your job as a:
- Police Officer
- Retail Worker (MacDonalds, Sportswear Store, etc.)
‘Yes, I Have’ Answers
If you have worn a uniform before, just say when it was.
Then try to remember it. Picture it in your mind. This is an easy way to think of things to say.
While you’re imagining the memory in your mind, say one or two more simple sentences. You could talk about:
- If you liked wearing that uniform or not, and why
- Describe the uniform (what it looked like, felt like, was made from…)
- How often you wore it
- Why you had to wear it
- If you enjoyed the activity you did while wearing it, or not
- Anything else that you think of
‘No, I Haven’t’ Answers
If you’ve never worn a uniform before, don’t worry. There are still many things you can say. For example:
- Why you’ve never worn a uniform before
- If you’d like to have a job with a uniform, or not, and why
- What kind of uniforms you like, or dislike
- Why you think other people wear uniforms
- Someone you know who wears a uniform (why they wear it, what it looks like, if you like it or not…)
- Anything else that comes to mind
Keep Your Answer Simple and Fluent
In part one, don’t worry about trying to use very advanced vocabulary and grammar.
That really isn’t necessary. Part one is only supposed to warm you up.
So, the best thing to do in part one is to answer with simple English, but fluently (speaking quite quickly, without hesitation).
Also, don’t say too much. The examiner has 10-12 questions to ask you in only four or five minutes.
So keep your answers quite short, just one to three simple sentences is fine. Each answer should just be 20 to 30 seconds long.
You can use the three-step YES Method for all your part-one answers. Just say:
- Your answer (‘yes, I have’ or ‘no, I haven’t’)
- Explain your answer, and add more details (describe the uniform and the experience)
- Stop talking (let the examiner know it’s time to ask you the next question)
If the examiner asks you, “Have you ever…?” then they want to see if you can use past tense.
So be careful with your past tense, and also your present perfect tense, for these kinds of questions.
If you begin your answer with present perfect, don’t use a finished time in that same sentence.
First, you finish the present perfect sentence. Then you begin a new past tense sentence to talk about a finished time in the past.
This is incorrect: ‘Yes, I have worn a uniform when I was at school.’
This is incorrect: ‘Yes, I have worn a uniform five years ago.’
This is correct: ‘Yes, I have. I wore a uniform when I was at school.’
This is correct: ‘Yes, I have. I wore a uniform five years ago.’
There is one exception if you say ‘the only time I’ve worn a uniform was…’
In this sentence, you can use present perfect and a past finished time together, for example: ‘the only time I’ve ever worn a uniform was at school.’
Here are 10 example band-seven answers to this ‘uniform’ question.
1. Yes, I have. I used to wear a uniform when I was at school. I remember it was dark gray trousers and a jacket, with a purple and black striped tie. I quite liked it.
2. Yes, I had to wear a uniform for school, and to be honest, I hated it. When I was a teenager I really wanted to wear my own clothes, so I could express myself, but the only clothes I could choose were my sneakers. That was it.
3. Yes, I have. I think the only time I’ve ever worn a uniform was for my school football team. The t-shirt was white and red, with red shorts, and white football boots.
4. Yes, when I was at school, I was in the school band, and I used to play the flute. When we performed for the public we all wore a neat blue shirt and blue blouse over it. But when we were practicing, we could wear anything we liked.
5. Yes, I have. I was in the cub scouts and I had to wear this dark green sweater. I remember we’d do these special tasks to get badges and stick them on our sweaters. It was quite a lot of fun.
6. I’m a nurse so I wear a uniform every day. I like it because it makes it easy to choose what to wear in the morning. And I also feel more professional while I’m wearing my uniform.
7. Yes, I have. When I was a college, I had a job at MacDonald’s for a year and I had to wear the uniform for it. It was a grey short-sleeved shirt, trousers, and a cap.
No, But Want To
8. No, I haven’t. But I think I would enjoy a job with a uniform, like a police officer’s uniform or a soldier’s uniform, because they look really cool and people respect them.
No, But My Friend Has
9. No, I haven’t worn a uniform before. But I have a friend who wears a uniform to work at this plumbing company he works for. It’s a nice blue polo neck shirt and matching trousers.
No, Hate Uniforms
10. No, I haven’t. And to be honest, I would never wear a uniform because I think uniforms take away your individualism. I’m sure I would feel really bad wearing one.
Now, It’s Your Turn!
I hope these answers have given you some great ideas on how you could answer this question. So now it’s time for you to try.
Set up the voice recorder on your phone and ask aloud, “Have you ever worn a uniform?”
Answer as fluently as possible (remember, this means without hesitation. Your English can be quite simple).
Use the three-step YES Method to know when to stop.
After you’ve finished, listen to your answer, write down what you said, and try to see if you made any mistakes.
Then… answer it again!
Keep repeating this process and you’ll soon be ready to provide a fantastic band-seven answer to this part-one question in your IELTS Speaking test.