If the examiner asks you about books or reading in part one of your IELTS Speaking test, then they might ask, “How often do you read?”
Here are a few tips on what you can say for a band-seven score, and 10 good example answers (go straight to the answers here).
What To Talk About
To answer, simply say how often you read, and then add one or two simple sentences. You could talk about:
- Why you read that often (for pleasure, work, or your studies)
- What you read (books, nonfiction or fiction, genres of novels, articles, news, social media posts, comics…)
- How you usually read (paperback, on your Kindle, audiobooks, online, on your phone…)
- If you enjoy reading or not, and why
- How long you’ve been reading for
- If you read more often now than in the past, and why
- Anything else that comes to your mind
Useful Phrases for ‘How Often’ Questions
Any ‘how often’ question is a great opportunity to show the examiner some more advanced English.
There are many interesting words and phrases you can use to say how often you do something.
Here are some examples you can use:
- “Every now and then.” (Sometimes, not often)
- “Now and again.” (Sometimes, not often)
- “Every other day/week.” (Every 2 days/weeks)
- “Once in a while.” (Not often, quite rarely)
- “Occasionally.” (Not often)
- “Once in a blue moon.” (Very, very rarely)
- “Every single day. (Emphasizes how it’s every day, without fail)
- “Hardly ever.”
- “All the time.”
- “Most days/weekends.”
- “I’m in the habit of reading before bed.”
- “Whenever I can.”
- “Whenever I have a minute to myself.”
- “When I have the chance.”
- “You’ll often catch me with my nose buried in a book.”
The Three-Step YES Method
When you answer any part-one question, remember to keep it short. Many students keep talking and talking and talking because they’re nervous.
Speaking too much in part one is a mistake, for two reasons:
- The examiner only has four or five minutes to ask you 10-12 questions, so don’t waste their time!
- The more you talk, the more likely you are to get confused and make a mistake
The key to a good band-seven answer in part one is just to start speaking without hesitancy (so focus on fluency), keep your sentences simple, then stop.
You can say a simple answer for 10 to 20 seconds, and that’s enough.
Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time to show off your vocabulary and complex grammar in parts two and three of the test.
You can use the YES Method for all your part-one answers. Just say:
- Your answer (say how often you read)
- Explain your answer, or add some more details
- Stop talking (wait patiently for the next question)
Read these 10 example answers, and think of ideas for your own answer.
1. To be honest, I don’t read often because I don’t have time. I’m so busy with work. But when I have the chance, I’ll pick up a good book, usually a bestseller.
2. I read every single day. When I wake up and have my breakfast, I read the morning newspaper. It’s a habit I’ve had for most of my life.
Every Now and Then
3. I’m not a big reader, but every now and then I like to read a good self-help book. I usually choose a popular one, and I check to see if it has good reviews on Amazon.
I’m in the Habit Of Reading
4. I’m in the habit of reading a novel before bed on my Kindle. I like fantasy novels, like Harry Potter. They’re very entertaining and it helps me fall asleep.
All the Time
5. Well, I don’t read physical books much, but I listen to audiobooks all the time. I like listening to them while I exercise or during my commute to work.
Always, Since I Was Young
6. I’ve been a big fan of biographies since I was very young. I’m always reading a new one. Right now, I’m reading a book about Bruce Lee, and it’s really good.
Almost Every Day
7. Well, I read almost every day to improve my English. I read articles on my phone and social media posts in English. I also need to read some English emails from my customers.
8. I’m really into thrillers, like Jack Reacher novels. Most nights I read one before I go to bed. They’re so exciting and suspenseful. I find it difficult to put them down.
9. I hardly ever read. Maybe I’ll read a novel once in a blue moon when I’m on vacation. I suppose the only type of book I read often is my cookbook, just to check recipes while I’m cooking.
10. To tell you the truth, I never read. I used to read because I needed to for college, but these days I find reading really boring. I usually just watch videos instead.
Now, It’s Your Turn
If you have a voice recorder on your phone, switch it on and ask yourself aloud, “How often do you read?”
When you’ve finished answering, listen to your answer and write down what you said.
Check your answer for hesitation or mistakes. Think of one way you could improve it.
Then do it again!
This is a great way to get you ready for a band-seven score in part one of your IELTS Speaking test.