In part two of your IELTS Speaking test, you might be asked to talk about your favorite country. The cue card will probably read: “Describe your favorite country.” And it will give you some suggestions on what to say.
Let’s look at how to answer this question for a band-seven score. Below, you can also read a good example answer (go straight to the answer here).
Which Country to Choose
For a question like this, it’s best to talk about a country you’ve already been to. This is because you can quickly remember your time there and talk about that.
However, you might want to talk about a country that you haven’t been to, but would like to visit. Or you could choose a country you love because of its movies, art, culture, weather, or food.
Of course, you can also talk about your own country, which is probably the simplest option of all.
In part two of IELTS Speaking, always choose the option that’s easiest to talk about.
What You Can Say
When you’ve chosen a country, here are some things you can talk about:
- The food
- The culture
- The weather
- The people
- The sports
- What this country is famous for
- Why it’s a perfect place for vacation
- Sights to see there
- Things to do there
- Why it’s the perfect place to live
- Cost of living
- Quality of life
- Your experience when you visited that country
- Some interesting experiences you had there
- Why you want to visit that country
- How often you go there
- How long you’ve lived there
- Anything else that comes to mind
Tell a Story
In part two, you should always try to tell a short story. With a simple story, you can:
- Keep speaking easily for 30 seconds or more
- Show that you can use good past tenses (past simple, past continuous, past perfect…)
It’s easy to tell a story about a country because you can simply remember when you visited that country and say what you did there. So before your IELTS test, prepare a few stories about countries you’ve visited.
You can then use these stories for lots of different questions. For example, you can use your country story for questions about vacations, adventures, travel, interesting experiences, food, family, friends, and more.
Focus on Vocabulary
In part two of your IELTS Speaking test, you can get a band-7 score by:
- Talking for two minutes without hesitation
- Using some interesting, less common vocabulary
- Not making too many mistakes
One great way to prepare interesting vocabulary is to memorize word groups.
A word group is a collection of interesting words, phrases, and idioms that describe one aspect of a place, person, activity, or thing.
For example, you might prepare a ‘busy place’ word group that includes words like: ‘bustling, hectic, crowded, industrious, fast pace of life, as busy as a bee…’ and more.
You can then use this same ‘busy place’ word group to answer many different questions about places. For example:
- Describe your favorite city
- Describe your hometown
- Describe a place you like to visit
- Describe a vacation you went on
- Describe a city you’d like to live in
- And many more part-two questions
So for this ‘favorite country’ question, it’s a good idea to prepare a word group now that could describe a country you like.
In the example answer below, you’ll see a ‘natural place’ word group in use.
Use Anki App to Memorize Words
One of the fastest and surest ways to memorize English vocabulary is to use a good flashcard app like Anki App.
Now, let’s look at a good example answer…
Favorite Country Cue Card
Describe your favorite country.
You should say:
- What this country it is
- If you’ve visited this country before
- What this country is known for
And say why this is your favorite country.
I’m going to talk about Switzerland, which is a stunningly beautiful country in the center of Europe. I love Switzerland because it has an abundance of natural beauty. Most of the country is covered by mountainous terrain and there’s so much magnificent scenery with endless spectacular views to enjoy. The whole country is full of impressive mountains and glistening lakes.
I’ve only visited Switzerland once in my life, but I will always remember that vacation. I went on a camping trip there with my family about seven years ago. I remember driving through the picturesque mountains, soaking up the incredible views. It was a real escape into the great outdoors.
We stayed at many campsites beside the quiet waters of beautiful lakes. It was wonderful to wake up in the morning to the sound of birdsong. I recall we stayed in one idyllic natural spot for many days, right next to the water. I remember sitting outside our tent in the morning, enjoying a cup of tea and looking at a breathtaking view of a massive snowcapped mountain.
We went for many hikes through forests and meadows, enjoying the fresh air, scents of the forest, and beautiful fields of wildflowers. There were many cows with little bells around their necks and we could always hear the bells ringing gently.
I think Switzerland is a fantastic place to live because it’s very safe there. To be honest, Switzerland is a little expensive and the food isn’t the best food in Europe. But when you’re there, it’s really easy to drive to neighboring countries like Italy, France, or Germany because Switzerland is right in the middle of Europe and it’s a very small country. So that’s another reason why I like it.
(Word Group Used: ‘Natural Place’)
An abundance of natural beauty, Magnificent scenery, Spectacular views, Breathtaking views, Sweeping vistas, Idyllic natural spot, Stunningly beautiful, Surrounded by nature, Close to nature, Windswept, Sun-drenched, Awe-inspiring, Picturesque, Beautiful beaches, Glistening lakes, Mountainous terrain, Snowcapped mountain peaks, Verdant valleys, Undergrowth, Greenery, Foliage, Vegetation, Underbrush, Flora and fauna, Scents of the forest, Meadows, Fields of wildflowers, Escape into the great outdoors, A place with all four seasons, The cheeping and chirping of birdsong, Awaken to the sound of birdsong, Soaking up the views.
See many more word groups here.
Your Turn to Try
Do you think it’s hard to give a great answer like this one?
Don’t worry. When you’ve memorized a few good word groups, you’ll be amazed at how easily you can give a fantastic answer.
Try to answer this question now yourself.
First, choose a country you can talk about easily (preferably a country you’ve visited before).
Next, choose a word group you can use to describe that country. You could think of your own word group or use a word group from this site (see many choices for ‘place’ word groups here).
Finally, prepare a story about that country.
Now it’s time to answer the question…
Set up the recorder on your phone and ask yourself to talk about your favorite country.
Prepare your ideas for one minute, then start talking. Try to talk for two minutes without hesitation.
When you’ve finished, listen to your recording, and see if you can improve it with more interesting vocabulary.
Keep repeating this process. This is a wonderful way to get ready for part two of your IELTS Speaking test.