You may be asked to talk about your leisure activities in part two of the IELTS Speaking test. Your cue card will probably ask you to, ‘Describe your leisure activities.’ And it will also give you some ideas on what to say.
Here, we’ll look at how to answer this question for a band-seven score, including three great example answers (go straight to the answers here).
Choosing An Activity To Talk About
For this question, you could talk about two or three activities you like doing in your free time. You could also describe just one main activity in more detail.
So what do you enjoy in your free time? Here are some common examples:
- Exercising at the gym
- Playing sports (tennis, football, basketball…)
- Watching sports
- Watching TV
- Playing computer games
- Meeting friends
- Eating out at restaurants
- Browsing social media
- Listening to music
- Playing an instrument (piano, guitar, violin, drums…)
- Learning English
- Collecting things (coins, stamps, toys, shoes, bags…)
- Sipping coffee in a cafe
- And many, many more
What You Can Say About It
When describing an activity in more detail, you could talk about:
- Why you enjoy this activity
- How often you do it
- Who you do it with
- Where you do it
- How long you’ve been doing it for
- How you first got into it (became interested in it)
- Your best experience or memory of this activity
- How you do this activity (describe the process in detail)
- What’s easy or difficult about this activity
- Any plans you have to do it in future
- Famous people who do this activity
- Anything else that comes to mind
Try to Tell a Story
In part two of your IELTS Speaking test, it’s a good idea to tell short stories.
Stories make it easy to keep talking, while also showing off your past tenses (past simple, past continuous, past perfect…).
For this question, you could tell a story about the last time you did this hobby, how you started doing it, or some other memory you have related to this activity.
Use Interesting Vocabulary
If you want to achieve a band-seven score in part two, you need to use more advanced vocabulary too.
One good way to prepare interesting vocabulary is with word groups.
A word group is a collection of words or phrases that describe a particular characteristic of an activity.
For example, if you prepare a ‘fun activity’ word group, it might include words and phrases like: ‘entertaining, amusing, delightful, a blast, engrossing, diverting, a barrel of laughs…’ and more.
You could then use this ‘fun activity’ word group to answer many different part-two questions, such as:
- Describe a hobby you enjoy
- Describe something fun you did recently
- Describe an activity you do often
- Describe a vacation you took
- Describe a memorable experience you had
- Describe something you enjoyed doing as a child
- And so on
Preparing word groups gets you ready for all kinds of part-two questions and makes you more confident in the test.
Below, you can see three example word groups in action. You can also learn more about word groups here.
Use Unusual Adjectives to Describe Your Leisure Activities
In part two, the examiner will be happy to hear a few uncommon, colorful adjectives. So prepare them in advance.
Rather than saying ‘great,’ you can sometimes say ‘excellent’ or ‘incredible’ or ‘marvelous.’
Instead of always saying ‘beautiful,’ you could sometimes say ‘elegant’ or ‘attractive’ or ‘easy on the eye.’
If you use a good thesaurus (like Power Thesaurus) you’ll find many wonderful adjectives to use. Start learning and using as many as possible.
Use Apps to Memorize Faster
One of the best ways to memorize large numbers of new words and phrases quickly is with a flashcard app like Anki App.
Now let’s take a look at three example cue cards with good band-seven score answers.
Leisure Activity Cue Card One
Describe some leisure activities you like doing.
You should say:
- What leisure activities you do
- How often you do them
- Who you do them with
And say why you enjoy these activities.
I’m going to talk about two leisure activities I love, which are playing computer games and cycling. After a long day of studying, I really enjoy playing computer games because it’s an extremely entertaining and diverting pastime.
I’ve been playing computer games for most of my life, for as long as I can remember. These days, I have a Playstation 5 and I also play plenty of online games on my PC. I like competitive online games, which are totally engrossing. I’ve recently gotten into a team fighting game, which I play with my friends. It’s fantastic. I was hooked from the moment I first tried it.
The fictional world this game takes me into is truly amazing, and utterly captivating. Whenever I play it, I have a blast. It’s also a really social activity because I’m always chatting with my friends during the game.
Another hobby of mine is cycling. I’ve been cycling every weekend for about two years now. I started cycling because I realized I needed to get out of the house more and get some exercise. So I bought a new bike. It was just an average affordable bike. Nothing special, but good enough for me.
At first, I thought cycling would be quite boring, like most exercise is. But it turned out to be surprisingly enjoyable. When I went on my first long cycle into the mountains with a few friends, I had more fun than I’d had in years. We completely lost track of time. We stopped high on the mountain for a picnic. We were joking around and enjoying the beautiful weather. It was a barrel of laughs. I couldn’t wait to do it again. Since then, cycling has become one of my favorite hobbies.
(Word Group Used: ‘Fun Activity’)
Entertaining, Amusing, Delightful, A blast, Surprisingly enjoyable, Engrossing, Diverting pastime, Captivating, 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 totally lost track of time, It turned out to be great fun.
See more excellent word groups here.
Leisure Activity Cue Card Two
Describe a leisure activity you like doing.
You should say:
- When you do this activity
- Where you do it
- How long you’ve been doing it for
And say why you like doing this leisure activity.
I’m going to talk about chess, which has been a hobby of mine for about ten years now. I play chess really often, at least once or twice a week. I either play at home with my brother or at the local chess club, which isn’t far from my home. I also sometimes play online.
I love playing chess because it requires deep concentration and it’s a very mentally stimulating activity. I’ve never done anything else that requires so much careful deliberation and focus. It’s a wonderful skill for training my mind. I’ve really developed my problem-solving skills by playing chess, and also my ability to think on my feet and learn from my mistakes.
Chess is highly competitive. It’s a real battle of wills between you and your opponent. And whoever has the better strategic thinking will win. You have to be totally immersed in what you’re doing, with no distractions. It takes all of my attention, while I contemplate my options and work out what to do. Sometimes it can be a little bit stressful, but it always feels amazing when I out-think my opponent and win the game.
I’ve been to a few chess tournaments before. My father took me to tournaments when I was younger. I remember the experience was both scary and fun. I was playing against older opponents under a lot of pressure. I never won a tournament but I did quite well a few times.
My father really encouraged me to get better at chess. I’m very grateful to him for that because those experiences helped me to handle pressure and think deeply and clearly in other areas of life. I think chess is a very valuable life skill that everyone should learn.
(Word Group Used: ‘Mentally Challenging Activity’)
Strategic thinking, Focus, Concentrate, Deep thought, Deep concentration, Think deeply and clearly, Requires careful deliberation, Work out what to do, Mentally stimulating, Problem-solving skills, Out-think my opponent, No distractions, Take your time, Takes all my attention, Immersed in what I’m doing, Battle of wills (between you and your opponent), Contemplate my options, In-depth knowledge, Think on my feet, Decisive, Learn from your mistakes, Puts your brain to the test, A wonderful skill for training my mind.
Leisure Activity Cue Card Three
Describe your favorite leisure activities.
You should say:
- What these activities are
- Who you do them with
- How you learned to do them
And say why these are your favorite activities.
I’m going to talk about a few relaxing things I like to do in my free time. To be honest, when I’m not working, all I want to do is kick up my feet and take it easy. So for leisure activities, I mostly enjoy watching sports on TV, playing games with my kids, and hanging out with my wife.
I have two adorable little kids aged four and six and I really like playing with the little rascals after work. It helps me loosen up and unwind after a long day at the office. My children are so happy to see me and so full of energy. Spending time with them really relieves my stress and never fails to put a smile on my face.
When I get home, I put work from my mind and we often go out to play games in the garden. I find it very refreshing and it always reminds me to take things less seriously. Just last weekend, we went to the park with a frisbee and messed around for a few hours in the sun. It was terrific fun.
I also like watching sports on TV, mostly basketball and ping pong. I used to play both of those sports, but these days, I prefer to watch them instead. Sitting down to watch a good basketball game provides a perfect moment of quiet after a hectic day. Sometimes there’s nothing I’d rather do than lounge around watching the box with my wife by my side.
I’m fortunate that my wife is a very tranquil and peaceful person. Spending time with her is always soothing and restful. Chatting to her relieves my stress and helps us both get a little rest and relaxation.
(Word Group Used: ‘Relaxing Activity’)
Relaxing, Restful, Soothing, Peaceful, Tranquil, Loosen up, Let my hair down, Take it easy, Take a moment to relax, Enjoy a bit of peace and quiet, Take a break, Chill out, Helps me unwind after a long day at the office, A moment of quiet after a hectic day, Kick up my feet and relax, There’s nothing I’d rather do than lounge around watching the box, Put work from my mind, Relieve my stress, Lounge around, Ease away my stresses and worries, Stop thinking about work for a minute, Reminds me to take things less seriously, Refreshing, Renews my energy, Helps me get a little rest and relaxation.
Now, It’s Your Turn
Try to give this question a go yourself.
Before you begin, choose an activity word group or create a new one yourself. Then think of a story or two to use.
When you’re ready, set a timer for one minute and ask yourself out loud to talk about your leisure activities.
Prepare your answer for sixty seconds. Then set a timer for two minutes and start talking.
Afterward, listen to yourself. Try to notice any mistakes or hesitation. Also, notice how many interesting words and phrases you used.
Then answer the question again, and try to improve a little each time.
This wonderful process is sure to prepare you well for part two of your IELTS Speaking test.