In part one of your IELTS Speaking test, you might be asked, “Tell me something about your family.”
Let’s take a look at how to answer this question for a good band-seven score, including 10 great example answers (go straight to the answers here).
Immediate Family or Extended Family?
Remember, in English when people ask about your family, they usually mean your ‘immediate’ family (the family members we usually live with: parents, siblings, and children…)
They don’t mean your ‘extended’ family (the family members we usually see less often: uncles, aunts, cousins, great grandparents…).
So for this question, it’s best to talk about your immediate family first. But if you want to mention your extended family, that’s fine too.
Things You Might Say About Your Family
Any ‘tell me something about…’ question is a very big question, where you really can say anything you like.
It’s best to choose just one thing to talk about, and then say just two or three sentences about it.
As long as your English is good, this will be fine. You could talk about:
- How big or small your family is
- What people in your family do for a living (for their work) or what they study
- Your children, grandchildren, parents, or grandparents
- How close your family is (are you close-knit, do you get along well, have you drifted apart…)
- How often you spend time together (family get-togethers, gatherings, Christmas, special occasions…)
- How you keep in touch
- Things you do together
- How you were raised
- Where you all live
- If you have a traditional or religious family
- Who you admire in your family
- What you are grateful for about your family
- Anything else that comes to mind
Focus on Fluency
In your part-one answers, keep them short. Saying one or two or three sentences of simple English is fine.
Remember that part one is only to warm you up. The questions are supposed to be easy.
So you should focus on fluency: speak smoothly, without hesitation, with simple English.
You don’t get a big score from part one. More of your score will come from parts two and three.
So in part one, keep your answers simple, fluent, and confident.
Don’t worry too much about using clever vocabulary and grammar. That’s for parts two and three.
The Three-Step YES Method
Use this system to give a good answer to part-one questions. Just say:
- Your answer (say one thing about your family)
- Explain your answer, or add more details
- Stop talking (stop talking, don’t say too much. Let the examiner know you’re ready for the next question)
Take a look at these 12 example answers (10 + two bonus answers), which are all good for a band-seven score.
1. Well, my family has always been really close-knit. My parents and my two older brothers and I spend a lot of time together, eating meals or going on day trips. We also like to watch movies and play board games.
2. My father is an engineer and my mother works in HR, I also have one younger sister, who is studying to be a nurse. So we have lots of different kinds of professions in my family.
3. Everyone in my family thinks education is really important. My mother is an English teacher. And my brother and I are under a lot of pressure to do well at school.
4. After I graduated, I moved away from my hometown, so I rarely see my family in person, but we always keep in touch and meet up for family gatherings.
Don’t Get Along Well
5. Unfortunately, I don’t get along well with my parents. I chose a different career path than what they wanted for me, and it made them upset with me. But I still love them and stay in touch.
6. I actually have a really big family. I have four brothers and sisters, and I also have loads of uncles and aunts, so my extended family is huge as well. Family gatherings, like weddings, are always big, hectic occasions.
7. I love my family so much. I’ve always looked up to my father, who’s a doctor. My parents raised me and my siblings well, and I’ll always be grateful to them for that.
Traditional Family Values
8. I’m from Outer Mongolia so I was raised in a culture with very strong family values. It’s important for us to stay close to each other and to support each other.
9. I’m a devout Muslim so I was raised in a household with very strong religious beliefs. Our religious faith has held us together, and it’s also given us shared values and a strong local community.
Live Far Apart
10. I’m afraid I’m not so close to my immediate family anymore. I haven’t been since I moved to another country with my new wife. But I do go back to visit my parents every now and then. And we sometimes talk online.
11. I have a wonderful family that I’m grateful for every day. There are my two daughters, my husband, and me. We live in a small apartment in Dublin.
12. Well, I’m happy to say that I have two lovely, loyal children and three adorable grandchildren, who I spoil with gifts whenever they come to visit.
Your Turn To Answer
Now, it’s your turn!
Set up the recorder on your phone and ask yourself out loud, “Tell me something about your family.”
Then answer using the three-Step YES Method. Try to answer quickly and fluently, without hesitation.
When you’ve finished, listen to your answer, and then do it again.
Each time, focus on fluency and no hesitation. You can use simple English, that’s fine for part one.
This is a great way to prepare for part one of your IELTS Speaking test.