In part one of your IELTS Speaking test, you may well be asked, “What do you dislike about your studies?”
But let’s take a look at how to give a great answer, with 10 example answers (go straight to the answers here).
Things You Might Dislike
You only need to think of one thing. Then talk about it for 20 or 30 seconds.
Here are a few possible reasons you might dislike your studies:
- It’s too difficult / boring / fast-paced / confusing
- There’s one minor topic or subject you dislike
- Too much homework or coursework
- A bad teacher
- Annoying or distracting classmates
- You chose the wrong major
- Something wrong with the school grounds or your college campus and its buildings
- How your studies affect your free time
- Not a suitable major for a well-paid career
- Not what you expected
- Anything else you can think of
What If You Don’t Dislike Anything?
No, problem. Just explain how you like everything and why.
Or perhaps you can think of something you used to dislike in the past.
The important thing is that you’re speaking good English, without hesitation.
So don’t worry too much about what you say. Just answer the question directly, and quickly.
Useful Phrases for Negative Opinions
In English, when we’re going to say something negative or disagreeable or surprising, we often use a connector phrase like these:
- “To be honest…”
- “To be frank…”
- “To tell you the truth…”
So this question about ‘disliking‘ something is a nice opportunity for you to use one of these phrases.
It will make you sound very natural and fluent.
Give a Fast, Fluent Answer
The key with part-one questions is to answer as quickly as you can, focusing on fluency.
Don’t worry about clever vocabulary or complex grammar in part one. That can wait for part two when you have more time to think.
For a part-one question like this, just use simple English to answer as fluently as possible.
Here’s how you can do it.
Use the Three-Step YES Method
This is a great method for all your part-one questions. Just say:
- Your answer (say what you dislike)
- Explain your answer (say why you dislike it) or add more details
- Stop talking (wait patiently for the next question)
One of the biggest mistakes students make in part one of IELTS is rambling on and on (speaking too much).
This is bad for two reasons:
- The more you talk, the more likely you are to make a mistake
- You might annoy the examiner, who’s watching the time closely (they have to ask 10-12 questions in only four to five minutes)
The YES Method will make sure you say enough, but not too much.
Read the following example answers to understand what a good-length answer is.
1. Well, I study economics, and I enjoy most of my classes, but sometimes I have to study difficult math, like algebra. I really hate the math parts because it’s pretty confusing for me.
2. I love my law degree. But it requires me to memorize so many criminal cases and dates and names. To be honest, sometimes that part can be quite boring.
3. I enjoy most of my subjects at school, except for my French classes, which I don’t enjoy at all. To be frank, the teacher is pretty bad. I really can’t stand her teaching style.
Too Much Homework
4. The one thing I dislike most about my studies is all the homework. I have too much homework to do every evening. It takes up so much of my free time.
5. To tell you the truth, I think I made a bad decision with my major. I chose to study liberal arts, but now I’m not sure I’ll be able to find a good career with this degree. So I might change my major next year.
Not What I Expected
6. I suppose one thing I dislike about my studies is that I don’t have much real practice with patients. When I chose to study psychology I thought I’d be talking to real patients every week, but it’s mostly learning from books.
7. I think I like everything about my studies, but I don’t like a lot of my classmates. They are too noisy during class. They’re always playing around and it makes it difficult for me to concentrate.
No Free Time
8. My studies are very time-intensive. I study medicine, so I have to learn a huge amount of medical knowledge, and I also need to do my internship in the college hospital. So I have very little free time.
9. To tell you the truth, I don’t really like my school building. It’s quite old and shabby. I think it needs a renovation because it’s not a very pleasant place to study in.
10. That’s a difficult question because, to be honest, I really like everything about my studies. I love my major, my teachers, and my learning materials. All of it.
Now, It’s Your Turn!
Are you ready to answer the question yourself?
Set up the voice recorder on your phone and ask aloud, “What do you dislike about your studies?”
Answer as quickly and fluently as possible. Don’t say too much. Remember to stop.
Then, listen to your answer. Write down what you said, so that you can notice any mistakes.
Keep repeating this process and you’ll soon be ready to give an excellent band-seven answer to this IELTS Speaking part one question.