In part one of your IELTS Speaking test, a pretty common question is, “What do you do in your free time?”
Here, we’ll talk about how to give a great answer. And we can also look at 20 good example answers (go straight to the answers here).
What You Can Say About Your Free Time
There are two main ways to answer this question:
- Say a list of activities you do in your free time
- Say one activity you do, and describe that activity
It’s usually easiest to talk about one activity and give more details about it.
If you start to make a list of things, you might run out of ideas, and then you’ll hesitate. Also, your answer might be quite shallow and simple if you’re just listing things you enjoy doing, without saying why or how you do them.
But if you talk about just one thing, it’s easy to think about that thing (imagine yourself doing the activity) and then give some more simple details. You could say:
- Why you enjoy doing that activity
- How it makes you feel
- How often you do it
- Who you do it with
- Where you do it
- How long you’ve been doing it
- How you started doing it
- Describe what that activity is a bit more
- Anything else that comes to mind when you imagine that activity
Keep It Short and Simple
Your answer should be quite short and simple in part one of the speaking test. You only need to speak for 10 to 20 seconds.
Your grammar can be quite simple too. Just try not to make mistakes.
If you try to think about clever vocabulary and ideas in part one, you’ll probably hesitate. And hesitation isn’t good.
Save the clever vocabulary for part two, when you have time to think about your answer.
In part one, just focus on being fluent: speak quickly, and don’t hesitate.
Use the Three-Step YES Method
This YES Method can help you give a good part-one answer. Just say:
- Your answer (what you enjoy)
- Explain your answer (why you enjoy it) or add more details
- Stop talking (wait patiently for the next question)
The reason it’s important to stop talking in part one is that you have lots of questions and you don’t have much time.
Remember, part one is just to warm you up. That’s all.
So keep your answers short and simple. The examiner will be happy with that.
Here are 20 example answers to this question. Most of them talk about one thing the speaker enjoys doing, and a few give a short list of activities.
Read through these answers and see if you can borrow a few ideas for your own answer.
1. I’m really into mountain biking because it’s so much fun, and it’s quite challenging and difficult to learn. Whenever I have free time, I take my bike to meet my friends on a mountain biking trail near my home.
Looking After My Children
2. Well, I spend most of my free time looking after my children because I’m a mother of three. I suppose being a mother is a never-ending job.
3. I’m currently training to become a yoga instructor, and I really love yoga. So I spend most of my free time practicing yoga, trying to improve my skills and knowledge.
Movies and Novels
4. In my free time, I like watching movies at the cinema, reading classical novels, and talking to my friends about movies, books, and our lives in general.
Browsing Social Media
5. To be honest, I spend a lot of my free time browsing social media. I spend about two hours a day on social media, talking to friends on Facebook and watching TikTok videos.
6. I’m a huge fan of traveling, so I try to spend my free time visiting new places. I visit other towns in my own country and sometimes I travel abroad as well. This year I’ve been to Portugal, Poland, and Sweden.
7. My favorite hobby is shopping, so I usually spend my free time at the shopping malls around my city. I love looking for bargains and finding new, fashionable clothes to wear.
8. I love spending my free time with my wife and son. We often go to the park to play ball games and have a picnic, or we go to do and see interesting things around town.
9. I’m an avid fan of ping pong. I love watching it and playing it. So after work, I spend a lot of time playing ping pong at a sports center near my home.
10. I suppose I spend most of my free time relaxing in a coffee shop, talking to friends, or reading a book. I’m lucky because my area of the city is filled with really relaxing cafes with wonderful music, ambiance, and coffee.
11. I like to be active in my free time. And I like to get outdoors as much as possible. I spend a lot of time hiking in the mountains, swimming at the beach, or fishing in a lake near my city.
12. I spend almost all my free time playing computer games. I have a Playstation 5 and I love first-person shooter games like Quake and Borderlands, and I also like some PC games like Halo.
Hanging Out With Friends
13. I don’t do much in my free time. I guess I just like to hang out with my friends, joking around. We have a lot of fun together, going out to bars and eating good food and good restaurants.
14. I’m taking language studies very seriously this year, so I spend most of my time outside of work studying English and Japanese. Fortunately, I really enjoy both of these languages.
15. I’m really into programming, for my work and also as a hobby. I spend a lot of my free time designing little software programs for people to use, or trying to solve various programming problems.
Listening to Music
16. I love music so I spend most of my free time listening to my favorite singers and bands. I also try to see live music or a concert whenever I can buy tickets.
17. I like spending my free time doing the housework. I just listen to the radio while I do it. I find housework relaxing and also satisfying once I’ve finished.
18. Recently, I’ve been spending a lot of my free time writing. I’m writing a science fiction novel. It’s my first book and I’m enjoying it a lot, even though I’m not sure if it’s very good or not.
19. I like to curl up in bed when I have free time. To be honest, sleeping is my favorite pastime. At the weekends I sleep until midday, and then lie around in bed, playing on my phone.
20. I’m afraid I don’t have much free time these days. I’m always working overtime. By the time I get home from work, I’m too tired so I just eat and go to bed.
What’s Your Answer?
Now, it’s time for you to try.
While practicing or an IELTS Speaking question, it’s best to record yourself. Set up the recorder on your phone, and ask aloud, “What do you do in your free time?”
Answer as fluently as you can (speaking quickly, without hesitation).
Don’t worry about vocabulary, just try to keep speaking for 10 or 20 seconds. Then stop (remember the three-step YES Method).
Once you’ve finished, listen to your answer, and think of how you could improve it.
Then answer it again. Try to improve a little each time.
This is a wonderful way to get ready for part one of your IELTS Speaking test.