While talking about yourself in part one of your IELTS Speaking test, the examiner might ask, “What do you do to relax?”
Let’s talk about how to give a wonderful answer to this simple question. Below, you can also see 20 good example answers (go straight to the answers here).
Keep It Super Simple
All English students know how to talk about their free time and hobbies.
So when the examiner asks this simple question, you might think, ‘Aha! Now I can talk for five minutes about my hobbies!’
Wait. Don’t do this.
Part one is just to warm you up. The questions are really simple. So just give really simple answers.
Say the first thing that comes into your head; talk about one or two things you like to do to relax. Say why you like them. And then stop talking.
Your part-one answers should be just 10 or 20 seconds long. Not more.
You can use the three-Step YES Method to help with any part-one question. In the YES Method, you just say:
- Your answer (I like watching TV)
- Explain your answer (say why you like it with one or two simple sentences)
- Stop talking (stop talking, and wait patiently for the next question)
Some Ideas on What To Say
To help you with ideas, here are some things people like doing to relax:
- Watching TV or movies
- Hanging out with friends
- Listening to music
- Phone games
- Computer games
- Exercise at the gym
- Rock climbing
- Studying English (yes, really… it’s relaxing for some people!)
- Drinking coffee in a cafe
- Shopping at the mall
- Shopping online
- Going to the park
- Walking the dog
- Playing with their kids
- Card games
Remember: The Truth Is Easier To Describe
In all your IELTS answers, you can invent an untrue answer if you like. But it’s always easier to talk about something that’s true.
When it’s true, it’s easier to picture it and think of opinions and ideas of things to say.
How To Say More About Any Activity
Now, you need to add one or two more short sentences about the activity (or activities) you like doing. You can say:
- Why you enjoy this activity
- How it makes you feel
- When you usually do it
- Where you do it
- Who you do it with
- How long you’ve been doing it for
- What you used to do in the past
- Something you’d like to try in future
- Anything else that comes to your mind
Useful Phrases About Relaxing
Here are some words and idioms you can use to talk about relaxing:
- Slow down
- Refresh myself
- Recharge my batteries
- Chill out
- Let my hair down
- Take a quick break
- Take it easy
- Take a breather
- Take my mind off work
- Switch off
- Switch my mind off
Focus on Fluency
Now you know some nice phrases to use, but when you answer a part-one question like this, don’t worry about using clever vocabulary.
In part one, focus on fluency; speak quickly and simply, without hesitation.
You can use clever words and phrases in part two when you have more time to plan and think.
Here are 20 good example answers to this simple question. Read them and maybe you can steal a few ideas for your own answer.
1. I love going to a relaxing coffee shop to unwind with a nice hot drink. There’s a wonderful cafe near my home with a really friendly atmosphere and chilled-out music.
2. To be honest, I usually just watch TV when I want to relax. TV shows are entertaining and they help me stop thinking about work and stressful things.
Listening to Music
3. I find that listening to music really helps me relax and unwind. I love classical music, which is so beautiful and calming. I’ve enjoyed classical music since I was in college.
4. I spend a lot of my free time playing phone games. They’re great fun and very relaxing. I can play online with my friends, so they’re quite social too.
5. In my opinion, yoga is the most relaxing activity in the world. I do yoga almost every day and it really helps me to relax and destress.
6. In my free time, I like to read a good book to relax. I find that reading a story takes my mind off work and stressful things. I read every evening before I go to sleep.
7. I’m a bit of a shopaholic, to be frank. So whenever I feel stressed, I go to the mall with friends to relax. Even if I don’t have any money, I just do a bit of window shopping.
8. Recently, I’ve taken up jogging to relax. After work, I come home and change into my tracksuit and go jogging in the park nearby. It really chills me out.
9. I’m still a college student, so I often go out at the weekend to let my hair down. I like meeting with friends and dancing the night away at a fun nightclub.
10. When I want to relax, I play basketball. I’ve played basketball for most of my life, and I find it incredibly relaxing. I can play with friends, or shoot hoops on my own. Both are fine.
11. To be honest with you, I just like spending as much time as possible sleeping in bed. Nothing is more relaxing for me than a good, long sleep.
Walking the Dog
12. I have a dog, and so when I need to relax after work, I take it for a walk in a park near my home. It’s great to get some fresh air and play games with my dog. It’s very relaxing.
Hanging Out With Friends
13. I think whenever I need to relax I just go and hang out with my friends. We play card games or joke around, talking about life. It always recharges my batteries to see them.
14. I love going to have a beauty treatment at a spa when I want to relax. I usually have a massage, a facial, and a nail manicure. Afterward, I feel totally refreshed.
Playing With My Kids
15. I have two young children, who are delightful to play with. After a long day at work, I spend an hour or two playing games with them and I find it very relaxing.
16. I used to find it very hard to relax, and I was always stressed. But about four years ago, I discovered meditation, and since then I’ve been meditating almost every day. It’s wonderfully relaxing for my mind.
17. Well, I’m quite an outdoorsy person so I like to go into nature and do some hiking or rock climbing to relax. Climbing really destresses me and takes my mind off every day worries.
18. I actually enjoy studying English. It helps me relax in the evenings. I enjoy this language a lot and I like the sense of progress I feel as I improve.
19. Well, If I’m quite honest with you, I don’t really do anything to relax. I don’t know how to relax. I’m always stressed out and worried about something. I’m really nervous and stressed right now. Help me, please!
20. I’m naturally a really laid-back person. So I’m always pretty relaxed. Any activity makes me feel relaxed. I just enjoy life and never worry about anything.
Now, It’s Your Turn!
Give this question a go yourself. Set up your voice recorder, and ask aloud, “What do you do to relax?”
When you answer, speak as quickly and fluently as you can. Just talk about the first thing that comes into your head.
You can use the YES Method to have some structure.
Afterward, listen to your answer, and think about how you could improve it a little. Then answer it again!
Keep repeating this process and you’ll soon be ready for a great band-seven score on your IELTS Speaking test.