For the IELTS Speaking test, if you’re a student, you must be prepared to speak about your studies. Of course, a very common question on this topic is, “What do you study?”
Let’s take a look at how to give a great answer to this question, with 20 example answers (go straight to the answers here).
What You Can Say
In part one of the test, you don’t need a very long answer, but you do need to say more than one or two words.
Here are some things you could mention:
- What you study
- Where you study
- Why you enjoy it (or don’t)
- Why you chose your major, or college
- What work you’d like to do in future, using your major
- What your favorite subject is, if you’re in high school
- What you’d like to study at college, if you’re in high school
- Anything else that comes to your mind
Use the Three-Step YES Method
In part one, you need to focus on answering quickly and simply, with just a few sentences.
Don’t speak for too long because this can hurt your score.
Remember, the examiner has 10-12 questions to ask you in only four to five minutes. That’s not much time, so make their job easier by giving a good, quite short answer.
A great system to practice is the YES Method. Just say:
- Your answer (say what you study)
- Explain your answer, or add more details (say why you chose the subject, why you enjoy it, etc…)
- Stop talking (wait patiently for the next question)
Do You Need Complex Grammar and Vocabulary?
No, there’s no need to try to use clever vocabulary or grammar in part one.
It’s nice if you can add in a few advanced words and some past tense or present perfect tense, but this isn’t as necessary as in parts two and three.
Part one is supposed to be easy. It’s only to warm you up and give the examiner a good first impression of your English level.
So in part one, focus on fluency; try to answer as quickly as possible, without hesitation.
This will be much easier if you use simple sentences.
By keeping it short, you also have less chance of making mistakes.
Don’t worry, in part two, you’ll have an opportunity to show off your more advanced vocabulary.
Have a look at these 20 example part-one answers, which you can use for your own ideas.
1. I study nursing, which I really enjoy because I’m a people person and I love spending time helping sick patients recover as quickly as possible.
2. I study accounting at Sorbonne University in France. It requires a lot of hard work, but I think it’s a very good degree because so many companies need to hire accountants these days.
3. I study business administration, which involves management skills, human resource skills, financial analysis, and many other subjects. It’s very challenging, but I find it very satisfying too.
4. My major is in psychology. I’m actually studying for my master’s degree. I’m fascinated by the mental problems people suffer from, and how to solve those problems. And I think psychology will be a very interesting field to work in.
5. I want to be a teacher, so I’m studying education. When I graduate, I want to specialize in teaching primary school students.
6. I study marketing, which I think is a very creative subject. In marketing, you have to really understand why people make decisions about what they purchase, and how businesses can attract the attention of customers in original ways.
7. I’m in the final year of my mechanical engineering degree. It’s very demanding, and also rewarding, and I’m looking forward to starting my first job next year.
8. Actually, my major is English. I would love to become an English teacher in future. I like this language so much because I’ve always loved British culture and TV shows.
9. Well, I study biology, and I study biology because I’ve always been fascinated by living organisms since I was very young. I’d like to become a marine biologist after I graduate.
10. I study finance as my major. I’m a very competitive person and I like problem-solving and thinking in an analytical way. To be honest, I also want to get rich. So for me, finance is a perfect choice.
11. I’ve always been interested in history, and now I study history as my major. I specialize in ancient Greek history, which is the country I come from. It’s a subject I really enjoy, and it’s very close to my heart.
12. I study computer science. I think this field is becoming more and more important as computers are advancing so rapidly. I’m sure I’ll find a good job in future with my degree.
13. My major is in graphic design. I’m quite an artistic person and graphic design gives me a practical way to use my creativity to earn a living.
14. I study law, but to be honest I don’t enjoy it much. It’s too intensive and difficult, and I’m thinking about changing to another major, perhaps in human resources.
15. I study fine arts because art really is my passion and I’ve always wanted to be an artist. I love all my classes, and my professors are extremely skillful and helpful.
16. I study political science, which means I have to learn all the ins and outs of government and political forces, in my country and around the globe.
17. My major is currently journalism, but next year I’m changing to economics and politics because I don’t think you really need to study journalism to become a journalist. It’s better to learn about the world first.
I’m in High School
18. I study lots of subjects because I’m still in high school. I think my favorite subject is maths because I’m good with numbers and I really enjoy trying to solve tricky problems.
19. I’m in my final year of high school, so I have to study 9 different subjects. I’m better at the more creative subjects like music and languages, and I’m not so interested in the sciences.
20. I study many subjects at my school. I haven’t thought much about what I’d like to study at college. I suppose I’d like to be a firefighter, so I might study something useful for that career.
Now, it’s your turn!
Take out your phone and switch on the voice recorder.
Then ask yourself aloud, “What do you study?”
Answer as quickly as possible, without hesitation, following the three-step YES Method.
How did you do? Listen carefully to your recording.
You can even write down what you said. This way you’ll notice any mistakes more easily.
Answer the question again, and keep trying to improve it each time.
This is the best way to prepare for a good band-seven score in part one of your IELTS Speaking test.