Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Useful Vocabulary Words for Speaking Exams

Depending on the English exam you're taking, the oral component will include questions that deal with things you already know about because the question will ask for information based on what you do, or about things that have to do with the country or city you live in.

As you already know from my blog post IELTS Speaking: The Basics (even though the post deals with the IELTS exam, the main ideas stated also refer to oral exams administered by other examination boards), examiners are looking for variety in grammatical structures and vocabulary as well as good, long answers that show you feel comfortable expressing yourself in English.

The following list deals with a number of topics that could crop up during the oral examination and has therefore been divided into topic categories. Each category is followed by a short list of words that can be used to either add somewhat more advanced vocabulary to your answers or give you ideas how to develop your answer.

For instance if the examiner asks you to describe the job you would most enjoy doing, make sure you find a way to add words such as "full-time job", "salary" and "work environment". So an answer that would score higher than if you just said "I prefer to have a high-paying job that would just make me feel happy" would be:

The ideal job for me would be one with a high salary and health coverage for me and my family, that would give me personal satisfaction, with steady working hours. This would most likely be a full-time job that would allow me to cooperate with other colleagues in a friendly work environment because I'm a sociable person who enjoys working in a team and not alone.

Vocabulary words for the Speaking Test

A) a job

· part-time / full-time                   

· vocation

· profession

· working hours

· salary / wage

· work environment

· colleagues

· health insurance / coverage

B) a vacation

· destination

· journey

· by boat / plane / car / train / bus

· beach (sand, sunbed, umbrella, shallow water, water sports)

· mountain (hiking, fresh air, healthy environment, skiing)

·  summer / winter resort

C) a college or university to attend

· overseas student

· application

· accommodation (catered, self-catering, en-suite)

· degree requirements

· adapt to the culture

· meet new people

· student unions

· go sightseeing on weekends

D) an apartment to rent

· classified ads in the newspaper (the classifieds)

· rent

· inspect the apartment to see what condition it is in

· landlord / landlady

· location with respect to my place of employment / the day-care center

· hall, kitchen, living-room, dining-room, bedroom, bathroom, shower / bathtub, balconies / veranda

E)  a hotel to stay at

· book a room in advance

· location of hotel

· reputation / name it has in [city where you live]

· reception desk

· lobby / lounge

· lifts

· services offered

· tipping / tip

· porter

F) where to do volunteer work

· charity work

· offer my services free-of-charge

· shelter for the homeless / animal shelter / retirement home / home for the elderly

· volunteer for the local council

· help those in need

G) the best mode of transportation

· frequency of buses

· bus route

· taxi / cab

· fare (bus fare / cab fare)

· bus pass

· schedule / timetable

· (plane) book a seat in advance

· reduce pollution

· car pooling

H) an activity you like

· I am fond of –ing

· --ing is my passion / is a passion of mine

· I – every week / day / month with my friends/husband/wife / spouse / children

· NOTE: describe the activity, with whom you do this activity, how often, what you like about it, why you like it above all other activities

I) a sport

·  NOTE: describe how the sport is played, how often you play, with whom, why you like it

· endurance

· dexterity

· speed

· skill

· hand-eye co-ordination

· it helps me stay fit

J) a summer job

·  see (A)

K) a movie to see

· NOTE: say when you saw it, with whom

· plot / story-line

· actors (main characters, secondary characters)

· setting / the movie is set in the [19th]century

· costumes (if the movie is set in the past)

· director

· climax

· ending

· critical reviews on TV / on the radio / in the press

L) a festival or concert to attend

· buy the tickets in advance

· stage

· performance / performer

· set

· lead singer, drummer, guitarist, bass player, backing vocals

· rock, pop, classical music

· orchestra, conductor

· film festival

M) a play to see (theater play)

· stage

· set/ props and costumes

· curtain

· actors

· performance

· reviews in the papers

N) which TV program to watch

· broadcast (can be used as a noun or a verb)

· show / program

· air (use it as a verb)

· prime time

· speaker / commentator / host(ess)

· spectacular / humorous / objective / educational

· comedy / talk show / the news / soap opera / documentary / a mini-series / morning show

O) where to take a friend

· movies / mall / restaurant / exhibition / museum / cafĂ© / bar / club / sight-seeing

· If she/he is visiting [country or city you live in] for the first time, I’d take them to see . . .

· The most popular places where young people go are . . ., so I’d take my friend there.

· ring / call / phone each other up to arrange a meeting time and place

· we’d take my car / a cab / walk to the . . .

· book seats at a theater / movie theater

· book a table in advance at the restaurant

· buy tickets to go to a movie / play / an exhibition or festival

P) a bookstore to visit

· [name of city] has many bookstores spread through out the city

· The best-known are in the center of the city, for example [give the names of the bookshops]

· All these stores have a wide selection of books, both in [language of home country] and English and you can even order a book if you can’t find it on the shelves

· Some bookshops give students discounts or there are special prices for certain kinds of books

Q) a book to buy

· fiction / non-fiction / biography

· educational book / a book that will entertain you

· plot

· setting

· characters

· writer / author

· title

· language of the book (formal, informal, varied, rich)

· mystery / crime novel / horror story / science fiction book / fantasy novel / adventure story / thriller / romance novel / love story

R) a gift for a friend

· I’d choose something that would suit my friend’s taste and style

· inexpensive / cheap / expensive / a bargain

· go window shopping first to compare prices and get an idea about what I could buy

· ask a shop assistant to help me select / choose

· I’d buy something funny / chic / trendy / stylish / formal / plain / symbolic

· NOTE: describe the gift (what it looks like) and why it would be meaningful

S) a radio station to listen to

· broadcast / air / prime-time

· program’s / show’s host

· talk show / music station

· name of the station / frequency (91.7 FM, for example)

· type of music it plays

· how often you listen to it

Practice for the Speaking by reading through the lists of sample questions here and here. These are questions that could be asked on any oral exam, not just the IELTS!

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