Technology is one of the most common IELTS topics because it can come up in any part of the exam. Furthermore, technology is a part of our daily lives and thus an absolutely necessary topic in which to be fluent. So, let’s look at how it may come up in the IELTS exam and what technology vocabulary we need to learn.
Technology in IELTS Speaking
There are lots of possible questions you may be asked about technology in the IELTS speaking exam. Here are some.
- How often do you use the Internet?
- How much time do you spend using a computer at work or at home?
- Do you enjoy using technology?
- Do you own a computer?
- What do you mainly use a computer for?
- Do you use the Internet for your studies?
- Has the internet made your job / studies easier?
- Have you ever taken a course to improve your computer skills?
- Do you use any gadgets on a daily basis?
- Which device do you prefer to use for browsing the internet?
You may be asked to describe a technology you often use or a kind of gadget. In one surprising cue card, candidates were asked to describe a time when they couldn’t use a phone! Here’s my sample answer for that:
- What kind of technological developments have made the biggest impact on our lives?
- Do you think people rely too much on modern technology?
- Do you think we need to know much about computers?
- How do computers affect our everyday life?
- Do you agree that some people use technology for communication too much?
- Do computers make it much easier to study?
- Would you agree that the rapid development of digital technology has had a positive impact on the world of work?
- What is the most important piece of technology in our lives?
- How effective is the use of computers in the classroom?
- Do you think that the rate of technological expansion will slow down in the years to come?
- What do you think are the important things people need to learn when they start using computers?
- Do you think men and women view technological devices differently?
Answering any of these questions gives you a chance to show off your technology vocabulary, which we shall look at in the next section.
It is really important that IELTS candidates know a lot of technology vocabulary. However, this is where textbooks often fail us. The vocabulary used to describe technology changes almost as quickly as technology itself!
Case in point: A few years ago, I was teaching at a university in China and all the textbooks had things like:
- cassette tape
- MP3 player
- CD player
- surfing the net
However, this is all really old fashioned! Whilst it might be useful to know these words and phrases, they are unlikely to be things you will talk about in the IELTS speaking test. After all, some of these are practically ancient by now.
It’s important then to keep on top of relatively new developments. you don’t need to be an expert in computer studies or anything, but you should know some common terms for talking about technology in daily life:
- instant messaging
You should be able to talk about social media, using the most common words and phrases there:
All of these will help you to give better answers when talking about technology or technology-related subjects in your IELTS speaking test.
Here’s a whole video about technology vocabulary:
Technology in IELTS Writing
Technology could appear in either part of the IELTS writing exam but it is more likely to come up in task 2. Here are some example questions:
Nowadays the way many people interact with each other has changed because of technology.
In what ways has technology affected the types of relationships that people make?
Has this been a positive or negative development?
When a country develops its technology, the traditional skills and ways of life die out. It is pointless to try and keep them alive.
To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?
Some people argue that technological inventions, such as smartphones, are making people less socially active.
Do you agree or disagree?
Be careful when answering these questions. Much of the technology vocabulary you learn online (including the video above) is a bit informal. In particular, verbs relating to social media can be quite inappropriate for a formal essay. It is not bad English, but you may find yourself marked down for not using formal enough language.
Technology for IELTS Listening
Of course, it is very possible that your IELTS listening exam could contain information about technology. It is, however, unlikely to be very specialised and you would only need to know some quite basic language. Here are some examples of IELTS technology topics in the listening exam.
Technology for IELTS Reading
Technology is an incredibly common topic in the reading exam. Here, a good vocabulary for technology would definitely come in handy.
Here are some example tests you can see on other websites:
You can also check out this speaking and reading lesson about mobile phones.
This is so sad. Technology is my weakness.
Anyways, thanks for the tip! I’ve been finding it hard to study for my upcoming IELTS but you’re of great help.
Have a nice day!