Friendship is a common IELTS topic and so it is essential that you can talk about your friends to succeed in the speaking exam. In fact, people and relationships are really important. You should learn how to speak about personality, appearance, and how we interact with one another. This could prove useful in any part of the speaking exam, but today we are going to look at a part two question, which asks us to describe a close friend.

Describing People

Being able to describe people can prove really useful for the IELTS speaking part two because often you do have to describe someone. Of course, there are many people you could be asked to describe: a relative, a sportsperson, a pop star, a world leader, a teacher, and so on. You can’t predict the exact question, but you can be prepared to give a good description of a person by learning some useful language. Think about some personality adjectives:

  • ambitious
  • open-minded
  • outgoing
  • introverted
  • hard-working
  • trustworthy
  • driven
  • judgemental

You should also be able to talk about how you know each other, in the case of friends, family, and other acquaintances. Pay attention not just to getting the correct word, but using the right tense.

  • We grow up together -> We grew up together
  • I know him since we are children. -> I’ve known him since we were children.
  • We are close when we are schoolmates, but now we grow apart. -> We were close when we were schoolmates, but now we’ve grown apart.

Relationship Vocabulary

I posted this about five months ago, but it’s useful so here it is again. This PPT contains important language for describing friends or family:

Describe a Close Friend

As with any IELTS speaking part 2 question, you need to look at the cue card and quickly analyse it – what exactly does it ask you to do? What are the important things to say?

Here’s how it might look:

Describe a close friend.

You should say:

  • how long you have known this person
  • how you met
  • what kind of person he/she is

and explain why you like him/her.

So clearly you must talk about the beginning of your friendship, as the first two points relate to this. Then you should describe their personality, and also what it is that you like about them. This is a great question, but it should be quite easy to answer. But first, let’s think about making notes.

I would personally look to make brief notes about meeting my friend and about his personality. I would be sure to jot down any good vocabulary that I might later forget, as well as a structure of the story of how we met. This can help me to keep my tenses in order. It might look like this:

IMG 1023 mslxzo 300x225 - Describe a Close Friend [Speaking Part 2]

Remember that you only have one minute to make notes, so keep them short. Don’t attempt to write any sentences in this time.

Hints and Tips for Part 2speak slowly xerg6o - Describe a Close Friend [Speaking Part 2]

The most important thing you need to remember is that you shouldn’t speak for less than 1 minute. In order to speak 1-2 minutes confidently, you must practice at home regularly. Use the timer on your phone, or a watch, to make sure you know how it feels to speak for that length of time. Pace yourself. Talk slowly and don’t panic. Nervous people tend to talk very quickly and you could easily find yourself running out of things to say in just 30 seconds! If that happens, you will repeat yourself and hesitate, and your score will be very low.

Sample Answer

So here is my sample answer, in which I describe a close friend. I will upload a video tomorrow in which I will also answer this question, but I will do it off the top of my head, so the answer will be different to this:

My best friend is a guy called Rich. We met in 2003 on our first day of university, during Freshers’ Week. I can hardly believe that it was fifteen years ago! We were both seventeen at the time and we met in the halls of residence, which is where we stayed during that first year. He was an art student and I was studying literature. We got along well from the very first moment. I remember him wearing a Guns n Roses t-shirt, and they were my favourite band at the time. We lived together for two years and have stayed best friends ever since. Rich is a very generous and creative person. He plays in a band and paints. A few years ago he got married and now he has a child. He’s changed a lot since we were students, but in many ways he has stayed the same. I liked him back then because he was such a nice guy, and the same is true now. Everyone who knows him thinks he is patient and open-minded, so he’s very easy to get along with.

Reading this took me about 01:20 minutes, which is perfect. However, if I’d been nervous and read too quickly, it would have gone under 1 minute, so please be careful of this.


Here’s a video of me explaining the topic and giving my sample answer. It’s a little different from above because I did it spontaneously. Please subscribe to my channel and give the video a like. It means a lot to me!