In part 2 of the IELTS speaking test, you may be asked to describe a party. This could seem like a daunting task, but in this lesson I will show you everything you need to know to give a great description.

Today, we will look at:

  • Possible cue cards for describing parties
  • Language for describing parties
  • Sample answers

IELTS Cue Cards: Describe a Party

When preparing for IELTS, you should not memorise answers to questions because there are thousands of possible versions. Instead, it is helpful to think about common question types and topics.

One topic (or sub-topic) that may occur is parties. Of course, this is part of the wider idea of friends and socialising, so you could study party language alongside friendship language. Parties are also related to the topics of festivals, culture, and traditions.

It is very important to carefully read the cue card that you are given so that you do not assume something that is not included on it. As such, we will practise analysing possible cue cards here:

Describe a Party you Attended

First of all, a commonly reported cue card about parties is this one:

Describe a party you have attended.

You should say:

– what type of party it was

– where the party was held

– who attended the party

and describe what you did at that party.

Here, the question is quite straightforward. The thing you are supposed to describe is an event that took place in the past. It must be some form of party and you must give details about it, including where it was and who attended. You should also talk a little about your own interactions there.

Describe a Party You Enjoyed

Describe a party that you enjoyed going to.

You should say:

– what the party was about

– where the party was held

– what people did during the party

and explain what you enjoyed about this party.

This cue card is very similar but you can note some important differences. In the first cue card, you could easily have said that you attended a party and disliked it or had no strong opinion about it. However, this cue card requires that you enjoyed the party. (You could also just pretend that you enjoyed it.) Here, you need to describe the party and then relate your feelings.

Planning your Answer

As I said before, you should not aim to memorise answers. This is a bad way to prepare for any part of the IELTS test. However, you can prepare for this sort of question in a few ways:

  1. Practise language related to the topic
  2. Practise thinking up ideas quickly
  3. Think of easily adapted ideas

The third idea is quite useful here. Often, in IELTS, you are given cue cards that say “describe a person/place/object” and then give more information. For example “describe a person who you admire” or “describe a person who you knew when you were young.” These could easily be adapted to be the same person. As long as you do not give a memorised answer, but instead adapt your answer to fit any version of that cue card, you will be fine.

Here, we can think of a party that we have attended and then adapt that answer for the second cue card. We could even adapt it to other cue cards that might change this topic: “describe a party that you threw for your friends” or “describe a party that you didn’t enjoy.”

Of course, doing this may require being imaginative or even lying slightly, but for some people this might be easier than thinking up an honest answer from their memory. After all, even a native speaker like me has trouble thinking up a developed answer in just one minute!

Words to Describe a Party

A big part of being prepared for IELTS topics is knowing the right language to use. Of course, there are no required words, but having a good vocabulary is really important for IELTS. I have written and spoken many times about how to learn vocabulary and how to avoid common mistakes, but it is really important to have a wide range of words and to use them accurately.

In this case, you should look for words that are specific to parties. Because there are so many kinds of parties, this can be quite difficult, but if you have one or two parties in mind, then you can learn vocabulary related to those.

Here are some words to describe parties. We will start with words to describe a party’s atmosphere:

WildReally exciting and crazy.Last night was wild. I don’t remember getting home.
ChilledRelax and enjoyably calm.Come to my party on Friday. It’s gonna be really chilled.
DullBoring, uneventfulI went to John’s party last week but it was dull and everyone left early.
EpicReally incredible.Oh my god, that was an epic party!
FormalTraditional or sophisticated.I’d like to invite you to a tea party this weekend. It’s going to be a formal event, so please dress accordingly.

Types of Party

Here are some types of party:

House partyA party held at someone’s house. Usually, this is young people using their parents’ home.
Wedding receptionA party for a married couple, typically held after the main ceremony.
Stag partyA party for a man who is about to get married. Also known as a stag night, stagger, stag do buck’s night, or bachelor’s party (depending on country).
Hen partyA party for a woman who is about to get married. Also known as a bachelorette party.
Graduation partyA party for university graduates.
PromA dance party for high school students.
KeggerA university party that includes a keg of beer.
Dinner partyA party centred around a dinner.
Garden partyA party held in a garden. Typically, this is a slightly formal party held in the summer.
Tea partyAn afternoon party featuring tea and cakes.
Black tie eventA formal party with a strict dress code (particularly for men, who are expected to wear a tie)
Housewarming partyA party to celebrate someone’s new home.
Farewell partyA party held to say goodbye to someone.
Welcome partyA party to welcome a person to a new place, such as a workplace or neighbourhood.
Baby showerA party thrown for a pregnant woman by her friends and family.
Pool partyA party held at a swimming pool.
Block partyA party for all the people in a neighbourhood.
Costume partyA party where people are supposed to dress up in costumes.
Cocktail partyA formal party involving a bar that serves cocktails.
Surprise partyA party thrown for a person that is not aware of the event in advance.
FundraiserAn event held with the purpose of raising money.
Birthday partyA party to celebrate a person’s birthday.

There are, of course, many other types of party and these might be culturally specific. If you know of other ones and want to talk about them, you can read up on Google. Make sure to find a source that was written by a native speaker of English.

different types of party

Sample Answers

Below, I will give sample band 9 answers for the two above versions of the task “describe a party”:

Describe a party you have attended.
describe a party that you attended

A few weeks ago, I went to a pool party at a hotel near my house. There was a bar and a stage for musicians to perform, as well as a swimming pool and various loungers for people to sit or lie on. The place was surrounded by palm trees and other tropical vegetation. In the beginning, there were only a few people there but over the course of the day it became more and more popular. Eventually, the place was full and it was very lively, with many groups of people sitting around and having fun.

Although I live in a hot country, it was a very cold day and so the water was freezing. I hadn’t realised and jumped into the pool. I got quite a shock from the water and from the expressions of other people that went in, they mostly felt the same. In the end, I spent most of the day out of the water, relaxing in the sun with a beer. I also enjoyed listening to the live music and speaking with other guests at the party, most of whom I had never met before. The atmosphere was quite friendly and so it was a good place to socialise.


I gave information about the party and its location in order to be descriptive. One word that I used to describe the atmosphere was “lively.” This is a great word that can impart a lot of meaning.

Sample Answer #2

Here is the second of our cue cards for today:

Describe a party that you enjoyed going to.
describe a party you enjoyed going to

Several years ago, I went back to Scotland, the country where I was born. Whilst there, my family held a big party at my aunt’s house. Because I live on the other side of the world, it is not often that I see my family and certain people like uncles and cousins I see only once every five or six years.

On this particular occasion, my aunt held a garden party for the whole family, and this was the first time in about a decade that I had seen all of these people. We spent all day and all night in the garden, eating and drinking and talking. It felt wonderful to reconnect with my cousins and their own families, many of whom I had not met before.

We had a barbeque and there was a wide selection of beers, wines, and ciders on offer. Everyone had a great time and there were even games played in the evening. I really loved seeing these people again and learning about their lives. It was a great atmosphere and everyone was feeling very jovial. We finally headed home at about three o’clock in the morning!


In this answer, I have described a different kind of party and given lots of details about it. Some useful words here are “reconnect” and “jovial.” I focused on the social element more than the physical surroundings because in this case that was the most important aspect.