Here in China, the weather just turned very hot! Where I live, there is practically no spring. One day it is winter and the next is summer! Last week I needed to use my heating and this week it is almost time for air conditioning. It got me wondering about this IELTS speaking part 2 cue card: Describe your favourite season. (Or, to use the American spelling, Describe your favorite season.)
Months and Seasons
In English, we have a slightly more complicated system of months than other languages. In some countries, it is very easy to learn the months – they just go “first month,” “second month,” “third month,” and so on. However, in English all our months have unique names with old origins. Unfortunately, you need to learn them all and be able to name them without too much hesitation.
- Autumn (or Fall, as it’s called in America)
So that’s only four words to remember – or five, if you remember the American term too.
Of course, the seasons will fall into different months depending on where you are in the world. Where I grew up, winter lasted from November to February. Spring was from March to May. Summer lasted from June to August. And autumn arrived in September and lasted through October. As the topic of seasons may come up in the IELTS exam, you should be able to state this basic information quite readily for your country.
Note: Remember that some places also have hot seasons, rainy seasons, and dry seasons!
The seasons bring with them different sorts of weather. Another way to say weather is climate. As you may be asked about seasons or climate, you should be able to talk about both. At the most basic level, you should know the different kinds of weather:
- sun (sunny)
- rain (rainy)
- wind (windy)
These, of course, would only get you a quite low IELTS score. Instead, you should aim for a flexible and advanced grasp of language for describing seasons and climate. You should try upgrading your language for variety and specificity.
Hot weather could be described as:
and cold weather as:
You could be more precise and talk about the temperature:
- It rarely gets about fifteen degrees Celsius.
- In summer, it can reach forty-five degrees Celsius!
You could also mention factors like humidity, precipitation, aridity, or wind chill. All this builds up to a more interesting and accurate description of the climate. You can actually find some great examples of this by looking on Wikipedia for places to describe. Here’s a link to my hometown. It contains some great language for describing climate!
The Effects of Weather
This is something that’s a bit overlooked but nonetheless very important in describing weather. Think of it this way: How does weather make you feel? Go beyond the basics – happy or sad or uncomfortable – and think about its physical and mental effects. Let’s look at some descriptions of how weather affects people:
- My teeth are chattering. (very cold)
- I’m drenched. (very wet)
- I’m sweating like crazy. (very hot)
- I’m soaked right through. (very wet)
- I’m frozen to the bone. (very cold)
In the IELTS, when asked about weather, there’s a good chance it will be a personal question and so you should be able to talk about your reaction to the weather. Think about how it made you feel and then describe that sensation.
Moreover, what about your habits? Do you stay indoors on rainy days? Do you go out in temperate weather? Do you prefer hot or cold weather? How do these affect what you do in daily life?
Here’s a possible IELTS part 2 question about seasons:
Describe your favourite season.
You should say:
- what the season is and when it occurs
- what the weather is like during this season
- what your typical activities are during this season
and explain why it is your favourite season.
In analyzing this question, you need to think about what vocabulary to use and also how long you can reasonably talk about each part of the question. I think this is actually a quite difficult question because there isn’t that much to talk about. You could easily mention the month and weather in just ten or twenty seconds, and then have to talk about your activities and reasons why you like it for another minute. So think of anything extra you’d like to add.
You don’t want to stray off topic, so anything extra you might say should be related to the material above. You could talk about the effects of the weather on yourself or others, or anything related to those activities and the season. You may want to also mention any interesting facts or ideas about the season you choose.
Remember that making notes is vital to success in the IELTS speaking part 2. You can’t write down too much because you only have one minute to prepare. So you should just note down some important vocabulary and structural ideas. Note down phrases that could help you to speak for longer – ie keywords to spark your memory. Practice this at home often and remember to time yourself with a watch or your phone.
Your notes might look like this:
- spring = march, april
- mild weather, rising temps (range=15-25c)
- flowers in bloom
- activities possible (ie hiking)
That’s all you really need. As long as you have important vocabulary and ideas to spark your imagination, you are all set!
Here’s my sample answer to the question.
My favourite season is spring. Where I grew up, spring usually falls in the months of March and April, although depending on the year it may begin or end earlier or later. It is a brief season, but it is a pleasant one. People tend to be in a good mood during this time of year because it has a pleasant climate, with mild weather. After a long, cold winter, the warm spring temperatures are a welcome change. They rise to a range of between fifteen and twenty-five degrees Celsius, which I think is much more pleasant than the freezing winter or sweltering summer.
In the springtime, I do many things that are impossible in winter and uncomfortable in summer. I like to go outside and do activities like hiking and rock climbing. The spring weather is perfect for this because the high humidity has not yet set in. It’s also really pretty in spring because the flowers are in bloom and the animals are giving birth so there is a sense of colour and life in the hills. Moreover, spring in my country is pretty dry and so you don’t have to worry too much about carrying an umbrella. People do a lot sports outdoors at this time of year, and I find it’s the time when I get the most exercises too. This is probably why I like spring the most. It’s just an all-round pleasant time of year when you can do what you want without worrying about harsh weather conditions.
Here’s a video of me reading the above sample answer. 🙂 Please give it a like and subscribe to the channel!