It’s impossible to predict what questions you will be asked in the IELTS Speaking Exam, but you can reliably guess what topics will appear. There are only a certain number of topics that show up commonly – like education, society, childhood, technology, sports, family, etc – and so you need to prepare your answers by topic rather than a specific question.
Today, I’m going to give you some example questions about the environment, arranged by parts of the test, along with sample answers.
Do you or your family take steps to help the environment?
To be honest, we don’t really do as much as we should. We try to recycle when we can, but we can be forgetful about it.
Do you take an interest in nature?
Yes, I’m very interested in nature. I love wild animals and taking walks in the forests and mountains near my home.
Are there any environmental problems in your country?
I think every country has some environmental problems, and mine is no exception. There is air pollution in the cities and around the coast the water has a lot of waste material in it.
Describe an environmental problem that has been in the news. You should say
- when this was
- where the event happened
- what actually took place
and say how you felt about this problem.
Notes on the Question
Before I show you my sample answer, I would like to draw your attention to some features of the cue card. In this case, you are being asked about “an environmental problem.” This is a pretty wide topic and it could concern many different areas, like pollution or climate change. I think that the obvious thing to do it to view this as a global warming IELTS speaking question. Even though it does not specifically say that is what you should talk about, you can certainly guide the topic in that direction. Global warming is a massive issue and I think everyone should be prepared to talk about it in IELTS.
Sample Answer about Global Warming
Well, these days everyone is talking about global warming. In the United States, there is a big controversy because the new president says that he doesn’t believe in it, even though the scientists have more or less all come to a consensus that it is a real and dangerous phenomenon. The story has been going on for years, of course, so it is never out of the news, but with Donald Trump in the White House people are talking about it even more.
Global warming is taking place all over our world, with various causes and effects. No one place is responsible, and we are all in danger. However, it is people on small islands or in low-lying coastal areas who are most at risk. If we can’t take action now to stop the situation being exacerbated, then the future looks very bleak. This whole situation makes me feel quite depressed, and honestly I don’t see how we will be able to remedy it with world leaders in denial. However, hopefully the combined efforts of concerned people and scientists will help push humanity in the right direction and maybe we can solve this problem before it becomes unfixable.
I think answer, I used the word “exacerbated.” This means “to make something worse.” For example:
- Listen, it’s bad enough. Don’t try to exacerbate the situation.
- Oh come on and give up. Please! You’re just making things worse. Stop exacerbating everything!
You can learn lots of environment vocabulary here.
What do you think is the main danger the world faces in terms of the environment?
The main danger right now is probably climate change. It seems inevitable that we will see our sea levels rising and deserts expanding. Humans will clash more frequently over resources, and our standard of living will stagnate and then drop.
What examples are there of how we damage the natural world?
It is clear to see that we are damaging the natural world. Recently I went to the sea and saw coral reefs dying. Humans are consuming too much sea food and not allowing the oceans to recover. What’s even worse is that we are polluting the seas, too. The numbers of whales and sharks are depleting, along with countless other species.
In which ways do we respond well to environmental problems?
Many years ago, people were talking about the ozone layer. There was a hole in it that was expanding in the 1990s and everyone was really worried about it. However, after many laws were passed to prohibited the use of certain chemicals, the damage has begun to be repaired. This gives us a clear message – we must continue to take care of our environment before it is too late.