Top Tips for IELTS

Describe an important historical event for IELTS

Read the cue card question

Describe an important historical event

You should say

when it happened

what happened

who were the most important people involved

And say why you think it was important

Some quick tips on answering the question

Choose an event you are personally familiar with – make sure it is one you know a little detail about. Detail is always important.

Use your thinking time to make sure you have enough to say. My best advice is to note down ideas and not vocabulary.

See how I structure my answer by following the cue card. You don’t have to do this but it can be easier this way. You’re not talking for 2 minutes about 1 thing but for 20 seconds or so about 5 things! Normally easier to do.

Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself a little. I do this and it makes my answer more coherent.

Read a model answer

Brief introduction

I’m going to tell you about what I think was a really significant event in British history – the Battle of Hastings.

When it happened

I guess that this is one of those dates that almost every British person knows – even if they don’t know much about history. It happened in 1066 – almost a thousand years ago now – but I still think that it’s one of those really important events – not just for what happened at the time but because it still matters today.

What happened

In a nutshell what happened was that the French – or the Normans better said – invaded England. The actual set of events is a bit more complex than that of course – as history always is. I’m no historian but I seem to remember that there were two invasions almost at the same time – a Viking army came to the north of England and the Normans crossed the Channel and landed in the south. The upshot was that Norman army defeated the Anglo- Saxons and took control of the whole country.

Who was involved

The two main protagonists were William the Conqueror as we now call him and Harold – the Saxon king. Again, they’re two historical figures that almost everyone can name. Harold was particularly famous for being shot with an arrow through the eye.

Why it was important

As I said a bit before it was really significant. Some people claim that it was the last time England was ever successfully invaded. But for me the real importance is that because of the Battle of Hastings the English language changed completely – half of it now comes from French really and that’s all down to Battle of Hastings and William the Conqueror.

Listen to my answer

Test yourself on the language


Now try and do it yourself

To make this work you need to go to Voicethread and open an account there . For some reason it doesn’t seem to work on site. Don’t worry it’s all free. Once you have done that you can record your answer here or on Voicethread by clicking the comment button.

The idea is that you get the chance to listen to other people doing the same exercise and learn from them. Half of speaking well is learning to listen to other people.

If Voicethread does not work for you. Then you can try my old speaking group at Voxopop where this question was originally recorded. Sadly though there is often a problem with the recorder there, so I hope Voicethread will work better.

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6 Responses to Describe an important historical event for IELTS

  1. Rupesh April 29, 2014 at 5:10 am #

    its very helpful. I am grateful to Dominic Cole

  2. justyna123 October 10, 2014 at 8:29 pm #

    Great…. But what if I hit a subject i.e. “important historical event” or something else that I am not really that confident with 🙁 can you change the subject ??

    • Dominic Cole October 14, 2014 at 7:24 am #

      No sadly not. You are stuck with the topic you are given.

  3. Parbodh verma December 14, 2014 at 6:51 am #

    Sir, Can we consider a team winning a world cup as a historic event?

  4. cherry July 25, 2015 at 9:37 am #

    It’s really helpful! You are so great teacher!

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