Top Tips for IELTS

How to answer speaking questions about computers and the internet

In this lesson I show you different ways to answer questions about computers and the internet in IELTS speaking. This is of course a key IELTS topic and part of out everyday life. You’ll find words and phrases that can help you highlighted in the text with more suggestions below.

You should see that some of the vocabulary you need for this topic just relates to what we do everyday (write mails, play games etc) and some of it is slightly more technical (file sizes, processors etc). I suggest you look through both types of words and simply choose the ones that fit you and your life – those are the words you’ll need for the test.

Remember to use everyday words

It helps to use some more precise words

Just think about what you do yourself on the internet or with a computer

IELTS computers and internet vocabulary

Habit questions

These questions ask you about how you use a computer/the internet in your everyday life. To give a more extended answer it helps to be precise about what your habits are and to explain them with reasons and examples – try to avoid “always”! Also remember to think about tenses.

Do you use your computer for work or leisure?

Both! I’ve got a desktop and a laptop. Generally I use my desktop to play games on – it’s a much faster machine and you need the extra space for the games as the file sizes are enormous. The laptop is what I use when I’m working because it’s much more convenient to carry around and take into work.

How often do you use a computer?

Oh I use it daily. Some days I’m logged on for up to 10 hours – that’s normally when I have a report to write. But there are also days when I just check my mails and do nothing else because  at work I don’t actually have a computer in my office.

What do you use the internet for?

All sorts of things. I’m addicted to Facebook and I post updates there about 3 times a day. I also just love to look things up on the net – it’s a great way to do research when I’m studying and I’m on Wikipedia most days just finding things out. Then of course I do a lot of my shopping there too.

Likes/dislikes questions

Some of the language you need here is the language of likes and dislikes of course. It can help to think of how useful computers and the internet are to you and how exactly you use them when you prepare these questions.

Do you like using computers?

Yes and no. They’re really helpful in lots of ways and it’s hard to imagine life without computers nowadays and I like how computers make my life so much easier. But there are times when I think I spend too much time in front of the screen and not talking to real people. So I make an effort not to use my computer unless I have to.

What are your favourite websites?

I suppose my all time favourite site is Youtube – I really love watching the videos there and there are a number of channels I subscribe to. The other one is a podcast site where I can listen to the latest news about football – it’s really important to me to keep with up with what is happening.

Experience and time questions

Be careful with how you use tenses here. If you get a  question in the past it’s normal to start off your answer with a past tense. Present perfect questions are more difficult as you may start by using have/has but then use a present or a past as you extend your answer.

When did you first use a computer?

I can’t actually remember. I know it was a long time ago – when I was at primary school I suppose. My parents didn’t have a computer at home as they were much less common then and so I learned to use them at school in IT lessons.

Have you ever use the internet for learning?

Yes and no. I haven’t done any formal e-courses or anything like that but I have used the web for studying by myself. You can find out almost anything there nowadays but the problem is 

Opinion and other questions

This is where you need to remember your opinion words and phrases.

Are there are disadvantages to using a computer?

If you ask me – no. I’m sure that computers have made our life much easier. But there are people I know who dislike computers or don’t know how to use them – a lot of these people say that they’re too complex but that’s just because they’re not computer literate and grew up in another generation.

How important for you is it to have the latest computer technology?

Well, I don’t think it’s that necessary at all. My current laptop does everything I need – I can send mails, make presentations and even play games on it. I’ll have to replace it one day of course but I don’t think I have to buy the latest model just because it’s got a faster processor or whatever.

Computer and internet vocabulary

Types of computer

How many of these do you own or use? Thinking about the different types of computer can give you more to say. You may perhaps use your laptop for one thing and a desktop for something else.

laptop

desktop

pc

tablet

Some technical words

It’s nice to use some precise vocabulary if you can.

app/application

accessories

webcam

program

processor

memory

screen

Things you can do on the internet

Here is a short list of things we do typically do on the net. Think about how often you do each one and how useful it is to you.

surf the net – a very common idiom

browse – another word for read quickly to se if there’s something interesting to you

keep up to date

download

e-learning

shop

watch tv

join a social network/ online community

visit/subscribe to websites/channels – note the phrases/collocations – this exactly the sort of language you need

listen to podcasts

Ways to use a computer and the internet

Not all these words are technical and some are very common indeed.  In part 1 in particular you don’t need very technical words so remember to use some of the more everyday combinations too.

wordprocess

store files

gaming/play games

study online

work

give presentations

store/organise data

use the cloud

Communicating with IT

One way we use computers and the net is of course to communicate and these words and ideas should help give you more to say.

email

message

text

talk by Skype

share photos and files

Some common phrasal verbs and idioms

log on – if you are logged on then you are using a computer

back up – this is what you should do with all your files if you don’t wan to lose them

be on [a site]- a useful idiom similar to visit a site 

be online – to use the internet

limit my screen time – say you use computer less

More lessons that may help you

If you found this lesson useful, you could also check out

How to answer speaking questions about shopping 

Talking about habits 

Talking about likes and dislikes

This vocabulary is mostly useful in speaking but you may also find this writing vocabulary resource helpful

Technology vocabulary and exercises

   

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