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Practice exercises to speak about communication

An excellent way to improve your speaking is to talk about the same thing in different ways and that’s the idea behind this lesson. The goal is to show you a way to practice your speaking skills and help you extend answers by talking about:

likes and dislikes

personal habits

specific occasions

making comparisons

I give a series of simple IELTS speaking practice exercises where you should just concentrate on saying a bit more in specific ways without worrying about having to answer  a question. Then at the end of the lesson you’ll find some practice questions to see how you can apply those skills.

Please do speak

This exercise only really works if you start speaking! So if you have a practice partner go through all the questions together and listen to each other and share ideas. Don’t worry if you start to repeat yourself a bit – that’s good for you! If you’re by yourself then you should still talk. It can help to record yourself.

I’ve used communication as the theme/topic  of the lesson but you should see that you could easily use the same practice exercises to help you talk about other topics such as transport/entertainment/clothes/sport etc.

1. What do you like?

What different types of communication can you think of? Below are some ideas – you can add more. Try and put them in order of preference and then say why you chose that order. This is an important step as loads of IELTS speaking questions ask you about your likes and dislikes. One very simple way to say more is just to say why you like or dislike something.

face to face conversation

telephone (landline)

mobile call

chat (mobile/computer)


Skype/video calls

Try not to use the same language all the time. It helps to have variety and some language to help you could be

The reason I like it is

I enjoy using it because

My personal favourite is

I prefer x to y

I’m most keen on

I quite enjoy

I don’t actually like

You’ll find more help with language and examples showing you how this skill works in this lesson on talking about likes and dislikes.

2. Talk about habits – be specific

A lot of part 1 questions ask you about your habits. If you want to say more it really helps to be able to be specific about your habits. For example, if you say you do something fairly often then you can go on to say why it is fairly often and exactly when.

Talk about each of the means of communication and say how often you do each of them. To say more

Be specific about your habit

Say why that often

Say exactly when

These words and phrases may help you:

all the time

fairly often

once a day


three times a week

just occasionally


once in a blue moon

almost never

Again, you’ll find more help with this skill and with language in this lesson on talking about habits.

3. Talk about occasions – be specific again

Talking about a time when you did something is another way to say more. It’s a great way of giving an example of your habits or why you like something. Go through each of the means of communication again and talk about the last time you used each one. To make this work be specific again and think about

the time

the place

the person involved

4. Make some comparisons

You can also say more by making comparisons. There are different ways you can do this. You can compare:

how convenient they are

times when you use them

how you use them now compared to the past and perhaps the future

how different people you know use them

The key word to use here is almost certainly but and you also need some standard comparison language too.

Now try some practice questions

These are some typical IELTS questions on a similar theme to this lesson. See how you could answer them by using some of the skills you have been practising. Remember that you can combine different ways of extending answers so for example you can talk about what you like in a question about your habits

How do you communicate with your friends?

Do you send emails very often?

How often do you write letters?

Do you prefer to write letters or send emails?

Do you write your letters by hand or type them?

When do you use a mobile phone?

Have you ever made a video call?

More lessons and resources to help you

This lesson shows you a way to practise some of the skills I discuss in this lesson on

How to extend answers in IELTS speaking


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Essay writing guide

Academic task 1 guide

Letter writing guide

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4 Responses to Practice exercises to speak about communication

  1. Okewole October 30, 2016 at 8:29 am #

    I thought I could share my yesterday experience with you.
    You made life easier for me in my speaking and writing.
    I planned my task 2 for about 7mins and was done with it in 30mins so i had extra time to analyze my task 1 bar chart.

    My qtns were:
    Task 2: Some say the best way to understand other peoples cultures is by working with multinational organizations. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this.

    SSpeaking part two: Describe a time when you had to use your imagination. You should say when it was, why you had to use your imagination and if you found it easy or difficult.

    Part 3: which do you think require more imagination for children between reading a book or watching cartoon

    • Dominic Cole October 30, 2016 at 10:08 am #

      Hope it went well.

      I’m slightly nervous that you finished with your task 2 so quickly. It is good of course to finish in time but I just hope that you still managed to produce your best essay.

      Thanks for sharing the questions.

      • Okewole October 30, 2016 at 7:18 pm #

        I used the four paragraph format.
        Para 1. To reframe the qtn nd state my view that although working in those firms is a way to learn but loving with the people of the culture is the best.
        Para 2. To emphasize that working in international organizations isnt the best cos there’s a limit to the access you can have to whichever culture. Maybe a few trips. And you are most times preoccupied with work than focusing on culture.
        Para 3. To state why I believe living with the been resident among the people is better for two reasons. First and perhaps the most significant is that it gives an open door to know the people in details and to grasp better why they do what they do. I then cited a particularly good illustration in this case of mary slessor visiting and living in south easteen nigeria where twins were been killed. She couldnt understand why till she lived with them and was able to abolish the cruel act.
        Para 4. My conclusion on this is a clear one. While working with multinationals is a way to understand culture, I believe dwelling among those who owns the culture is the best way to understand their way of life

  2. Okewole October 30, 2016 at 8:46 pm #

    Pardon my typographical errors.
    I meant ‘Living’ not ‘loving’

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