How to deal with difficult questions Part 1 IELTS speaking test

How to deal with difficult questions Part 1 IELTS speaking test

Difficult questions in Part 1 of the IELTS Speaking Test

The purpose of this post is to explain some ways to manage difficult questions in the IELTS speaking test. It is important to have this skill in order to be well prepared for your test. This is because it is highly likely that you going to get questions that you have never thought about before and also questions that you find difficult to answer.


1: Paraphrase the question back to the examiner:  One way to do this is to rephrase the words of the question:

EXAMINER: What is your favourite colour?

CANDIDATE: Oh, so you’re asking about my favourite colour. I have to say I’m a big fan of sky blue and I also like magenta.


  1. Ask the examiner to repeat the question: In Part One of the test the examiner is permitted to repeat the question one time. Note that the question cannot be repeated a second time and the examiner is not supposed to rephrase the question. You could ask the question to be repeated just so that you can have time to think of how to respond to it. Essentially, while the examiner is repeating the question you are thinking of what you can say. Doing this once won’t lower your score, but obviously if you do it often it will lower it!

CANDIDATE: I’m sorry I didn’t quite catch that…could you please repeat the question.


  1. Use some memorized phrases to start your answer: if you memorize a few phrases, while you are saying these phrases you can be thinking of how you will actually respond to the question. Some phrases could be:

CANDIDATE: Well, that’s a really interesting question. I’m not too sure about that… Let me think for a minute; Oh yes it is….

CANDIDATE:  To be honest that is not something I have really even thought about.  I would be stretching the truth if I said I could answer that with any degree of accuracy. All I can say is that….

Let’s look at some more answers where the candidate uses strategies to answer difficult questions.


EXAMINER: Do you still like the same music as when you were a child?

CANDIDATE: It really is strange that you would ask that as just the other day I was marvelling at how much more I like the music from my childhood days compared to when I was a child.  I am not sure what it is but then I just used to listen to it without appreciating it whereas now I find that I am appreciating the music from those days more.


EXAMINER: Who is your favourite pop singer?

CANDIDATE: Look, there are so many great singers that it is really hard to pick a favourite.  I would say that the Australian singers that spring to mind are Delta Goodrem and Kylie Minogue.  On the international front, I like the French star Alizee Jacotey and the Chinese superstar Jolin Tsar


EXAMINER: Who is your favourite pop singer?

CANDIDATE: It really is a hard choice to make because with the modern global society nearly every type of food type is available.  Overall, however, I would have to say that it has to be freshly cooked food using natural ingredients.


EXAMINER: Did you learn about the stars and planets at school?

CANDIDATE: I did but there is not that much I remember.  I remember that we orbit the sun which is the star that we get energy from.  The moon orbits the earth and there currently is a lot of exploration of Mars being undertaken. I wonder if we will ever land someone on Mars.


EXAMINER:    Have you ever seen any TV shows or movies about robots?

CANDIDATE:    There are so many shows with robots in them and I have even some documentaries about robots but I simply cannot remember those.  I think the most famous movie I can think of with robots in it was Star Wars.  What is interesting about that movie is the robots were all subservient to humans.


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2 thoughts on “How to deal with difficult questions Part 1 IELTS speaking test”

    • HI, sorry, but I can not really understand your message….that might give you a clue about why you are not getting a high score.
      I think you need to work on your English more and not just prepare for the test. In particular I do not understand “I can learn a top of Ielts” or ” I seem to achievement very easy”


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