friends and family

Let’s talk about friends and friendship
Do you have many friends?
What do you usually do with your friends?
Do you talk with many friends on social media?
Do you prefer to go out with one or two close friends or many friends?

Let’s discuss your family
Do you have a large family or a small one?
Do you usually eat dinner with your family?
Who do you like most in your family?
Do you prefer to spend your free time with your friends or your family? 

Now let’s talk about family gatherings
How often do you attend family gatherings?
Do you enjoy family gatherings?
When was the last time you attended a family gathering?
How popular are family gatherings in your country? 


You should say:

–        what relationship this person is to you
–        what are your first memories of this person
–        how often you see this person
and explain why you really admire this person. 

PART 2: Model Answer
The person I most admire in my family is my sister. My sister is the middle sibling in my family.  I am the youngest and I also have a brother who is the eldest.

My first memories of my sister is when we were young children playing in the backyard. One memory is of us trying to build a tree house and of me falling out of the tree onto the ground below when the tree house collapsed.

Another memory is of us running around on the garage roof one day after school and I accidently pushed her off onto the concrete below. She ended up breaking both her arms. I was very worried she might have gotten much more serious injuries but luckily it wasn’t a long fall.

My sister was only an average student in elementary and high school. I remember she was always trying to better herself by studying hard and reading a lot. In early high school, she read books like War and Peace which has over one thousand pages and another book called ‘Existentialism’ by Jean Paul Sartre to try to become smarter.

I only ever see my sister every two or three years as I’m not living in Australia but I always make a point of visiting her whenever I return home.

I admire her because she refused to give up on her dream of becoming a doctor. Her teachers used to often say she would not even matriculate to university. She refused to listen to them and continued to hit the books every day in an attempt to stay positive. All that hard work did eventually pay off. She ended up proving everybody wrong in the end by obtaining three degrees. One of those degrees is a Bachelor of Medicine.

She has been able to achieve her goals by staying positive being strong-minded and willing to work hard to reach her goals. She knows more than anyone that the key to success is to simply work hard and stop at nothing until you finally get what you want.

PART 2: Vocabulary
bachelor’s degree: an academic award given to a person who completes three to seven years of study at a university or college
concrete: a very hard building material made by mixing cement, sand, small stones and water
existentialism: a philosophy based on the idea of humans being able to live and act freely
garage: a building or shed where a motor vehicle is kept
injuries: damage to the body causing pain or suffering
memory: recollection from the past
roof: the upper part of a building that forms a cover over a building
sibling: a brother or a sister

key: major, crucial, essential
practical: effective for everyday life
smart: intelligent, bright, clever
strong-minded: determined, persistent, tenacious
well-prepared: ready, organized, ready

admire: praise, commend, look up to
break: fracture, shatter
collapsed: fell down, gave way,
matriculate: to be enrolled at a college or university
pay off:  (phrasal verb of pay) succeed, get good results after a long time or hard work 

accidentally: by chance, inadvertently
eventually: in the end especially after a long delay, finally

better oneself: improve oneself
prove someone wrong: show that what someone says is incorrect
stay positive: stay hopeful in a difficult situation

hit the books     =study hard
My final exams are just around the corner. It’s time to hit the books.
make a point of (doing something) =make a special effort to do something
I make a point of shopping at the organic supermarket twice a week even though it’s out of my way and more expensive.
stop at nothing =don’t give up under any circumstances
He said he will stop at nothing until gets the promotion.

PART 3: Ideas
Let’s talk about relationships with family members
What problems often occur in relationships with family members?
There may be a rivalry or jealousy between siblings that causes difficulty to get along
High expectations are often placed on the oldest child
The youngest child is often spoiled and seemingly able to get away with anything
The parents may divorce which can cause sudden instability and feelings of vulnerability for their children as well as the children having difficulty with relationships as adults.

Do you think relationships between family members are better now than they were in the past?
Better, because families are smaller these days making it easier for parents to look after their kids.
Worse, as both parents are usually working these days leaving little or no time for parents to spend quality time with their kids.
Somewhat better because most families are financially much better off these days than in the past.
Somewhat worse as families these days don’t have enough family gatherings which were a daily occurrence in families of past generations.

 How can we improve relationships with our family members?
It’s important for parents to allocate more quality time together for the whole family.
Parents should teach their children good ways to resolve conflict and make amends with their siblings as well as their friends.
Be mindful of making sure you regularly keep in contact with your family members.
Parents should encourage their children to share their thoughts and ideas openly to strengthen family bonds and trust in one another.

Now let’s discuss technology and relationships
Does technology make it easier to socialise?
Yes, these days anyone can find someone to socialize with online or by using social and dating aps.
No, technology has turned a whole generation into zombies who are incapable of proper communication.
Yes, we can connect with people anywhere in the world these days and communicate with anyone like never before.
No, it’s still much easier and much more enjoyable to connect with people in the real world, but that takes proper communication skills.

 Are online relationships different to face-to-face ones?
Yes, with online relationships you are only able to understand most people in a limited way.

They’re about the same, as you can get a good sense of what a person is like just by using social apps.

Yes, with online relationships you are lacking physical closeness which limits your ability to spontaneously connect face to face with people.

They’re much better, as you can get to know people and learn to trust them slowly over time which is especially good for shy people.

Will online relationships be more popular in the future?
Yes, I think so. With more and more people using social apps they days they will become more popular.

No, I don’t think so. There will come a point where people will get tired of using social apps and crave for more face to face communication.

I think online relationships will coexist with face to face communication and people will revert to one or another depending on their needs.

Most of our daily communication will be via online applications in the future as technology improves to nullify the tyranny of distance.

Useful Links:
eBook for speaking
Linking words
Speaking strategies
Questions you can ask the examiner
Part 1 of the test
Part 2 of the test
Part 3 of the test