• Mai Duc Nguyen

Speaking Part 1 Revision – Questions That Require Comparisons

In the first part of the IELTS Speaking test, you may be asked questions which require you to make comparisons between different groups of people or different cultures. This article will provide you with several examples of this question type, as well as their sample responses.

Please also remember that in Speaking Part 1, the following 5 rules for an ideal answer apply:

1. Answer questions directly

2. Answer questions shortly

3. Answer questions simply

4. Rephrase the given questions

5. Provide answers with reasons and explanation

Comparisons between groups of people

Sample Question: How does the way young people travel in your country differ from old people?

Sample Answer: In Vietnam these days, because of the continuously decreasing cost of flying and renting a hotel room, young people often travel abroad when they have free time. In contrast, many old people choose quiet rural areas in the mountainous areas of Vietnam to stay away from the dynamic city life.

Comparisons between the past and the present time

Sample Question: How has the way you read books changed since you were a child?

Sample Answer: In the past, as I was a child, I was a big fan of science fiction books. In addition, I also read books about the cultural diversity and natural beauty of Vietnam. However, these days, I only choose business books, and extend my reading horizon to books written by non-Vietnamese authors.

Comparisons between cultures

Sample Question: What are the typical differences between the cultures of Vietnam and those of Germany where you are living?

Sample Answer: In Germany, punctuality is needed in formal situations, whereas people in Vietnam take a highly flexible approach towards time. Furthermore, German people usually keep a physical and mental distance with you, even though they have known you for a while. In contrast, Vietnamese people can be your close friends after the first time of meeting, and this is especially true of young Vietnamese.

Comparisons between items or objects

Sample Question: What do you prefer to get news on a daily basis, traditional media or online media?

Sample Answer: Personally, I prefer online media, such as social media networks, news websites and online magazines, to traditional media. The advantage of online media as a means to get news is that it is cheap, reliable and constantly updated. Moreover, with the advent of mobile devices, you are now able to get news via online media, regardless of your geographical location.

If you were to answer the 4 questions above, how would your responses look like? Please share them by leaving a comment.

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