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Top IELTS tutor reveals the most difficult part 1 IELTS questions.

In this lesson we shall look at some of the most difficult part 1 IELTS questions according to myself and my students. We will also learn some techniques that you can use when answering difficult part 1 IELTS questions.

Do you like flowers?

This question is considered difficult as it tends to surprise some students. Some students simply do not know what to say and they panic if they do not like flowers. Remember to give a reason why you do or do not like flowers.

Tip: Remember that the examiner is not judging you, they are merely assessing your use of language. 

What’s your favourite flower?

The examiner is testing your vocabulary in this question. If you are unable to say the names of some flowers in English, this will result in a lower IELTS band score. 

Tip: Try to say at least three different types of flowers in order to get a band 7 or higher in the lexical resource category. 

What is the difference between taking a bus and taking a train?

Some students find this question quite confusing. Remember to mention these key differences such as the size of a bus and train, the price, the number of passengers and the typical journey length. 

Tip: Try to give more than 2 differences for a higher IELTS band score.

Do you think men and women have different opinions about shopping?

This part 1 IELTS question can be quite tricky, especially if you want to remain gender-neutral. Remember not to generalise too much and categorise all women and men into one category as you will not want to offend the examiner. 

Tip: Try to use model language to express possibilities, such as some men or women may tend to…

Are there any sounds that you think are pleasant?

This part 1 IELTS question often takes the student by surprise. The examiner is testing your ability to describe. Some people love the sound of popping popcorn or rain hitting the roof. 

Tip: Try to describe a minimum of 2 sounds that you like to hear. 

What kind of news do you follow?

The examiner is testing your understanding of the different types of news. Do you follow local news, international news, celebrity news, business news, sports news or political news?

What if I do not understand a word in the IELTS speaking exam?

During my IELTS practice lessons, some of my students forget a word or need me to explain the meaning of a word that is used in one of the IELTS speaking exam questions. Do not worry, this is okay! You are only human and even native speakers forget words from time to time.

 If this happens during the exam and you really are not sure the examiner has asked simply respond with this expression below: 

“I’m not familiar with some of the words connected with this topic. But I’ll try to answer.” (If you are aiming for a high band, you could use an idiomatic expression like “I’ll give it a go” instead of “I’ll try to answer.”)

You can also use these expressions if you don’t know a particular word or phrase connected with the topic:

  • I’m not sure how to say it in English. (then try to explain in your own words)
  • I’m not sure what you call it in English. (then try to explain in your own words)


I hope that you found this lesson useful, click here for free IELTS lessons.

About me… Hello, my name is Victoria, an IELTS instructor for 8 years. Over the past 2 years, I have helped over 2000 online students achieve the band score that they need and this site is where I share my exam strategies for free. I hope it helps you!

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