IELTS Speaking Guide: Expressing Time

During the IELTS speaking test, the examiner is listening to your ability to make complex sentences.  You can make a complex sentence using keywords to combine a dependent clause and an independent clause.

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This unit will focus on the function of time when answering questions in part 1 of the speaking test.

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Download lesson as pdf

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Tip:  When answering questions, always tell the truth, dont make up a story.  If the examiner asks you a question about a topic that you are not familiar with, explain that you have never experienced this topic and talk about something related to it.

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Function:  Expressing Time
Key Words:  When/as soon as/ before/after/by

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Example Question:   What do you plan to do after you graduate?

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Expressing Time:  As soon as I finish my degree, I plan to find a job in advertising because that has always been my dream.

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Answer the following questions by using the keywords to combine an independent and dependent clause.

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1. When do you usually take pictures?

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____________________________________________________ because ________________________________________________________________

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2. Do you watch the same television shows now as when you were a child?

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____________________________________________________ because ________________________________________________________________

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3. What do you plan to do after you graduate?

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____________________________________________________ because ________________________________________________________________

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4. What do you normally do after work?

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____________________________________________________ because ________________________________________________________________

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5. How often to you exercise?

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____________________________________________________ because ________________________________________________________________

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6. What do you do when you have free time?

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____________________________________________________ because ________________________________________________________________

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7. How often to you go to the park?

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____________________________________________________ because ________________________________________________________________

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8. On which occasions might you give flowers as a gift?

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____________________________________________________ because ________________________________________________________________

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9. When was the last time you received a gift?

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____________________________________________________ because ________________________________________________________________

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10. Did you go to museums when you were a child?

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____________________________________________________ because ________________________________________________________________

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Create questions about time related to the following topics. 

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Example Topic:  Using a cell phone  

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Question:  When is it not appropriate to use a cell phone?

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1.  Topic: Going out with friends.

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Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________

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2.  Topic: Spending time with family.

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Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________

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3.  Topic: Going shopping.

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Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________

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4.  Topic: Planting a garden.

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Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________

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5.  Topic: Going to a zoo.

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Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________

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6.  Topic: Inviting people to your home.

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Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________

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7.  Topic: Taking a train.

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Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________

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8.  Topic: Redecorating your room.

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Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________

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9.  Topic: Getting work done.

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Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________

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10.  Topic: Sending a card in the mail.

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Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________

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11.  Topic: Going to the cinema to see a movie.

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Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________

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12.  Topic: Eating in a restaurant.

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Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________

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13.  Topic: Listening to music.

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Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________

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14.  Topic: Riding a bicycle.

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Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________

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Read the following questions and answers.  Decide which answers are good answers and which answers could be improved.

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1. When do you usually play sports?  I normally play basketball at night when the temperature is a bit cooler.  Its very hot during the day.

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 2. When do you normally exercise?  Im very busy at work.  Exercise does not fit into my schedule.

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 3. Tell me about the last time you went to a live concert.  Last month I went to see Culture Club at a small venue.  It was the most enjoyable show Id seen in years.

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 4. How often do you eat out?  I never eat out.

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 5. When do you normally cook?  Actually, my wife does all the cooking.  Shes a chef and her meals are always delicious.

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 6. When do people give gifts in your culture?  At birthdays, I guess.

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 7. When do people dance in your culture?  Dancing is an activity that happens at any time.  I love to go out dancing on the weekends.

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 8. When did you get your first cell phone?  My phone is old but it works well.

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 9. When did you first start learning English?  In my country, everyone learns English in elementary school but I started in kindergarten.

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 10. What is the best time to take a vacation?  I like to take 2-week long vacations.

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Refer to the following topics and make your own questions related to time.  Then, practice asking and answering the questions you make.

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Spending time with family

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Spending time with friends

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Relaxing

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 Going to a play

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Cleaning the house

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Taking public transportation

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Visiting a museum

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Getting married

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Reading a book or magazine

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Graduating from college

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Starting elementary school

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Driving

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Flying on an airplane

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Surfing the Internet

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Sending an email

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