Ielts speaking part 2: describe your neighborhood

     

Just last month, Cambridge IELTS 17 was released & it contains a range of real IELTS questions that you can practise with khổng lồ prepare for your next test. Today, I’m going to lớn show you how to answer one of the questions in this book, which requires you to describe the neighbourhood you lived in when you were a child. We’ll look at some useful language and structures lớn help talk about this topic.

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Analysing the Cue Card

Here’s our cue thẻ for today:

Describe the neighbourhood you lived in when you were a child.

You should say:

– where in your town/city the neighbourhood was

– what kind of people lived there

– what it was lượt thích in this neighbourhood

and explain whether you would like to live in this neighbourhood in the future.

There is nothing hugely difficult about this but of course you vì need khổng lồ know the meaning of the word “neighbourhood.” Cambridge Dictionary defines this as:

the area of a town that surrounds someone’s home

Other dictionaries point out that it is a part of a town or city. Indeed, you can see in the first bullet point that it asks you khổng lồ describe where in that town or city is located.

This raises an interesting question… What if you don’t come from a town or city?!

In fact, I grew up in a village, so I’m not from a neighbourhood in a town or city. So how would I answer this question?

The important thing about IELTS speaking is that they are just trying khổng lồ gauge your English level. They aren’t testing your general knowledge or life experiences, & they certainly don’t care whether you grew up in an urban or rural environment.

If you were born in a village, just tell the examiner this fact. Use this apparent “problem” as a way to introduce more communication.

Vocabulary about Neighbourhoods

As always, the vocabulary you will need to talk about your neighbourhood will depend entirely on where you come from! For example, my little village in Scotland would be described in different terms from a Beijing hutong or a district in Mumbai.

Let’s look at the bullet points, then, for guides to lớn what we might need to say:

where in your town/city the neighbourhood was

For this, you need lớn be able to describe location. For example:

My neighbourhood was in the west of Shanghai.I grew up in a neighbourhood on the south side of the Seine.The neighbourhood I grew up in is right on the edge of a little town in Yorkshire.

You can be specific here, using place names & directions. You can also be descriptive, using this part khổng lồ talk about geographical features, lượt thích mountains, rivers, seas, valleys, forests, và so on. You can learn how lớn describe locations here.

what kind of people lived there

This requires quite different language & it’s important to cảnh báo at this stage that “neighbourhood,” whilst most commonly referring khổng lồ a place, can also mean the people who live there. This may also be referred to lớn as a community.

It seemed like almost everyone in my neighbourhood worked in the tech industry.Growing up, everyone around me did different things.

Of course, I’ve mostly focused on occupation here. That’s because it can be a little harder lớn generalise about the kind of people in a place, but you may want to do that as well if people shared some sort of personality or ethic. For example:

People there were hardworking and reliable.These were mostly honest folk with good intentions.

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what it was lượt thích in this neighbourhood

This is much broader và in this part you can basically say what you lượt thích about your neighbourhood. It’s going lớn really depend on the place where you lived. For example:

This was a tough part of town with a lot of violence.It was a really beautiful little area overlooking the sea.I was lucky to grow up in a good neighbourhood with honest people.

Again, your answer will totally depend on your life experiences here, so think hard about where you lived và what you want to say about it. Try lớn visualise your neighbourhood and then draw upon your vocabulary khổng lồ give vivid và interesting descriptions.

Here’s a đoạn phim on a similar topic that has me describing my hometown:


Structuring your Answer

I always say that you should begin your part 2 answers with a personal memory & that’s easy to vì with a question like this. In fact, it would be the most natural way of beginning. You could say something like:

I grew up in a neighbourhood on the east side of London…When I was young, I lived in a neighbourhood in the south of Paris…Growing up in a small village, I distinctly remember…

This sort of beginning allows you to lớn easily transition into a description of the neighbourhood where you lived. Try lớn incorporate the bullet points on the cue card, but don’t be afraid to say other things if they are relevant.

Also, try to lớn follow a logical sequence of ideas. If you just read from the cue thẻ then you might give an answer that is jumpy & disconnected. Let your ideas flow naturally và concern yourself more with language.

Finally, bring your answer to lớn a natural conclusion if possible. Obviously, don’t vì chưng this if you’ve spoken for less than a minute! However, if you’ve spoken for more than that then take the chance to địa chỉ cửa hàng a final sentence or two that nicely concludes your answer. Even using your tone of voice can be helpful here khổng lồ bring it khổng lồ an end.

Here’s a video clip about giving good part 2 speaking answers:


My Sample Band 9 Answer

Well, I actually did not grow up in a town or a city, so it’s impossible for me lớn describe living in a neighbourhood in one of these places, so instead I’ll describe the village I lived in as a child, which I suppose could be considered a sort of neighbourhood. It is a small village in the countryside of Scotland, not too far from a town called St. Andrews. In this village, people were generally quite friendly but there wasn’t a big sense of community because everyone seemed khổng lồ live their own lives. Of course, there were certain community events and most of the children và parents knew one another, but it was not cohesive lượt thích some tight-knit neighbourhoods in other parts of the world.

The village was a very pleasant place khổng lồ grow up in for many reasons. It was safe và quiet, with beautiful scenery surrounding it. As a child, there was always something to vì chưng there. We played football and hiked in the hills, and it was located pretty close to lớn towns và small cities if you needed anything else.

I lượt thích to go back there but I don’t know whether I would live there again in the future. It was a wonderful place khổng lồ be as a child, but as an adult there really isn’t much to do. It lacks the amenities of a town or city và doing almost anything requires at least a short drive. However, I would consider it because it really is a nice area with a special place in my heart.

Notes

You’ll see that this is one of the few answers I did not begin with a personal memory. I did that in order to explain to the examiner that I’m not from a town or city. I wanted to lớn make this clear, & any sort of direct and open communication lượt thích this is a good thing. It’s better that than you talk and have the examiner feel that you didn’t understand the question.

After explaining the situation, I introduced the place I lived. I mentioned things that were listed on the cue card – where it was, who lived there, what it was like, và whether I would want khổng lồ live there in the future. This allowed me to give a good answer in spite of not coming from a place specifically lượt thích the one mentioned.

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I tried to use topic-specific vocabulary. Here are some phrases of interest:

a sort of neighbourhoodnot too far from a townthere wasn’t a big sense of communitycommunity eventstight-knit neighbourhoodssafe & quietlacks the amenities of a town or citya special place in my heart
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David S. Wills

David S. Wills is the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs & the "Weird Cult" and the founder/editor of Beatdom literary journal. He lives & works in rural Cambodia and loves khổng lồ travel. He has worked as an IELTS tutor since 2010, has completed both TEFL và CELTA courses, and has a certificate from Cambridge for Teaching Writing. David has worked in many different countries, và for several years designed a writing course for the University of Worcester. In 2018, he wrote the popular IELTS handbook, Grammar for IELTS Writing và he has since written two other books about IELTS. His other IELTS website is called IELTS Teaching.