IELTS Speaking Part 1 | What do you normally do at the weekend?

Suggested Answer:

I’m really into sport,1 so my weekends are usually dominated by it. On Saturday mornings, I play centre-forward2 for a local football team, but I’m getting a bit old for that now, so I don’t know how much longer I’ll keep playing. I’m also a huge boxing fan3, so if there’s a big fight on, you can guarantee I’ll be glued to4 the TV screen.


1To be into (noun) is a common phrase used by native speakers, but I don’t hear it as much from EFL students. It means to like and be interested in something. This is an informal phrase, so it should not be used in an essay.

When she was younger, my daughter was into Peppa Pig.
He’s into going to the gym.
I’m really into travelling.

2 – If you can use precise language about a topic while still sounding natural, do it. Telling the examiner you go to university is fine, but examiners want to hear more specific language and will be more impressed if you tell them you’re studying for a master’s degree in Economics. This is why it’s good to steer the conversation to topics in which you have good vocabulary. Learn to lie. If the examiner asks what you normally do at the weekend, talk about a topic you know. There are no prizes for honesty.

I enjoy listening to music. I enjoy listening to rap music, especially Dr Dre.
I used to be into computer games. I used to be into shoot ’em up games like Operation Wolf.

As with all IELTS Speaking advice, this comes with a couple of disclaimers. Firstly, it is good to mix up sentence styles (just like you would in a normal conversation in your native language), so there is actually nothing wrong in saying, “I enjoy listening to music.” However, if all of your sentences use such simple vocabulary, your Lexical Resource score will be lower. Secondly, do not try to jam in complex language whenever you can. This is a common error students make. For example:

Where are you from? I’m from the sovereign city-state of Singapore.

Sovereign city-state is a nice phrase in context, but in the above example it sounds completely unnatural. In this short, factual question, simple is best:

Where are you from? I’m from the sovereign city-state of Singapore.

3 A (noun) fan is a good, natural-sounding way to say that the subject really likes something. You can add an adjective before the noun to signal how much of a fan the subject really is. It is informal language, so don’t use it in an essay.

My brother is a Donald Trump fan.
She used to be a big K-pop fan.
I’m a Doosan Bears fan.

Note that this is typically used for nouns in which partisan support is common, such as music, sports and politics. I’m a watching TV fan sounds weird, because watching TV isn’t something that typically has supporters who are strongly for and against it.

4 – One mistake students often make is to use very uncommon idioms in the hope they sound like a native speaker. This rarely works, and every time an examiner hears It was raining cats and dogs they die a little inside. What does sound impressive is the use of more common idioms like to be glued to something. This phrase is used when the subject cannot stop watching something, so it is most commonly used when talking about screens.

My cousin is always glued to his iPad.
If there’s a cricket match on, you can guarantee I will be glued to my phone for updates.

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