IELTS Speaking Part 1 | Have you ever learned to play a musical instrument?

Suggested Answer:

No, I haven’t. I was never really the most artistic kid1 at school, so I did really badly at subjects like music, art and design. In hindsight,2 I regret never learning an instrument as I think it’s great way to teach children focus and discipline.3


1 – This is a good, commonly-used and informal phrase you can add to your Part 1 answers. Let’s use the first person present tense to start with:

I’m not the (superlative) (noun)

This is a softer way of saying that you’re not very high up the rankings, often meaning “I’m not very good at …” For example:

I’m not the best footballer.
I’m not the tallest girl.
I’m not the most confident student.

We don’t have to stick with the first person, although it’s what you’ll mostly need in Part 1. If you want to talk about someone other than yourself, all you need to do is change the subject and verb:

He’s not the best footballer.
You’re not the tallest girl.

He’s not the most confident student.

The above sentences suggest a worldwide population, i.e. He’s not the best footballer (in the world). You can narrow this population by a phrase at the end, such as:

He’s not the best footballer I know.
You’re not the tallest girl in our class.
He’s not the most confident student at school.

This style of sentence can obviously be used in both the past and future tenses:

PAST – I wasn’t the tallest girl in my class.
FUTURE – I won’t be the tallest girl in my class.

2In hindsight is an excellent phrase to use, as it’s rare to hear this from non-native speakers, and it’s almost always possible to use in IELTS Speaking. It means the understanding of a situation or event AFTER it has arisen. For example, if I left the house when it was sunny, and an hour later it started to rain, I might say:

In hindsight, I should have brought an umbrella.

In IELTS Speaking, there will be many opportunities to use this phrase, such as:

I study Economics, but in hindsight, I wish I’d chosen Art.
In hindsight, that was the happiest moment of my life.

Let’s hope that after you take the IELTS exam, you won’t be saying:

In hindsight, I should have studied harder.

3 – Following on from in hindsight, I regret x because y is a complex sentence you can add to your answers, where x is a gerund and y is a complete sentence.

To regret something means to wish you had done something else. Change the underlined phrases and try to make your own sentences:

I regret not studying harder because I only scored 5 in IELTS.
He regrets leaving that job because he couldn’t find a new one.
We regret moving to Canada as the winters are too cold.

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