IELTS Speaking Guide: Lesson 3 

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 key words to combine a dependent clause and an independent clause.

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


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Tip:  When answering questions, always tell the truth, don’t 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.


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


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

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


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

  1. When do you usually take pictures? _____________________________________________________________________________________ because______________________________________________________________________________


  1. Do you watch the same television shows now as when you were a child?   _____________________________________________________________________________________ because______________________________________________________________________________


  1. What do you plan to do after you graduate?  _____________________________________________________________________________________ 


  1. What do you normally do after work?  _____________________________________________________________________________________ because______________________________________________________________________________


  1. How often to you exercise?  ______________________________________________________________ because______________________________________________________________________________


  1. What do you do when you have free time?  _____________________________________________________________________________________ because______________________________________________________________________________


  1. How often to you go to the park?  _____________________________________________________________________________________ because______________________________________________________________________________


  1. On which occasions might you give flowers as a gift?  _____________________________________________________________________________________ because______________________________________________________________________________


  1. When was the last time you received a gift?  _____________________________________________________________________________________ because______________________________________________________________________________


  1. Did you go to museums when you were a child?  _____________________________________________________________________________________ because______________________________________________________________________________


Create questions about time related to the following topics. 

Example Topic:  Using a cell phone  

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


1.  Topic: Going out with friends.

Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________

2.  Topic: Spending time with family.

Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________


3.  Topic: Going shopping.  

Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________

4.  Topic: Planting a garden. 

Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________

5.  Topic: Going to a zoo. 

Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________

6.  Topic: Inviting people to your home. 

Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________

7.  Topic: Taking a train. 

Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________

8.  Topic: Redecorating your room.

Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________

9.  Topic: Getting work done.  

Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________

10.  Topic: Sending a card in the mail.  

Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________

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

Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________

12.  Topic: Eating in a restaurant.

Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________

13.  Topic: Listening to music.  

Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________

14.  Topic: Riding a bicycle.  

Question: ___________________________________________________________________________________

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

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

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

 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 I’d seen in years.

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

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

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

 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.

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

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

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



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


Spending time with family                

Spending time with friends               


 Going to a play          

Cleaning the house     

Taking public transportation

Visiting a museum                 

Getting married         

Reading a book or magazine

Graduating from college       

Starting elementary school               


Flying on an airplane             

Surfing the Internet               

Sending an email

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