How to answer the Yes / No questions in IELTS speaking test?

Many questions in the IELTS speaking test can be answered with a simple Yes or No but bear in mind that those one-word answers won’t do anything to improve your band score. Ideally, your answers must have two parts – the first part should answer the basic question directly; the second part should provide a suitable amount of extra information that is also relevant.

Let’s make it clear with an example:

Question: Do you read a lot?

This question can be answered in different ways. If you simply say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, the examiner won’t be pleased with you.

Instead, you can say something like this. ‘Yes, I do. I read all sorts of books, magazines, newspapers and journals. In fact, reading is my biggest pastime.’

This is a reasonably good answer. The first part of it (Yes, I do.) directly answers the question. The second part gives additional, relevant information.

How not to answer IELTS Speaking Questions?

Avoid answers like the following.

Question: Do you watch a lot of movies?
Answer: Yes. (This is a one-word answer that should be avoided at any cost. Instead say something like this: ‘Yes, I do. I like to watch all kinds of movies. In fact, I am crazy about them.’)

Question: Do you like the city you live in?
Answer: Yes, I do. (This answer is better than the one-word answer given above, but it is not the best. You can improve this answer by giving additional information. You can, for example, say: ‘Yes, I do. It is a great place to live in. It has all the amenities I require. It is also well-connected by roads and rails.’)

Question: Are you interested in politics?
Answer: In a democracy politics plays a very significant role. I think everybody should have a reasonable amount of interest in it. (This answer gives a lot of additional information, but it doesn’t give the direct answer to the question: it doesn’t state whether you are interested in politics or not. You should improve this answer by saying something like this: ‘Yes, I’m. In a democracy politics plays a very significant role. I think everybody should have a reasonable amount of interest in it.’)

Grammar notes

When you answer ‘Yes / No’ questions, avoid beginning sentences with conjunctions like because or but. But note that answer to a ‘Why…?’ question can begin with because.

Question: Why do you like your city?
Answer: Because it has all the modern amenities I need. It is well-connected and free from pollution.

Important note

Most of the questions in an IELTS speaking test are ‘an invitation to speak’. After all, the objective of the test is to assess your ability to express your ideas in English. While answering, try to give detailed answers consisting of two or three sentences. Don’t give extremely long answers. You may give short (one sentence) answers to some questions, but don’t answer all questions in that way.

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