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Speaking test 9 model answers

NOTE: The model answers below are a Band 9.0 response, but this is not the only way these questions could have been answered.

Part 1

“Do you take many photographs?”

Recently I have started to take a lot more photos because I have a digital camera now, whereas before I only used those disposable cameras and they never took very good pictures. With my new camera, I like to play with all the features, and you can add some really interesting effects to the pictures, like taking them in black and white or with the colours inverted. My brother and his wife have recently had a baby, so I took my new camera down to see them all and ending up taking nearly 100 photos! Of course, with a digital camera it’s a lot easier because you can see what you have taken and take the picture again if it didn’t work quite right.

“Do you prefer to take photographs of people or places?”

Well, these days I take photographs of people more than anything else, but I think whether I take portraits or landscapes really depends on whether I am on holiday. Day to day, I don’t take pictures of places because they are things I see too often, but in a few weeks I am going on holiday to the Windsheer Mountains, so I expect most of my photographs then will be of places. I am going with a few friends, but they’ll only be in a few of the shots.

“Are you happy to have your photograph taken?”

Well, I never used to be – I was always very self conscious and hated having my photograph taken. These days, though, I really don’t mind, so long as the person taking the photograph doesn’t take too long. I still don’t like standing in front of a camera holding a false smile – I prefer more natural photos, when people just pick up the camera and take a photo without setting everyone in poses or anything like that. I think having your photograph taken is something you have to do these days, because there are a lot of these social network sites that look better with a profile picture.

“What is public transport like in your country?”

Normally quite good, to be honest, although recently there have been some problems because they are extending the train lines and that has meant there have been some delays. It’s normally quite easy to get where you want to go, though – there is a good bus service that goes to the city and the suburbs, and the subway can help you get around the city once you are there. I take the train and a bus every day to get to work, and it’s quite convenient. I don’t have to wait more than 10 minutes for a connection.

“Do many people use public transport in your country? “

Well, no, not really. As I said, the services are quite good, but most people are so attached to driving their own cars that they don’t really use buses or trains. Like most cities, this causes some traffic problems, especially during rush hour, but some people are happy to sit in their own car in a queue rather than get on the train. Not me though – I don’t even have a car!

“Is public transport funded by the government in your country?”

Oh yes, it’s quite heavily supported actually. I think they are trying to encourage more people to use the services by having lower costs and more frequent services, but I don’t think it’s really working. I buy a monthly travel pass which allows me to travel on any of the buses and trains in the city and suburbs, but my friend often drives to work and she says that the cost of petrol alone is more expensive than my pass, never mind the other costs she has – insurance, repairs, registration – all that.

“Do you come from a big or small family?”

Hmm.. I suppose you would describe it as average for my country – I have one brother and one sister. I’m actually the youngest in the family, with my brother being the oldest and my sister in the middle. Most of my friends have families about the same size, although there is an increase in the number of families that only have one child, or sometimes people are opting to have no children. I think having three children is about right though – it’s good to have an older brother and sister I think! There’s always someone to talk to, and generally we all get along really well.

“Are you close to your family?”

Well, yes, as I mentioned I get on well with my brother and sister, and with my mum and dad, so I think the immediate family is very close really. We still go on holiday together once a year, even though it’s only for a few days. We don’t see much of the extended family though. My uncle lives overseas with his family, and we don’t see my mum’s family much at all. We get a birthday card and a Christmas card, but that’s about it from most of them. My grandparents live quite a long way away, so we don’t see them too often either, although they come up once a year or so and stay for a few days.

“Is it traditional for families to live together in your country?”

Well, no, not anymore. I think since my parents generation, it hasn’t been common for older relatives to live in the same house. I think that’s a shame really, because in many cases, when older people are no longer able to look after themselves, they end up living in retirement homes. I think that if the time comes, I would probably have my either or both of my parents live with us rather than sending them to somewhere like that. On the other hand, though, there is an increase in the number of assisted living houses, which is not quite as bad as a old people’s home because they still have some independence, but also help is at hand if and when needed.

Part 2

Describe an elderly person you know

You should say

  • Who this person is
  • How you met this person
  • What you know about this person

You should also explain how you feel about this person

I’d like to talk about my grandfather. He’s 82 this year, but still very fit and active – he doesn’t drive anymore, but he rides his bike every day. Every year, I go away with him for a few days and we go camping and cycling around, just cooking on a fire and setting up the tent in fields rather than camp sites. He is such an inspiration for me because although he hasn’t had the easiest life, he still has a smile and a joke for every occasion and he’s very welcoming to all of my friends. Although he doesn’t use a computer or have a mobile phone, he’s very curious about how it all works and loves to be shown these things in operation.

It’s hard to explain how I feel about him, because although he’s my grandfather, he’s also one of my best friends. When we go away on our camping trips, we talk about all kinds of things and he has an interest in almost anything. He’s also a good person to go camping with because he has spent some time in the army and he knows a lot about camping and being in the wild. He can build fires and make temporary shelters when it rains. He’s also an optimist, so it doesn’t matter whether we’re stuck in the tent in the rain because he’s always making plans for the next day and what we’ll do.

One of the great things about him is that he’s not like other elderly people I know because he won’t allow himself to think like an old person. I know that there are other people – like my father’s mum – who don’t do anything much all day, just sit around watching television and then go to bed early, and spend a lot of time complaining and talking about how good it was in the old days. Every time I visit them, they make me feel a little guilty for not visiting them more often, but my grandfather is much more relaxed and has his own things to do anyway, so there’s never any pressure to go and visit him.

Part 3

“What part do older people play in the family in your culture?”

Well, as I mentioned earlier, older people don’t often live with the family anymore, so in many ways they are seen more as a burden than a useful member of the family. It used to be that the older people had a lot of respect and were often considered the head of the family, but over the last few generations, this has changed quite a lot. However, there are some families in which elderly people are treated with respect and are often consulted on significant points before a decision is made.

“What are the advantages and disadvantages of employing elderly people? “

Well, I guess the negatives would revolve around their general levels of fitness and health. Asking older people to be on their feet all day to work is probably asking a little too much, so that can be a problem for some employers. There is also the problem that some older people are less in touch with modern methods of business. For example, they may not feel confident using a computer for emails, or even using a mobile phone. But there are definite advantages – older people often have lots of experience to draw on, and often also have a much stronger work ethic and are less likely to waste time at work.

“Do you think people should have the choice of when they retire?”

To a point, yes. I think it very much depends on what type of business the person is involved in. If they have skills and work experience in roles that are in high demand, then I think they should have the option of continuing to work beyond retirement. On the other hand, if the person is filling a role that could easily be filled by someone with little or no experience, then I think compulsory retirement is important because without it, many people just entering the workforce would have fewer employment options. Of course, all this has to be balanced with the global rise in the number of older people versus younger people. If the number of elderly rises but the number of people still working falls, there will be the problem of who is going to fund pensions if increasing numbers of people are retiring.

“Do you think younger people have to grow up too quickly these days?”

I suppose if you were talking about changes in, say, the last 100 years, then I suppose that’s true. They have less time to play, and the pressure of studies and grades beings very early for some children, as they have to develop a mature outlook on their school life. But compare today’s children with those over 100 years ago, and I would say definitely not, they do not have to grow up too quickly. A long time back, children in their early teens had to work full time, often in dangerous situations, to bring money home. Schooling was more of a luxury than a fact of life, and they couldn’t make excuses for poor behaviour because of their age, which is what a lot of children do these days.

“What are the benefits of younger teenagers getting a part time job?”

Well, I think that for many young people, getting a part time job can be very rewarding, not just financially but also as part of their development. It can help instil a good work ethic, where the value of your labour is appreciated. It can also teach them about important life skills with regards finances, saving and earning. I had a part time job from the time I was 14, and I think it was a very valuable experience. I know some people with children who have never worked, and they don’t have as good an understanding of the value of money and what it takes to earn it.

“At what age do you think parents should still be responsible for the actions of their children?”

Well, there has been a significant rise in the number of crimes committed by juveniles, and I think in part that is due to bad parenting in their early years. I think that if parents were forced to acknowledge and be responsible for the things their children do, better parenting might become more important again. A clear example to support this was in the newspaper only a few weeks ago, where a family had been using their child to break into people’s houses and steal items. They used the child as they knew that even if he was caught, he was too young to be sent to prison. This kind of thing would definitely be reduced if the parents had to face the consequences of what their offspring were doing.

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Speaking test 9 model answers

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