Speaking for IELTS – How to answer questions about the future in the IELTS speaking test

Predictions IELTS peaking

How to answer questions about the future in the IELTS speaking test.

The Open Road


The difference between Parts 1/2 and Part 3

In parts 1 and 2 of the speaking test, the questions are mostly about you.  So you'll get asked questions these:

Do you like music?
What's your favourite meal of the day?
Do you prefer to wake up early or late?

In part 3 of the speaking test, you'll get more difficult questions, and in this part of the test, the questions are not about you any more.

A common question type

In one common question type in the IELTS speaking test, you are invited to speculate about the future.  A useful strategy you can adopt when answering this type of question is to comment on the current trend, and then assume that it will continue. In other words, you can extrapolate [mathematical term] into the future.




Examples of extrapolation

How do you think the traffic will change in your home town in the future?

Well it’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future [haha], but as you know, it’s been getting worse for the last 10 years, and this is probably the result of steady economic growth.  If this continues, it does seem likely that the traffic will continue to get worse, as more people will be able to buy cars and motorbikes.  I think we can expect total gridlock within 10 years or so.


Gridlock - high band score lexis for the IELTS speaking test

Gridlock - high band score lexis for the IELTS speaking test


Do you think going to the cinema will become more popular in the future?

I don’t really know, but perhaps the current trend will continue – what I mean is [that] going to the cinema has become more popular over the last decade or so I think it’s likely that cinema going [paraphrase] will also continue to increase in popularity.

How likely is it that all leisure-time activities in the future be computer-based?

Honestly, it's a worry.  My father says when he was young he'd go out in the morning and he'd be out all day, doing things like playing football or going on bike rides.  Maybe he's exaggerating a bit, but I'm sure he spent a lot of time outdoors. Over the years, it seems that more and more time is spent on screens and they spend less time playing outdoors.  You've got to assume that this trend will continue, and yes, for many young people, all their activities will be on computers.  I'm sure that won't apply to everyone though - I mean - I don't expect football and basketball to disappear completely.

[Note the use of the conditional – would – for a past habit..

When I was young I would play football all day = When I was young I used to play football all day]

More speaking part 3 questions about the future

Here are some more speaking part 3 questions you can practise with:

Will people continue to move from the countryside to the city in the future?

In the future, do you think more or fewer people will live healthy lifestyles?

Do you think traditional festivals in your country will continue unchanged in the future?

Do you think technology will be able to reduce the frequency of human error?

Given the current pace of change, do you think life for most people will continue to change rapidly in the future?

If you’re serious about succeeding in IELTS, learn how to speculate about the future.

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