One strategy you can use to answer questions about the past in the IELTS speaking test.
In one common question type in the Part 3 of the IELTS speaking test, the examiner invites you to make comparisons with the past, or to talk about a situation in the past.
Is transportation today different to that of the past?
How are leisure activities now different to leisure activities in the past?
Often, as in the questions above, the examiner doesn’t specify exactly when in the past he wants you to talk about. If he does this, then it is entirely up to you. You can define whatever period or periods you want to talk about.
You can start by telling him what time in the past you’re going to talk about.
[Is transportation available today different to that of the past?]
Well, if you’re talking about the recent past, the big difference between now and, say 10 years ago is that there are far more cars here now. I remember when there used to be more than a hundred motorbikes for every car. Now it’s more like 10 or 20, depending on where you are, and the time of day. [You could then continue with - “Now as far as the sixties are concerned, which is when my parents were young,”]
[How are leisure activities now different to leisure activities in the past?]
I suppose it depends on how far back you want to look. Sometimes, I listen to my parents talking about when they were young, and back then, they had to make their own entertainment. At that time, all they had was radio – and books, I suppose. There was no TV, and most people couldn’t afford to go the cinema – so children used to make up their own games. Nowadays, young people have so much choice with their mobiles and computer games, not to mention TV and cinema, that it seems they no longer have any need for their imagination.
The examiner doesn’t care what time in the past you talk about – so it’s up to you. I suggest you talk about whatever is easiest for you. [and mention other times too, if he lets you keep talking]
If you’re serious about succeeding in IELTS, learn how to talk about the past.