In IELTS Speaking Part 1, the Examiner will introduce themselves and then ask you some basic questions on a range of familiar subjects which will last between 4-5 minutes. One topic that your Examiner may ask you during IELTS Speaking Part 1 could be about you studying or working. In this post, we shall look at common questions about this topic and how best to answer them.

Common Questions

When the Examiner is asking about yourself, they will first need to find out if you work or study and will ask “Do you work or study?”. If you mention that you are working, the Examiner is likely to ask the following questions:

  • Can you describe your work for me?
  • How long have you been doing it?
  • Why did you choose to do that job?
  • What things do you enjoy about your work and why?
  • What do you dislike about your job and why?
  • What are your plans for the future?

If you answer that you are studying, the Examiner is likely to ask you the following questions:

  • What are you studying?
  • Why did you choose that subject?
  • What do you find most interesting about your course?
  • What do you hope to do next?
  • What are your ambitions for the future?
  • What are the advantages of studying instead of working?

How To Answer

If you are working, try to think about particular points that you enjoy and things that you dislike about your job. Here are some key phrases that you could incorporate when talking about your job:

  • “Work nine-to-five”: your job involves working regular set hours during the day
  • “Be on flexi-time”: work flexible hours during the day which suit you
  • “Do shift work” or “To work shifts”: work either nights one week and days the other week
  • “To take on something”: to have personal responsibility for something
  • “To be/get promoted”: get a higher position within a company

When talking about education or study, you can include some of the following phrases:

  • “To attend classes”: to be present in class
  • “To plan on pursuing (a course)”: to aim for a course to study
  • “A Bachelor’s degree”: an undergraduate degree at a University which takes 3-4 years
  • “A postgraduate degree”: a more specialist subject (either Master’s or PhD) which takes more time to complete

Try using some of the phrases above when answering to the Examiner.


Hello, my name is Martin and I have been teaching IELTS Preparation to many students from all around the world. If you are preparing for the IELTS, I can help you.

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