Speak at the level of IELTS 9.0 | Cambridge IELTS 17 Test 2

Full Video Interview: Questions and Answers

A full IELTS Speaking Interview Sample

Presented By: Mehdi Safavi

Presented By: Mehdi Safavi

May 9, 2024

What’s your name?

My name is Alex Johnson.

Where are you from?

I'm from Toronto, Canada. It's a vibrant city known for its diversity and cultural richness. I've lived there all my life and I really enjoy the mix of urban life combined with the beautiful natural landscapes nearby.


The examiner asks you about yourself, your home, work or studies, and other familiar topics.



Did you have a favourite book when you were a child? [Why/Why not?]

Yes, my favorite book as a child was "Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White. It's a beautiful story about friendship, loyalty, and the cycle of life, centered around a pig named Wilbur and his friendship with a clever spider named Charlotte. This book really resonated with me because of its heartfelt messages and the way it portrays the importance of relationships. It was one of those books that I could read over and over again and still find something new to appreciate each time.

How much reading do you do for your work/studies? [Why/Why not?]

As a professional who frequently engages with a wide range of topics and materials, I do quite a bit of reading for my work. It's essential for staying informed and providing accurate information. My reading material varies greatly—from academic articles and books to industry-specific reports and daily news. This not only helps me maintain a broad knowledge base, which is crucial in my field, but also ensures that I can engage thoughtfully and effectively with the diverse inquiries I receive. The amount of reading can be extensive, but it's an integral part of my daily routine and professional development.

What kinds of books do you read for pleasure? [Why/Why not?]

For pleasure, I enjoy a mix of genres, but I am particularly fond of science fiction and historical fiction. Science fiction books, like those by Isaac Asimov or Arthur C. Clarke, captivate me with their explorations of the future and the ethical dilemmas that advanced technologies might bring. On the other hand, historical fiction offers a different kind of escape—allowing me to immerse myself in the past and see the world through the eyes of people from different eras. Books like "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak or "All the Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr provide profound insights into human nature and history, making them both enjoyable and enriching reads.

Do you prefer to read a newspaper or a magazine online, or to buy a copy? [Why?]

I prefer to read newspapers and magazines online. This preference stems mainly from the convenience and accessibility it offers. With digital versions, I can easily access a wide range of sources from anywhere at any time, which is especially useful for staying updated with the latest news and trends. Additionally, online platforms often provide interactive features like video, audio, and hyperlinks to related articles, enhancing the reading experience. Furthermore, opting for digital media helps reduce paper waste, aligning with environmentally friendly practices. Overall, the flexibility and additional features of online newspapers and magazines make them my preferred choice.


Describe a big city you would like to visit.
You should say:
    Which big city you would like to visit
    How you would travel there
    What you would do there
and explain why you would like to visit this big city.

You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes.
You have one minute to think about what you are going to say.
You can make some notes to help you if you wish.

The big city I would like to visit is Tokyo, Japan. It's a city that fascinates me not only because of its unique blend of traditional culture and cutting-edge technology but also because of its vibrant life and efficient infrastructure.

I would travel there by plane, ideally on a direct flight from Toronto to experience the journey comfortably and efficiently. Upon arrival, I'd take advantage of Tokyo's renowned public transportation system to navigate the city, which would allow me to immerse myself in the local environment and observe the daily routines of the residents.

In Tokyo, my itinerary would be packed with activities. I would start by exploring historic sites such as the Senso-ji Temple and the Imperial Palace to get a sense of the city's history and culture. Following this, I'd dive into the bustling streets of Shibuya and Shinjuku to experience Tokyo's famous urban scenery, including the iconic Shibuya crossing and the lively nightlife. Additionally, I would dedicate a day to visit Akihabara, a haven for electronics and anime culture, to indulge in my interest in technology and contemporary Japanese media.

My desire to visit Tokyo stems from a deep appreciation for its ability to maintain a balance between tradition and modernity. The city offers a glimpse into Japan's rich history through its temples and rituals while simultaneously showcasing the rapid advancements in technology and urban design. This contrast not only provides a unique travel experience but also offers insights into the innovative ways a city can evolve while respecting its heritage. Moreover, Tokyo's culinary scene, ranging from street food vendors to Michelin-starred restaurants, promises a delightful exploration of flavors, further enhancing the allure of this vibrant metropolis.

When do you think you'll be able to go there?

I hope to visit Tokyo within the next couple of years. Planning such a trip requires careful consideration, especially in terms of budgeting, securing time off work, and aligning with any travel restrictions that might be in place due to global situations like health concerns.


The examiner asks you about yourself, your home, work or studies, and other familiar topics.

Discussion Topics

Visiting cities on holiday

What are the most interesting things to do while visiting cities on holiday?

Visiting cities on holiday presents many exciting activities, such as exploring local museums and galleries to understand the area's culture and history, sampling distinctive local cuisine to engage with culinary traditions, and taking guided or self-guided walking tours to appreciate the unique architecture and important landmarks. Participating in local events or festivals can also enrich the experience, allowing visitors to enjoy the city just as the locals do. These activities collectively offer a comprehensive and immersive way to experience the essence of any city.

Why can it be expensive to visit cities on holiday?

Visiting cities on holiday can be expensive due to several factors. Firstly, accommodation costs in cities tend to be higher, especially in central locations near major attractions or during peak tourist seasons. Additionally, dining out frequently, particularly in tourist-popular areas or upscale restaurants, can significantly add to expenses. Transport within the city, whether by taxi, rental car, or even public transit, can also accumulate, particularly in larger or less walkable cities. Furthermore, entrance fees for museums, galleries, and other attractions add up quickly. Lastly, cities often have a wide array of shopping, entertainment, and nightlife options, which, while tempting, can lead to more spending. Thus, the combined cost of lodging, food, transportation, attractions, and additional activities makes city holidays potentially pricey.

Do you think it is better to visit cities alone or in a group with friends?

Visiting cities alone offers the freedom to explore at your own pace and make spontaneous decisions without the need to coordinate with others. It allows for a more personalized experience where you can focus on interests that matter most to you, such as spending more time in a particular museum or wandering through unique neighborhoods.

On the other hand, traveling with friends can enhance the overall experience by sharing discoveries and creating lasting memories together. It can also provide a sense of security and ease in navigating unfamiliar places. Additionally, group travel can be more economical, as many costs such as accommodation, transportation, and food can be shared.

Ultimately, the choice between traveling alone or with friends should reflect what you hope to gain from the trip. If you seek introspection and flexibility, solo travel might be ideal. If you value shared experiences and camaraderie, a group trip could be more enjoyable.

The growth of cities

Why have cities increased in size in recent years?

Cities have increased in size in recent years primarily due to urbanization, a trend driven by several factors. Firstly, economic opportunities in cities attract people from rural areas seeking jobs, better income, and improved living standards. Cities often offer more diverse and higher-paying employment options than rural areas.

Secondly, educational opportunities also draw individuals and families to cities. Higher education institutions and specialized training centers are typically concentrated in urban areas, making them attractive destinations for those pursuing advanced studies and professional development.

What are the challenges created by ever-growing cities?

The ever-growing size of cities presents several challenges, including increased strain on infrastructure and resources, such as transportation networks, water supply, and waste management systems. Urban sprawl encroaches on natural habitats, leading to environmental degradation and loss of biodiversity. Additionally, overcrowding in cities can exacerbate social issues like housing affordability, inequality, and access to basic services, posing significant challenges for policymakers and urban planners striving to create inclusive and sustainable cities.

In what ways do you think cities of the future will be different to cities today?

Cities of the future are likely to be characterized by increased sustainability and resilience measures, with a focus on renewable energy, green infrastructure, and efficient resource management. Smart technologies will be integrated into urban systems to optimize transportation, waste management, and public services, enhancing efficiency and improving quality of life. Additionally, urban planning will prioritize mixed-use development and pedestrian-friendly environments to promote walkability and reduce reliance on cars, fostering more vibrant and livable urban spaces.

Useful Words from the Interview

Upper Intermediate words from the Interview (B2)

– Meaning: As an extra factor or circumstance; besides.
– Example: “The company provides free health insurance and, additionally, a fitness club membership.”

– Meaning: Sound, especially when recorded, transmitted, or reproduced.
– Example: “The podcast’s audio quality was clear and crisp.”

– Meaning: Complete; including all or nearly all elements or aspects.
– Example: “She conducted a comprehensive study on the effects of climate change.”

– Meaning: The state of being able to proceed with something with little effort or difficulty.
– Example: “Online shopping provides customers with unparalleled convenience.”

– Meaning: To plunge headfirst into water; to delve deeply into a topic or activity.
– Example: “The students decided to dive into the subject matter before the final exam.”

– Meaning: Showing a great deal of variety; very different.
– Example: “The city has a diverse population, with people from all over the world.”

– Meaning: The state of being diverse; variety.
– Example: “The company values diversity and promotes an inclusive work environment.”

– Meaning: In a way that achieves maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense.
– Example: “The team worked efficiently to complete the project ahead of schedule.”

– Meaning: Devices or systems that operate using small electrical components like transistors or diodes.
– Example: “Modern electronics, such as smartphones and laptops, have revolutionized communication.”

– Meaning: Giving pleasure; pleasurable.
– Example: “The trip to the amusement park was an enjoyable experience.”

– Meaning: Periods of time marked by distinctive characteristics, events, or developments.
– Example: “The museum displays art from various eras, ranging from the Renaissance to modern times.”

– Meaning: To develop gradually, especially from a simple to a more complex form.
– Example: “Technology continues to evolve, making tasks easier and more efficient.”

– Meaning: Covering or affecting a large area; comprehensive.
– Example: “The hurricane caused extensive damage along the coastline.”

– Meaning: Distinctive tastes, especially as characteristic of a particular food or drink.
– Example: “The ice cream shop offers a wide variety of flavors, from chocolate to mango.”

– Meaning: Having an affection or liking for.
– Example: “She is very fond of her childhood memories spent at her grandmother’s house.”

– Meaning: Natural environments where a particular species lives and thrives.
– Example: “Coral reefs are one of the most diverse marine habitats in the world.”

– Meaning: The basic physical and organizational structures and facilities needed for the operation of a society or enterprise.
– Example: “Investing in public infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, is crucial for economic growth.”

– Meaning: Featuring new methods; advanced and original.
– Example: “The company is known for its innovative approach to solving environmental challenges.”

– Meaning: Combined or coordinated to form a whole.
– Example: “The new software offers an integrated solution for managing customer relationships.”

– Meaning: As a further matter; besides.
– Example: “The product is effective. Moreover, it is affordable and easy to use.”

– Meaning: Close at hand; not far away.
– Example: “They decided to have lunch at a nearby café.”

– Meaning: With the capacity to develop or happen in the future.
– Example: “The new drug could potentially cure several diseases.”

– Meaning: A greater liking for one alternative over another or others.
– Example: “His preference for spicy food made the dinner menu selection easy.”

– Meaning: Plural of preference; greater likings for certain alternatives over others.
– Example: “User preferences can be set in the app’s settings menu.”

– Meaning: For the most part; mainly.
– Example: “The library is used primarily by students and researchers.”

– Meaning: Rules or regulations that limit or control what is allowed.
– Example: “The government imposed travel restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.”

– Meaning: Requiring or involving detailed and specific knowledge or training.
– Example: “The hospital has a specialized unit for treating burn patients.”

– Meaning: Able to be maintained at a certain rate or level; involving methods that do not completely use up or destroy natural resources.
– Example: “The company focuses on sustainable farming practices to ensure long-term productivity.”

– Meaning: A building devoted to the worship of a god or gods or other religious practices.
– Example: “They visited the ancient temple to learn about the local culture.”

– Meaning: Plural of temple; buildings for worship or religious practice.
– Example: “The region is known for its beautiful temples and shrines.”

– Meaning: The action of transporting someone or something; the system or means by which people or goods are moved.
– Example: “Public transportation in the city includes buses, trains, and ferries.”

– Meaning: Traveling aimlessly from place to place.
– Example: “After wandering the streets for hours, they finally found their way back to the hotel.”


Advanced words from the Interview (C1)

– Meaning: To gather together or acquire an increasing number or quantity of something.
– Example: “Over the years, he managed to accumulate a large collection of vintage stamps.”

– Meaning: Placing or arranging things in a straight line or in correct relative positions.
– Example: “The marketing team is aligning its strategies with the company’s overall goals.”

– Meaning: Recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.
– Example: “Her appreciation for classical music grew after she attended the concert.”

– Meaning: An impressive display or range of a particular type of thing.
– Example: “The boutique offers an array of elegant dresses for any occasion.”

– Meaning: To mix or combine things together.
– Example: “The chef decided to blend different spices to create a unique flavor.”

– Meaning: Described the distinctive features or qualities of something.
– Example: “The novel is characterized by its rich dialogue and vivid descriptions.”

– Meaning: To organize the different elements of a complex activity or system so they work together effectively.
– Example: “The event manager had to coordinate all aspects of the conference.”

– Meaning: Situations requiring a choice between equally undesirable alternatives.
– Example: “She faced several dilemmas when trying to choose the right career path.”

– Meaning: Having a quality or characteristic that makes something different and easily recognizable.
– Example: “The artist’s distinctive style makes her paintings stand out.”

– Meaning: Absence of difficulty or effort.
– Example: “The new software is designed to help users manage their tasks with ease.”

– Meaning: The ability to accomplish something with the least waste of time and effort.
– Example: “Improving energy efficiency can significantly reduce operating costs.”

– Meaning: To improve or enhance the quality or value

of something.
– Example: “Traveling to different countries can enrich one’s understanding of various cultures.”

– Meaning: Improving or enhancing the quality or value of something.
– Example: “The workshop provided an enriching experience for all participants.”

– Meaning: The intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something.
– Example: “The essence of his argument revolves around equality and justice.”

– Meaning: The quality of bending easily without breaking; the willingness to change or compromise.
– Example: “The flexibility of the new work schedule allows employees to manage their time better.”

– Meaning: Encouraging or promoting the development of something.
– Example: “The organization is dedicated to fostering creativity in young artists.”

– Meaning: A brief or partial view.
– Example: “The documentary provides a glimpse into the daily lives of fishermen.”

– Meaning: The traditions, achievements, beliefs, etc., that are part of the history of a group or nation.
– Example: “The festival is a celebration of the country’s rich cultural heritage.”

– Meaning: Allow oneself to enjoy the pleasure of something.
– Example: “After a long day at work, she likes to indulge in a hot bath.”

– Meaning: The state of not being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities.
– Example: “Economic inequality remains a significant challenge in many societies.”

– Meaning: Necessary to make a whole complete; essential or fundamental.
– Example: “The engine is an integral part of the car.”

– Meaning: Allowing a two-way flow of information between a computer and a user; or between people.
– Example: “The museum offers interactive exhibits that engage visitors of all ages.”

– Meaning: Buildings or structures that are easily recognized, especially ones that have historical importance.
– Example: “The Eiffel Tower is one of Paris’s most famous landmarks.”

– Meaning: A strong feeling of support or allegiance.
– Example: “The brand has built customer loyalty by consistently delivering high-quality products.”

– Meaning: Making a choice from a range of possibilities.
– Example: “Instead of eating out, she is opting to cook at home.”

– Meaning: The highest point of something, especially of achievement or success.
– Example: “The athlete reached his peak performance during the final match.”

– Meaning: Describes someone or something in a particular way; depicts.
– Example: “The film portrays the struggles of a single mother living in New York.”

– Meaning: Having deep insight or understanding; very great or intense.
– Example: “The book left a profound impact on her perspective of life.”

– Meaning: Known or talked about by many people; famous.
– Example: “The scientist is renowned for his groundbreaking research.”

– Meaning: The action of renting something or an item that is available to rent.
– Example: “The car rental was quite affordable for the weekend trip.”

– Meaning: A series of actions performed according to a prescribed order, often for religious or cultural reasons.
– Example: “Morning rituals, like meditation or exercise, can help set the tone for the day.”

– Meaning: At the same time.
– Example: “The live stream was broadcast simultaneously on multiple platforms.”

– Meaning: Performed alone without accompaniment or assistance.
– Example: “She took her first solo trip to Japan last year.”

– Meaning: Arises or originates from.
– Example: “His interest in art stems from his childhood visits to the local museum.”

– Meaning: Pressure or tension exerted on a person or object.
– Example: “The heavy workload put a strain on his health.”

– Meaning: Making great efforts to achieve or obtain something.
– Example: “The company is striving to become a leader in the tech industry.”

– Meaning: Appealing to or attractive to someone.
– Example: “The chocolate cake looked too tempting to resist.”

– Meaning: The act of passing through or across a place; the transportation of people or goods.
– Example: “The city is working to improve its public transit system.”

– Meaning: Full of energy and life.
– Example: “The market is known for its vibrant atmosphere and colorful stalls.”

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The Expert and Presenter

About the Author

About the Author

CEO and Co-founder of Juice Academy

Mehdi Safavi is a Cambridge certified English teacher (CELTA Grade A), IDP-trained IELTS expert, Sussex Downs College TESOL with 17+ years of teaching & teacher training experience. More about him →


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