IELTS Speaking Hot Topic: Free Time

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This an IELTS topic that EVERYONE says you should prepare for.ielts speaking free time

Do you know how to make this preparation more specific and useful for exam day?

In today’s article, you’re going to read about 4 specific sub-topics that you should prepare for before your IELTS Exam.

After all, this topic is actually huge and very, very general. When IELTS teachers and textbooks feature this as a topic, it’s usually in the form of learning vocabulary related to sports and “leisure time” activities. Leisure time is a direct synonym for free time and is, of course, also very general.

In order to prepare efficiently for IELTS, you need to be more specific in your thinking, and also be able to personally reflect on these specific topics so you have interesting things to say on exam day.


Vocabulary: In this video, there are 4 very useful idioms to speak about relaxed free time activities, including guilty pleasure and social butterfly.



Remember, in order to get a 7 or higher for vocabulary, you must show the examiner interesting, idiomatic language.

Another good resource for describing downtime that does not involve sports or exercise is the art world. As the topic of art can pop up anywhere on the IELTS exam, not just in the Speaking section, it is very useful to learn idioms related to art and think about what you appreciate from the artistic side of life.

Reflect on these questions:

How do you relax?

What are 3 things you do to relieve stress? Why do you do these things?


Vocabulary: This is usually the direction that IELTS teachers and textbooks take when referring to free time. Plus, even if you are not an athletic person, there are sports-specific questions that do come up in IELTS Speaking Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

So, I highly recommend learning some interesting, 8+ vocabulary for talking about sports and exercise.

Reflect on these questions:

How do you keep your body healthy?

What kind of exercise are you comfortable/uncomfortable with? Why?

Family and Friends

Vocabulary: Even if you live by yourself and are a single person, you still spend at least some of your free time hanging out with friends and family. Also, the topics of friends and family come up in a variety of ways throughout the IELTS Speaking and Writing exam.

Click here to learn about idioms for describing parties and celebrations.

Click here to read about interesting vocabulary related to families.

Reflect on these questions:

Do you prefer to hang out alone, with one or two friends, or in large groups of people? Why?

How is spending free time with family different than spending time with friends?

Food: Eating Out and Eating In

Vocabulary: When talking about food, you must learn the vocabulary describing the ingredients and dishes, in English, from your culture, and your favorite foods from other cultures.

Also, it is very useful for this topic, and all others on the IELTS Speaking and Writing exams, to learn idioms that express your opinions about how much you like something.

Reflect on these questions:

What are the advantages/disadvantages of eating out/eating in?

What food from your culture would you cook/not cook for foreigners? Why?

To make this information work for you and INCREASE YOUR VOCABULARY SCORE, write down the 2 idioms you like most from each link. Then, practice using them in your answers to the reflection questions.

For more activities and strategies that WILL INCREASE YOUR SCORE, check out our IELTS course, The 3 Keys IELTS Success System.

What do you think of today’s vocabulary?

Leave us a message in the comments section below!

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  • Idioms for 4 Specific sub-topics of Free / Leisure Time ( Relaxation ) in IELTS Speaking :
    1) Art : a work of art , beauty is in the eye of the beholder , paint a picture with words , a picture is worth 1,000 words , a starving artist
    2) Exercise / Sports : MVP ( Most Valuable Player ) , down for the count , drop the ball , be the under dog , brain as a muscle , team player , play sports , get the ball rolling
    3) Family : it runs in the family ,flesh and blood , sibling rivalry , the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree ,get along / on with , take after , look up to , bring up , grow up ,grow apart , a fruit from a tree
    Friends : buddy ,(soul) mate ,pal , comrade , chum , bestie ; hang out with , catch up ( with ) ; get together ,meet up
    Parties/ Celebrations : get down / dance ,throw a party , crash a party , be the life of the party ,be a party pooper , be a wall flower , be a party animal ,party foul
    4) Food / Culture / Health / Travel :
    Travel : get away / a getaway , take the road less traveled , off the beaten track ,find a gem , have ( a bad case of ) wanderlust , take a red eye / night flight
    Food : junk food , a piece of cake , it’s a hard nut to crack , it’s my cup of tea , it’s the big cheese ,
    take the biscuit , as easy as pie , it’s a cakewalk , peel back the onion , murder a beer , as cheap as chips
    Culture : In my culture , we like to … It’s not uncommon in my culture / country , .. Well , where I am from , people generally … It’s not unusual for folks in my hometown / home city / home country to …
    Health : be fit , in good shape , strong as a horse