IELTS Speaking Part 1: Answering Yes/No Questions

Yes No


  1. A Yes/No question or a “closed” question is one that can be answered with a simple “Yes” or “No”. E.g. “Do you like hip hop?” “Can you swim? In other words, the question can be answered with a single word.
  2. HOWEVER, in the speaking test, you must how your speaking ability by…speaking. In Part 1, you should aim to say around 3 sentences. If your answer to a question like “Do you have any pets” is “No…” then you will NOT get a good mark even thought your answer is technically correct!
  3. Yes/No questions normally come in the form of – “Can you…” “Do you…” “Is it…” “Are you…” “Were you…” “Is there…” “Are there…”




Below are some sample answer from a range of topics. Useful and advanced vocabulary is included in bold.

QUESTION 1 – Can you drive?

SAMPLE – “I can’t drive a car but I drive a motorbike every day. In the future, I’d like to own a car, so then I’ll have to learn how to drive, but for now I have to save enough money to be able to afford a car.”

TIPS – The key is to ALWAYS add some details or explanation to your answer. If you say “Yes” then mention if it was difficult to learn to drive, or if you like it, or how often you do it. If you answer “No”, then say why, talk about future plans to drive, etc.

QUESTION 2 – Do you like reading?

SAMPLE – Well, that depends. I love reading for pleasure. I’m a big fan of science fiction and fantasy novels. But, I also have to read a lot of text books and journal articles for my studies and that can be quite boring not to mention tiring.

TIPS – (i) Instead of answering “Yes” or “No”, you can stay ‘in the middle’ by beginning with something like “It depends…” (ii) Try to include some vocabulary is relevant to the topic. In the example above, words like “fantasy novels” and “journal articles” are used. REMEMBER to make sure you can pronounce advanced vocabulary clearly.


Yes No 1


QUESTION 3 – Were you a good student in high school?

SAMPLE – “I think I was good and bad. By that I mean, I got good grades and passed all my tests, although I was quite lazy and didn’t study that much. I definitely wasn’t a diligent student. I guess I just had a good memory and was able to learn things quickly.”

TIPS – (i) This is another answer where the speaker stays “in the middle” so that they can talk about both the good and bad sides (ii) REMEMBER that in Part 1, you’re speaking informally about yourself, so don’t overuse academic/formal vocabulary. One or two relevant words, such as “diligent” used above, are useful though.

QUESTION 4 – Have you been abroad before?

SAMPLE – No. When I go overseas to study, it’ll be my first time. I’ve always dreamed of going abroad, so I’m really excited, although also a little nervous. Actually, I haven’t even been on a plane before, so there’ll be lots of new experiences.

TIPS – using a wide range of tenses and grammatical structures is an important part of your score. This answer has a mix of tenses (simple past, present simple, perfect) which helps to show your speaking ability and to express yourself clearly.

Yes No 2


QUESTION 5 – Is it hot in your country?

SAMPLE – “Yes, it can get really hot, especially of course in the summer. As you probably know, my country is a tropical one, so it’s not only hot but really humid. I’ve lived here my whole life, so I guess I’m kind of used to it, but I definitely prefer cooler weather.”

TIPS – (i) If you say something that is common knowledge that the examiner will already know (e.g. that it’s “hot” in summer or that the country is a tropical one), then show this by using phrases, such as “of course…” and “”as you probably know…”


Band 9 Speaking: Part 1 – Bags

Band 9 Speaking: Part 1 – Colours

Band 9 Speaking: Part 1 – Walking


5 thoughts on “IELTS Speaking Part 1: Answering Yes/No Questions

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