How to talk about practical skills in the IELTS Speaking Test
Audio for IELTS Speaking Practice Test 27
Cue Card

Describe a practical skill that you have.

You should say :

What this skill is

How you learned it

When you use this skill

and explain how this skill is useful to you.

Well one skill that I have is playing the guitar.

I learned it when I was young. I learned how to play because I had many friends that played the guitar and when they played and sang, I knew I just had to learn. At first it was a little difficult because to be quite frank, I really didn”;t see myself as someone who was musically inclined. I had to tell myself that I could do it and little by little, a note here and a chord I there, I managed to pick it up. Even now I have a long way to go with playing but I have found it enjoyable not just for myself, for others have said they enjoy it as well. I have had a few guitars and although there arc different styles and qualities, to me it seems that as long as they have strings on them and you can tune them they arc fine.


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I use the guitar to cheer myself up when I am feeling a little down and also use it to teach songs to others. I have never made money teaching guitar but I have made a little money playing and singing. I don’t know if I would want to pursue this skill as a career but as long as I still enjoy it, I am going to do it.

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Practical Skills
1. Compare the importance of practical skills and academic skills.

Well actually both are much needed in society. It seems to me that practical skills such as knowing how to cook a meal or clean a house or take care of children arc slipping, whereas academic skills such as teaching a class or doing research seem to be on the rise. This is not bad in itself because there need to be people who are thinking about how things work and how to improve them, but the skills needed for everyday life shouldn’t be looked on as any less important than others.

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2. How can people learn practical skills?

A lot of these skills can be learned at home with their mother and father and family. Skills such as sewing, budgeting or maintenance can be learned from an aunt or uncle, grandfather or grandmother. If more difficult trades want to be learned, such as plumber or electrician or mason, there are vocational schools that could leach those. The main thing to learning a skill is the motivation that is involved.

Children and Practical skills
3. What practical skills do children leant at school in your country?

I’m afraid that there are not many. Academics are stressed so highly in schools that they seem to overshadow practical skills. I suppose students probably leant to listen to their teacher and how to behave and sit for long periods at a time and apply themselves. They also have to learn how to interact amongst themselves in a satisfactory way. They have to learn how to get up on time and be at their school, which teaches them responsibility. I guess it would help to define what practical skills we are talking about.

4. Do you think children should learn some practical skills at school?

I think that children should learn practical skills at school. This would help to prepare them for life outside of school. A lot of times not much thought is put into how to manage money or take care of an apartment but I think these skills would be helpful. Life in the working world can be a lot different than the sheltered life of schooling, so having some practical skills such as those learned from a part-time job would be beneficial to a student.

5. How useful will these skills be to the children alter they leave school?

Well as I was saying in the previous question, these skills would be very helpful to children after they leave school. When a teenager goes from high school to college he has to start managing things on his own without the security of mom and dad. Even more so when a young adult graduates from college or university, he would also be very grateful to have some practical knowledge on how to survive in the working world.

Adult Education
6. Do you think it’s useful for adults to attend classes to further their education?

Sure, why not, if it is something that they find useful in their lives and something that they enjoy. Learning is lifelong and I don”;t know if it has to stop in old age. Now I know that a lot of times these adults are looked upon as teachers, but if they feel so inclined why not attend a class to further their education. If they are not able to keep up with the young students then this would be a detriment, but if there are no disruptions why not?

7. What kinds of courses exist in your country for adults?

There are wonderful exercise classes that are available for adults. I don’t know if you have seen large groups of older women out on the streets performing with various percussion instruments, but these are classes that help them to work together and perform for audiences. There arc dancing classes available. There are even English classes available for senior citizens. There are Tai Chi classes also available to seniors here. As time goes on and the country develops there will be more classes that will be available for seniors.

8. What are some reasons why adults might attend classes?

Well I guess one of the main ones is that they arc working and they need to keep up with the latest technology that will help them to stay abreast of the latest in their fields. Sometimes they might even be thinking of switching careers so they take classes to get the training to do so. Other times they might just want to learn some things in their spare time that will enhance their life on a recreational level. Other times their bosses might want them to learn some special skill for the good of the company.

9. Who do you think should pay for adult education–;the government, the student or the company (if it is a work-related course)?

Again it depends on the course and why they are taking it. If it is for personal gain or gratification then of course students should be responsible to pay for it. If the government is offering a course and adults are interested in it then it is already paid for. If it is going to move the company ahead and bring financial results then of course the company should pay for it. Now if the company can”;t pay for it and it interests the individual then it is up to him to get the money together to attend the class.

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