IELTS: Maps, Where You Live, Saving Money, Replacing Things, Shopping Habits

IELTS shopping habits

These IELTS questions were asked in last weeks speaking exam.



Do you use maps?

Yes, sometimes, especially if I’m looking for a place I haven’t been to before. Or sometimes, I just ask people for directions.

When do you use them?

Normally, when I haven’t been to a place before, like last week I was trying to find a specialist store for cycling equipment. I Googled the business and got their map and directions and just followed the map until I arrived. It was easy.

I also use maps when I’m visiting a different city or country, to help me locate places easily and quickly.

How can maps be helpful for guiding people?

Well, you can simply enter the address or name of the location you want to go to and the map will show you the location of the place and how to get there.

You won’t get lost if you use a map, so that’s a big help.

Where you live:

Where do you live, in a house or apartment?

At the moment, I’m sharing an apartment with some colleagues from work. It’s a nice place, about a 15-minute walk from the city center, so it’s very convenient for almost everything.

Which room do you prefer the most in your home?

Well, it’s not really my home, it’s just temporary while I look for my own place. But the room I like best is the kitchen and dining area.

I think it’s because it’s big and open and we all usually gather there when we’re cooking, eating or even just to sit and chat sometimes.

It’s a nice airy space and we have a lot of fun there, we also spend a lot of time there, so I guess that’s why it’s my favorite place in the apartment.

Oh, and there’s also an amazing view from the big tall windows in the kitchen – you can see loads of interesting stuff every day.

Sometimes, I just close my computer and gaze out of the window when I’m eating, it’s so interesting.
You can see the people and traffic going past, and when the sun comes up in the morning and goes down at night, the views are spectacular.

Saving money:

How did you save money in your childhood?

I used to have an old metal tin. I can’t remember where I got it from, I think I may have found it somewhere. Anyway, I used to get an allowance from my parents each week, and I would spend some of it and save some of it in the tin. It was just a few coins every week, not a lot.

When I was a bit older, I used to work part-time on the weekends and in the school vacations and earned some money. So, I was able to save more money, and I used to keep putting it in the same old tin.

When the tin was eventually full, I decided to count all the money and I was really surprised how much I had saved.

What has changed about your money-saving behavior nowadays compared to in your childhood?

First, I don’t have that old tin box anymore. I probably save a lot more than I used to as well.

These days, I deposit a certain percentage of my monthly salary from work directly into a special saving plan I have. It’s automatic, so I never spend it and each year it earns some interest and I can either reinvest it or withdraw it and do what I want with it.

In the last couple of years, I’ve just reinvested it because I’m saving up for a couple of projects, a new apartment, and a trip to Australia next year hopefully.


Talk about something that you would like to replace.

You should say:

  • What it is
  • Why you want to replace it
  • When you plan to replace it
and explain how you decided it needed replacing.

Sample Answer

Okay, so the main thing I need to replace soon is where I live. It’s not that I don’t like sharing with my friends, but because of my work I’m expecting to be posted to another city within the next 6 months or so.

It will mean having to find somewhere new to live. And because the new position is effectively a promotion with a better salary I’ve decided to replace my rented apartment with a new apartment which I’m going to buy.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. And now seems like a good time to do it, as I’ll have to move anyway for work.

It’ll be nice to have a place of my own, a real home. A bit more space and somewhere which is more permanent because I can imagine living there for many years if things go well.

I know the city quite well and already have a good idea of the area in which I would like to find an apartment. So, I’ve already started an initial search for the right place.

Even though it may be some months before I actually move I’d like to get everything organized as soon as possible.

As for the decision, well, I’ve been renting apartments for a few years now, ever since I graduated from university and started working.

It’s okay, but it’s so much better having your own place. You can do what you want with it, you know, change it, improve it, and make it a real home.

So, the decision was a logical one, as now my work has become more stable and my income will allow me to finally buy a nice place to live, which will actually be cheaper than renting, so I’ll actually save money in the long run.

Follow up question:

Is it likely that you will replace your accommodation sooner?

I’m not sure, I don’t think so, because it depends on my company and exactly when they want me to move and take up the new position.

It might happen sooner, but there’s no indication that it will at the moment, so I’m planning for around 6 months from now.


Replacing things:

Why do you think people frequently replace things?

Part of it is human nature I guess. You know, we get bored with the same old things and always like to have something new and fresh in our lives.

It’s also a way of showing progress. I mean when you replace something and upgrade it, for example, your car, or where you live, it shows that you are making progress financially in your life.

It can also be a way of rewarding yourself, or in some cases, people replace things to stop themselves becoming bored with life.

Even replacing old clothes for new ones makes people feel better, for a while.

In your opinion, it is a good idea to replace things frequently? What are some of the advantages?

Yes, it’s generally a good thing. It makes you feel good, even if only for a short time. There are also times when you need to replace things, for example, when they are worn out or broken, so you maybe don’t have much choice in the matter.

For example, last month I had to replace my mobile phone because it was damaged, and it was beginning to bother me. Sometimes, it would just switch off without any warning.

I didn’t mind having to replace it because I had had it for almost three years, so it was about time to replace it anyway to take advantage of all the new features that current phones have.

Is the younger generation more likely to replace things regularly? Why is that?

I think that’s probably true. Especially when it comes to technology, which gets updated so regularly.

In the past things didn’t change so much, or so quickly, but nowadays, every couple of months there’s something new, and each year there are newer and better versions of all your gadgets available.

It’s only natural that young people always want the latest things and so are willing to replace them frequently. Younger people tend to see the advantages of newer versions of products more than older people.

Young people are generally bigger consumers than the previous generation – it’s how they’ve been brought up – to consume constantly.

Shopping habits:

Why do some people not like doing online shopping? Why do they still like doing shopping in the traditional way, in a shopping mall, for example?

Possibly because it’s a habit, a tradition for them, and they like doing it. And if you’re happy walking around a bunch of shops and trying on clothes or whatever, then it’s okay.

They might also be a bit wary of financial transactions online; I know my grandmother just doesn’t trust online shopping, it’s a generational thing I think.

Young people have been brought up with online shopping, banking, and everything else online, it’s natural for them.

Some people might not like online shopping because you can’t actually touch or try products before you buy them. For some people, that’s a big disadvantage, because they like to have a product in their hands to make a buying decision.

What are some of the disadvantages of online shopping?

Really, there aren’t many. Like I said, you can’t touch or feel products before you decide to buy them or not. And you might have to wait a couple of days for it to be delivered.

But apart from that, it’s a lot easier and quicker to buy online.

Once you’ve bought online a couple of times and become familiar with the process, it just seems natural.

I’ve bought lots of things online and only had to return a couple of things, and even then, it wasn’t a problem. I just shipped the items back to the supplier and they refunded the cost to my credit card – easy!

How do you think shopping will change in the future?

It’s going to change a lot. There are already innovative projects in the pipeline to make shopping online even more engaging for customers.

There will be solutions such as being able to walk around an actual shopping mall virtually, by using virtual reality technology.

Imagine being able to walk around a mall in another country and see the products for sale and buy them if you want.

Buying cars will also be different, as you will be able to test-drive them virtually before making a decision to buy a particular model.

Again, technology will make all this possible, and soon. You might even be able to feel and touch products if the right technology becomes widely available.

You’ll certainly be able to walk around places and see products three-dimensionally rather than just looking at product photos on a website to make your selection before purchasing.

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