Maths: Reported Speaking Topic in May 2015

Maths was a reported IELTS speaking topic this month (May). It is quite common to be asked about your school days and also about the subjects you studied. Below are some questions for this topic for you to prepare and also some useful vocabulary to help you talk in more detail. This topic could also be called “calculations” or “mathematics”.

IELTS Speaking Part 1 Questions: Maths

  • Are you good at maths?
  • Did you like mathematics when you were at school?
  • What was your teacher like?
  • What kinds of things did you learn in maths?
  • Did you use a calculator when learned maths?
  • Do you find it difficult to do calculations?
  • How do you calculate difficult sums?
  • Do you think maths is an important subject for children to learn?
  • Why do you think children should learn maths?

Useful language:

  • calculate numbers / data / figures
  • adding up / addition (2 + 4 = 6)
  • subtraction / taking away (6 – 2 = 4)
  • multiplication  / multiplying numbers (multiplying = 2 x 3 = 6)
  • the multiplication table
  • division / dividing (dividing = 6 / 3 = 2)
  • long division (12,000 / 1,500 = 8)
  • estimating powers and roots for positive numbers
  • learning about decimals and fractions (decimal = 0.333 & fraction =  1/3)
  • algebra = learning about using letters and symbols in formulas
  • geometry = calculating angles in triangles or relationships between points on graphs or maps
  • proportions and rates of change
  • maths teaches people how to solve problems
  • maths teaches people how to interpret and understand data
  • maths teaches people how to do simple and complex calculations needed for everyday life

Model Answers

  • Question: Did you like maths when you were at school?
  • Answer: I enjoyed maths at the beginning doing just simple sums but I didn’t like it as much once we progressed on to complex calculations and doing algebra and things like that.
  • Question: Did you use a calculator at school for studying maths?
  • We weren’t allowed a calculator for doing sums or long division and things like that. But we were allowed to use one for geometry and other complex calculations.

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  1. Hi Liz, I am not able to understand following question- what was your teacher like ?
    Could you please explain.

  2. hiii….my exam will held on 25 nov. please give me some tips for writing task 2 and speaking

  3. mohamed oraby says

    i need study partner , my ielts exam due in 8/3
    so i have got no time
    thank you

  4. hi liz
    my speaking test will be on thirsday 11th may 2017.
    i just want to know that how should i introduce myself…. as i am a homemaker. i had been in teaching profession 2 years back.plz advice
    ramica sharma

    • If the examiner asks “what do you do?” or “what is your profession”, you can say “I used to be a teacher but now I’m …”. Just be natural in the test. Speak to the examiner like a friend. This is an informal speaking test. Good luck!!!

  5. Hi Liz,

    Are we supposed to give short answers for each question? Say like 1 or 2 sentences long or are we supposed to keep elaborating on it (assuming we have things to expand on) Because I saw on your site that says there are 12 questions for Part 1 of the speaking test and my concern is that there is a conflict between having to fulfill all 12 questions and expansion of answers in view of time. Is it a criteria to answer all 12 questions?


  6. Hello Liz,
    I know you are on break but I am still posting here hoping that you might reply. Anyway, I read this question in given questions of Speaking 1 “What are the main aspects of your subject” and I don’t get it. I have studied Optometry so what am I supposed to say? Speak about different subjects taught in Optometry or what?


    if you can, reply asap as I have my speaking test tomorrow.

    • That’s right. You can mention anatomy, pathology, low vision etc. You don’t have to give a list – just mention one or two.
      Good luck!

  7. Hi Liz,
    I’m preparing for the exam. I’m afraid about the speaking test. I know I have to be more practice with speaking. I don,t have much vocabulary. how can i improve my speaking ability.

    Thank you

    • Prepare all topics and questions given on this blog. Also watch my lesson on how to improve your speaking at home.
      All the best

  8. Hi Liz, I have got 5.5 in speaking section in my last IELTS exam. Would you please give me some tips how can I overcome my weakness and get at least 6.5?
    Thanks in advance.

    • My advice is to be better prepared with ideas to topics so that you can add much more to your answers. All answers should be expanded. Also think about your grammar. Make sure you offer past tense in your answers as well as conditionals and other tenses.

  9. Do I just need to prepare for these questions of the topics you gave??? Is it enough?
    Thank you.

    • Prepare for all topics that you can find online. Even that will not cover all topics but it will give you a strong foundation of ideas and vocabulary.
      All the best

  10. Hello
    liz mam
    I am anup patel, i do ielts class ,i am very dull ……..
    liz mam please help me
    3/09/2015 my ielts exam please help me mam
    how can i improve my reading, listening, speaking and writing
    i am not understand reading, listening, speaking and writing
    please mam give me a few tips
    i hope you mam……
    you give me a few tips

    thank you mam

  11. Hi Liz

    If the interviewer asks us in speaking test one,” have you been in a very cold weather?”

    Is it O.K. to say, No,I haven’t been in a cold weather.” or do we have to always answer the question positively by saying yes?


    • You answer the question any way you want “yes” or “no” but the key is giving a range of English. For example, “No, I haven’t. I’ve only ever known tropical weather”. Add more to your answers.

  12. hi liz i have done my speaking exam yesterday.. i was ok with the first part.. and than in 2 minutes topic question.. the topic was tell the subject which u did not like before but now you like..
    what the subject was
    why u like
    and how you feel to like it;;
    and describe .. and explain ..
    so as per i were speaking i roughly spoke about less than 1 minute and she just started another question.. even she did not say about that is the end of your speaking test.. but i am not stuck anywhere i was continuously speaking .. but she raised another question in between.. so does it effect my band score higher or lower.. if you please may i know the suggestion on this…

  13. Hi Liz
    I would like to thank you very much for your free lesson. it helped me a lot during the speaking test.
    I have just finished the test on last Sunday and it’s surprising that the examiner asked the question as per your guideline then I could speak fluently.

    Thanks again

  14. Hi Liz,
    I’m Malaysian from Canada:
    My speaking topics are:
    Part 1:
    -about the place l live.
    – Preference on type of house for the future & why.
    – perception on Team work at working area
    – Do we need a leader or not and why
    Part 2:
    Sport which I involved in the past, when,where, with wHom and why it was interesting.
    -Do u prefer individual success or the team success?

    Part 3:
    -Newspapers: when have u started reading news papers?
    – What kind of news papers do u have in ur country?
    -Do u like local news or international news?
    – Why do u think International collaboration is important?
    – Benefits of involving in international collaboration?

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