IELTS Cue Card: Describe a leisure activity you do with your family

IELTS Cue Card: Describe a leisure activity you do with your family


Describe a leisure activity you do with your family.
You should say:
  • What it is
  • When you do it
  • How you do it
And explain how you feel about it.

Part 3:
  • What kinds of leisure activities are popular in your country?
  • What leisure activities do young people like?
  • Do leisure activities have to be educational?
  • Do men and women like different leisure activities?

Part 2 — Sample Answer:

Movie night is something I do routinely with my siblings. Sometimes we invite friends, but it’s really a time we set aside for each other once a month. While we all live and work in the same city, we live at opposite ends and getting together can be a challenge with our current schedules.

It’s something we started doing in our early twenties. At the time my eldest sibling and I had just graduated, but my youngest brother was still in university. I’d just started my career, while my older brother was about a year into his. We were all doing our best to get ahead and were seeing each other less and less. We all kept trying to make plans but they’d always seem to fall apart at the last minute for one reason or another.

I think it was my idea because I was missing them both quite a lot. I wanted to do something really casual with them so we could let our hair down and relax. Going to a restaurant seemed to be too much work, as anywhere decent requires a reservation and research, and hanging out at a bar wasn’t likely to work out because they can be really noisy environments. The idea came to me in the shower one day, and it felt like a lightbulb switched on in my head.

On my way to work, I messaged them both and suggested the idea of getting together every few weeks. We could pick a movie or something from Netflix, order a pizza or two, and microwave a few bags of popcorn. It wouldn’t require any work and we’d set aside a few hours on a Sunday evening once a month. They loved it!

We’ve been doing it for the last few years and it’s been working perfectly. Aside from one family emergency, we’ve been pretty consistent and haven’t skipped a movie night yet.

I think I’m pretty lucky that my siblings live in the same city. I think it would be so much harder if we all lived in different parts of the country, or even different countries, but for as long as we all live nearby, movie night will survive.

Vocabulary and idioms for this answer:

Set aside (phrasal verb)
If you set aside something, you save it or keep it in order to use it for a particular purpose.
Example: Have you set aside some money for your child’s education?

Get ahead (phrasal verb)
If you get ahead, you become successful in the work that you do.
Example: It’s tough for women to get ahead in politics.

Fall apart (phrasal verb)
If something falls apart, it stops working or gets cancelled because of problems. It no longer continues.
Example: The deal fell apart because of lack of funding.

The last minute (idiom)
If something happens at the last minute, it happens at the latest possible opportunity for doing it.
Example: He always leaves his homework until the last minute.

Decent (adjective)
If something is decent, it’s good or good enough.
Example: Are there any decent restaurants around here?

Hang out (phrasal verb)
If you spend a lot of time somewhere you are said to hang out there. You can also hang out with people too.
Example: I’ve been hanging out all day at the beach.

Work out (phrasal verb)
This phrasal verb can mean a few things. Most commonly it means to exercise, and people work out at the gym. It also is commonly used if you’re successful. It can also mean to figure out how to do something.
Example A: He works out at the gym every day.
Example B: If it doesn’t work out, you can always come back here.
Example C: I haven’t worked out how to do that yet.

Part 3 — Sample Answers:

What kinds of leisure activities are popular in your country?

A lot of people seem to love going to the gym. Many employers provide cheap or even free access to fitness clubs as part of their benefits package and the perks they provide. I’ll often see my local gym packed with office workers after 5pm, all using the membership cards provided by their employers. I think it’s for this reason that I opt to go at other times of the day when it’s quieter.

It’s really popular for friends to get together in a bar after work too. As the workday ends, it’s common to see businesspeople in suits arrive at the nearest bar for a beer before they go home. I think they do this as a way to unwind after a stressful day, before they see their spouse and kids.

Team sports are also popular. I think a lot of people miss playing the outdoor sports they played in school, and so they get together in teams to play a game or two of football or rugby. This isn’t something I’ve ever been interested in, but I often see groups of men playing a game of football while I’m on the bus home.

I think while these kinds of leisure activities will remain popular for the foreseeable future, video games will gain more of a foothold and people might opt to play these instead of actually getting outside to play with their friends outside.

Vocabulary and idioms for this answer:

Opt (verb)
If you opt for something, you choose it. In particular you might choose it instead of something else.
Example: Mary opted to retire early.

Unwind (verb)
To begin to relax after you’ve been working hard or feeling stressed or anxious.
Example: I need to sit down and unwind for half an hour.

Foreseeable future (idiom)
The foreseeable future is the period of time when you can predict what is going to happen based on the current circumstances.
Example: It’s unlikely the school will be closed for the foreseeable future.

Foothold (noun)
An initial or stable position from which you can progress, improve your status, or become more successful. It’s linked to the place where you can put your foot to support yourself if you were rock climbing.
Example: They have managed to gain a foothold in the South American market.

What leisure activities do young people like?

I think younger people tend to like video games and sports that require a lot of physical activity. It’s rare to see an older person playing video games, and often they have mobility restrictions that prevent them from playing a lot of sports.

I think this is changing quite significantly though, and it’s driven by technology and laziness. Video game consoles weren’t available several decades ago, and they’re a fairly recent invention. In the past, youngsters would have been more likely to play board games, read, or play an outdoor sport. These things are going the way of the dodo and will probably become less and less common as the years roll on. Ironically one of the most popular video games is Fifa, a game in which people play football on a screen instead of in real life.

Vocabulary and idioms for this answer:

Go the way of the dodo (idiom)
If something becomes outdated or obsolete, it is said to go the way of the dodo. A dodo is an extinct species of bird.
Example: The prevalence of cellphones has caused payphones to go the way of the dodo.

Roll on (idiom)
It’s used with things like time that move on slowly and evenly, like a ball rolling along the ground.
Example: As the hours rolled on, I realized how difficult the task was.

Do leisure activities have to be educational?

I’d say no. While it’s certainly possible to blend learning with entertainment, leisure activities are often a way to unwind.

Oftentimes people just want to watch a mindless movie or lighthearted TV show just because they want to veg on the couch and switch off their brains. Perhaps they’ve had a long day at work, or spent a few weeks studying for an exam, and the last thing they want to do is something that taxes their brain.

It is common for educational activities to have a fun component though. This is especially true for activities developed for young children who wouldn’t be able to struggle through a dry learning experience. Play needs to be incorporated into the learning process, and so a lot of learning looks very similar to a leisure activity.

It certainly is possible for a leisure activity to be instructional though. People picking up a new hobby, such as baking will learn a lot in the process, but will treat it as a bit of casual fun instead of taking it as seriously as a culinary student might.

Vocabulary and idioms for this answer:

Mindless (adjective)
If something is mindless, it means it doesn’t need a lot of mental effort. It can also be something stupid and pointless.
Example A: People waste a lot of time doing mindless things.
Example B: The movie is full of mindless violence
Example C: It’s fairly mindless work. I don’t have to think a lot when I’m doing it.

Lighthearted (adjective)
Something that’s happy and not serious.
Example: It was a fairly light-heated conversation.

Veg (verb, very informal)
If you veg, you sit and relax. It comes from the word vegetate. It’s also said as veg out.
Example: I’ve had such a tough week, and all I want to do is veg on the couch.

Switch off (phrasal verb)
It has two meanings, and in this case it means to mentally turn off and stop thinking about something, or paying attention to someone. It can also mean to physically turn something off, like a light or a TV.
Example: He just switches off an ignores me.

Tax (verb)
If something is taxing it requires a lot of mental or physical effort.
Example: It’s only a short report; it shouldn’t be too taxing to read.

Dry (adjective)
This word has a lot of meanings, but in this case it is a synonym of boring or very serious.
Example: The style was too dry for a children’s book.

Incorporated (adjective)
Something can be incorporated to mean included or combined into one thing.
Example: The best features from the old model have been incorporated into the new one.

Pick up (phrasal verb)
This phrasal verb has a lot of different meanings, but in this case it means to start or learn something new.
Example: She picked up a few German phrases while staying in Berlin.

Do men and women like different leisure activities?

Stereotypically, yes. Historically, you’d rarely see women playing more aggressive male-dominated sports like rugby, but this is no longer the case and women’s rugby leagues are relatively common.

I think a lot of this is due to culture. Girls, as they’re growing up, will be encouraged to do more feminine things, and boys will be exposed to more masculine activities.

One hundred years ago the lines between so-called masculine and feminine activities were quite clear and well defined, but nowadays people don’t care anywhere near as much and the lines have blurred or even disappeared.

Thinking about my friends, we all seem to like very similar things irrespective of gender. We all like going to see a movie in the same way we all like going to a bar or playing some kind of sport, and I think that’s really cool.

Vocabulary and idioms for this answer:

Stereotypically (noun)
A stereotype is an idea that people have about what something or someone is like. It’s usually wrong and usually prejudicial.
Example: It’s a common stereotype that all accountants are boring people. But this is wrong because some are really fun people!

Male-dominated (adjective)
Something that’s male-dominated is controlled mainly by men, or it’s an activity that’s mainly done by men.
Example: Politics is very male-dominated.

League (noun)
A league is a group of teams or players who regularly compete against each other.
Example: The National Football League

Lines have blurred (idiom)
If the differences between two things blurs it becomes more similar so that you’re no longer sure they’re actually different.
Example: Their adverts blur the line between art and advertising.

Irrespective (adverb)
It means despite a particular fact, situation, or quality.
Example: We consider all qualified job applicants irrespective of gender or age.

How long will these questions be valid?

At least until the end of April 2020.
Three times a year the British Council changes many of the topics and questions they ask. Sometimes they decide to keep a topic for another four months, but oftentimes they decide to replace it. This one is very likely to be replaced with a new topic at the beginning of May 2020, but it won't be known for sure until then.

Just to let you know, there are 49 possible part 2/3 topics on the current exam. Sometimes there are more, sometimes there are less, and this number changes when the British Council updates the questions.

Book a Class Today

If you found this article useful, you’ll love my classes. I’ve helped hundreds of students achieve the IELTS score they dreamed of, and I’d like you to be the next success story. I help people with both conversational classes and IELTS speaking test preparation.

Here's what two of my students have had to say about me:

“Very interesting lesson, we had a useful conversation about different topics and Matthew corrected me to improve my vocabulary and grammar.”
— Philippe, France🇫🇷

“Matthew is a fun, easygoing and intelligent teacher that makes you feel at ease from minute one. He's very versatile too. I'd recommend anyone to book a lesson with him!”
— Gina, Spain🇪🇸

👋 Say hello to me today, and let’s get started by scheduling a class at the link below. 👋

https://www.verbling.com/teachers/ieltsmatthew
27. Februar 2020
Profile Picture
$25
$22.50
USD/Std.

Matthew Bradley

security_checked
5.0
$25
$22.50
USD/Std.
Flag
Englisch
globe
Vereinigtes Königreich
time
28
Spricht:
Englisch
Muttersprachler
I help students with two things: ✅ Day to day speaking practice ✅ IELTS speaking test preparation I correct everything and will help you learn where your mistakes are and how to fix them. I don't ignore your mistakes! I have all the current questions that can appear on the IELTS speaking test. Preparing with me won't be a waste of time, and you won't be practicing questions that are years out of date. I've helped hundreds of students get the score they want on the IELTS speaking test, which can be an incredibly difficult test sometimes. I can help make sure you're as prepared as possible for the questions that examiners can throw at you. Many of my students have commented that they've practiced the very same questions that appeared on the exam, and were happy to have thought through some tricky topics in advance. Let's get started! Book a class and I'll see you soon!
Flag
Englisch
globe
Vereinigtes Königreich
time
28
Spricht:
Englisch
Muttersprachler
I help students with two things: ✅ Day to day speaking practice ✅ IELTS speaking test preparation I correct everything and will help you learn where your mistakes are and how to fix them. I don't ignore your mistakes! I have all the current questions that can appear on the IELTS speaking test. Preparing with me won't be a waste of time, and you won't be practicing questions that are years out of date. I've helped hundreds of students get the score they want on the IELTS speaking test, which can be an incredibly difficult test sometimes. I can help make sure you're as prepared as possible for the questions that examiners can throw at you. Many of my students have commented that they've practiced the very same questions that appeared on the exam, and were happy to have thought through some tricky topics in advance. Let's get started! Book a class and I'll see you soon!
Mi vida antes del Covid- 19 (IMPERFECTO) A-2
Profile Picture
Alejandra Santiago
7. August 2020
팔랑귀
Profile Picture
Abby H
7. August 2020
The Origins of popular English Idioms
Profile Picture
Jen Mc Monagle
7. August 2020