IELTS Topic: Family

Vocab & Idioms

Go over the following vocabulary and expressions with your tutor. Read the word/expression and definition out loud, and your tutor will go over anything you do not understand. Practice creating a sentence or two to make sure you know how to use the word/expression properly.

Vocabulary/ Expressions

Nuclear family (n) – a family consisting of the parents and their children
Extended family (n) – a family unit that includes grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles, and cousins in addition to parents and children
Single parent (n) – someone who has a child or children but no husband, wife, or partner who lives with them
Sibling (n) – a brother or sister
Relative (n) – a member of your family
Grow up (phrasal verb) – to go from being a child to an adult
Divorce (n or v) – a legal process to end a marriage
Childcare (n) – the care of children by a day-care center, babysitter, or other provider while parents are working
Your own flesh and blood (idiom) – a member of your family
It runs in the family (idiom) – an ability that is passed on through the generations

Part 1 Questions

Here are possible questions that might come up during the test. Go over them with your tutor.

Family

  • How many people are there in your family?
  • What do you like to do together?
  • Who is your favorite family member?

Part 2&3 Questions

Here are possible questions that might come up during the test. Go over them with your tutor.

Sample A

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a happy childhood memory. You should say:
    • when it happened
    • who was with you
    • how you felt at the time
    • and why you remember this specific time.

Part 3 Questions

  • What do role models provide children?
  • How does TV influence children in a bad way?

Sample B

Part 2 Questions

  • Talk about a family member you admire the most. You should say:
    • who it is
    • what is their relationship to you
    • what qualities he/she has
    • and why you admire him/her so much.

Part 3 Questions

  • Why is family important to you?
  • Why do family members argue sometimes?

Sample C

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a family vacation you went on. You should say:
    • where you went
    • which family members went with you
    • what you did together while on vacation
    • and how you felt about the time together

Part 3 Questions

  • Why is it important to spend time with family?
  • Is it important to spend some time apart from family?

Sample Answers

Here are some sample answers. Go over them with your tutor.

Part 1 Questions

  • How many people are there in your family?
    • Besides my mom and dad, I have three siblings to include two brothers and one sister. I have to say, I’m the third child to be born to some awesome parents.
  • What do you like to do together?
    • Since we are all adults and don’t live together, we spend very little time together. However, when we reunite it’s normally for a holiday such as Thanksgiving or Christmas.
  • Who is your favorite family member?
    • When it comes to family I don’t have a favorite, because all of my family members are equally as important, especially my nuclear family.

Part 2&3 Answers

Here are some sample answers. Go over them with your tutor.

Sample A

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a happy childhood memory. You should say:
    • when it happened
    • who was with you
    • how you felt at the time
    • and why you remember this specific time.

I have so many joyful memories of me growing up, but sometimes I can’t think of them? Hmmm, let me see? This is not exactly a happy memory, but it ended up in a happy way.

I remember when I was starting 9th grade in high school. It was my first year, so I was the new kid on the block along with the rest of my classmates. My older brother and sister were upperclassmen, therefore I was not nervous or intimidated by the older students. Boy was I wrong!

My older brother’s classmates, especially the women, knew I was the younger brother. On the first day of school they made it a point to embarrass me by teasing me in front of my fellow classmates, but also my brother. They blew kisses at me and called me little Johnny until I was red in the face with embarrassment. I ended up running into the bathroom to get away from it all. I stayed in the bathroom until I heard the bell for classes to begin.

I remember, ummm, peeking out the door to make sure none of my brother’s friends were around. After seeing that the coast was clear, I made a mad dash for my class. I made it just in time, but as I entered the class, I saw all my classmates laughing at me. They were calling me little Johnny also!

Looking back on this memory, I would have to say it was probably one of the most embarrassing times in my life. However, it was all in fun and I gained the nickname, Johnny. To this day, my family and good friends call me Johnny.


Part 3 Questions

  • How do role models influence children?
    • This is a good question, and it’s important that every child has good role models while growing up. These people set good examples for children to learn by. Some of these people turn out to be mentors like parents, relatives, or even teachers. A good role model teaches right from wrong, provides support, and encourages success.
  • How does TV influence children in a bad way?
    • Not all TV programs affect kids in a negative way, although I would have to say lots of them are not suitable for children. It seems to me that the content on TV has changed over the years and keeps getting worse. This alone shows kids that maybe violence, profanity, and killing is acceptable in society.

Sample B

Part 2 Questions

  • Talk about a family member you admire the most. You should say:
    • who it is
    • what is their relationship to you
    • what qualities he/she has
    • and why you admire him/her so much.

I like this question because it’s easy to answer. It’s most definitely my grandfather, even though he’s been dead for almost 30 years.

When I was a teenager he was my hero and I looked up to him in many ways. I’m sure he was an idol to many of my other relatives and extended-family.

You can say some of the things he accomplished or did in his life, runs in the family. Umm, take me for example. I followed in his footsteps and played football in high school and served in the U.S. Army.

He was a compassionate and warm-hearted person who always took the time to listen and offer his sound advice. Two of my most unforgettable memories of him were, umm, the loan he gave me to buy my first TV and watching our favorite sport teams on TV, umm, in the evenings after dinner. Oh, I can’t forget to mention all the times he took me fishing.

He was liked by everyone and, he had tons of friends. I can still remember the day we put him to rest. Oh man, was that day hard on us. There must have been approximately 100 people in attendendance at his funeral to include his nuclear and extended family and his loyal friends. To say goodbye to your own flesh and blood who you admired so much was one of the most difficult days in my life.


Part 3 Questions

  • Why is family important to you?
    • If you asked me this question when I was younger, my answer would have been different. These days, I absolutely think family is of the utmost importance. They are the backbone in my life, and the main reason is that I’m divorced and, umm, a single parent. They support my daughter and me through thick and thin. Without them, I would struggle to raise my one and only child.
  • Why do family members argue sometimes?
    • I never really thought about this before, but I can think of a few reasons why I argue with my family. Let’s take my daughter as an example. She’s only 10 years old, and she thinks everything should be her way. We end up arguing over stupid things such as the clothes she is wearing to school. Basically, It boils down to families are humans and arguments will happen on occasion.

Sample C

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a family vacation you went on. You should say:
    • where you went
    • which family members went with you
    • what you did together while on vacation
    • and how you felt about the time together.

This is an interesting question, since I just went on a family vacation all but 2 weeks ago. So, I’m going to talk about my recent getaway with my wife.

The hardest part about going on this two week vacation was trying to find childcare, umm, for our two children. Eventually, my parents, who are retired, decided to look after them. Thank god for your own flesh and blood!

My wife and I went to the tropical islands of Hawaii for a romantic vacation, which was long overdue. We had a fabulous time despite the fact the airlines lost our suitcases. Luckily, we didn’t let it spoil our fun.

The beach resort we stayed at has a breathtaking view with a volcano in the horizon. The only thing I didn’t like about it was that there were too many other people on the beach. There was no privacy. I wasn’t expecting a private beach to ourselves. What I meant was, I was expecting at least some space between us and the couples beside us. It was like we were sitting on top of each other.

All in all, I wouldn’t trade the time away with my wife for anything. I’m happy that my siblings recommended the resort to us.


Part 3 Questions

  • Why is it important to spend time with family?
    • Time spent with your loved ones is high on my priority list. I for one cherish the quality time with not only my nuclear family, but also my extended family and good friends. I don’t know what I would do without them. As the saying goes, you never know what you have until, umm, it’s gone.
  • Is it important to spend some time apart from family?
    • Absolutely, I think people should spend some alone time, umm, or time with friends separate from other family members on occasion. It doesn’t mean you don’t want to be with them or don’t love them. It just means, absence makes the heart grow fonder. For instance, I’m not with my family now and, I can’t wait to see them later today.

Wrap-up

Go over any new expressions or vocabulary that you learned today.

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