Topic Vocabulary >> Lesson 8: Health
During the IELTS Speaking exam you may be asked questions to do with health and fitness. Read the following IELTS-style questions and answers below and pay attention to the phrases in bold. Use the ‘Definitions’ section at the bottom of the page to check the meaning of any phrases you don’t understand.
Part 1-style questions
Examiner: Have you got a relation you’re particularly fond of?
Sinita: Yes … my granddad … he’s 94 years old but generally he’s as fit as a fiddle … we’re very close and see each other a lot … whenever he goes down with a cold or is under the weather I make a point of visiting him …
Examiner: Do you do any sport?
Jon: Yes … I’m keen on skateboarding … but I haven’t done it for a while … I had a bad fall recently and pulled a muscle and had a few cuts and bruises … but I’m on the mend and hope to be doing it again soon …
Examiner: Is there anything you’re particularly afraid of?
Davide: The dentist … I hate going to the dentist … I only ever go if I have a toothache so it usually means I have to have a filling or even have a tooth out … I really don’t like it …
Part 2-style task
Describe a time when you were ill. You should say:
- when this was
- what your symptoms were
- how long the illness lasted
and say how it affected your life at the time.
Pierre: This is a tricky one really as I’m usually quite healthy … I’ve never been seriously ill … like everyone else I sometimes get a few aches and pains or catch a cold … I can remember a few months ago I had to have time off work with a heavy cold … I had the usual symptoms … a blocked nose … sore throat … it lasted quite a while … about 2 weeks I think though I didn’t have that much time off work … for a few days I remember feeling poorly but I was over the worst of it after a few days and went back to work … I always find it’s better to be active when you feel ill as it keeps your mind off your symptoms … I think my family get a little fed up with me when I’m ill though … I tend to feel sorry for myself and lie on the sofa all day as if I’m at death’s door … but as I said earlier … on this occasion it was nothing serious and didn’t really cause me any problems …
Part 3-style questions
Examiner: What costs are involved when you are ill in your country?
Anya: Well … people have to pay prescription charges which can be quite expensive … but fortunately general healthcare is free … unless you want to go private of course and then you can pay a fortune for your treatment …
Examiner: In your experience are people too quick to take time off work when they’re ill?
Alicia: Yes .. I’ve got friends who have a day off work if they wake up with a runny nose … and in most cases they seem to make a speedy recovery after they’ve phoned in sick …
Examiner: Do women pay more attention to their health than men?
Julie: I think so yes … women are more likely to see their GP for a check-up if they’re concerned about something … men tend to avoid facing up to any health problems they have … my dad always seems to have a very chesty cough but refuses to go to make an appointment to see the doctor …
- aches and pains: minor pains that continue over a period of time
- to be a bit off colour: to feel a little ill
- to be at death’s door: (informal) to be very ill indeed
- to be on the mend: to be recovering after an illness
- to be over the worst: to have got through the most serious or uncomfortable stage of an illness
- to be under the weather: (informal) to not feel well
- a blocked nose: when the nose has excess fluid due to a cold
- to catch a cold: to get a cold
- a check-up: a physical examination by a doctor
- a chesty cough: a cough caused by congestion around the lungs
- cuts and bruises: minor injuries
- to feel poorly: to feel ill
- as fit as a fiddle: to be very healthy
- to go down with a cold: to become ill
- to go private: to choose to be treated by commercial healthcare rather than by services offered by the state
- GP: General Practitioner (family doctor)
- to have a filling: to have a tooth repaired
- to have a tooth out: to have a tooth removed
- a heavy cold: a bad cold
- to make an appointment: to arrange a time to see the doctor
- to make a speedy recovery: to recover quickly from an illness
- to phone in sick: to call work to explain you won’t be attending work due to illness
- prescription charges: money the patient pays for medicine authorised by a doctor
- to pull a muscle: to strain a muscle
- a runny nose: a nose that has liquid coming out of it
- a sore throat: inflammation that causes pain when swallowing
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