6 Hot Topics up for Discussion in Advanced Speaking Part 4

by | Mar 24, 2022 | Advanced Certificate, Advanced Speaking | 0 comments

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Part 4 is a discussion between you, your partner, and the examiner. The examiner asks you and your partner questions related to the topic you talked about in Part 3. While there isn’t a list of prescribed topics that can come up, it’s certainly the case that certain topics appear more often than others. We’re going to have a look at some of the most commonly occurring ones in this post. What’s more, in Part 4, you need to use a wide range of vocabulary, collocations, phrasal verbs and idioms if you want to do well. So, we’re going to throw in a nice collection of those too. Enjoy!


1. Topic: Health & lifestyle

     Focus: Collocations

Are you a fitness fanatic or a couch potato? Or perhaps something in-between? Either way, you should be ready to talk about your lifestyle, eating habits and leisure time preferences as they often come up in Speaking Part 4. And in case you didn’t know, ‘fitness fanatic’ and ‘couch potato’ are collocations, or words that naturally go together in English. So, if you want to sound more like a native speaker, using collocations (like the ones below) is a great place to start!

Look at these statements (1-7) and choose the phrases which best describe your opinions on health and diet.

    1. I’m quite into sport / a massive sport’s fan / not at all interested in sport.
    2. I work out all the time. / l’m quite an active person. / l never do any exercise.
    3. I like to keep fit by going jogging / doing workouts at home / taking my dogs for walks.
    4. I sometimes get a good night’s rest / suffer from insomnia / have a lie-in at the weekend.
    5. I do my best to avoid processed food / fizzy drinks / food with a high fat content.
    6. I’m fanatical about healthy eating. / I try to eat a balanced diet. / I don’t pay much attention to my diet.
    7. I think our government should promote healthier lifestyles for children / put a sales tax on unhealthy food / build better sports facilities in my area.


2. Topic: The Environment

     Focus: Idioms

Have you seen anything in the news recently about the climate crisis? Buzz words like ‘climate change’, ‘global warming’, ‘climate refugees’, and ‘green targets’ seem to pop up in our news feeds every day. It’s no surprise then that it’s a common topic for discussion in the speaking test. So, you should have some vocabulary and idioms ready in case the topic comes up on exam day!

Look at the sentences (1-7) and choose the right word(s) to complete the idioms.

    1. Until now, the government has turned a blind eye/deaf ear to the reality of climate change.
    2. The problem of how to reduce household waste is just the top/tip of the iceberg.
    3. Plastic pollution is getting/growing out of hand. If we don’t do something soon, it will destroy our planet!
    4. The mayor knew he’d be in deep/shallow water if he didn’t make the public transport system more eco-friendly.
    5. The student’s letter protesting the new pipeline was just a drop in the ocean/sea.
    6. The bottom/base line is that all of us need to responsible for our own recycling.
    7. The popularity of organic food is adding/gaining ground. It’s said to be better for people as well as the environment.

(Answers at the end of the post)



3. Topic: Jobs & working life

     Focus: Vocabulary

Did you know it’s estimated that each one of us will spend about 90,000 hours at work over our lifetime? Well, that’s a crazy number! And it’s also no wonder then that we all have a lot to say about this topic. So, whether you love or hate your job, or you haven’t even got a job yet, you shouldn’t be surprised if the examiner asks you questions about it. Let’s prepare you for that conversation by building your vocabulary below.

Complete the sentences (1-7) about Diana’s job. There are letter prompts to help you.

    1. Diana started out in a d _ _ _-e _ _ job in a fruit factory but ended up becoming an IT specialist.
    2. After her son was born, she took 6 months m _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ l _ _ _ _ and then went back to work part-time.
    3. Years ago, she did a lot of v _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ w _ _ _ helping people in developing countries to improve their computer skills.
    4. She’s a self-confessed w _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ and can’t remember when last she had a holiday.
    5. She gets a great deal of j _ _ s _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ from creating beautiful, user-friendly mobile apps.
    6. A few months ago, her husband lost his job so now she is the main b _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _.
    7. She’s lucky to have a job with generous b _ _ _ _ _ _ _ including a company car, medical insurance, and paid leave.

(Answers at the end of the post)



4. Topic: Globalisation

     Focus: Phrasal verbs

What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘globalisation’? Personally, it makes me think of the interdependence of the world’s economies, cultures, and populations… of everything. Literally every aspect of our modern lives is impacted – and defined – in some way by globalisation, which is probably why this topic is such a good one for discussion in the exam. If you do end up speaking about it in your test, try to use these phrasal verbs to impress the examiner!

Complete the sentences (1-7) using the correct particles (prepositions or adverbs).

    1. All over the world you’ll come ______ English words or sayings on billboards, advertisements, and even clothing.
    2. ‘Fast fashion’ really damages the environment as clothes get made, sold and thrown __.
    3. Fans of martial arts can take ______ karate from Japan, kung fu from China, or capoeira from Brazil.
    4. Whenever you eat ______, you can always count ______ finding an Indian, Thai or Italian restaurant in your area.
    5. Having one global culture means people sometimes give ______ their local traditions.
    6. Fashion companies often go ______ young adults who tend to follow ‘influencers’ on social media.
    7. Television channels such as the BBC help people to keep up ______ current global events.

(Answers at the end of the post)



5. Topic: Money & finances

     Focus: Expressing attitude

Do you know that expression ‘Money makes the world go round’? While you might not agree that it’s the most important thing on earth, there’s no denying that it’s necessary to survive, and in some ways thrive, in the modern world. People have very different attitudes and opinions on this topic. For you to express yours with precision in Speaking Part 4, you can use attitude markers. They can be adverbs or phrases, but we’ll just use adverbs (‘-ly’) below.

Complete the sentences (1-7) with attitude markers. Use the words in brackets to help you.

    1. Money-related stress has ________________ made her health problems worse. (DOUBT)
    2. ________________, I’d love to get a well-paid job in an English-speaking country. (IDEAL)
    3. ________________ I didn’t have my credit card with me, or else I would have bought the coat. (FORTUNE)
    4. The hotel resort ended up being ________________ cheap! (SURPRISE)
    5. This is ________________ the richest football club in the world. (ARGUE)
    6. ________________, Ed has just bought a new car, despite telling everyone he’s broke. (INTEREST)
    7. Well, ________________, I am no financial expert, but I think that is an awful investment. (ADMIT)

(Answers at the end of the post)



6. Topic: Travel & tourism

     Focus: Giving opinions

When you go away, do you like to visit popular destinations? Or do you prefer to go off the beaten track? If you’ve been to a super touristy place, then I’m sure you’ve seen both the good and bad sides of the tourist industry. This is just one of the aspects of travel that could be up for debate in the final part of the Speaking test. Below you can find some more.

Read the statements about travel and tourism, and think about how the economy, environment, or local people could be affected. Do you agree or disagree with these statements?

    • Tourism encourages the protection of wildlife and natural resources.
    • Tourism improves infrastructure (roads, hotels, airports, hospitals, etc.)
    • Tourism leads to job creation and reduces unemployment.
    • Tourism can bring higher levels of investment to developing areas.
    • Tourists and local people learn about each other’s cultures.


Write your opinions in the comment section below. The first and/or most interesting commenters will get feedback on their writing 🙂




Activity two:

  1. turn a blind eye
  2. the tip of the iceberg
  3. getting out of hand
  4. be in deep water
  5. a drop in the ocean
  6. the bottom line
  7. gaining ground

Activity three:

  1. dead-end
  2. maternity leave
  3. volunteer work
  4. workaholic
  5. job satisfaction
  6. breadwinner
  7. benefits

Activity four:

  1. come across
  2. throw away
  3. take up
  4. eat out, count on
  5. give up
  6. go after
  7. keep up with

Activity five:

  1. undoubtedly
  2. ideally
  3. unfortunately
  4. surprisingly
  5. arguably
  6. interestingly
  7. admittedly


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