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IELTS Vocabulary: Mobile Phones

Along with their keys and wallet, a mobile phone is something most people take outside with them every time they leave the house. Mobile phones can be a topic that comes up in the IELTS speaking exam, but you might also get questions about an object you find useful or something that is important to you. This makes able to describe how you use your phone essential for the IELTS speaking exam.

Mobile Phone Practice Questions

Part one

  • How much time do you usually spend on your mobile phone?
  • What is the biggest problem that comes from owning a smartphone?
  • What do you look for when buying a phone?
  • When can mobile phones be annoying?
  • Do you find mobile phones useful for shopping?

Part two

Describe a phone application you use frequently. You should say:

  • What it is,
  • What you use it for,
  • Why you use it frequently,
  • And say how it could be improved.

Part three

  • Should smartphones be banned from schools?
  • Do young and older people use mobile phones differently? 
  • At what age do you think children should get their first phone?
  • In general, do you think that smartphones have been good for society?
  • What is the impact of mobile phones on the workplace? 
  • How has the way we use phones changed in the last 10 years?

Sample Answers

Mobile Phone Vocabulary

These words and phrases are taken from the sample answer video. I’ve written them below in the same order they appear in the video.

Spend time on
When we spend time on something, we use our time on that thing.
Contact
Communicate with someone.
Features
On a mobile phone, these are extra things that the phone does that aren’t essential.
Battery life
This refers to how long a battery lasts for without running out of energy. It’s common to say ‘good’ or ‘bad’ with ‘battery life’ but you can also use ‘long’ or ‘short’.
Headphones
A device to play sounds directly into your ears. You might also hear ‘earbuds’ which are headphones that sit in your ear and are wireless. For example, Apple AirPods are a famous type of earbud.
Spill out
For headphones, this is when sound can be heard by other people who are nearby.
App
Short for ‘application’. You can use this for computer applications, but it is especially common with phone applications.
Minute to minute
Used to describe something that it updated every minute or constantly.
Hand in
When you give something to someone for safekeeping.
Tech savvy
Used to describe someone who is comfortable with and has a lot of knowledge of technology.
Digital native
Someone who has grown up in the digital age (since home computers and cellphones became popular). The idea is that they are as familiar with these devices as people are about their native language.
Checking
A verb that is used a lot with phones. In this usage, it means looking at your phone to see if you have any messages, emails or other important notifications.
Have access to the internet
Be able to connect to the internet.
Messager app
An application for messaging with people like Slack, WhatsApp, Line, WeChat etc.
Comparable with
When two things are close enough that you can compare them.

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