Unit 1: Understanding Speaking Test
Unit 3: Focus on Fluency & Coherence
Unit 3: Focus on Pronunciation
Unit 6: Focus on Lexical Resource
Unit 5: Focus on Grammatical Range & Accuracy

How to answer When was the first/last time you did this?

IELTS speaking is very popular for asking you questions where you have to explain your first and last done things. Although there is no such rule that best describes the way of answering IELTS questions, it is always better for you to know some language tips on How to Answer When was the first/last time you did this?

When IELTS examiner asks you such question they really have no interest on the content of your answer but construct. They just want to know weather you can use right grammatical structure.

First let’s see some questions under this category

»  When was the first/last time you used a computer?
» When was the last time you went on holiday?
» When was the last time visitors came to your house?

Remember this formula

When the examiner asks you When was the first/last time you did this? type questions, you must:

  1. Use prepositions and adverbs of time correctly.
  2. Have great control of the past simple to talk about completed events.
  3. Use varied adjectives of experience to sound more like a native.

Click here for the secret behind band 7 speaking

Step- 1: When was the first/last time you did this?

Use prepositions and adverbs of time correctly.

Language step 1: Prepositions and Adverbs of Time

Let’s look at how Sachin uses prepositions and adverbs of time.
Sachin: The last time I went on holiday was about three years ago…in July 2008…

When talking about something that happened in the past, you need to use prepositions and adverbs of time to say when it happened.

Look at the following prepositions and adverbs of time, and how they are used:

around (months, occasions, festivals, special days)
…around Christmas…
…around my 10th birthday…
➠ last (weeks, weekends, months, years, festivals)
…last weekend…
…last month…
in (months, seasons, years)
…in December…
…in 1979…
during (months, seasons, long festivals)
during the Tet holiday…
…during the spring…
on (days, special days)
the 5th of November 2005…
…on my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary…

You should also master using the following useful expressions:
➠ about + time period + ago
I last played a computer game about two years ago.
They visited the Summer Palace about three days ago.
➠ the last/first time I + past verb + was
the last time I went swimming was a few hours ago.
The first time I ate insects was in the summer of 2007.

Step- 2: When was the first/last time you did this?

Use past tense correctly.

Language step 2: The Past Simple
Let’s look at how Shikha uses the past simple tense.

Shikha: The last time I went on holiday was about three years ago…in July 2008. , My family and I went to SaPa for two weeks during the .summer holiday…my family and I drove out to the mountains there and trekked in the Fansipan.

Do not overlook the usage of past simple tense as many students lose their marks because of basic tense errors.

A lot of students, especially when they are nervous in speaking tests, forget to get their past tenses right, especially for irregular verbs, The only way to get it right is to practice.

Step- 3: When was the first/last time you did this?

Use adjectives of experience correctly.

Language step 3 Adjectives of Experience
Let’s take a look at how Santosh, use adjectives of experience.
Santosh: Although it was difficult to keep my wife from finding out, it was quite exciting in a way and certainly a bit of a challenge! In the end, everything went to plan and we all had a great time-it was definitely a really enjoyable evening.

After saying when you first /last did X, and using prepositions and adverbs of time and past simple verbs correctly, you should add a few details to describe what the activity was like.
Here are some useful adjectives of experience:

➠ difficult, challenging- for things you learned to do that were not easy but you enjoyed
learning
➠ exciting, thrilling, exhilarating, stimulating, enjoyable-for things that you really enjoyed
and that was a lot of fun as well as being interesting
➠ fascinating, intriguing, surprising-for things or experiences that were new and you felt
very curious about them before/while doing them
➠ depressing, upsetting, unpleasant-for things that made you feel sad, very uncomfortable
embarrassing, humiliating- for things that made you feel very uncomfortable because
other people were watching or because you felt silly
➠ irritating, annoying, frustrating-for things that you did not enjoy because you thought
they were stupid, a waste of time, or far too difficult

Look at some examples of these words in context:
The party I attended was really exciting. I am not used to going to parties with people from lots of different countries, so it was fascinating to see how everyone behaved. It was surprising to see so many people having different conversations at the same time!

The last time I went on holiday was really depressing if I am honest. It rained the whole time and my mother got sick. It was upsetting and frustrating because I don’t have much time off work and rarely get holidays.
I used a computer for the first time when I was in middle school. I found it really embarrassing because my classmates all knew how to use one but I didn’t!

Step 1: Use prepositions and adverbs of time correctly.
The last time I went fishing was about three years ago.
Step 2: Have great control of the pastsimple to talk about completed events.
I went on holiday last May.
Step 3: Use varied adjectives of experience to sound more like a native.
Camping in the USA Was so boring.
The Last time I went on holiday was about three years ago…in July 2008. My family and I went! to Sa Pa lor two weeks during the summer holiday. Sa Pa is an intriguing place to visit because of the Dao minority culture. My family and I drove out to the mountains there and trekked in the Fansipan, I really can’t wait to go back there!

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