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 express importance and priority in IELTS?

IELTS speaking is very popular for asking you questions where you have to express your priority upon something. Although there is no such rule that best describes the way of answering this IELTS speaking questions, it is always better for you to know some language tips on How to express importance and priority In IELTS.

In this lesson, you’ll master the Formula for Prioritising. This is a skill that you will need to use in all Part Three lessons. It is a basic native speaker discussion skill.

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

What environmental concerns today should be addressed most urgently?
What are the most important things to bear in mind if you are planning an overseas trip?
Which subjects, sports, activities or lessons do you believe to have the highest priority in a child’s education?

To express priority you should:-

Answer order
1 . Say how important you think X is.
2. Compare the importance of X with other things.
3. Explain why you think this.

Language steps:

  1. Use native speaker importance phrases and adverbs of the degree to introduce your opinion.
  2. Use comparatives and superlatives to say why one thing is more important than another.
  3. Use expressions to say why something is important.

Step 1: How to express importance and priority in IELTS?

Importance Phrases &Adverbs of Degree

Which is more important in a child’s school education: academic subjects; teamwork through spoiling activities/ or; about art and drama?
As a general rule, I think that academic subjects are the most important part of a child’s education…Having said that, I do feel that sporting activities should play a role in a child’s school education…Learning about art and participating in drama activities…are also fairly important for helping young people develop more
creative skills as well as learning to express themselves…

Importance phrases
When you are asked how important something is, it’s best to begin by using an importance phrase as in the following:

  • X should play a role
  • X plays a big role in our lives
  • X is an important part of our lives
  • X is a controversial issue /question
  • X is an important issue /question
  • X is a top priority

Examples:
» Yes, computers play a big role in our lives.
» I think it’s an important issue today.
» Entertainment has always been an important part of our lives.
» Friendship is something we should always take very seriously.
» Being responsible at work is a top priority in life.

⟹ Adverbs of degree
When you begin to talk about how important or valuable something is, it’s good to use a variety of native speaker adverbs of degree as in the following phrases:-

  • to some extent…important
  • important up to a point
  • quite important
  • fairly important
  • very important
  • especially important
  • particularly important
  • considerably important
  • incredibly important

Examples:
» I think that art is very important in life.
» I don’t think learning history is particularly important for people.
» To some extent fashion is important.
» Being able to do mathematics is important up to a point, but
» Being a good speaker is fairly important in life.
» Diplomacy is especially important in today’s society.
» Learning to read and write is incredibly important for every person in society.

The adverbs completely and absolutely are usually used with unimportant to indicate a negative meaning, for examples:
» Age is completely unimportant when I think about my ideal husband.
» Being interested in fashion is absolutely unimportant I think it is ridiculous and superficial.

Extra language point: Time Buying Expressions & Backtracking

Sophia: That’s a tough question because so much depends on the individual pupil,.. Having said that, I do feel that sporting activities should play a role in a child’s school education…

Time Buying

If the question the interviewer asks is something that is a little controversial, or subject to different opinions, you can “buy yourself some time” with:
» That’s a tough question…
» Mmm, that’s an interesting point…
» Let me think for a second
» Let me see…
» I have to say that…
» It’s hard to say
» Actually,,,

Backtracking

Sometimes, native speakers will think back at what they have just said, and change their opinion slightly or add an extra, slightly contrasting point. It’s completely acceptable to do this, you won’t lose points for backtracking because natives do it all the time you can backtrack with:
» Having said that…
» Now that I think about it, I guess
» Come to think of it…

Step 2: How to express importance and priority in IELTS?

Comparatives & Superlatives

As a general rule, I think that academic subjects are the most important part of a child’s education…I feel that team sports are certainly more valuable than individual sports in a child’s education. Learning about art and participating in drama activities, though not as important as academic pursuits and sports…


⟹ Comparing importance or priority

When you are discussing how important something is or how high a priority something should be given, most native speakers will use the following comparative structures:
» X is more convenient than Y because…
I am convinced that watching DVDs is much more convenient than watching films in the cinema because…
» X should have /has a higher priority than Y because
I believe science should have a higher priority than art in schools because…

» X is more important than Y because…
I hold the opinion that keeping healthy is more important than just hanging out with friends
and having fun because…
» X is undoubtedly of greater importance than Y because
I feel that quality education is undoubtedly of greater importance than economic development because,…
» X is certainly in need of more attention than Y because
For me, slowing down global warming is certainly in need of more attention than saving
particular species of animals because…
» X should take precedence over Y because
Spending money improving our hospitals should take precedence over spending money renovating historic buildings because…

Another way of expressing that one thing is more important than another is by saying:
» Before doing X, we should do Y.
Before spending more money on education, we should try to raise the standard of living of the countryside population.
If the two things you are comparing have the same importance or priority, you can use:
X is equally as important as Y because
Developing the economy is equally as important as saving the environment because…

⟹ Superlatives
It‘s also useful to use the superlative as Sophia did at the beginning of her answer:
As a general rule, I think that academic subjects are the most important part of a child’s education.
The way I see it, looking after the ordinary people is the highest priority of the state.

Step 3: How to express importance and priority in IELTS?

Expressions to Say Why Something Is Important

….Having said that, I do feel that sporting activities should play a role in a child’s school education, not only because this promotes good health, but also because learning to work in a team is considerably important…Learning about art and participating in drama activities…are also fairly important for helping young people develop more creative skills as well as learning to express themselves…

Of course, after you have expressed how important something is in relation to something else, you should support your claim with reasons, saying why it is important.

⟹ X + is + important / necessary /crucial / useful /good +for + verb-ing
»
…because caring for the environment is necessary for helping people keep healthy.
» Physical exercise is useful for keeping fit and healthy and happy.
» Doing adventure sports is good for breathing fresh air and experiencing nature.
» The upkeep of historic buildings is important for building national identity.
» Disciplining children is absolutely essential for teaching them respect for others.
» Eating a balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables is crucial for staying in good shape.

⟹ Or you can use: activity (verb-ing) + promotes + noun
»
Giving gifts on special occasions promotes good feeling amongst friends and family.
» Donating money to charity on a regular basis promotes the development of a caring and unselfish community spirit.
» Offering employees good salaries and fair holidays promotes a happy and warm working environment.

Extra language point: Sequencing


Another way to express the degree of importance is to list “priorities” or “sequence”. This is quite simple. You can list two or three things and put them in order of importance as in the following example:

Well, I think that, when you go on a long journey with a friend, the first thing that you should consider in planning the trip is the amount of time you have and the distance you hope to travel in that time. Secondly, you should think about what kind of things you want to see, and thirdly you need to think about your budget for travel, food, and accommodation.

Look at these variations:
Firstly/The first thing you/we/ they should consider is
Secondly/The second consideration should be…
Thirdly ./The third thing that you /we/ they must do is

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