IELTS Technology Vocabulary

The subject of ‘Technology’ frequently comes up in the IELTS Speaking exam. You may be asked to talk about something you own, your favourite websites, how technology has impacted on education etc.  You’ll need to show the examiner your ability to express yourself using as wide a range of vocabulary as possible.

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: Do you enjoy using technology?
Stephan: Well … I wouldn’t call myself a techie or a computer buff but I enjoy using computers … I’d like to find out more about how they work … when my computer crashes I never know what to do.

Examiner: Do you use the Internet for your studies?
Sophie: Yes … I’d be lost without it … I do lots of video conferencing to practiсe speaking and social media like Facebook is a good way to meet up with other students … and I download podcasts that teach English vocabulary and grammar.

Examiner: Do you have your own computer?
Tania: Yes … I have a MacBook Pro … I use it all the time … for word processing … browsing websites and catching up with TV programs I’ve missed.

Part 2-style task

Describe an item of technology you have that is very important. You should say:

  • what the technology is

  • when you got it

  • how often you use it

and say how different your daily life would be without it.

Mattie: I don’t have many gadgets … just a computer … a laptop and my mobile phone … but I’ll talk about my computer as it’s so useful … it’s funny really … 2 years ago I was still learning to use computers … how to use email … send attachments how to access websites … then I decided to do a digital editing course for video and photography … and so I bought the laptop when I started the course  …  my husband had a desktop PC but it was very slow so I decided to upgrade to a powerful one because we do a lot of video editing on the course … it’s a high-spec laptop … very fast … the latest operating system … it boots up really quickly and it’s  fun to use so it makes working a pleasure … I’ve become a competent computer user now … if I didn’t have it I daresay I’d have to spend more time at college using their computers … but on the positive side I suppose I’d read a lot more if I didn’t have it  …  I probably waste a lot of time surfing the web … but hopefully I won’t have to be without it …

Part 3-style questions

Examiner: What do you think are the important things people need to learn when they start using computers?
Alejandro: Well … there are things like how to use the Internet  … how to enter a web address … how to navigate websites … that kind of thing but it’s also important to know how to back up your files in case your computer crashes … and all about Internet security.

Examiner: What kind of technological developments have made the biggest impact on our lives?
Faydene: In my lifetime it has to be the Internet of course but I also think Wi-Fi has made a huge difference to how we interact with the Internet … wireless networks at home and public Wi-Fi hotspots mean we can go online easily … access our mail … log into our work intranet and basically be connected wherever we are.

Examiner: Do computers make it much easier to study?
Jane: Definitely yes … researching information is much easier with the Internet … you can bookmark webpages for future reference and writing essays is much easier … being able to cut and paste sections of text means you can experiment with organization … so yes … compared to years ago when you had a pile of books on your desk and a pen and paper … it’s now much easier.

Definitions

  • to access websites/email: to locate

  • to back up files: to make a copy of files in case of a computer problem

  • to boot up: to start a computer

  • to bookmark a webpage: to mark a webpage for future reference

  • to browse websites: to look at websites

  • a computer buff: an expert computer user

  • to crash: to suddenly stop working

  • to cut and paste: to move text or images from one place in a document to another place

  • a desktop PC: a computer that isn’t portable and remains in situ on a desk

  • digital editing: to edit digital materials like audio or video files

  • download (podcasts): to save a copy of a file from the internet to your own device

  • to enter a web address: to type the address of a website into the address bar of your browser

  • a gadget: a technological tool like a mobile phone or camera

  • to go online: to start using the Internet

  • high-spec (laptop): powerful computer with top quality components

  • Internet security: Internet safety

  • intranet: a network of connected computers within an organization that is not accessible by unauthorized visitors

  • to navigate a website: to find your way around a website

  • operating system: the software that tells the computer how to work

  • send an attachment: send an email with an accompanying file

  • social media: media used to interact with other people such as Facebook or Twitter

  • to surf the web: to look at a series of websites one after the other

  • a techie: somebody who has an interest in technology

  • to upgrade: to obtain a more powerful or feature-rich computer or piece of software

  • video conferencing: to see and hear people from different locations using the Internet

  • wireless hotspot: a public place where you can access the Internet

  • wireless network: a network where users can access the Internet without the use of fixed cables

  • word processing: producing written texts on a computer

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