Speaking (Studying / Accommodations / Music)


Idioms & Expressions:

work / life balance (or school / life balance) (nouns; refer to the parts of your life taken up by work and life)

My job keeps me too busy to maintain a good work / life balance.


the bane of my existence (noun; something in your life that greatly stresses or challenges you)

Calculus is a very hard subject for me. It’s the bane of my existence.


burn the midnight oil (verb; to stay up late working on something)

I have an exam tomorrow morning so I’m going to be burning the midnight oil tonight.


up to your eyeballs in _____ (an expression that means someone is dealing with a lot of something; generally a negative connotation)

I am up to my eyeballs in homework tonight.


brainstorm (verb; means to think of many ideas as possible)

Let’s brainstorm a new name for our band.


pass with flying colors (verb; to get a very high mark or score on a test)

He passed the test with flying colors.


draw a blank (verb; to be unable to remember a piece of information)

I’m trying to think of the answer, but I’m drawing a blank right now.


dropout (noun; someone who left school before graduation)

Mark Zuckerberg is a college dropout who founded Facebook.


skip class / cut class (verb; to not attend school, or to not attend a certain class)

Do you want to skip class and see a movie tomorrow?


teacher’s pet (noun; an overly-enthusiastic student who annoys the others in the class)

She’s the teacher’s pet and frequently annoys the other students.


class clown (noun; a student who is always trying to make everyone in the class laugh)

The class clown might be a little noisy, but we all think he’s funny.


over the hill (an expression that means someone is reaching middle age)

Bill is turning 40 years old today. He’s over the hill!


jam / tune (noun; informal terms for a “song”)

Turn the volume up – this is my favorite jam.


genre (noun; this is a French word for a type of entertainment)

What is your favorite music genre?


taste (noun; this is another word for “preference”)

My friends and I get along because we have similar tastes in music.


sweet tooth (noun; a person’s preference for desserts and other sugary foods)

I have a sweet tooth and often opt for ice cream after dinner.


Part I: Group Discussion



Are you a full-time or part-time student?

Neither. Right now I’m a worker. But in school I studied Screenwriting, which was a program offered by my school’s film department.

What don’t / didn’t you like about your high school time?

I didn’t like having to wake up so early. But the rest of the time, high school was great. There was a lot of freedom and not a lot of responsibility.

Which subject did you find the most interesting?

I loved learning about history. History gives you greater context for understanding your world and the people in it. I’ve always loved it.

Which do you prefer: studying alone or with a group?

I like to study alone. In groups I get distracted and want to goof off and try to make people laugh.

Can you describe your primary school?

I went to a private Christian school, which was a pretty small place where all twelve grades learned together in the same building. It has been so long since I’ve been there that all my visual memories of the place have faded, actually.



Tell me about the kind of accommodation you live in?

I live in a house, but I have my own room. I live on the 5th floor of the house, so it’s a little annoying to have to walk all the way up, but I can deal with it.

How long have you lived there?

I’ve been there for about a year now, and so far I don’t really have any major complaints except that there is no elevator.

What do you like about living there?

I like that it’s cheap and conveniently located

What sort of accommodation would you most like to live in?

I don’t really need a big house. I think I would be happy in a similar situation to what I have now – just a small, comfortable apartment with a landlord who will take care of the important things for me, since I’m pretty lazy.


Part II: Individual Presentations


Talk about an elderly person you know. You should say:

who this person is

why he is important to you

what personality this person has

and whether he/she has an influence on you.


My grandfather is the person who’s taught me a good deal about life. I think he’s taught me a lot more that he realizes.


He has mostly led by example. He’s responsible and good with money. And he’s also a US Air Force veteran (he was a high-ranking officer) so he’s a natural leader. He’s shown me how to be mature, respectful, and to fulfill my obligations.


When I was a kid, I would spend time at my grandparent’s house, since they lived not too far away from my home. My grandfather would take me on canoe trips on a river nearby. We didn’t talk much on our trips, but I would watch him while he organized our events and conducted his business, and then I tried to copy him.


My parents are pretty lazy people, so I picked up a lot of bad habits from them. Their home was usually messy, and they put off key responsibilities for long stretches of time. My grandfather taught me to handle my business in a timely manner, and make sure that I did a thorough and complete job of every task before me.


Part III: Class Discussion


Do you like music?

Of course, I think everyone does. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t listen to music.

What kind of music do you like best?

I generally like what’s current. Nowadays, it’s all about hip hop, pop, and rap. It’s crazy how rap has risen to the forefront of culture over the past 15 years or so. Pop and rock used to be far more mainstream, but now hip hop is king.

Why do you like this kind of music?

I like aggressive music because it’s good to run and work out to. It helps set the mood.

What is your favorite musical instrument?

I like the guitar, because I can play it a little bit.

Do you dislike any genre of music?

I don’t like country music, and I also dislike modern rap, because it’s hard to understand what the rappers are saying unless you look up the lyrics.


Do you like sweets or chocolate?

Yes, I do have a sweet tooth. But I’ve tried to cut back on how much chocolate and sugar I consume.

What’s your favorite flavor?

I don’t really have one. When it comes to ice cream, vanilla is fine.

How often do you eat chocolate?

I eat chocolate far more often than I care to admit. I’ll have maybe a chocolate Kit-Kat bar before I go to the gym, because it gives you quick energy that’s essential for a workout. In a perfect world, I’d eat less chocolate, though, because excess sugar isn’t good for you.

When was the first time you ate chocolate?

I actually kind of remember this. I was two years old, and up until that point I had never had a cookie or chocolate, since my mother wanted to raise me in a healthy way. But during the Christmas holiday, my uncle gave me a chocolate cookie, and it tasted so good when I took my first bite that my head felt like it was going to explode – I simply wasn’t used to eating that much sugar.


Is chocolate popular in your country?

I would say that unhealthy food in general is popular. Fast food and processed food are eaten by almost everyone, in very unhealthy amounts. Despite the fact that there’s a growing health food movement, the majority of people still eat fast food.