Keywords / Subtopics: self-directed learning, arts & crafts, leisure time, free time, developing new skills, staying physically fit, cultural pursuits, going to tournaments and competitions, music, sports, languages, handicrafts

  1. As far as you know, what’s the main difference between an interest, a project and a hobby?
  2. How long have you been doing your hobbies?  How long have you been interested in the projects (that) you’re working on now?
  3. Do you dedicate a lot of time to them?
  4. Did you take any courses connected to this?
  5. Is it expensive?  What kind of supplies do you need to buy or to have? Do you need equipment?
  6. Are you doing it more now, or did you used to spend more time on it in the past?
  7. Who else does this kind of thing?
  8. How did you get into this?  What got you into this?
  9. Are there any competitions or clubs connected to this in [the area where you’re living now]?
  10. How good are you at this?

A hobby is like some skill you’re developing.  You spend time on, there is equipment or tools or supplies that you need to have.  You might be producing something.

Knitting, crocheting, playing a musical instrument, making and editing videos, repairing and renovating old furniture, pottery, amateur wine-making, fishing, making quilts, working out, fixing up old cars – these are all hobbies.

A project is some short-term thing you’re working on.  It’s taking up a lot of yuur time at the moment but it’s not really a hobby. 

  1. I’m taking care of my granddaughter because my son and his wife work a lot.
  2. We are renovating the kitchen.
  3. I am working on my resume because I want to change my job.
  4. I’m shopping around for a new laptop.
  5. I am taking out the garden and putting in a lawn.
  6. I’ve been helping my sister with her new house.
  7. These things take up time but they aren’t really ‘hobbies’ per se, right?

An interest is something you’re curious about.  It’s something you spend time reading or learning about and it’s something you enjoy speaking about.

  1. I’m interested in how to start a small business.
  2. I’m interested in local environmental issues, especially anything about clean water and healthy rivers and lakes.
  3. I’m really into Formula 1 car racing. I’ve been into this ever since I was in grade school.
  4. I’ve been getting more and more interested in everything about Japanese culture.
  5. I like food – especially vegetarian cooking and how to make healthy meals.
  6. I read a lot about famous leaders — Presidents, CEOs, Founders.
  7. I like watching documentaries about history and ancient cultures.
  8. I like listening to podcasts by well-known experts in the IT field.

Read how to use these realistic, vocabulary-rich, topic-specific discussion questions to improve your IELTS speaking and writing results.