IELTS Speaking Part 2 – Traffic Lights – Band 9


Talk about an object that is used to control society?

What is the object?

How does this object work?

Where is this object usually located?

How does it control people? And, what do people think about it?

You will have one to two minutes to talk about this topic.

You will have one minute to prepare what you are going to say.

STEP 1 – read the card carefully *pay special attention to the topic statement

STEP 2 – Identify the category (either, person, place, object, idea, event) – *OBJECT – Origin, appearance, function, significance

STEP 3 – Identify the tenses used in your response – mostly present and present perfect because it is a generalized answer

STEP 4 – Think of 2-3 possible choices – pick the one that is original, easy to talk about and lots of information. ***SIMPLE is beautiful!

TV, books, radio, medical mask, helmet, pen, phone, gun, Taser, CCTV – camera,

Traffic lights

*One good strategy to find great choices for your Part 2 response, is to reflect on your daily activities and visualize yourself living a typical day. Ex. I wake up, get in my car, stop at the light, go to the bank, take out money, (camera looking at me)…

Traffic lights


Origin – Europe, government purchase, civil engineering, (idea – the need, where does it come from) – due to many cars, sharing roads w people

Europe, civil eng, many cars, factories

Appearance – colors, stand – high, boxes, long, circular, bright, led, different types, shapes, arrows 

Function – yellow/yield, programmed/automated, intersections, stay on a color for a couple minutes, parameters, high above traffic

Importance – reduce accidence, flow of traffic, pedestrian, emergency vehicles

STEP 5 – Think of your first sentence.

One object that is commonly used around the world to control society, specifically the movement of people and vehicles is the traffic light. With the growing number of cars, mostly in Europe, in the early 20th century, a clear demand for controlling traffic emerged and governments and civil engineers started to produce and install these lights to regulate the movements of automobiles. These lights are usually fairly large rectangular boxes about a meter in length and contain three circular, powerful lights, which are red, yellow and green. They are most commonly attached to long metal poles that hang over intersections roughly at five meter height. There are some variations which include for example arrows to show a certain direction of traffic, but the most common are the circular type. Day and night, these lights instruct vehicle operators when to stop, on a red light, when to be cautious and prepare to stop or start, on a yellow light, and when they are okay to go, on a green light. These lights also indicate when motorists can or cannot make turns. The lights run on an automated system of timers. A light may be green or red for a long or short time, depending on the size and use of the road. On a highway lights often stay green for a long time to avoid congestion. The primary reason these traffic lights are used are to both decrease the number of motor vehicle accidents, such as cars crashing into each other at intersections, as well as to keep the smooth flow of traffic and avoid traffic jams as much as possible. In some cases, emergency vehicles, like ambulances, can control these lights so that they can get to people in need much faster. Without these lights, it is difficult to imagine that cars would be possible in today’s crowded cities. (Look at the card). I think that most people hate traffic lights because they make people wait often when they are in a rush. But in reality, I’m sure that deep down many people appreciate the tireless work that traffic lights do to keep them safe. 

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