Theme 8: Health

Part 1-style questions

Examiner: Have you got a relation you’re particularly fond of?
Sinita: Yes … my granddad … he’s 94 years old but generally he’s as fit as a fiddle … we’re very close and see each other a lot … whenever he goes down with a cold or is under the weather I make a point of visiting him …

Examiner: Do you do any sport?
Jon: Yes … I’m keen on skateboarding … but I haven’t done it for a while … I had a bad fall recently and pulled a muscle and had a few cuts and bruises … but I’m on the mend and hope to be doing it again soon …

Examiner: Is there anything you’re particularly afraid of?
Davide: The dentist … I hate going to the dentist … I only ever go if I have a toothache so it usually means I have to have a filling or even have a tooth out … I really don’t like it …

Part 2-style task

Describe a time when you were ill. You should say:

·        when this was

·        what your symptoms were

·        how long the illness lasted

and say how it affected your life at the time.

Pierre:  This is a tricky one really as I’m usually quite healthy … I’ve never been seriously ill … like everyone else I sometimes get a few aches and pains or catch a cold … I can remember a few months ago I had to have time off work with a heavy cold … I had the usual symptoms … a blocked nosesore throat … it lasted quite a while … about 2 weeks I think though I didn’t have that much time off work … for a few days I remember feeling poorly but I was over the worst of it after a few days and went back to work … I always find it’s better to be active when you feel ill as it keeps your mind off your symptoms … I think my family get a little fed up with me when I’m ill though … I tend to feel sorry for myself and lie on the sofa all day as if I’m at death’s door … but as I said earlier … on this occasion it was nothing serious and didn’t really cause me any problems …

Part 3-style questions

Examiner: What costs are involved when you are ill in your country?
Anya: Well … people have to pay prescription charges which can be quite expensive … but fortunately general healthcare is free … unless you want to go private of course and then  you can pay a fortune for your treatment …

Examiner: In your experience are people too quick to take time off work when they’re ill?
Alicia: Yes .. I’ve got friends who have a day off work if they wake up with a runny nose … and in most cases they seem to make a speedy recovery after they’ve phoned in sick

Examiner: Do women pay more attention to their health than men?
Julie: I think so yes … women are more likely to see their GP for a check-up if they’re concerned about something … men tend to avoid facing up to any health problems they have … my dad always seems to have a very chesty cough but refuses to go to make an appointment to see the doctor …


·        aches and pains: minor pains that continue over a period of time

·        to be a bit off colour: to feel a little ill

·        to be at death’s door: (informal) to be very ill indeed

·        to be on the mend: to be recovering after an illness

·        to be over the worst: to have got through the most serious or uncomfortable stage of an illness

·        to be under the weather: (informal) to not feel well

·        a blocked nose: when the nose has excess fluid due to a cold

·        to catch a cold: to get a cold

·        a check-up: a physical examination by a doctor

·        a chesty cough: a cough caused by congestion around the lungs

·        cuts and bruises: minor injuries

·        to feel poorly: to feel ill

·        as fit as a fiddle: to be very healthy

·        to go down with a cold: to become ill

·        to go private: to choose to be treated by commercial healthcare rather than by services offered by the state

·        GP: General Practitioner (family doctor)

·        to have a filling: to have a tooth repaired

·        to have a tooth out: to have a tooth removed

·        a heavy cold: a bad cold

·        to make an appointment: to arrange a time to see the doctor

·        to make a speedy recovery: to recover quickly from an illness

·        to phone in sick: to call work to explain you won’t be attending work due to illness

·        prescription charges: money the patient pays for medicine authorised by a doctor

·        to pull a muscle: to strain a muscle

·        a runny nose: a nose that has liquid coming out of it

a sore throat: inflammation that causes pain when swallowing