IELTS Physical Appearance Vocabulary

Part 1 -style questions      

Examiner: Do you look like any other people in your family?

Carlo: No … not at all … take my brother for example … he has short cropped hair and has quite a pointed face … he’s also quite fair-skinned compared to me …

Examiner: Tell me about your family.

Andrea: My father’s getting on a bit … he’s in his 60s … but he looks very young for his age … he still does lots of exercise and is quite well-built

Examiner: What does your best friend look like?

Mandy: She’s the same age as me … she has shoulder-length hair fair hair … she has a slim figure and is medium height   

Part 2 -style task      

Describe a person whose appearance you like. You should say
   – who this person is
   – what their relationship is to you
   – what they look like
and say what it is about their appearance you like.


Monique: OK … I’d like to talk about my aunt … her name’s Marta and she’s quite a character … she’s middle-aged but has a very youthful appearance … she’s a little overweight I suppose but not too much … she has a friendly round face framed by thick blonde hair … she has a lovely complexion and she’s always well-turned out … she actually always looks like she’s going out for the evening to somewhere special … there’s never a hair out of place … I’ve always thought she bears a striking resemblance to someone on TV … I can’t remember the name now … she wears glasses and always seems to have a different pair on every time I see her … I like the way she looks because she wears clothes that are right for her age and manages to look glamorous without it looking like she’s too done up … yes … I’ll be happy if I look like her when I’m her age …

Part 3 -style questions     

Examiner: Is it important to dress well whenever we go out?

Mark: It depends where you’re going … I know some people get done up just to go to the shops … but I don’t see the point … you shouldn’t go out looking scruffy with disheveled hair but I really don’t see the point in getting dressed up to the nines unless you’re going somewhere special …

Examiner: Do people worry too much about their appearance as they get older?

Mira: I’m sure they do … yes … but it happens to all of us doesn’t it … we all go grey eventually and get hard of hearing … we start to lose our figure … that’s why plastic surgery is so popular … personally I think we just need to grow old gracefully and not worry too much about how we look …

Examiner: Is attractiveness a quality worthwhile aiming for?

Phoebe: I’d like to say no … it shouldn’t matter what we look like in terms of our physical appearance … but unfortunately it seems women especially are taken more seriously if they are good looking with a slender figure with perfect make up and so on …



to bear a striking resemblance: to look very similar to

cropped hair: very short hair

disheveled hair: untidy hair

to dress up to the nines: to dress very smartly or glamorously

fair hair: light-coloured hair

to be fair-skinned: light skinned

to get done up: to dress smartly

to be getting on a bit: to be getting old

to go grey: to have hair that is turning grey

to be good looking: to be attractive

to grow old gracefully: to act in a way that embraces the fact you are getting older

to be hard of hearing: to find it difficult to hear

in his/her 30s/40s: to be 20/30 something

scruffy: dressed untidily

to look young for your age: to look younger than you are

to lose one’s figure: to have a figure that has lost its toned shape

complexion: natural skin colour and texture

make up: cosmetics

medium height: average height

middle-aged: approximately between 45-65

to never have a hair out of place: perfectly styled hair

to be overweight: to weigh more than is regarded as healthy

pointed face: the opposite of a round face

shoulder-length hair: hair that comes down to the shoulders and no further

slender figure: a figue that is tall and slim

slim figure: attractively thin

thick hair: a lot of hair

to wear glasses: to use spectacles

to be well-built: to be muscular

to be well-turned out: to look smart

youthful appearance: to look young  

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