What happens in IELTS Speaking Part 2
In Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking Test you are given,
a topic card
a pen and paper to make notes
1 minute to prepare your talk
The topic card will have 3 or 4 bullet points to guide your talk.
You do not have to follow all of these bullet points, they are just a guide.
The ‘Topic Card’, sometimes called a ‘Cue Card’, looks like the one below.
The topic will vary, but the format is always the same.
Part 2 is often known as the ‘Long Turn’. This is a really important part of the Speaking Test.
This is the first chance for you to
talk over a long period of time without interruptions
show that you can develop a topic
show you can speak fluently over longer sentences
How Long is IELTS Speaking Part 2?
IELTS Speaking Part 2 lasts 3 to 4 minutes.
This means, in addition to the examiner talking, you have
1 minute to prepare your talk.
1 to 2 minutes to talk about the topic.
You don’t have to use the whole 1 minute, but I advise you to do, so you are well prepared.
I recommend you talk for at least 1 minute and 30 seconds.
You can carry on speaking for 2 minutes, but if you stop after 1 minute and 30 seconds, the examiner will ask you a short follow up answer.
Either way, the examiner will stop you speaking after 2 minutes.
You will be given paper and pencil to make notes. You can keep both the task card (cue card) and your notes to look at throughout your talk.
You only given them back after you have finished your Part 2 talk.
Using the 1 minute preparation time
The 1 minute preparation time in Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking test will go by very quickly.
1) Get your idea quickly
Don’t waste time brainstorming lots of possible ideas to talk about!
Just take the first idea you get, that is good enough, and go with that. Spend no more than 10 – 15 seconds on getting your idea.
2) Get a structure ready
Then spend the remaining 45 seconds on the structure.
You can follow the bullet points, or you can have a slightly different structure if you want.
3) Write down your key points briefly
Knowing the key 2 or 3 things you are going to talk about (and writing them down), will help you focus on your language more when speaking.
Just write 2 or 3 words for each main point.
4) Have your first sentence ready
Before you begin talking, try and have your first sentence clear and ready, so you can make a confident start.
Part 2 really is all about confidence!
Finally, keep the Cue Card or Task Card in front of you.
Remember! You can look at your notes and Cue Card as you are talking.
IELTS Speaking Part 2: Common Topics
The following are the kind of common IELTS Speaking Part 2 topics you might get.
This is not an official list.
For many of these you will find a link to a lesson to help you prepare and learn vocabulary for this topic.
You should try to read and listen widely in English on a wide range of topics, not only the topics below, to get lots of ideas and vocabulary.
How do I prepare for Part 2?
The most important things you can do to prepare for Part 2 are,
Know how you will be evaluated
The examiners use a criteria sheet called the Band Descriptors to evaluate IELTS Speaking.
It is very useful to look at this with a teacher, to fully understand what the examiners are looking for.
Practice speaking English all the time
Make speaking English a daily habit.
Practice answering some part 2 questions
If you are not sure how to practice, especially if you don’t have a teacher, check out these 13 ways to practice at home, alone for free.
Get feedback on your answers
Practice is essential. If you can, practice with a teacher or a speaking partner, and get them to give you feedback, especially on fluency and coherence.
How to get a high score
In order to get a high score on IELTS Speaking Part 2, really it’s about two things
Preparing well before the exam
Getting into the flow as you talk
In order to prepare well, I suggest you get familiar with the common IELTS speaking Part 2 topics, as mentioned above, that appear in the test.
You don’t need to know all the specific questions. You just need the language to talk confidently and flexibly about these topics
Do not memorise answers, as you will be penalised for this.
There are so many topics for Part 2 of the speaking test, that it is almost impossible to prepare each one.
It can be useful to start your preparation by putting the topics into these 5 categories.
I would say, just about all topics can be put into one of these categories:
Some questions may actually enter 1 or 2 different topics.
By focusing on these categories, it helps us get control and plan our preparation.
Now we can focus on learning how to describe people, places events, activities and things.
Of course, we need more than this, but this is a great place to start and will give you a solid foundation.
What not to do in Part 2
Don’t memorise your full 2 minute answer
Don’t try to learn lots of expressions that are far above your level
Don’t waste your 1 minute preparation time; use it wisely.
Don’t rush; instead, breathe and begin slowly, choose your words carefully at the start to give you a solid beginning.
Don’t give the task card back as you start speaking, keep it and use it to help structure your talk.
What happens in IELTS Speaking Part 2