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Cracking IELTS Speaking Part 2

Speaking part of IELTS may be the easiest part for the people who can not only communicate with strangers comfortably but also communicate fluently in the English language.

  • In Speaking Part 2 of IELTS, you give a short speech on a given topic.
  • Your speech should last between one and two minutes.
  • It’s your challenge or opportunity to show the examiner, on how you can be comfortable talking for an extended period.
  • Many say this part is “The Long Turn” because it is the turn of a candidate to speak for a long time.
  • Chatting with a friend for 2 minutes might not seem like a long time, but taking solitary in a specific topic, it can seem like hours!

Ready to crack Speaking Part 2? Keep reading…

IELTS Speaking Part 2: What happens?

In Speaking Part 2 of IELTS, the examiner asks you to speak between one and two minutes from a given cue card.

  • The examiner will hand over you with a cue card. On the cue card, short description on a topic is given, with some main points that you should cover in your short speech. The topic will be familiar and will be related to your own experience, for instance, do you think taking a nap in the afternoon is beneficial? Do you take it?
  • The IELTS examiner will give you a piece of paper and a pencil to write some ideas that will help you to talk for two minutes, continuously.
  • After a minute of jotting main ideas for the given topic, you should start your talk.
  • You are expected to talk between one to two minutes, without the interruption from the IELTS examiner. Name of the places, national cuisine might not be familiar to the examiner so, make sure you explain them clearly. The examiner will listen and say nothing between your talk but he might nod his/her head or smile as if he/she understood every word of you in order to encourage you to complete your talking.
  • After you finish talking for a minute or 2, the examiner might ask you a few questions about the speech you gave. You should take a few seconds to answer these questions.
  • Then, you are ready to go straight into the IELTS Speaking Part 3.

What is the IELTS examiner looking for?

In the Speaking Part 2 of IELTS, the examiner will assess your talking against the 4 IELTS assessment criteria which includes: fluency and coherence, lexical resource, grammatical range and accuracy, and pronunciation.

To achieve a band score of 8.0 or higher, the following is what you must perform well in these four areas:

  • Fluency and Coherence: You should speak fluently, but, you should not sound like a robot. You can take an occasional break, also called fillers, but, it should be natural. Your speech should be Coherent and well-structured.
  • Lexical Resource: You cannot speak the whole story that you just made on a topic, you should paraphrase the task, use a wide range of vocabulary with some idioms.
  • Grammar: You should be using more complex sentences in your topic with a wide range of grammatical structure. (Few errors are accepted).
  • Pronunciation: Your pronunciation should be clear throughout the Speaking module with very few difficulties for the examiner to understand.

Typical IELTS Speaking Part 2 Topics

This section Speaking Part 2, are related to personal experiences and day to day life events. The part includes:

  • Study and Work.
  • Memorable life events or a situation that changed your life.
  • Places you’ve been recently or is in your bucket lists.
  • Hobbies and activities that you choose in your spare time.
  • Goals and Ambitions.

Tips for IELTS Speaking Part 2

Up to now, you must have known all the basic information about the Speaking Part 2 of IELTS. It’s time for some tips, now.

Prepare notes before you begin talking

As I have already included that the examiner will give you a minute to prepare for your speech. You should jot down some key points. Write down related points that you will be including or draw a mind map. Ii won’t be possible to think about what you are going to say in your next sentence, you will not be able to think about your language, so you create more possibilities to make mistakes. It’s a very common thing for a candidate to panic when they are talking, and get lost on what to say; if you have noted, you won’t forget what to say if you panic.

Be your own friend and make notes before you begin talking.

Memorize a good opener

Starting a talk is difficult, so memorize an opening phrase.

Following are some good examples:

  • “I’d like to talk about…”
  • “Well, there are many ________ I would like to talk about, but I suppose the __________ I’ve experienced/had is/was….”

(The latter example will help you to score better than the others because of its complexity, but, use the first example if the second sentence is too difficult to remember.)

For example, if your topic is “describe your favourite day”, you could say:

  • “I’d like to talk about my favourite teacher.”
  • “Well, there are many good teachers I have met throughout my life, but I suppose the favourite teacher I’ve had was…”

Paraphrase the topic

When referring to the topic, don’t use the same words from the topic, it is also called parroting. Instead, use your own words. Try to replace the words with their synonyms. This is called paraphrasing.

So, if the topic is “describe a beautiful place to visit in your country” don’t say:

“I am going to describe a beautiful place to visit in Nepal.”

Instead, say, for example:

“I’m going to speak about a magnificent destination, which people can travel to in the Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal.”

Paraphrasing can help you to make an impression on the IELTS examiner how well are you on vocabulary and grammar. In the above example, I changed the word “place” to “destination” and changed the adjective “beautiful” to “magnificent”. Also, I used relative a clause “which people can travel to….”. I also added in some extra information: “the capital city of Nepal”. Don’t forget, together, grammar and vocabulary make up 50% of your marks, so it very important that you use a wide range of vocabulary and grammar structure.

Keep talking

Try to keep onnnnnnn talking. You don’t have to be aware of the time. The IELTS examiner will ask you to stop when you cross 2 minutes. And while you are speaking, don't forget to use the signpost language to help the examiner to know what will be your next move.

Maintain eye contact with the examiner

Make sure to look up from your note and a cue card and make eye contact with the examiner when you are speaking in Part 2. But, don’t stare at him!

Decide what to talk about, even if, it’s a lie

Sometimes it becomes very difficult to think of something to talk about. Let’s say you have to talk about the memorable day in your life. Remember you have a minute to prepare for your talk.

The wrong way: spend your time thinking about all the memorable days.

It was my recent birthday celebration, No, it was the Bachelor party of John, Well, the first dance performance on the stage was memorable……

Finally, with only before 10 seconds, you select a day to speak on.

The right way: You don’t have to tell the truth about your memorable day, just choose a day on which you can talk for a long time. Any day will work. Then write down some key points that will help you with your speech.

You don’t have to tell the truth about your memorable day, just choose a day on which you can talk for a long time. Any day will work. Then write down some key points that will help you with your speech.

Being true to every word you speak don’t fall under the IELTS assessment criteria: The examiner doesn’t care which day was your memorable day or so, they only care about the language you use in your talk, your pronunciation, and your fluency and coherence.

You could invent an amazing day to talk about. However, it is better if you think of a day that has actually happened in your life because it will be easier to talk about, but if you can’t think of a memorable day to talk about, invent it!

The key point is to decide what to talk about and prepare a note for it.

Ask for a clarification

If you don’t understand a word in your cue card, make sure you ask the IELTS examiner to clarify it. But, don’t make a mistake saying “I don’t understand”. Instead, use some more advanced phrases like below:

  • To you mean ____ to be ____?
  • “If I am not wrong, is that ____?”
  • “So, in other words, I should….”
  • “So, I am correct if I talk about…?”

If you ask for a clarification using good language, you will leave an impression to your examiner!

How to prepare for the speaking test

Get a preparation buddy (or a tutor)

It’s a great idea to find a preparation buddy to practice IELTS speaking with. But still, finding an IELTS tutor will be the best. A good IELTS tutor will teach you how to give your best in task 2 of the Speaking Test and give you tips on how to improve. Then, start rehearsing on some of the topic (Number of Speaking part 2 topics can be found on the internet).  Give your best even in the mock test with your buddy or with your tutor. Tell them to ask a few questions on the topic.

You can practice alone too. Make mirror your best practice buddy. Simply choose a topic and talk to yourself in the mirror. Or give a speech to your pet. When you’re walking outside, cleaning the house, select a topic that you’ve practised before, and talk about it, and talk on the topic for a minute or two. Something is better than nothing.

Record yourself on your phone or computer

The best way to find out your weak point is to record yourself giving your talk on a phone, either audio or video. Listen to the recorded audio/video afterwards. Then find where you struggle and do better next time.

Practice making notes

This step might be difficult for some people as we have no habit of making notes before we start our talk. It will be very beneficial to you if you practice making notes on several topics before you take the real IELTS test.  Make a list of Speaking Part 2 topics from the internet and practice making notes for each. While you are practising don’t keep a time limit for yourself, just practice making the note. Later, you can keep a time limit for yourself: give yourself two minutes, and then, practice making notes within a minute.

All the best for your IELTS Speaking.

Source: IELTS Speaking Part 2 - the essential guide