Practice for the IELTS Speaking part 2

On the IELTS test, the Speaking section has 3 parts. After a few minutes spent chatting to the examiner in Part 1, here comes part 2.

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What actually happens?

In Part 2 of the IELTS speaking section, you speak for 1-2 minutes about a single topic that has been given to you. There will be a task card on a particular topic, and this will include key points that you should talk about. You cannot ask for another topic, so don’t try to plead or convince the examiner to change the topic. Examiners must follow procedure and give the designated task cards.

As mentioned, you have to talk for 1-2 minutes. Then the examiner will ask you one or two follow-up questions on the same topic. You don’t see the follow-up questions as they are not on the given task card. In total, Part 2 lasts 3-4 minutes.

Here is an example Part 2 task card:

Describe something you own which is very important to you.

You should say:

  • Where you got it from
  • How long you have had it
  • What you use it for
  • Explain why it is important to you

You will have to talk about the topic for 1 to 2 minutes. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.

The follow-up questions might be:

  • Is this thing valuable in terms of money?
  • Would you be able to replace it easily?

How should you answer?

You will have one minute to prepare to talk about the topic on the task card.

There is a pencil for you to make notes should you wish to do so. It’s really a good idea to jot down some notes regarding the points that are shown on the task card. It will help you to organize your response.

There isn’t a right or wrong answer. For instance, in the above example, it doesn’t matter which thing you choose to talk about. Choose something real that you know and are familiar with so that you will be able to answer with ease and confidence. Often, candidates waste valuable preparation time trying to think of something impressive to talk about.

Don’t forget that the part 3 of the Speaking section is coming next, so keep in mind the subject because you will discuss it further later.

For more information on the other exercises of the Speaking section:

How can I prepare?

Lots and lots of practice with lots and lots of sample questions is a good start. There are many sample questions online, in books or an experienced tutor can write some for you.

You need to get used to working within the 1 minute preparation time frame and speaking for the 1- 2 minutes response time frame. You need to become familiar with a wide variety of topics in order to be able to prepare quickly and speak confidently. Many candidates look at the task card and are baffled by the topic or want some help from the examiner. The examiner is not permitted to offer assistance.

Study IELTS regularly to get a better score.

Think of the 5-P approach: Practice and preparation prevent poor performance.

Some Basic Considerations

  • Provide details and examples. You have the time to develop your points, so do so.
  • Don’t worry. There isn’t a right or a wrong answer. The examiner just needs a language sample in order to asses you.
  • Speak in sentences. One word answers are not good enough.

Make sure that you cover all the areas that the examiners assess you on while you practice: fluency and coherence, grammatical range and accuracy, lexical resources and pronunciation. When you hire a tutor or take a course ask them how they address each of these four domains. Make a schedule for your practice sessions so that you are consistent in your efforts.

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