IELTS Speaking – what to expect (a Speech)

The second part of the IELTS speaking test is the Speech (otherwise known as the Cue Card talk). The examiner gives you a card with a topic and 3-4 questions. Then you have 1 minute to prepare a short speech in your head, if you want you may write the main points on paper. After one minute ends, you should start talking and keep going for 1-2 minutes.

Here is an example of such card from the IELTS official website:

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

and explain why it is important to you.

As you can see, your main task here is to DESCRIBE things. So try to do that as well as you can.
It is very important that you say something about EVERY question that is on the card.
The best thing is to say 2-3 sentences about every bullet. This way your speech will take at least one minute – the minimal time you have to speak.

A good way to practice (requires 2 people) is to give someone a copy of your card and to start speaking. Ask him/her to put V on bullets you’ve talked about. Then look how many bullets you’ve missed in your speech. If you study alone, you can record yourself and then listen and check for missing bullets.

Practicing with a clock is a very good idea. You need to get a feeling of “how long 2 minutes take”. When you will speak in front of a real examiner, it is best that you don’t look at your watch and if you have practiced enough – you won’t have to.

And at last, for you to get a complete picture of the Speaking part 2 – here is a sample question, a recording and a transcript (all thanks to official IELTS website). Enjoy!

IELTS Speaking – what to expect (Interview)

I’ve neglected the Speaking tips for a long time, so this post is about how to do well in the IELTS Speaking test. It doesn’t matter what module of IELTS you are taking, General or Academic – the Speaking part is the same in both.

As you know, there are 3 parts in the Speaking sub-test: the Interview, Speech (cue card) and Discussion, read the details about it here in one of my previous posts.

Now to the Interview: you can and should be prepared to questions they will ask you.
The questions are predictable, you can go through the recent exams to have a look click here and note navigation links at the bottom.

If you speak well, just go over the questions and prepare an answer in your head for every question. If you have someone to practice with – do it, if you don’t – I suggest that you record yourself. You can do that using your computer, a voice recorder, one of those MP3 players that can record voice as well or even your mobile phone.

To get the feeling of a real IELTS Speaking test you can listen to the sample of test here, look at the questions here and the transcript of the recording is here.

Best advice to those who speak not so well:

1) Write your answers on a piece of paper.

2) Memorize them.

3) Speak to yourself – ask questions and answer according to whatever you wrote. It will improve your pronunciation and make you more confident. This is how you overcome the initial shock of speaking English.

4) Practice a lot with your wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend, at first you may look at your paper, but after a while stop doing that – test your memory.

I prepared my students this way and it helped them a lot.

A little clarification – memorizing can help you in the beginning while you’re developing your Speaking skills, but don’t rely on it in the real exam. The examiners are trained to spot people who speak in memorized sentences. The good news is if you practice enough, you won’t have to use memorized answers to pass the Speaking test.

One more important thing – in Speaking you can also receive half-bands, such as 5.5 or 6.5.

I will continue and prepare more Reading tips for you in my next post.



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