IELTS Cue Card Meaning

IELTS Speaking Part 2: Cue Card Topics

Many students have written to me about whether or not they can ask the examiner to explain the cue card topic in IELTS speaking part 2. Other students ask if they can change the topic of the cue card.

Understanding IELTS Cue Cards

  1. Do you think you can change the cue card topic?
  2. Can you ask the examiner to explain the topic if you don’t understand?

Answers

The examiner will give you the cue card with the main topic and prompts underneath. Here is an example:

An outing that didn’t cost anything. You should say:

  • when it was
  • where you went
  • who was with you
  • what you did
  • how you felt about it

You will also be given a piece of paper and a pencil to make notes. You will have one minute to prepare. During that 1 min, the examiner will remain silent. At the end of 1 min, the examiner will ask you to start speaking. You should aim to speak for 2 mins.

Can you change the cue card?

No, you can’t. You are given the IELTS cue card and then you start preparing. There is no chance to change it.

Can you ask the examiner to explain it?

No, you can’t. The examiner is not allowed to help you at this time. The cue card is given to you for your preparation time and also for your talking time. At no point, can the IELTS examiner explain in part 2 speaking.

What if you don’t understand?

  1. Then you must try to speak about something you think is similar. You can explain your choice when you start speaking. Also follow the prompts so that the examiner doesn’t think you are trying to change the topic completely.
  2. Most cue cards are simple topics. They rarely contain language that is complicated. Common cue card topics: a meal you enjoyed, a book you read, an item of clothing you like, your favourite season, a place near water etc. Very easy to understand.
  3. You are not marked on your choice of subject. If you get “a place near water”, you could talk about a place near the sea, a place near a river or just a place near a swimming pool. It really doesn’t matter. The examiner is only interested in your spoken English.
  4. The topic above “an outing that didn’t cost anything” is similar to “an activity that was free”. This is about leisure time activities that do not cost money (no fee was paid) – going to the park, having a picnic, playing badminton in the garden, going to the beach etc.

All the best

Liz

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IELTS Speaking Topic: Films

The topic of films is common for IELTS speaking part 1, part 2 and part 3.

IELTS Questions for Films

Part 1

  • Do you often watch films?
  • What kind of films do you like?
  • Are foreign films popular in your country?
  • Do men and women usually like the same kinds of films?

Part 2

Talk about a film you enjoy

  • what type of film it is
  • when you first saw it
  • what it is about
  • why you like it

Part 3

  1. Do you think subtitles are better than dubbing for foreign films?
  2. Why do some people prefer watching a film in the cinema rather than at home?
  3. What makes a film successful?
  4. Do you think film stars are more important than special effects?
  5. What kinds of films are not suitable for children?

Film Vocabulary

It is important that you learn different genre of film.

How many genre do you know?

Click here: FILM TYPES  to get a listening practice lesson and learn the different film types.

All the best

Liz

Newspaper Questions for You

Hi guys.

The topic of newspapers is a common topic for IELTS speaking and IELTS writing.

I would like to check how much you know about the contents of a newspaper.

Newspaper Questions

  1. What is an obituary?
  2. What is the most popular section of the newspaper in your country?
  3. Why do some people only skim the headlines?
  4. Do you think newspapers will one day be completely replaced by online news?

Answers

Post your answers in the comments box below.

I will post sample answers with extra vocabulary tomorrow.

All the best

Liz

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IELTS Speaking Part 2 Topics May to Aug 2018

Below are IELTS speaking part 2 topics from May to August 2018. These topics have been reported by students in their IELTS test. Remember that there is only one speaking test for everyone. This means GT and Academic students will do the same IELTS speaking test with the same marking criteria. All the topics are for both candidates.

Q) Will I get these topics in my speaking test?

A) There is no guarantee. The examiner has a long list of topics (longer than the list below) to choose from and you can’t predict what you will get. The most you can do to prepare is much as you can. Prepare both the recent topics below and also common topics which you can find on this page: Common Part 2 Topics for IELTS Speaking.

Q) Why from May to August?

A) This is because in May the examiners get a new list of topics which will be used for about 4 months. It is a long list and only some of the topics are listed below.

I will add more topics to the list below once students have informed me. These topics are not predictions, they are topics reported by IELTS students in their test.

IELTS Speaking Part 2 Topics May-Aug 2018

  1. A comic actor in your country
  2. A childhood friend
  3. A sport you have seen on TV and would like to try
  4. A city or country where you would like to live or work in the future
  5. Your favourite TV programme
  6. A recent event that made you happy
  7. A job you would like to do
  8. A season you enjoy
  9. A way you use to concentrate in your work or studies
  10. A website you regularly use
  11. An event in your life that you recently celebrated
  12. A quiet place you know
  13. A sportsperson you admire
  14. Something you lost
  15. A situation when you had to be polite
  16. A skill you learned outside school or college
  17. A river or lake in your country
  18. A subject you studied at school
  19. Something you would like to do that your friend has done
  20. A method you used to save money
  21. A toy you liked when you were a child
  22. An unusual meal
  23. Learning maths in primary school
  24. An item you own that needs to be replaced
  25. Clothes you wear on a special occasion
  26. A time you worked in a team
  27. A plan you made but changed later
  28. An occasion when visitors came to your home
  29. A favourite place in your town or city
  30. A competition you would like to participate in
  31. A time you used public transport
  32. A time you taught someone something
  33. Your favourite historical period
  34. An activity you do with older people
  35. An interesting animal in your country
  36. A good service you received from a company
  37. A popular person you know
  38. A song you like
  39. A magazine you like
  40. A party you recently went to
  41. A building you like
  42. A technology you like using (not computers)
  43. A time you changed your mind
  44. Your first mobile phone
  45. Your ideal holiday
  46. A nice photo of you
  47. A story you know
  48. An outing that didn’t cost much money
  49. Someone you met recently and would like to meet again
  50. An animal you like
  51. Someone who likes to talk alot
  52. A street market

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  • Learn the right techniques for a high score.
  • Suitable for Academic & GT Essay Writing

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Click here to see a Full IELTS Speaking Test for May 2018

IELTS Speaking Tips

If you would like to get some IELTS speaking tips, free videos and model answers, click here: IELTS Speaking Tips.

All the best

Liz

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Sample IELTS Speaking Test May 2018

Below is a full IELTS speaking test this month, May 2018. The questions were reported by a student.

IELTS Speaking Test May 2018

You can find both Questions & Recordings below for the IELTS speaking test May 2018.

Use the audio recording to listen to the questions and practise at home. Just pause the recording after each question and answer them out loud. Always record your answers so you can listen back and improve them.

Speaking Part 1

Work

  • What is your job?
  • How long have you been doing your job?
  • What do you do at your work?
  • How was your first day at your work?

Activities

  • What entertainment activities are available for children in your country?
  • Do children get bored with same activities?
  • Is it difficult for parents to find new activities?
  • What do children gain from doing activities?

Plants

  • Do you like having plants in your house?
  • Did you look after any plants when you were younger?
  • Do you think plants are a good gift for you or not?

Note: If you do not work, the examiner will choose a different topic – usually study. If you do not work or study, the examiner will ask you about home or hometown. Always be direct and honest in your answers.

Speaking Part 2

.

Cue Card: A comic actor who is popular in your country

  • Who he is
  • What type of person he is
  • How you came to know about him
  • Why he is popular

Rounding Off Q) Are your family members and friends like this actor?

IELTS Speaking Part 3

.

  1. Why are some film personalities so famous?
  2. Why do you think some youngsters try to copy film stars?
  3. Is it a good or bad thing for them to copy stars?
  4. Are famous personalities rich in your country?
  5. How they spend their money?
  6. Do you think they spend their money wisely?
  7. What is the difference between films stars in the past and films stars nowadays?
  8. Do you think film stars have the right to privacy?

Note: In part 3, the examiner will decide how many questions to ask you. The examiner controls this aspect of the test, not you. The examiner has many questions and can adapt the questions depending on your previous answer.

Note: There are many topics for IELTS speaking May to Aug 2018. However, these questions can be repeated – always prepare recent and common topics.

IELTS Speaking Information & Tips

IELTS Speaking Information

  • The test is 11 to 14 mins in length (not more and not less)
  • The examiner controls the time and the length of the answers
  • You are marked based on 4 criteria, each worth 25%
    • fluency & coherence
    • vocabulary
    • grammar
    • pronunciation
  • It is an informal speaking test
  • Not all examiners a smiley – be prepared for that

IELTS Speaking Tips

  1. Be natural in the test – be chatty, friendly and open
  2. There are no right or wrong answers – just opportunities to talk
  3. Always add more to your answers – show the examiner you are willing to speak in English
  4. Prepare ideas and your own personal memories for recent and common topics
  5. Don’t worry if the examiner interrupts your answer – it’s normal
  6. In part 1, the examiner will tell you the topic “Lets talk about films”
  7. In part 2, you should add more information than appears on the card
  8. In part 2, the examiner will:
    1. give you pen and paper to prepare your ideas
    2. tell you when to start speaking
    3. tell you when to stop speaking
    4. the examiner controls the time, not you – just keep talking
  9. In part 3, explain what you mean with examples and detail – be ready for the examiner to challenge your answer – it is a discussion
  10. You can ask the examiner to repeat the question if you want – it’s fine
  11. See May to Aug 2018 Speaking Part 2 Topics

I hope this is useful for you all. See the main pages below for more tips, answers and free lessons.

All the best

Liz

Main IELTS Pages

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IELTS Speaking: Using Sir or Madam

Hi guys,

I have had many students asking me how to address the examiner during the speaking test. Let me check what you think and what you understand.

Question

  • Do you think it is ok to call the examiner “Sir” or “Madam” in the speaking test?

Answer

Post your answer below.

I’ll post my answer on tomorrow.

All the best

Liz

Notice: Please remember that I am actually on holiday until May for health reasons – I might extent that holiday if I am not well enough at that point. But this month I will post a couple of lessons for you. Also remember that I do NOT offer a question/answer service on this website. There are over 10,000 comments waiting approval – I can’t answer all questions.

Model Answers for Speaking Part 3: Topic of Toys

The topic of Toys is currently being used in IELTS speaking part 2 (a childhood toys) and part 3 this month. Below you will find some model answers for this topic for speaking part 3 questions. These model answers will provide you with ideas and vocabulary to use in your answers. You should never memorise my model answers. All your answers must be created by yourself in the IELTS test.

On this page you can find:

  • A) Questions with Model Answers
  • B) Useful Vocabulary with Pronunciation Audio
  • C) Tips for Speaking Part 3

Questions & Model Answers: Toys

What should be considered when buying toys for children?

I reckon one important thing to think about is the age of the child. If a child is only a couple of years old, you shouldn’t give them toys which contain small parts that could be swallowed and cause the child to choke. Another thing to consider is whether the toy will continue to entertain the child for a certain period of time. What I mean is, if the toy will only interest a child for 5 minutes, it isn’t really worth buying. It’s better to choose something that they will enjoy for months or years.

How have toys changed compared to the past?

I guess the main change is in electronic toys or battery operated toys. In the past, people used to only give simple toys to their children that were often handmade. Nowadays, people prefer mass produced toys that are the recent trend. Those types of toys are often exciting electronic toys, such as computer games. Another difference is that toys decades ago were often so simple that children had to use their imagination and creativity to find enjoyment in using them. I think today’s toys stimulate less creativity in children on the whole.

Why do parents buy a lot of toys for their children?

I guess some parents are materialistic. They think that if they buy many toys for their kids, they are being a good parent. Another reason is that children have short attention spans which means that some parents buy toys to keep their child quiet and out of their way. But I think the main reason is probably the power of advertising and peer pressure which drive children to want more toys and pushes parents to buy them.

Is it good for children to play with toys?

Yes, I think so. Some toys that can be bought are educational and are very important for early learning. Educational toys provide a great way for children to develop skills, such as spatial awareness, motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Furthermore, toys can give children a safe way to explore the world and learn about colours, shapes and textures. However, I must admit that some toys for older children, such as computer games, can become addictive and, at that point, those types of toys are not beneficial.

 

Useful Vocabulary & Pronunciation

Learn useful words for the topic of toys and listen to the audio to learn the correct pronunciation.

  • creativity
  • imagination
  • motor skills
  • social skills
  • spatial awareness
  • choke on small parts
  • battery operated toys
  • recharging batteries
  • computer games
  • wooden toys
  • dolls
  • rules of the game
  • hand-made toys / mass produced toys
  • materialism
  • consumerism
  • to keep someone quiet
  • to keep someone entertained
  • to keep someone out of the way
  • board games, chess
  • educational toys
  • become addictive

Learn more about the topic of toys. See this website about educational toys for children: childdevelopmentinfo.com

IELTS Speaking Part 3 Tips

Length of answer

Keep talking until the examiner interrupts you. The examiner will decide if it is time to change the focus of the answer or to ask a new question completely. Speaking part 3 answers are longer than in part 1.

Content

Explain your ideas and view point. Give examples. You are not marked on your examples or ideas, but you need to show the ability to tackle complex ideas using English.

Avoid talking about yourself

Part 1 and part 2 are about you. However, part 3 questions are mostly about world issues. You need to show the examiner you can talk about more than yourself. You need to show the ability to talk about people and the world in general.

Challenging ideas

The examiner might challenge your ideas. This is a way for the examiner to test your English and check that you are able to defend your view point.

.

How Nilay Scored IELTS 8.5 Overall

Nilay scored 8.5 Overall in the IELTS Academic test this month. Below are his tips for his great score in IELTS.

Nilay’s Scores: Overall 8.5

  • Listening: 9
  • Reading: 9
  • Writing: 8
  • Speaking: 8

Nilay’s Tips for IELTS 8.5

Nilay here. I am an orthopedic surgeon from India and currently trying to specialize in spine surgery. I appeared for the IELTS to register with the Canadian medical boards for which I needed minimum 7 in each of the four categories. This was the academic version.

To summarize the prep, I gave it around 12-14 days part time. I had been aware of your videos and thought to just concentrate on that during last 3 to 4 days and I attribute a large part of my writing score to your tips. I didn’t opt for paid tutorials but I feel that the content you generously provide is more than enough in most cases. Having said that, I was planning to get your paid tutorials if I couldn’t cross the required threshold of 7/9 in writing; I was reasonably certain I would cross 7 in RW and S. My tips are summarized here.
Reading Tips- As a compulsive reader, I was a bit overconfident when I started out the prep and expected to score a perfect 9 each time. My behind was handed back to me promptly by the No/Not Given dilemma. Your tips on that cleared out the webs and I highly recommend that video to polish the reading score. One thing I realized in the exam is that the reading paragraphs can be difficult and must not be underestimated even if you are good at reading to begin with. I consider myself a very fast reader and still had only 8-10 mins left at the end. I would advise underlining key words and phrases as it makes it easier to fish out the answers.  I wrote in all caps as advised.
Listening Tips – Tricky proposition. I feel that IELTS listening section doesn’t evaluate your listening capability but rather evaluates your presence of mind and multi-tasking ability to listen, note and paraphrase at the same time. I am very well versed with major accents and still made mistakes in answers due to missing plurals, not catching the exact words and sometimes missing paraphrases at the end of tests. I would really advise going through Cambridge practice tests to refine this. They are the real counterparts to the exam. I can’t stress enough on scanning the questions in advance, predicting answers and using the 30 seconds given to go over your last batch of answers to scan the questions ahead instead.  Presence of mind is really important or you would make a mess of it. Also, all caps again.
Speaking Tips –  Didn’t prepare much for it except for going through your tips and speaking to a local instructor I knew. I am fluent but I speak too fast and maybe that reflected on what I consider a lower score on my speaking test. Also, this is a live interaction test and your score will depend upon your rapport with and impression upon the examiner even if they are trained to disregard those factors. I more or less had  a friendly conversation and was asked questions about skilled and unskilled jobs in last part. I think the trick here is to fill up the time allotted and keep on speaking. I attribute the shavings in my score to speed and my roundabout answer to a bizarre question about soft and hard skills. I could have done better here.
Writing Tips – Last but not the least. I have BAD handwriting which live up to all the cliches about illegibility of doctors. This was a big issue for me with IELTS being a written exam. I realized that all my writing skills would be for naught if it looked like someone dipped ants in ink pot and let them loose on the paper. So I ditched the cursive, zoomed in the fonts and increased the space between words and made several people go through it till their satisfaction. I was confident about my vocabulary and grammar, so that helped but this exam is all about sticking to the format.  I can not stress enough how helpful your writing section videos are. I stuck to the outline stressed upon by you for both the tasks and I was rewarded. I made sure to follow the cite-support-example format for body paragraphs on task two; it really eased the though organization process. Task one is straightforward but it’s important not to get mired into details and just focus on major trends and data points. I didn’t have problem with time and word count. But even if you do, I really suggest taking 2 minutes to read the task and then a minute or so to jot down writing points on paper; paragraph wise. Also keep a minute or two at the end to go over your writing. Do not try to correct or improve large sections of a sentence but concentrate on spell check, grammatical gaffes and punctuation marks.
  To conclude [the format ,the format!], I am satisfied with my result and would thank you for your generous online help. I really stress upon test takers to go through your videos which I consider the best resource available online for this test. I hope my experience helps future test takers. Best of luck to you all!
Nilay 
Message to Nilay: Thanks so much for sharing your tips! I know students will be inspired by your results and also grateful for the experiences you have shared. Well done again with your excellent score 🙂