IELTS Speaking Part 2 Quiz: How much do you know?

How much do you know about IELTS speaking part 2? Make sure you understand everything about speaking part 2 before you do your test.

Quiz

Are the following tips and advice good or bad?

  1. If you don’t know anything about the topic, ask the examiner to give you another cue card.
  2. You must write answers to each question on the cue card during your 1 minute preparation.
  3. You shouldn’t look at your notes while you are giving your talk.
  4. You will get a low score if your talk is boring.
  5. You should only add information to your talk relating to the prompts on your card.
  6. The examiner will interrupt you if you go off topic.
  7. If you don’t speak for 2 minutes, you won’t get a high score.
  8. The examiner is not interested in your grammar in part 2, only in your fluency.
  9. Use plenty of idioms to get a higher score.
  10. You should expand your talk by adding descriptions, details and stories.
Answers

All the advice given above is bad except for one. Read the comments below to learn more.

  1. You can’t change your topic. Even if you don’t know much about it, you should still try to talk by adding your own ideas and information.
  2. There are no questions on the speaking part 2 cards. There are prompts on the cards which are only guidelines. You should decide how to write notes in a way that is useful for your talk. The notes are only to help you remember your ideas so you decide if you want to make notes on each prompt or not.
  3. This is really bad advice. Of course you can look at your notes. Your notes will help you remember your ideas. However, don’t look down at your notes all the time. Eye contact with the examiner while you are speaking is important. Just glance at your notes from time to time to help remember ideas.
  4. There is no score for having an interesting talk or a boring talk. However, an interesting talk usually contains a better range of language and for that reason adding interesting details can help.
  5. This is also poor advice. The prompts should be used as guidelines. If you decide not to follow them, it is up to you. Personally, I recommend following them because they provide a useful structure for your talk but you need to add more information to each prompt. It is your choice what extra information you add.
  6. The examiner will not interrupt your talk at all. Once you start talking, the examiner will remain silent until you have finished. Also there is no scoring for being on or off topic in IELTS speaking. You shouldn’t change the topic but you might want to add some interesting details which are not mentioned on your card.
  7. Part of fluency is your ability to speak at length but that doesn’t mean you must speak for 2 minutes. If you only speak for 1.5 minutes but during that time you speak without hesitation, you can still get a high score.
  8. There are four marking criteria in IELTS speaking (fluency, vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation). These criteria are scored from your answers to ALL parts of the test. While part 2 is a good chance to show your fluency skills, your grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation will still be assessed.
  9. Using idioms is not a sure way to get a high score. Idioms should be used appropriately and correctly and should definitely not be over used.
  10. This is absolutely correct advice. You need to expand your talk by adding more detail and descriptions. This website (IELTS Advantage) has a great strategy for developing your talk. I’m sure you will all find it useful.

 

Recommended for Speaking Part 2

Recommended IELTS Website

IELTS Advantage: A great website for IELTS tips and strategies.

Main IELTS Pages

Develop your IELTS skills with tips, model answers, lessons, free videos and more.

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Maths: Reported Speaking Topic in May 2015

Maths was a reported IELTS speaking topic this month (May). It is quite common to be asked about your school days and also about the subjects you studied. Below are some questions for this topic for you to prepare and also some useful vocabulary to help you talk in more detail. This topic could also be called “calculations” or “mathematics”.

IELTS Speaking Part 1 Questions: Maths

  • Are you good at maths?
  • Did you like mathematics when you were at school?
  • What was your teacher like?
  • What kinds of things did you learn in maths?
  • Did you use a calculator when learned maths?
  • Do you find it difficult to do calculations?
  • How do you calculate difficult sums?
  • Do you think maths is an important subject for children to learn?
  • Why do you think children should learn maths?

Useful language:

  • calculate numbers / data / figures
  • adding up / addition (2 + 4 = 6)
  • subtraction / taking away (6 – 2 = 4)
  • multiplication  / multiplying numbers (multiplying = 2 x 3 = 6)
  • the multiplication table
  • division / dividing (dividing = 6 / 3 = 2)
  • long division (12,000 / 1,500 = 8)
  • estimating powers and roots for positive numbers
  • learning about decimals and fractions (decimal = 0.333 & fraction =  1/3)
  • algebra = learning about using letters and symbols in formulas
  • geometry = calculating angles in triangles or relationships between points on graphs or maps
  • proportions and rates of change
  • maths teaches people how to solve problems
  • maths teaches people how to interpret and understand data
  • maths teaches people how to do simple and complex calculations needed for everyday life

Model Answers

  • Question: Did you like maths when you were at school?
  • Answer: I enjoyed maths at the beginning doing just simple sums but I didn’t like it as much once we progressed on to complex calculations and doing algebra and things like that.
  • Question: Did you use a calculator at school for studying maths?
  • We weren’t allowed a calculator for doing sums or long division and things like that. But we were allowed to use one for geometry and other complex calculations.

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Which part of IELTS speaking is most important?

Are all the parts of the IELTS speaking test equally important?

The IELTS speaking test is graded by your performance in all parts of the test. The examiner will check your English language using the 4 marking criteria for each part of the test.

Speaking Part 1

If you are strong in speaking part 1 but not in the other parts, then you will not get a good score. You must do well in all parts to get a good score.

Most of the questions are quite easy in part 1 and are about yourself or your country. So, doing well in this part is expected for high level students. If you give very short answers, for example “Yes, I do” or “No, I don’t”, you are not providing the examiner with a good range of language to assess. So, that means your potential score is not high when you enter part 2 and it will affect your overall score.

Speaking Part 2

In speaking part 2, the examiner has a chance to sit and listen to your English without interrupting. So, giving a short speech of only 1 minute gives you less chance to demonstrate the level of your English and less chance to show fluency. It is still possible to get a good score with only 1 mins or 1.5 mins speech but only if the language you use is very good  and your fluency is very strong during that time.

By the end of speaking part 2, the examiner has a rough idea of your band score. Adding more information and details to each prompt is a way of offering the examiner a broader range of your language ability. Description offers the examiner more vocabulary and fluency. Talking with feeling can offer better intonation. Explaining in detail can offer better sentence structures and grammar. Giving examples of the past and ideas for the future can offer more grammar tenses. Try to find ways to showcase your English in part 2.

Speaking Part 3

In speaking part 3, it is a chance for the examiner to ask more in depth questions which will require more skill in English to answer. The questions are abstract and about the world rather than yourself. This requires a better level of English to answer well.

This is a chance for you to boost your score by providing the examiner with a better range of vocabulary, grammar, fluency and pronunciation. Giving examples and detailed explanations of your ideas naturally produces better language which will help your score.

Will the examiner decide my score in the test or later on?

Your score will be decided by the examiner who conducts the test and the score will be given at the end of the test. By the end of speaking part 3, the examiner will have decided your score.

Does the examiner have model answers?

No, there are no model answers used for assessing you in the IELTS speaking test. Each student will use different English and give different answers. Your score is only calculated on the English language you produce – the level and range of your English and the accuracy of your English.

If I don’t answer one question, will it affect my score?

If you perform well and produce good English in the other questions, you can still get a good score. Struggling with only one question while the others are fine, should not affect your score adversely.

Will I get a low score if I can’t think of many ideas?

The IELTS speaking test only assess your English language, not your ideas. This is very different to the IELTS writing test. IELTS writing assesses your ideas, your answers, how you develop the ideas and how you present them. IELTS speaking only tests your vocabulary, grammar, fluency and pronunciation. See below for the band score descriptors.

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Newspapers: IELTS Speaking Questions and Model Answer

Below is a list of questions for newspaper that you can get in IELTS Speaking. There is a sample of questions for each part of the test. Two model answers are given at the bottom of the page.

Newspapers: Part 1 Questions

  • How do you usually get your news?
  • How often do you read the newspaper?
  • What type of news do you prefer to read?
  • Do most people in your country follow the news?
  • How do most people in your country access the news?
  • Do you pay much attention to headlines?
  • Do you think it is important to follow the news?

Newspapers: Part 2 Cue Card

Describe an article in a newspaper you have recent read.

You should say:

  • when you read it
  • where you read it
  • what it was about
  • and explain what you found interesting about it.

Newspapers: Part 3 Questions

  • What’s the difference between a newspaper and a magazine?
  • Why do you think some people only skim read a newspaper?
  • Do you think headlines are important?
  • Which is more important – domestic or international news?
  • How have newspapers changed over the last few decades in your country?
  • Do you think everything we read in newspapers is true?
  • Do you think the government has the right to censor the press?

Model Answers

  • How do you usually get the news?
  • Well, it depends on my day. If I have time I buy a newspaper and read through most of the pages and articles but if I’m short of time, I just go online and take a quick look at the main headlines.
  • What is the difference between a newspaper and a magazine?
  • Well, that’s an interesting question. I suppose one of the main differences is in the publication. What I mean is a newspaper is generally published daily whereas a magazine is published either weekly, monthly or quarterly. So, a newspaper is published more often than a magazine. Another big difference is in the content. A newspaper usually contains a range of subject matter from sports news to weather while a magazine is aimed at a specific target group such as readers who are interested in farming or something like that.

 

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Reported IELTS Speaking Topic: April 2015

Below is a reported IELTS speaking topic this month with tips and advice about how to answer the questions.

Speaking Part 2: Beautiful Person

Describe a beautiful person that you know.

You should say:

  • who the person is
  • when you met the person
  • where you met this person
  • and explain why you think he/she is beautiful

Speaking Part 3: Beauty

  • What is beauty for you?
  • Do you think the media influences our idea of beauty?
  • Do you think advertisement’s portrayal of beauty is correct?
  • How has people’s idea of beauty changed over the last few decades?
  • Do you think beauty only relates to a person’s appearance?

Tips for Developing Answers and Vocabulary

1. How can I paraphrase the word “beautiful”?

You can paraphrase the word “beautiful” as “attractive” or “good-looking”. For a man, you could also say “handsome” and for a women you could say “pretty”. But the main focus on vocabulary should not be just paraphrasing the word “beautiful”. This topic is full of high level vocabulary for describing people, their particular physical features and their character.

2. How can I expand my answers? What details can I give?

Part 2

For part 2, you need to expand on each prompt by giving more details of how you met the person and the impression you got. Giving a description of the person is a must – not only the physical appearance but also the character. When describing physical appearance it’s good to focus on an aspect of their appearance rather than giving the usual details. For example, “My father has rather startlingly blue eyes. They constantly smile at you and reveal the humour in his character. Many people have said he has intelligent eyes but I would say they are just full of life…“. By describing people in this way, you would get a much higher band score than only saying “he has blue eyes and he’s quite tall” which is what students learn in elementary level. Also tell a little short, possibly about an aspect of their character that you find appealing.

Part 3

For part 3, when expanding what you think is beautiful, it is good to go beyond just appearance and also talk about the way someone moves, for example, gracefully or powerfully. You can also talk about the person’s character or the way they dress. Try to go beyond just talking about physical features.

For media and beauty, it is good to go into detail about how fashion dictates our ideas of beauty and the impact it has on our society, particular on the young generation. This relates to magazines, films, the music industry and social media.

To show how beauty has changed over the years you can describe how women’s figures have changed over the years from the typical “hour glass figure” to the less curvy women’s figure, which is very stick-like, that is considered beautiful today. You can give specific examples, for example of famous female stars over the decades.

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IELTS Speaking Part 1: Camping

Below are some questions and a vocabulary for the topic of camping for IELTS speaking part 1. This topic can come in any part of the test although it is most common in part 1. This is a subtopic from the the topic of holidays.

Questions for Camping Speaking Part 1

  • Do you like camping?
  • Did you ever go camping when you were a child?
  • Is camping popular in your country?
  • Where do most people like to go camping?
  • Why do you think people like to go camping?
  • Do you think camping is popular for both men and women?
  • Why do you think children like to go camping?

Model Answers

Two different ways to answer the same question. Both answers offer the examiner a range of vocabulary suitable for the topic.

  • Question: Do you like camping?
  • Answer: Yes, I do. There’s something really exciting about being out in the forest, sleeping in a tent and cooking food over the campfire. It’s lovely to feel so close to nature. Unfortunately, I don’t get much chance to do it.
  • Answer: No, I don’t. I hate the idea of sleeping in a cramped tent and eating awful camp food. I would much prefer to sleep in a hotel where I had my own bathroom with a power shower. I honestly don’t know why people enjoy it.

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IELTS Speaking Part 3: Environment

Below are some questions for the topic of the environment for IELTS speaking part 3.

  • Are there many environmental problems in your country?
  • Are people concerned about environmental problems in your country?
  • Do you think enough is being done to deal with them?
  • What can  individuals do to help?
  • Do you think older people have as much awareness of environmental problems as the younger generation?
  • Do you believe that climate change is a serious problem?
  • What causes climate change?
  • Do you think recycling is important?

Here are some sample answers:

  • Q) Are people concerned about environmental problems in your country?
  • A) Well, it’s hard to say for sure. I think some people are concerned but probably not enough of them. There are people who take environmental problems seriously enough to actually recycle their rubbish appropriately but I don’t think there are enough people who concern themselves with resource depletion which I consider to be a pressing issue. So many people are using energy and buying products without any thought to the impact of their actions. We all know that the world’s resources are being used at an alarming rate but no one seems to actually feel it’s their responsibility to change the way they live. So, I guess, although there are some people who are concerned, it’s not enough and more people in my country need to change the way they live.

  •  Q) Do you believe climate change is a serious problem?
  • A) Yes, I do. The issue of climate change has been growing over the past few decades and we are now witnessing serious changes in global weather patterns. While some countries are suffering heat waves, other countries are suffering from terrible snow storms. But that isn’t the worst of the problem. The changes in the climate are also causing extreme weather such as typhoons, earthquakes and tsunamis, which are devastating many countries. On top of that, there are also concerns about rising sea levels, which although not a problem now, will be a serious concern to any low lying country in the future. So, I feel that climate change is something which needs to be taken very seriously.

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Practice Speaking Test: Video 2

This is the second practice speaking test video. Listen and answer the questions from each part of the speaking test. This helps you get used to the length of the test and the types of questions asked.

  1. Read through the instructions below before you listen to the test video.
  2. Listen to the questions, pause the video and answer the questions.
  3. After you finish your test, read through the transcript to check that you understood all the questions correctly (transcript given below video).
Instructions

Materials Needed:

  • pen and paper: for making notes for speaking part 2
  • phone or recording device: for recording your answers so you can play it back and check your speaking
  • a timer: for controlling the time in each part and making sure you don’t take more than 14 minutes for the whole test

Method:

  1. Have your materials ready (phone, pen, paper, timer)
  2. Press record on your phone, start your timer and press play on the video below (do this at the same time). Keep your recording device and timer going throughout the whole test. The test will take between 11 and 14 minutes.
  3. Part 1
    1. there will be 12 questions – you must answer each question immediately
    2. after each question, pause the video and record your answer
    3. don’t take less than 4 minutes or more than 5 minutes to answer all part 1 questions
    4. if you finish in under 4 mins, you answers are too short
    5. if you didn’t finish all 12 questions in 5 minutes, your answers are too long or you hesitated too much before answering
  4. Part 2
    1. in part 2, you have 1 min to prepare a talk and your talk must last from 1 to 2 minutes
    2. have your pen and paper ready
    3. the cue card (topic card with prompts) will be shown on the screen
    4. in the video, you will be given one min to make notes – use your pen and paper to prepare your talk
    5. in the video, you will be given two full minutes to talk (a skip button will appear after 1 minute so you can move to part 3 if you finish early but try and speak for the full 2 minutes)
  5. Part 3
    1. there are 5 questions in this part – you must answer each question immediately
    2. you should give long, detailed answers with examples if possible
    3. after each question, pause the video and record your answer into your phone
    4. don’t take less than 4 mins or more than 5 minutes to answer all part 3 questions
  6. After your  test has finished
    1. listen back to your recording and check your answers – see how you could improve your answers
    2. read through the transcript and check you have understood all the questions correctly
    3. listen to the speaking test model answers and see how you can improve your answers

 

Practice Speaking Test: Video 2

Transcript

Speaking Part 1

Hometown

Where is your hometown?

Do you like your hometown?

Are there any old buildings in your hometown?

How could you hometown be improved?

 

Food

What’s your favourite food?

Was there any food you disliked as a child?

Where do you usually buy your food from?

What do you consider is a healthy diet?

 

Sport

Do you like sport?

Did you play much sport as a child?

What is the most popular sport in your country?

Do you think men and women like similar sports?

 

 Speaking Part 2

A book you recently read

What type of book it is

Where you got the book from

What it is about

And explain why you enjoyed it.

 

Speaking part 3

What’s the difference between fiction and non-fiction books?

Do you think people read more books today than they did in the past?

How could parents encourage their children to read more?

Why do some adults read books for children?

Why do some people prefer ebooks?

Do you think paper books will one day disappear?

 

 

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Practice Speaking Test Video 1 with Model Answers

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