IELTS Speaking Part 2: How to start your talk

Start your talk with confidence by paraphrasing your topic card in IELTS speaking part 2. This video lesson gives advice and tips about the best way to begin your part 2 talk with example paraphrasing techniques to demonstrate a good command of English to the examiner. Target band score 6 and above.

Recommended Lessons

IELTS Video Lesson: How to improve your IELTS speaking: click here
Topics for IELTS speaking part 2: click here


hello in this lesson I’m going to show

how to start your talk for IELTS speaking
part 2

now there is no right way all wrong way

to start your talk but I want to show
you a good way

to start and the topic we will use for
this lesson

is described a book you

recently read so let’s look at how to

here are to different ways to start

you could say I’d like to talk about

or I’m going to tell you about

now this one is a little bit more

formal and this one is less formal

but they are both fine the

IELTS Speaking test is not academic

it’s not formal so it’s okay to use

both of them you can also see here

that I’ve written I’d

and I’m so we don’t say

I would like to tell you about or

I am going to tell you about we say

I’d I’m and

this is to help you get a better band
score for your pronunciation

when you use the contraction I would

I’d this is better for your

now after this what

do you need to put well a lot of students

copy the words on that card and it’s not
very good to do that

if you want to get a band score

6 7 and above you need to show the

that you can use your own language

that you have flexible language

to paraphrase what is written on your

so it now let’s look at how we could

paraphrase that so here is one way

to paraphrase the information on the

I’d like to talk about a novel

which I read

two weeks ago so you can see that

the word book we paraphrased for the

novel now you need to

learn all the different types books

that you can’t read so was it a novel

was it fiction non-fiction was it a

was it a self-help book so that’s
one way to paraphrase

take this word and be more accurate

what kind of book was it you can also
see here

I have put clause into the sentence

and that will help you get a higher band
score for your grammar and

here we’ve got two weeks ago

so instead of repeating the word

we can give the time when

you did it two weeks ago 1 week ago

a month ago you can do that so that’s

a very nice way to paraphrase

and start your talk but we can improve

let’s have a look at one more and here’s
how we can improve

that start so you can see here that one
thing you can do

it give more information more

and we can use an adjective so here

I’ve used the adjective fascinating

which means really interesting

you could also put useful

exciting you can describe

the book more and you can also see that
I’ve changed

this the paraphrase here and instead of
giving the information

I have given a paraphrase which is “not

so long ago” and that in a direct
paraphrase for recently

it’s very nice to use that and it

also means that during your talk

you can give more information about exactly

when you read the book and that’s
a way to

develop and extend your talk so I hope
you understand now

one way a good way to start your talk

well that’s all for this to happen I’ll
see you again

in another IELTS lesson


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  1. Ms.LIZ
    In listening part if there are diagram or matching I will be more confuse and can’t answer
    help me for that and if there is any strategy just let me know.

  2. If we make only 1 grammatical mistake in the whole speaking test, how much will it affect the band score?

    • It won’t affect your score. Your score is calculated through the whole test and band score 8 means that the majority of sentences are error free which means one mistake or even two or three is allowed. However, your score for grammar is also based on range – this means the different tenses and sentence structures you use. Avoiding errors is just one step, not the only step.

      • Also I said “Sir” two to three times..Can it affect my band score?

        • It is an example of incorrect use of English vocabulary to call the examiner Sir. However, mistakes are not counted individually – just generally over the whole test.

  3. Hi, thanks for your wonderful sessions on different modules. Would you please share any of your videos on Self introduction in the speaking session.

  4. Can we use ‘No sooner…than’ phrase in speaking test to get higher band score?

  5. Hi Liz, thanks so much for all the effort that you have been putting in this website… I spent a lot with private teacher who was good, however not as good as your material and lessons… And also you do almost everything for free, it is just amazing. I had my speaking test last week I was very nervous and definitely it is going to affect my score. I had put my head down in test 2, I just felt more comfortable and my concentration improved also my ideas and fluency. My question is: Is it can be bad? To put the head down.?

    • An interesting question. Teachers will give you different answers. Sure, it’s good to keep eye contact but it isn’t actually necessary. Your score is decided on the language you produce and nothing else affects your score at all. So, it shouldn’t matter if you look at the examiner or not. Lets wait for your results. If your results are lower than you think then consider a remark. When your speaking is remarked, the recording is sent to a senior examiner who will listen to the recording and of course not know anything about body language. A good examiner should not be influenced by body language. Fingers crossed you do well 🙂

  6. hello Liz I had my exam on 20 January the cue card was talk about your favorite meal
    I answered it’s as pizza and describe different things about it like I have it it resturents with m relatives friends subliNg etc.. is it right or wrong answer ?? however I speak for two minutes with a one pause …how much bands can I get

    • Thanks for sharing 🙂 The examiner will not mark you on your choice of topic. There is no right or wrong information in speaking. You are marked only on the language you produce so it is impossible to predict your score without hearing your test.

  7. Hello! I just had my Speaking test and I am confussed about what happened in my last question. After the examiner read the question, I instantly made a comment like “you mean the economic aspect?”. The examiner didn’t answer it but instead, she told me “Thank you very much, that is the end of the test.” Did she tell me that due to the time limit, making her to read the question and interrupt me right after, or because she was dissapointed that I made a question? Let me also note that I had already made two questions, asking her to repeat a word I didn’t listen in Part 1.

    • Unless I hear the whole speaking test and see the timing, it is not possible to say. However, my guess is that the time was at an end and there is nothing the examiner can do except finish the test. If that was the case, it would not affect your score.

  8. Dear Liz
    First of all, thanks for all your lovely lessons
    Now, I’ve learnt from you that when preparing to answer Speaking part of the test, first I should write down questions prompts and it will help extending the answer.

    but during my speaking time am I able to look for the notes i took?

    • In speaking part 2 (not part 1 or part 3), you are given a cue card with a topic and a list of prompts. The examiner will also give you a pen and paper. You have 1 min to write notes on the paper. Yes, you should look at both the examiner and your notes while you speak. You need to look at your notes to make sure you cover everything you want in your talk.

  9. If a candidate is having stammering problem from birth,can he score 7 in speaking?what if we attach a certificate of stammering from a recognised speech therapist?

  10. Sorry Liz, I posted my question in an essay section. My question is: How one should deal a speaking topic when he or she has a very little knowledge about it?

    • The answer to your question is – preparation! You should be preparing ideas for all common topics. In part 1, nearly all topics are common topics which appear in everyday life. Even if the topic is difficult, for example, “Flowers”, you can still expand your answers. Here’s an example: “What’s your favourite flower?” Answer = “I don’t really have a favourite flower but I usually go for flowers which have a nice scent or a striking appearance.” This answer still shows a good range of vocabulary and a complex sentence. All questions are just opportunities to showcase your language skills.

  11. Sudhakar yadav Medam says:

    Dear liz,

    in speaking part 2, will they consider the preparation work done by student about the topic( in notepad by pen or pencil).
    Is there any marks for that.

    • You will be given a pencil and piece of paper to prepare your talk. You will have 1 min to do this. You can look at your notes while you speak. The examiner will not use that paper and will not read your notes. Your notes are for you alone.

  12. When l give speaking then l cannot elaborate my ideas approtiatly. How can i elaborate my ideas

    • You should be preparing ideas for all different topics before your test. It is essential that you have a list of ideas to use for both speaking and writing.

      • Good afternoon Liz,
        Hi Liz, which one is correct?

        I’m from Cebu which is in Central part of the Visayas Island of Philippines.


        I’m from Cebu which is in Central Part of the Visayas Island of the Philippines

  13. Hi Liz,
    There is a particular vocabulary for a shopping done during waiting to pay from till. What do we call for that marketing.

  14. Hi Ms. Liz,
    I have some questions. I will be taking my Ielts test this coming Jan. 14 for the 4th time so I really want to make good this time and praying would be the last. I have difficulty is speaking specially if I really don’t have any idea on the question in part 2. like this cue card: Describe a piece of art you like. I not into arts. can I say “I’m not into art. so I’d like to tell you something how I feel about arts and if given a chance I would like to see personally the authentic painting of Mona Liza.” then I will go on why it interest me. is that ok?
    another question that confuse me. like this cue card. Describe an old person you know. Can I describe a dead person?
    thanks for all the help.

    • You can choose to take the talk in the direction you want.
      All the best

      • i am really having hard time in speaking tes. i got 6 but i need a 7. i will post some questions that i still remember for others.
        jan 14, 2016 test date
        reading is quite hard. i got 6 but previously i got 8.
        speaking part 1.
        1. can you swim.?
        2. is swimming popular in your country?
        3. do you think children need to learn how to swim.
        part 2 cue card
        describe the event in your lifw that you look up the sky…. (somwthing like that i cannot remember the exact line)
        how thw sky look like
        what event

        part 3
        1. do you think it is reasonable for the government to spend so much money in research about universe.
        2. how the study of star apply in our everyday life.
        3. do you love looking at the syar?
        i hope the next time i will sit on the test i can get 7 already.

  15. Kyrollos Hana says:

    Dear Ma’am,
    I would like to know your opinion too about my different scores in the different sections of the IELTS. I got 6.5 in overall band score, 6 in writing, 6.5 in listening and 6.5 in reading. I would like to clarify for you that I took the academic IELTS test. I only failed to achieve the required score in speaking section as I previously mentioned. I studied by myself for about one month to get that score. I would like so much to improve my score in the next time with the help of your valuable resources and your guidance.
    Thank you so much!

    • Work through all pages and tips on my speaking page. Make sure you prepare ideas for all topics given and do the practice tests.
      All the best

  16. Kyrollos Hana says:

    I would like to ask how to improve my score in speaking from 6.5 to 7. I got 6.5 in the last time I took the IELTS but I need at minimum 7 to achieve the required score that I need. Thank you!

    • Speaking is all about your level of English language and the number of errors you make. If you use a range of appropriate vocabulary and a range of grammar tenses, you will get a high score in vocabulary and grammar. For fluency, add more to all answers and especially a lot more information to your talk. For pronunciation, if you are clear and easy to understand and use intonation, you’ll be fine. Think about where you are going wrong.
      All the best

      • Kyrollos Hana says:

        Thank you so much for your answer. I am going to plan, discover more of my weakness so I can fix and overcome it. I am sure that your sources are going to help me a lot and unfortunately I didn’t find before I took my last IELTS exam.

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