IELTS Speaking Part 2: Will I get a low score if I speak for less than 2 mins?

In speaking part 2, you will be given a topic, 1 min to prepare and then  you will need to speak for between 1-2 mins. The examiner will not move on to part 3 until 1 minute has passed of your talk and the examiner will stop you at exactly 2 minutes to prevent you speaking further. So, this means you have between 1 and 2 minutes available to you for your talk.

Speaking part 2 is the only part of the test where you can show the examiner that you can speak at length. So, if you are aiming for a higher score, this is a great opportunity to impress the examiner with fluency.

However, if you run out of things to say after 1 minute then tell the examiner you have finished so that the examiner can move on to the next part of the test. You can say ‘I’ve finished’.

Here are some more points to consider:

  • It is better to give a strong, fluent talk for 1.5 minutes than a weak, hesitant talk for 2 mins.
  • You can still get a high score if you only speak for 1.5 minutes but only if the quality of your talk is very good.
  • The criterion of fluency accounts for 25% of your marks and is taken from your overall performance in all parts not only in part 2.
  • If you wish to lengthen your talk,  then add more information. The prompts (the points on the topic card) are only guidelines – you can and should expand on each one.

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IELTS Speaking Part 2: Difficult Topics with Tips

Below are a few topics which many students find difficult. Plan your ideas and answer so that you are ready for a difficult topics in your test. Remember that whatever you choose to talk about, you must be able to talk for up to 2 minutes on that topic. So, be wise and choose something you can talk about easily.

Click “Tips” to reveal tips for the topic.

A Good Law

Describe a law which you think is good.

You should say:

  • what kind of law it is
  • when you first heard of the law
  • how the law is upheld
  • and explain why you think it is a good law
If you don’t know much about laws, choose a simple law such as a the helmet law which requires motorbike riders and cyclists to wear a helmet or go for the compulsory primary and secondary school education which prevents children from skipping lessons and ensures they get a solid, basic education.


A Wrong Decision

Describe a decision which you have made that you feel was wrong.

You should say:

  • what the decision was
  • why you made that decision
  • why you think it was the wrong decision to make
  • and explain how you would alter that decision if you could
This could be a bad decision about a holiday you chose, a job you did, some advice you gave someone or even something really simple like a bad decision you made while you were cooking.


A Journey that Didn’t Go As Planned

Describe a journey you have taken that didn’t go as you had planned.

You should say:

  • where you were going
  • who you were traveling with
  • how you were travelling
  • what went wrong
  • and explain what you would have done differently.
This is a tough topic because not only do you need to think of a story but you also need to pay attention to the grammar tenses you use. This topic will require you to use the 3rd conditional which is used when expressing regrets (if I had known ….., I wouldn’t have ……). Try to stick to a simple story about a time when you did a trip but you had bought the wrong tickets or there was an unexpected delay which caused problems.


A Museum You Like

Describe a museum you like.

You should say:

  • what kind of museum it is
  • what kind of people go there
  • when you first went
  • and example why you like it.
Many students dislike this topic because they are not familiar with museums. In this case, choose to talk about a museum of local culture – that way you can talk about local culture, traditional ways of life and other interesting historical points about where you are from. If you are familiar with museums, make sure you add lots of detail about your first trip there – who you went with, how old you were, your first impression etc.

A Family Business

Describe a family business you know.

You should say:

  • what kind of business it is
  • how you first heard of this business
  • how often you go there
  • and why you think it is a good business
This sounds like a tough topic but in fact it isn’t. A family business could be a simple as a local shop that is run by a family or a family run restaurant. If you don’t know any family run businesses, then you could start your talk this way “I don’t really know any family run businesses but there is a fantastic shop round the corner from my house which is as friendly as any family run shop….”

Make sure you prepare ideas for as many topics for speaking part 2. This is not an academic talk or a formal talk so if you make your talk personal and friendly, you will do better.

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IELTS Speaking Part 2 Model Answer: Holidays

This is a band score 9 sample answer for a speaking part 2 talk in IELTS. This model demonstrates who you can expand each prompt with more information and description. This IELTS speaking part 2 model answer is estimated at band score 9.

Describe a holiday you recently had.

You should say:

  • where you went
  • how you got there
  • what you did there
  • and explain if you enjoyed it

Model Talk

I would like to talk about a holiday I went on in the south of Vietnam just a few months ago. I went with my parents to a town called Nha Trang, which is a lovely coastal town, and we decided to go there so that they could experience a different part of the country and see life by the beach.

We flew there from Hanoi, which is the capital of Vietnam. The flight took about 1 hour and on the whole it went smoothly. We managed to be one of the first on board and one of the first off when we landed. It was certainly quicker and easier than going by train, which can take over 15 hours.

There was so much to do there that we only had a chance to do just a few things on our three day trip. We took a cruise around the islands and also did some sightseeing inland as well. Taking part in a cookery course was great fun, where we bought fresh ingredients at the local market and learned how to use a wok to fry fresh fish and other seafood like crab and lobster.

We definitely enjoyed our trip and would go there again if we could. Seeing the colourful lifestyle of the locals and having a chance to see spectacular scenery was something we will never forget. For my parents it was a holiday of a life time and they’re still talking about it. If I could live there, I would.

Recommended Lessons

IELTS Video Lesson for Speaking: How to improve at home
IELTS Video Lesson for Speaking Part 1: What’s your favourite
IELTS Video Lesson for Speaking Part 3: Urban vs Rural Life

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


IELTS Speaking Part 2 Topic: A Place to Learn

Here is a topic card for speaking part 2. What place would you choose to talk about? Remember to choose a place that you know well and can easily talk about for 2 minutes. Make sure that the place you choose matches all prompts on the card.

a place to learn 2
Answers: click below to see some ideas of places you could choose

[Read more…]

IELTS Speaking Part 2: A Friend you are Proud of

IELTS speaking part 3 topic about a friend you are proud of. I was recently asked by a student how to deal with this difficult topic in IELTS speaking part 2:

Describe a time that you felt proud of a friend.

Possible Answers

Below are some possible ways to answer this part 2 topic.

1. a friend who did well in their studies (for example, they did well in a test or project)
2. a friend who did well in work and received an award or was congratulated by their boss
3. a friend who had a difficult situation but dealt with it very well (for example, they were seriously sick or a parent was seriously ill)
4. a friend who experienced an unexpected event but fixed the situation (for example, they went on holiday and had their money stolen)
5. a friend who got a job they always wanted (for example, they did well in the interview and had worked hard to get the job)
6. a friend who defended you in a difficult situation
7. a friend who raised money for charity or did some volunteer work that made you feel proud

IELTS Speaking Part 2 Tip

It is often easier to talk about a family member that you were proud of because you know them better. So, if you get stuck, the best thing is to say “Although I have plenty of friends, I wouldn’t say that they’ve done anything to make me really proud but my cousin has. So I will tell you about him and what he has done that caused me to be so proud of him.” It is possible to adapt (not change) the topic as long as it still follows the prompts on the cue card.

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