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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  1. Sathish B says

    Hi Liz,
    Yiu are a world class teacher. Pls get well soon.

  2. Why you are not making new videos on Youtube Liz. You are an excellent teacher.

  3. Paul francis says

    Thank you Liz for these wonderful and straight forward tips and advice. They are really helpful. I will be taking the GT on Sunday.

    • Sorry to see your message so late. Hope your test went well. Fingers crossed for your results πŸ™‚

  4. Davinder says

    Hlo mam, thank you very much for your tips and heplful materials. My exam will be on 27th july and speaking on 26th july It would be great if you provider me some Important topics for writing and speaking GT

    • Go to the main sections for writing task 2 and speaking to find topics – click on the RED BAR at the top of the website.

  5. Jefrin says

    I have speaking test on this any tips and topics would you have to inform me.

  6. Hi
    I got my GCSEs from a boarding school in England and as such I am fluent in English. Do you reckon I will have problems with the ielts tests? Are there any tricky parts intended to confuse you even if you are a native English speaker?

    • You need to learn how the writing test is marked. IELTS writing has specific requirements for a high score which are not related to your language skills. If you don’t know about them, you could struggle to get a score that matches the level of your English. Like any exam, the more you know about it, the better you will do. There are also specific types of questions in reading and listening that you need to prepare for. My advice is to prepare thoroughly even if you are a native speaker.

  7. Thanks Liz, really appreciate your efforts. I have got the “Good Law” question and I spoke about helmet law.

  8. Dr.usman says

    liz i just want to say i love you you are so beautiful l. your way of teaching is very pathetic and helpful 😘😘😘😘

  9. Ovie Ainenehi says

    Hi Liz. First of all, i wanna thank you for all effort you put in educating us. Much appreciated.
    I had my ielts speaking test today, 15th May, 2018 in Abuja, Nigeria and the questions were
    Section 1.
    1. Where are you from?
    2. Do you live in a house or flat
    3. What is your favorite room in the house?
    Section 2.
    Describe a song you like?
    1. What kind of song is it?
    2. What is it about?
    3. Where you first heard it?
    4. Explain why you like it?
    Section 3.
    1. Is is easy or difficult to learn how to play musical instruments?
    2. Do you see contemporary musicians as role models?
    3. What is the difference between music of the past and those of today?
    4. can musicians affect a generation negatively?

    I hope this helps.

    • Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

      • HI Liz, Thanks for Great Tips. I Would lik to know if the examiner asks questions like describe your favourite song – if the song is other than english song is it ok to name the lyrics in language other than English.

        • Why would you waste time in an English language test speaking another language. The IELTS speaking test is only 11 to 14 mins. That means you have no more than 14 mins to show the examiner as much as you can of your English – if the examiner doesn’t hear it, you can’t be scored on it. So, don’t waste time by being entertaining. Showcase your English in a natural way at all times.

  10. Praharsha says

    Dear Madam,
    Can we use pencil for writing reading, listening part?
    Thank you.

  11. hey liz!
    wanted to clarify something. i have my speaking exam tomorrow and was wondering if i get a topic on hometown should i be talking of the place where i was born and brought up or my home city back home. i was born in dubai but im from karachi, pakistan. so shud i speak on dubai or can i speak on any. i understand tha the speaking exam is on the level of english but just wanted to clarify this query of mine.

  12. Rahmath Baree says

    Hi Liz
    I`m so confused what to say if the examiner asks me `Do you study or work`, because of the following reasons.
    I finished bachelor degree in 2009 and after that I worked as a lecturer in a self financing engineering college in India for 3 months.And later in 2014 I enrolled for master course and had to discontinue it in 2015 due to pregnancy related complications and currently I`m neither studying nor working .
    Should I explain all these?
    would you guide me Liz,pls

    • IELTS is not a trick test. You just explain in short simple terms: At present, I’m not working or studying, I’m … (you can choose to say what you are doing: looking for a job, a housewife, waiting to continue your studies). Make it short but clear. The examiner is asking this question in order to decide which topic to talk about.

      • Maxim says

        Hello Liz, How the examiner decide which topic to talk about? For example, if i say I am an architect, he will try to choose a topic related with with my specialty or vice versa?

    • Abhishek Bhuva says

      Yes , you can use pencil . However, lead pencil with 0.7 mm or 0.9 mm lead is better option for students.

  13. JayT Brice says

    Hi Liz, I made up stories during the Speaking test and I am really bothered if the examiner’s gonna caught that. I unconsciously used words such as “in fact..”, “the truth is..” and I also gave a wrong detail and descriptions of a particular place which I thought he has an idea about (for e.g. Paris). I am really getting nervous at that point. Would that affect my speaking score? Thank you.

    All the best

  14. HI LIZ,


  15. Julia Wu says


    Thank you for so many good tips and advice! I feel after going through your videos I have definitely improved a lot on writing. I am still very scared the speaking parts. I am concerned of getting a topic I am not familiar with. If I had to make things up on the go, I don’t do very well with fluency or amount of English spoken. You mentioned in some of your replies that you are not marked on topic and can go off topic a bit. But how much detail do you need to give to support what you are talking about?

    For example, the topic about a person who helped other a lot or a community leader, wouldn’t it sound boring if you just say he did this, he did that. How can you beef up something you just made up?

    • You can direct the talk in any way you want. You can add any information you want. You can easily say “I am going to talk about my father than always gave me great advice and was like a leader to me because I don’t know much about community leaders”. You can talk about the advice he gave you and how you follow his advice. You can talk about a past memory or a future hope. You can talk about your feelings about leaders and what they should be like. You don’t have to follow the prompts on the cue card – they are guidelines to use or not use.

  16. inderjeet singh says

    hello, liz
    I found your website a few days ago and found it really helpful in prepping for IELTS.
    I have my speaking test in 3 days, and I feel unprepared and nervous.
    I’m appearing for the first time on IELTS, although i know the pattern, I still feel like I need more practice.
    Also this is the only shot I have at getting atleast a 7, as I wanna apply for september intake in canada.
    Please suggest, what I should do in this situation?

    • Did you practise with my practice speaking test video? You need to definitely do one full IELTS test under exam conditions at home. You should do more if possible. Use the answer sheets, set your timing and practise under exam conditions to see where you struggle. This is main speaking page which contains the practice test video with model answers: You can find full practice tests in the IELTS Cambridge books from 1 to 11 (get book 11 as it is the most recent). Does that advise help?

  17. Rohit Gupta says

    hey liz,
    will it be a problem if i use some false information in my speaking part 2? For example, in cue card about my favorite law i used according to section 398(random number) helmet is compulsory. i don’t know anything about section 398. Will it be a problem if i do such in final exam???
    Plz reply, Thankyou in advance….

  18. Rahhul saini says

    Hello Liz,

    Today, it was my speaking general IELTS test. In which cue card topic was.
    Tell me about a shop which is recently opened
    Where is it
    What does it sell
    How often do you go there
    Is it successful shop in its category

  19. Narayan Prasad Pande says

    Hy mam
    I am pleased to see your blogs for IELTS,but I am anxious about my upcoming test which is tomorrow.Would mind giving some especial tips regarding grooming and all during the test.


  20. Romeo says

    Dear teacher,

    If you don’t mind, I would like one question.

    Here is my question; what if I don’t know the vocabulary on the topic card in part 2? Should I ask the examiner to explain it another way?
    Thank you very much

    • The examiner can’t explain or change your cue card. You must guess the meaning and give your talk as close as possible to the topic. It won’t affect your score if you say “I’m going to talk about … because …” Just keep talking and showcase your language as usual.

  21. Sankar says

    Hi mam.. In speaking we talk as we want related to the topic..?

    • In speaking part 2, you can take your talk in any direction you want. In part 1 and part 3, you need to answer the questions directly.

  22. Waqas Ahmad says

    Hi Liz, i would like to thank you for this forum and also your you tube videos, they have been a great help. I wanted to know that in part 2 of speaking i just spoke for about a minute, where as the rest of my speaking went well. In case you are not able to complete a minute in speaking part 2 how much band can you expect for speaking.

    • Your speaking is not marked in that way. Giving a long talk might affect your score for Fluency but it depends on how your fluency was in other parts of the test. You just need to wait for your results.

  23. is it ok to ask the examiner why she stops you when 1-2 minutes is not yet over?

  24. marzban says

    does too much ummm uhh during speaking test affect the scores? – especially if the grammar and pronunciation is accurate

  25. Hello Ms Liz
    This is my first post and its because its been disturbing me.
    In my speaking test, i was asked to talk about a traditional festival in my country which I attended, but I ended up talking about a traditional marriage rite and ceremony. Please, how bad will this affect my score?

    • It won’t affect your score at all. You can adapt the topic as you want.

      • Thank you ma am. You ve made me relieved.. Now i can confidently keep my fingers crossed, expecting my result. I ‘ll post the scores when its out. Thanks very much again.

  26. Hello mam,
    I am very glad to see all of your tips and videos.Those are very helpful for me.But I have only 15 days for preparation.I am confused how I will prepare me .What is the right way practicing 4 modules in a day or completing one by one from your blog? please help me by giving your specious advice .

    • You choose the method best for you. Some students spend the morning on one part of the test and the afternoon on the other. See how your concentration and interest continues over your study period.

  27. hi mam!
    I would like to know, will I have the chance to choose cue cards or it will be a fix topic?

  28. nargiza says

    Thank you for recommendations

  29. nargiza says

    Hello, my speaking exam will be tomorrow. I just know your website. It is so great ! Your recommendations’ll help me, i’m sure

  30. parmjit says


    There was my speaking test on 27th of October .The cue card was given on if i borrowed any thing from someone .but by mistake i spoke on what i bought from someone . Is there will be any problems for bands .All other answer i replied were write.Please can you answer me ?

  31. Thank you very much, I’ve learned a lot from your website.
    I have a question. When we asked about a time we watched the sky. I have no idea to talk about it. Sky? Blue or not. Can you teach some tips about talking this topic.

  32. Hi liz, i cant thank u more for the effort u’ve give in this website, its really help me a lot.. btw, i just did my speaking test today, the examiner was very friendly, i was so nervous at first, but after i saw the examiner, it all went well, first quest is about town i grow up, and social network, do i use social network alot? then the second part was about the movie i like, with whom i go with, why i like it. the third quest was about what do i think about movie industry nowadays? Does it same like before? Something like that.. btw i want to ask u something, the examiner asked me do i like to live in my hometown, i said not really because i live in the city and because of the traffic and pollution, then i said i prefer to live in a “pedestrian area” is that right the way i said it? After that the examiner told me so u prefer to live in a country side then? And i said yes.. im a little bit worry for using this phrase, it feels weird and doesn’t add up, can u gimme a sugestion please? Thank u so much Liz.. Gbu!


    • It’s good language or may be you should have used “residential area”. It depends if you mean a place without any traffic or a place that is quiet. But even if your accuracy isn’t 100%, it shows that you have a range of interesting and unusual language. Lets wait and see your result. Don’t worry πŸ™‚

  33. Hi,

    Should I follow all the subpoints given on the cue card?? and will I get a low band score if I spoke out of the topic?? Thanks and hope to receive your reply as soon as possible.


    • You should follow the prompts on the card if you can because it provides a strong framework for your speech. If you talked on a complete different topic the examiner will think it might be because you prepared your answer which could be fatal to your score. However, if you added extra information to the topic that isn’t in the prompts, it’s fine.

  34. Richmond says

    hello everyone, thank you all so much for ur comments and contribution and most importantly madam Liz, i have the speaking test in some few hours and all my studies were done here so am very much grateful. I will share my experience after the test today so we someone can also learn something like i did on this platform. I wish all those who are taking the test today good luck and may the good Lord be with them and guide us all to success.

    • Good luck! Hope it goes well.

      • gurwinder kaur says

        hi liz,
        if it would be appropriate to use wanna gonna in speaking?

        • Yes, it is important to link words in speaking. It is an aspect of pronunciation.

          • gurwinder kaur says

            i mean wanna instead of want to and gonna instead of going to and also dint in the place of didnot

            • It’s good to use contractions for speaking.

              • gurwinder kaur says

                hi liz,
                i took my ielts exam today.when i was speaking on cue card topic,the examiner stopped me atfter 40-50seconds.if it will effect my band score and also if answer in 3-5sentence for cross questons after cue card topic is enough?Giving answer ni 3-5 sentences effects the band score evaluation?

                • You can have up to 2 mins for your talk. The examiner can’t take that time from you. However, if the examiner thinks you have stopped speaking (if you have a long pause), maybe the examiner thought you had finished your talk. At no time can the examiner stop you talking when less than 2 mins have passed. It might affect your score if your talk was very short and your fluency weak. You will be marked for an overall performance on the level of your English.
                  All the best

                • gurwinder kaur says

                  actually mam;my topic was going very well and i was speaking in a very good fluency by taking no pause but she stopped me after 40seconds.She asked 13questions after topic and was dealing very nicely .. i mean by giving smiles?There was no pause or stuttering during my speaking by me but still she stopped me and then smiled… what does it means?if i am going to loose band score for it?

                • If the examiner did not give you a full 1 mins and stopped your talk, it means that she broke the rules of IELTS. All speaking part 2 talks MUST be between 1 and 2 mins. The examiner is not allowed to stop a students during their talk unless the time reaches 2 mins.
                  All the best

      • gurwinder kaur says

        mam as i have given good speaking for 50seconds, then stoped by examiner, if i have to suffer for it?

        • As I explained, it will affect your score in fluency if you were unable to speak at length. I can’t say more because your score is marked on your overall performance.

  35. bal krishna maharjan says

    Hello! I have done a great mistake in ielts speaking part 2. The question that I have been asked is, “what type of a building is unusual”? I answered the unusable building rather than unusual one and I answered in a plural rather than expalinig in singular. So I have made a mistake in part 2, despite of my mistake will I get minimum 6 score? I need 6 so as to apply for my master degree n I am afraid of the score. Rest of my speaking is fine. Plz do reply me as soon as possible.

    • Firstly, there are no questions in speaking part 2 – there are only general topics and guidelines. The examiner does not mark you on your ideas, only on your level of English. So, if you gave good English which was flexible and accurate, you can still get a very high score. It all depends on your level of English, not the choice of subject.

      • bal krishna maharjan says

        After accomplishment of 1 minute I have been shown a mistake by my examiner, Then I tried to recorrect my mistake in remaining 1 minute but I couldn’t and felt nervous. Despite of my wrong answer in the preceding minute I spoke fluently n accurately. Tomorrow I have a listening, reading n writing exam so I felt completely depressed from my today’s performance. If I won’t get 6 score then i wont be eligible to apply for my master degree so I am curious to know my score n felt sorry for my mistaken. Plz do suugest n reply me.

        • Try to forget your speaking score. No examiner should interrupt your talk in part 2 for any reason. Focus on your next exams and don’t worry. Do your best and you might be happy with the results. But remember to aim for accuracy – don’t try to use words that are too difficult – avoid errors.

  36. fatima says

    My big sister was told to speak about the law in her country which was hard for her first of all because she didn’t know a lot about laws but the biggest problem was she is from Syria and i bet that everyone know that the situation now in Syria is bad . well , i’m really afraid of the question that ask about a hometown or something in your country how should i answer them i’m really confused πŸ™

    • Please don’t worry. Speaking part 2 is mostly about yourself and you can adapt the prompts to suit yourself. Let me explain…

      If your sister got the topic of law, she could talk about a simple law, such as wearing a helmet. The she could talk about traffic, road rules, children and adults on the road, her experiences etc. If you choose something simple, it is easier to expand and develop your story the way you want.

      If you get the topic of hometown but you don’t want to talk about your own hometown, you can say “things in my hometown are not very good at the moment and I find it upsetting to talk about. So, I’m going to tell you about a place that is close to my heart that I love as much as my hometown.”. Then you can talk about any place you like and add any information you like. It is important not to talk about something emotional during the test because you might get upset and that will affect your English level. So, choose something easier to talk about but something very similar to the cue card.

      Speaking part 2 is your chance to talk about what you want. Of course, there is a topic and guidelines but you can adapt the talk, add whatever information you want and choose the direction of the talk. To be honest, the examiner wants two things. 1) a chance to hear your English 2) to make sure you don’t give a memorised talk – that is way you have topics.

      I hope this helps you to feel more comfortable in your test. There are no points for being on topic or off topic, there are only points for good English. So, talk a lot, add lots of information, talk about the past and future to boost your grammar score and just relax and be chatty.

      Wishing you all the very best in your test.

      • fatima says

        hello again ,
        Thank you so much for answering me , i’m really glad that i found this website because it’s super helpful and i truly appreciate that you found some of your time to answer me and that you replied so fast , thank you so much ^_^ !!

  37. it is very useful for me..

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