Look at your Notes in IELTS Speaking Part 2

Many students ask me if it is ok to look at your notes during your IELTS speaking part 2 talk. Let me explain…

Looking at your Notes

It is important to look at your notes during your talk. You can’t remember everything and this is the reason why you have 1 mins to plan and write notes.

Checking your notes will make sure you keep a logical order and also make sure you don’t forget to talk about something.

Does it lower my score to look at my notes a lot?

No, it doesn’t. You will not get a lower score if you look at your notes a lot.

Of course, it is good to have eye contact with the examiner because it shows confidence. But it won’t affect your score. Your score is based only on your level of English language: fluency, vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation.

Liz’s Advice

Keep checking your notes during your talk. But also look at the examiner. When students talk with their head in their notes, they often lose intonation and don’t speak naturally. So, try to aim for a balance – look at your notes as often as you need but also make sure you speak naturally by looking up at the examiner.

IELTS Speaking Tips & Answers

See my page of speaking tips and model answers for IELTS speaking: IELTS Speaking Main Page


  1. I took the test today. Please i need to ask, does it reduce my marks if i did not cover all the categories in the speaking test task 2 where i was asked to discuss something about a friend, how it happened, where it happened and why it happened. I was able to cover how and where but was stopped by the examiner when i was about to talk on where it happened. Please liz, does this affect my score?

  2. Hi Liz,

    Similarly, is it okay look at the cue card while answering part 2?


  3. Do I need an introduction before speaking on the outlined points.

  4. you talked about making notes on speaking test with the given cue card.

    am confuse…………
    for example,

    describe a family celebration that you remember, you should say;
    a. what you were celebrating
    b. who was present
    c. what happened
    d. why you like the celebration

    do I still need to form a different note from the above given guide?

    if yes, please give an exam using the above questions.

    thanks in advance

  5. sumcheung says

    Many thanks for the useful and helpful information.

  6. Sobah Seeboruth says

    Thanks for the information!!!

  7. Thanks a lot Liz. It’s very helpful information.

  8. Thanks..
    In writing and speaking , if we do not have any information about that topic then what should we do ?

  9. Thank you so much mam.

  10. NGAMBIRWOHA says

    Are we supposed to write the number of words we have used below the essay? If yes what’s the quickest way of counting them?

    • You do not write the number of words at the bottom of your essay – never. I do that on my website to help students but you don’t do it. You can know your word count by counting lines and multiplying.

  11. Thanks for this information… You are Godsent

  12. What if I use mixed British and American pronunciation in speaking

    • It’s fine. The speaking test is informal and accents can vary. This is not the same for writing. For writing, you must not mix your spelling – you must choose one or the other.

  13. Thanks my dear teacher for your guidance.
    You are the great of all the time.

  14. Aseem goel says

    Thank you for the information.

    I believe this can help a lot.

  15. Sobah Seeboruth says

    I went through the writing test today but I feel i missed the gist of the question. Here is the question:
    Some people think everyone should go to the university, others think that not everyone should go to university.
    Discuss both statements and give your views.

    Please , cant we discussed the question.

    • This essay is about the value of university education. Some people think uni education is useful – it teaches depth of understanding, knowledge and skills. Other people think it is not useful – uni education doesn’t prefer students for the work place or offer hands-on experience. You also need to give your view.

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