IELTS Speaking Test Part Two – Dos and Don’ts

Get tips and tricks for the IELTS speaking test part two and learn how to improve your score.

We’ll show you how part two of the IELTS exam works:
– the instructions the examiner will give
– how you can practise ahead of time
– how to plan your talk
– the value of the bullet points
– how to use complex structures to improve your score

We’ll also show you mistakes students sometimes make and what NOT to do:
– failure to plan
– using memorised talks.
And best of all, you’ll see candidates in action and learn from their good and bad model answers.

Click here to see our overview of the IELTS speaking test.
Click here to see our video on part one of the IELTS speaking test.

Hello, I’m Keith.
And I’m Vicki and welcome to the third video in our series about the IELTS speaking test.
Today we’re looking at part two of the exam, which is called the ‘long turn’. What that basically means is it’s a talk. Your examiner will give you a topic and you’ll talk about it for one to two-minutes.
Part two is your opportunity to give a long answer and produce a flow of English.
One of the things students find the hardest is thinking of things to say.

Now I’m going to give you a topic and I’d like you to talk about it for one to two minutes. You have one minute to plan what you’re going to say and you can make notes if you wish. Do you understand?
Yes.
OK. Here’s your pencil and paper and here’s your topic. I’d like you to describe a water sport you’d like to try in the future
Nah, I’m ready. I would like to try deep sea diving. Deep sea diving is great.

Jay made a mistake here. It’s hard to talk continuously for one to two minutes and he should have used the minute to think of ideas.
You’ll need lots of ideas to talk for one to two minutes, so take advantage of the ‘one minute’ and make notes.

You have one minute to plan what you’re going to say and you can make notes if you wish. Do you understand?
Yes.
Here’s a pencil and paper. And here’s your topic. So I’d like you to talk about a special meal you had with your friends or family.
Mhmm.

Some students worry that anything they write will be marked and graded, but that doesn’t happen.
This is the speaking test not the writing test, so only the things you say matter. Nobody will look at your notes and the note paper will be destroyed at the end of the test.
The examiner will give you a cue card like this that has your instructions, and bullet points with ideas for you to talk about. The bullet points are designed to help you structure your talk.
You don’t have to use the bullet points and you can make up your own ideas if you want. But they’re usually very helpful.
Here’s another example. I sometimes prepare sample answers to these questions to show my students, and I often find my answers follow the bullet points on the cue card. They provide a natural structure.
You’ll be able to keep the cue card with you to refer to throughout the talk.

OK. Remember you have one to two minutes for this so don’t worry if I stop you. I’ll tell you when the time is up. Could you start speaking now, please?
OK. I went to a Greek restaurant for dinner with some school friends about a month ago to celebrate the end of our exams. There were five of us and we’re all studying animal sciences….

It’s hard to know how much you can say in a minute or two, so it’s really important to prepare for this part of the exam ahead of time. You need to get a feel for how much to say so you can keep going for two minutes. You can find example cue cards on different topics on my website.
Use a stopwatch and record your answers so you can listen back to them. Your goal is to talk for at least one minute. That’s the minimum. But if you can talk for one and a half, or two minutes it’s much better. You’ll have more opportunity to show off your English and get a higher score.
Some candidates prepare topics for part two that they have learnt by heart. This is a bad idea because you can’t predict what topic you’ll receive. Examiners are trained to spot memorised answers and they’ll know if you’ve memorized an answer.

Could you start speaking now, please?
Yes. A water sport I’d like to try is scuba diving. There was a famous movie called Thunderball where James Bond went scuba diving. The movie was made in 1965 and it starred Sean Connery. In the movie James Bond had to recover two atomic bombs that were stolen by a secret organization called Spectre. It was very successful. The movie earned more than a hundred and forty million dollars worldwide. In the movie, James Bond…

The topic on Jay’s cue card is a water sport he’d like to try, but he’s talking about a movie. The examiner will consider this ‘off topic’ and will l have to ignore the language he’s used. This will seriously affect Jay’s score.
It’s good to memorize words and phrases, but memorizing whole sentences is probably not good, and certainly not a whole talk.

I’m sure we’ll be friends for many years to come because we have so much in common. The time flew by and we suddenly realized it was midnight and my friends had to get up early…
Thank you. Can I have your question card and your paper and pencil, please? Thank you.

Don’t worry if the examiner interrupts you. They’ll interrupt you after you have spoken for two minutes, so that’s a good thing!
One last tip. Sometimes when you’re giving your talk, you might be able to express a regret. So you can say how you wish things were different now, or had been different in the past. If you can, it’s a great way to show off your grammatical range. Let’s see some examples.

I wish I could swim. If I knew how to swim, I could enjoy water sports.
If we’d known the restaurant was noisy, we’d have gone somewhere else.

Do you see what they did there? They used complex conditional sentences to express regret. You can’t always do this because it’s not possible with all topics. But sometimes you can and using complex structures can show off your grammatical range.
So now you know how part two of the speaking exam works. Make sure you’ve subscribed to both our channels so you don’t miss our videos on part three.
And if you’ve found this lesson useful, give it a thumbs up and share it with your friends. Bye for now.

Click here to see our overview of the IELTS speaking test.
Click here to see our video on part one of the IELTS speaking test.
We’ve made this video in collaboration with our friend Keith from IELTS Speaking Success and you can check out his YouTube channel here

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