IELTS Speaking Test: Part 2

Check out our IELTS Speaking test Part 2 video lesson.    

You will be asked to talk about a topic for 1 – 2 minutes and there will be a follow up question. The examiner will tell you that you should speak for 1 – 2 minutes but, in reality, you are expected to speak for 2 minutes. You will be given a prompt card. For example…

IELTS Speaking Part 2 Topic

Strategies & Tips

One minute preparation time

If there are any words on the prompt you don’t understand, you can ask the examiner what they mean. The examiner will try to explain them. You can’t change the topic since the topics are supposed to be random and candidates can’t pick a topic, they think they have lots to talk about.

You have one minute preparation time and you are given a pencil and paper to make notes. Some candidates want to start straight away but it’s advisable to take the full minute to think about what you’ll say, compose yourself and “take a breather”.

You DO NOT need to answer all the prompts on the card. If you speak for 2 minutes on the first 2 questions, that’s perfectly acceptable. There is NO IELTS rule or requirement that says candidates must answer all the questions on the prompt in Part 2.

Make notes (prompt words), not full sentences. Better in English so you won’t have to translate. Use the question words on the prompt to guide you. Pay attention to the tenses used in the prompt. The example above is in the past tense so your answer will be in past tenses.

 

Example: 

Topic: Someone helped me?

Who? John Smith - IELTS teacher - From London - teaching in my country

Why? Improve my IELTS speaking & writing

How? Gave useful tips + advice + feedback + lots of practice

Result? Got higher grade - speaking + writing

Felt? Very happy + grateful for help

When you speak, it’s fine to glance at your notes but try not to read from them. Keep eye contact as much as possible with the examiner. Expand on your notes by adding extra details, giving examples, feeling and opinions. 

When you start speaking try not to repeat the instructions from the prompt. For example: “So my topic today is to describe a time when someone helped me. Who and why and how I felt about it.” Just start into the topic straight away. You can preface it, for example… “OK, a time someone helped me was….”

How can I speak about a topic for 2 minutes?

It’s a common occurrence for candidates to finish before 2 minutes and if you do, the examiner will usually gesture for you to continue or point to a question on the prompt you forgot to answer or wait for 5 seconds then ask you “Can you tell me any more about this topic?” 

 

If you answer “That’s all” or something similar, the examiner will stop Part 2. The main reason for candidates finishing before 2 minutes is that they answer the questions on the prompt card with a few sentences and feel that’s enough. Try the following strategy…. 

First

  • If you look at the prompt above, there’s actually a lot to get through – Who helped you, why, how, the result and how you felt. So, start by answering the questions / prompts.

  • Expand your answer to each question/prompt with extra details and information.

  • For example: Compare answers A and B to the first question/prompt… “Who helped you?”

A: The person who helped me was Mr. John Smith. He was my IELTS teacher.

B: The person who helped me was Mr. John Smith. He was my IELTS teacher. He's from the UK, specifically London but at the time, he was working as an IELTS at the Academy where I studied English. He was a very experienced teacher and very friendly as well and all the students really liked his lessons. 

  • Answer B, obviously, has more details and information and is still on topic. 

  • Expanding each question/prompt with extra details, while staying on topic, should keep you going for 2 minutes.

Second

  • If you do finish everything on the prompt before 2 minutes, you can talk about ANOTHER TIME when someone helped you.

  • Part 2 always askes about your experiences and the topic areas are… describe a PLACE, PERSON, SOMETHING or an OCCASION/TIME.

  • So, after you have answered all the questions/prompts, you can describe ANOTHER PLACE, PERSON, SOMETHING or an OCCASION/TIME. 

For example…

IELTS Speaking Part 2 Tips

If you go off topic, the examiner will probably point to the prompts on the card. Answers off topic are still graded if they’re not memorized.

Try to avoid emotional topics. It, can happen in Part 2 that candidates get upset (even break down and cry!) when they stray onto emotional topics. If it happens, the examiner will stop the test and give the candidate a chance to recover, and then resume. If the candidate cannot recover, the test will be stopped and the candidate rescheduled.

In Part 2, don’t get upset if the examiner stops you in mid-sentence. There is very strict timing and it’s actually positive if you are interrupted because it means you spoke for 2 minutes.

Follow Up Question

After your 2-minute talk, there will be a follow up question. The follow up is always a closed question that requires a yes / no response.  Answer the question with a yes / no response. Give reasons why you answered yes/no. Give examples or talk about your experience.

 

The examiner will stop you after 15 to 20 seconds.

For example…

Examiner: Do you think people who help others get enough thanks or credit?

Candidate: Well, yes of course they should be thanked for what they so. I guess it's up to the people they help... I mean, whoever gets help from someone should always show their gratitude... Like the teacher I told you about before, we were all very grateful to him and thanked him for his work... What I mean to say is all the students were.

Sample Mock Test: Part 2

Watch the IELTS Speaking mock test, part 2 with a band 8 student.