IELTS Speaking Part 2 – The Topic Cue Card

The IELTS exam is a language proficiency test that is offered in Singapore and many other countries around the world. One of the toughest parts of the exams is part 2 of the speaking test. This part of the IELTS Speaking exam tests your ability to talk fluently about a certain topic in an organized and cohesive way, for two minutes. You will be given a cue card, with a topic and questions related to the topic.

Sample Task Card:

Describe a book that you read recently.

You should say:

 What the book is about.

 What you liked or disliked about it.

 Would you recommend it to anyone else and what kind of person would that be?

Many students from Singapore struggle with this part of the speaking test, which is why I’ve decided to write this article. In this article, we will take a detailed look at what happens during part 2 of the IELTS Speaking test as well as how you can score well during this part of the IELTS Speaking test.

Speaking Part 2 Format

The examiner will provide you pen and paper and give you one minute to think about the topic and make notes if necessary. Afterwards, you will be expected to talk continuously for about 2 minutes and the examiner will indicate when you can stop talking. The examiner may ask you some questions based on the topic during or after your talk.

Speaking Part 2 Common Topics

The topics will always be about something you have personal experience with. The topics asked about in part 2 are often related to the following:

  • Something about you.
  • Something that has happened to you.
  • Something you have experienced.
  • A place you have visited

Common Part Two Speaking Topics:

  • art
  • books
  • communication
  • childhood
  • home
  • daily routine
  • exercise
  • family/ friends
  • gifts
  • hobbies
  • internet
  • journeys
  • kindness/ happiness
  • language
  • music
  • news
  • photographs
  • respect
  • sport
  • travel
  • favorite ___

What Is The Examiner Listening Out For In IELTS Speaking Part 2?

Your scores for the speaking test are based on four criteria, and the examiner will be listening out for certain things that are somehow related to these four things.

Fluency and Coherence: The examiner will check your ability to speak at length for the full two minutes in a manner that is coherent. It is not always necessary to answer all of the prompts mentioned in cue card as long as your talk is well-organized and relevant to the main topic.

Lexical Resource: Paraphrasing (rephrasing words by using synonyms) is also an important skill that the examiner will be listening out for. Avoid reusing the words from the question or repeating a particular word over and over again. This is something you can only do if you have a wide range of vocabulary, which is why learning topic-specific words is a vital part of the preparation for the IELTS Speaking test. You need to demonstrate that you can discuss a variety of topics without difficulty.

Grammar: You should be using complex sentences and different tenses in a flexible and comfortable manner. Your monologue should not seem forced in any way. It is also important to limit the number of errors you make as this will affect your grammatical accuracy.

Pronunciation: There is no need to suddenly change your accent. There are many factors to consider when talking about pronunciation. However, you won’t be marked down as long as your pronunciation is easy to understand throughout, and your accent does not hinder the examiners understanding of whatever it is you are trying to say.

Important Points To Note About Speaking Part 2

Many students fail to score well during this part of the speaking test because they didn’t speak for the full 2 minutes. This is why planning your talk before hand is crucial, so that you don’t run out of things to say. You should not be making lengthy notes as you only have one minute to prepare but mastering the art of idea generation can help you make sure you have enough points to cover the entire 2 minutes. This can also help you organize your thoughts so that you do not give an unstructured and unorganized talk.

Many students panic because they feel that they do not know enough about a topic. This can cause them to hesitate and sound flustered instead of fluent. Remember that even if you do get asked about something that you are unfamiliar with, the content of your talk is not nearly as important as how you say it. The examiner is assessing your fluency, grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary and not your knowledge about a topic. So don’t panic if you feel that you are unfamiliar with a topic.

Jonathan has been teaching students to prepare for the IELTS and PTE Exams for more than 10+ years. He's taught English to students in various countries in the world including Singapore, China, Australia, Canada and Colombia.