Preparing for IELTS Speaking Part 2: Anticipating Task Card Topics 

 March 24, 2024

By  Jonathan

Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking test, the Individual Long Turn, requires you to speak continuously for 1-2 minutes about a specific topic presented on a task card. Understanding the types of speaking topics you’re likely to encounter is crucial for effective preparation, allowing you to develop your ideas and vocabulary in advance. In this guide, we’ll discuss common themes in Part 2 and provide strategies for tackling them with confidence.

The Format of Part 2 Task Cards

In this portion of the test, you will be given a task card with a topic and a few bullet points to guide your response. You will have one minute to prepare before speaking. Task cards generally fall into four main categories:

  1. Describing a Person
    • You might be asked to describe someone who has influenced you, a family member, a person you admire, or someone with a particular skill.
    • Focus on their personality, qualities, achievements, or the impact they’ve had on you.
  2. Describing a Place
    • This could be your hometown, a place you’ve visited, or somewhere you’d like to go.
    • Consider its appearance, location, what you like/dislike about it, and why it’s important to you or memorable.
  3. Describing an Object
    • The object could be a possession, a gift, or something important to you.
    • Describe its appearance, how you acquired it, why it’s special, and any associated memories or experiences.
  4. Describing an Event
    • You might describe a celebration, a significant experience, a time you helped someone, or a skill you learned.
    • Narrate what happened, when, where, who was involved, and why it stands out for you.

How to Anticipate Part 2 Topics

While predicting exact task card topics is impossible, focus on becoming familiar with the four common categories and brainstorming relevant ideas:

  • Analyze Sample Task Cards: Websites like IELTSLiz and IELTS Mentor provide numerous examples. Practice analyzing them and developing potential responses.
  • Build Relevant Vocabulary: Research vocabulary lists related to describing people, places, objects, and events.
  • Reflect on Personal Experiences: Consider people who’ve influenced you, memorable trips, special possessions, and significant turning points in your life.

Strategies for Success

  • Utilize Preparation Time Wisely: Quickly read the task card, highlight keywords, and brainstorm main points for each bullet point.
  • Maintain a Structured Response: Dedicate a portion of your speaking time to each bullet point, ensuring you cover all aspects of the topic.
  • Use Descriptive Language: Include adjectives, sensory details, and vivid examples to engage the listener.
  • Practice Past Tense Narration: Many Part 2 topics require describing past experiences. Practice storytelling with smooth use of various past tenses (simple, continuous, perfect).
  • Speak at a Natural Pace: Avoid rushing or speaking too slowly. Time yourself to ensure you fill the 1-2 minutes comfortably.

Sample Task Card & Response Structure

Task Card: Describe a special place you would like to visit.

  • Where is this place?
  • Why do you want to go there?
  • What would you do there?
  • Who would you like to go with?

Potential Response Outline:

  • Introduction: Briefly name the place and reasons for wanting to go.
  • Description: Location, appearance, what makes it unique, what attracts you about it.
  • Activities: Things you hope to do and experience there.
  • Companions: Why you would go with that person/those people.
  • Conclusion: Briefly restate why this trip is a dream of yours.

Important Reminder: Part 2 assesses your ability to speak descriptively, organize your thoughts coherently, and use relevant vocabulary. Focus on clear and fluent communication, even if your answer is not about a highly remarkable place or experience.

Additional Tips:

  • Record Yourself: Practice speaking about various Part 2 topics, record yourself, and listen for fluency, vocabulary, and overall clarity.
  • Find a Speaking Partner: Pair with another test-taker to practice and give each other feedback.

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.