IELTS prep: Ways to Extend Your IELTS Speaking Part 2 Answer

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Below is a guest post from David Pattinson, a certified ESL Exam Prep Coach specializing in IELTS. This blog post will be useful for those interested in taking IELTS. If you need any extra help with your prep, you can reach out to David here.

You can listen to the audio recording of the blog post here:

Students often complain to me that they don’t have enough to say on part 2 of the IELTS speaking test. Typically, students follow the bullet points on the cue card and run out of things to say after a minute or so. But speaking for two minutes shouldn’t be so daunting. After all, if you are taking the IELTS test, it means that you are probably able to converse in English with your English teacher or English speaking friends with a degree of ease. My students regularly talk for well over two minutes at the start of my classes when I ask them about their weekend or their work. I’m going to show you how you can transfer that fluency to the IELTS speaking part 2.

1. Learn lots of adjectives and get good using relative clauses (sometimes known as adjectival clauses). The key to extending your answer in part 2 of the speaking exam is to give lots of details. To do this, you need to use a variety of adjectives and be able to confidently use relative clauses.

2. Understand the different topics and how you describe them. There are four basic topics in part 2 of the IELTS speaking test that you will be asked to describe: objects, events, people, and places. You can describe each in detail by using the points below.

  • People
    a) Appearance
    b) Personality
    c) Actions -> What do they do? How do they behave?
  • Objects
    a) Appearance
    b) Function -> What does it do?
    c) Importance -> Why do you use it? Why is it used?
  • Places
    a) Appearance
    b) History -> When was it built/established?
    c) Function -> What is used for?
  • Events
    a) People -> Who attends? Who is invited?
    b) Purpose -> Why is this happening?
    c) Activities -> What is happening there?
    d) Atmosphere -> How does everyone at the event feel?

3. Make sure you answer all the points on the IELTS cue card.

4. Tell a story that is personal to you about the person, place, object or event. There are a number of advantages of telling a personal story. Firstly, we tend to have plenty to say when we are talking about ourselves, so you won’t be lost for words and what you will say is already planned for you as it has already happened. Though, don’t be afraid to exaggerate or even make up details. Lying is okay on the IELTS test! Secondly, we tend to be more emotional when we’re talking about our own experiences. As a result, our pronunciation improves as we speak less like a robot!

5. Practice, practice, practice. To get confident at answering questions on each of the basic topics, you need lots of practice. It’s also important to time your answers using the timer on your phone so that you get used to speaking for two minutes. Remember, practice builds confidence, and confidence builds fluency.

Of course, there are many other factors that are needed to achieve a high score on the IELTS speaking test. As well as speaking fluently and coherently with great pronunciation, you need to use a range of grammatical structures, advanced vocabulary and linking words, and a mixture of complex and simple sentences. However, speaking for the full two minutes (the examiner will stop you after two minutes) gives you the opportunity to include all the things that you need to achieve the higher band scores.

David Pattinson is a professional IELTS teacher from England. He has been an English teacher for over 6 years teaching language learners in Russia, Vietnam, Korea and the UK. David completed a comprehensive training and certification program for ESL teachers with English Success Academy in 2016. He currently teaches IELTS online and really enjoys helping his students achieve their goals.