Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

Are you wondering what your goals are and what you should be aiming for on IELTS Speaking Part 2?

Today find out exactly what the examiner will be listening for on this part of the exam.

In Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking exam, the examiner will give you directions, telling you that you can make notes for one minute, and that you should speak for one to two minutes.

They will then hand you a piece of paper and a pencil for notes, and a booklet.

The booklet will be open to a specific page, and there is a card printed on the page.

The card looks like this:

Describe your favorite place to exercise.

You should say:

  • where it is
  • what it looks like
  • what you do there

and explain why you like it.

This is the topic you must speak about, and you cannot turn the page or choose another card.

The phrase at the top of the card tells you to describe something, usually a person, place, object, event or experience.

The bullet points underneath give you ideas of what to say.

**You DO NOT have to talk about the bullet points in your Part 2 speech.

These phrases are only there to help you, the candidate, be able to talk for the whole two minutes.

Many students are surprised when they hear that the bullet point questions are not important, but it’s true!

In fact, many examiners do not even look at this part of the card, because these questions have nothing to do with your grade.

The examiners have a lot to think about while they listen to you talk, and these questions are not important.

So, here is what the examiner is listening for in Speaking Part 2:

  • Fluency and Coherence: Although the examiner tells you to speak for one to two minutes, you must speak for the whole two minutes to score highly in this category. This is the fluency part of the grade. Another factor of fluency is not having a lot of pauses, or fillers. Fillers are words such as, “uh, um, like, yeah, you know.” The coherence grade is based on how well your ideas are organized, and how many linking words you use. That is why, if you can, telling a story in Speaking Part 2 is a good idea. Stories are easily and clearly organized, using time linking words, and they make it easy to keep talking for the whole two minutes.
  • Vocabulary: Seeing as this is still not a formal, academic topic, you are not expected to produce these kinds of words. The examiner is listening for interesting words and phrases that are less common among students. These are words that you probably did not learn in your English textbook; rather, these are words and phrases that you picked up from TV, movies, or native-speaker friends. For example, “My closest friend in the world is Megan, and, honestly, I can’t imagine not having her in my life. I’ll tell you about her personality first. She is super sweet, and she would give anyone the shirt off her back if they asked….”
  • Grammar: Many candidates are nervous about their grammar, because it is not perfect. Well, guess what- it doesn’t have to be! In fact, all the way up to band score 8, you are expected to have some errors that stick around. Having said that, you cannot have loads and loads of mistakes. Pay attention to improving your accuracy in the obvious areas, such as verb tense and singular/plural nouns. Those are mistakes that the examiner will notice, and you can improve these errors on your own by recording yourself and paying attention to these specific points. Other than this, the examiner is listening for varied sentence structure. Try to use more relative clauses (which, that, who, when, where clauses) and other types of dependent clauses (because, so, although, etc.). Listen to this episode about our grammar philosophy for IELTS.
  • Pronunciation: To score well in this category, you must put emotion in your voice. This is your chance to show some personality. The examiner wants to hear intonation in your voice, or your voice going up and down, and stress, or emphasis on important words. For example:

↗                 ↗

I absolutely love my best friend. She’s amazing!

Now you know what your goals are for IELTS Speaking Part 2.

Follow the guidelines above, stick to a clear strategy system, and you will reach your target score.

Your path is clear! Now you just have to work hard and put in the required time.

We think you can do it!

Leave us a comment below.

What questions do you have from this article?

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