Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

How should you start an IELTS Speaking Part 2 answer?

Today we’ll share mistakes students often make when starting these answers.

You’ll learn the best options to start answers in a native, natural way.

We’ll also provide a band 9 sample Part 2 answer that starts in an interesting way.

Watch the video on YouTube!

Today’s question

Today’s episode is inspired by a question sent in by a Spotify listener.

How to answer speaking part two.

Boogie man

Jessica and Aubrey share what a “boogie man” is in English, usually spelled boogeyman.

  • boogeyman: an imaginary evil being often used to frighten children

Starting Speaking Part 2 answers

The way you start your answer sets the tone for the entire two minutes.

If speaking in a monotone, you may continue the monotone throughout your answer.

When beginning an answer in an unnatural way, you may find yourself continuing to speak unnaturally.

Instead, you need to start with interesting, varied intonation.

You must begin your answer in a natural way.

Imagine a friend asked you to describe something.

How would you answer them?

A common mistake

Students often make the mistake of beginning their answer like a prepared speech.

This isn’t appropriate for these answers.

On IELTS Part 2, you’re asked to describe something or someone.

You should answer this like you would when talking to a friend.

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How to NOT start your answer

Students tend to start answers unnaturally.

Examples of unnatural starters students often use:

I would like to talk about
I would like to tell you about
Today I will talk about
Today my answer will be…

Another unnatural way to start an answer is reading the topic on the card.

Instead of these, you should start your answer like you’re talking to a friend.

How to start your answer

When we start describing something to a friend, it’s much more natural.

Examples of natural starters:

I am so excited I got this question because…
I actually can’t believe I got this question because…
I can’t wait to tell you about…
When I saw this topic, I thought/felt…. ‘Oh no!’

These make it easier to start with interesting intonation.

They also make it easier to speak in a natural way.

Sample answer about exercise

Jessica answers a typical Part 2 question.

  • Describe an exercise you do often.

Notice the way she begins her answer.

You want it to be natural so you can show your fluency.


The way you begin your IELTS Part 2 answer sets the tone for the entire 2 minute response.

Today’s tips will help you start these answers in a natural, high-scoring way.

Practice using our suggestions with varied, interesting intonation.

A great way to practice is shadowing our sample answers.

Listen to Jessica’s answer and pause to mimic her intonation.

For all the IELTS strategies you need to score 7 or higher, sign up for 3 Keys IELTS!

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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