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

If you find Speaking Part 2 difficult, you’re not alone!

It’s not easy to fill the entire two minutes!

You need to know what the Examiner is listening for and you need strategies!

Today we’ll answer two listener questions about Speaking Part 2.

You’ll learn tips and strategies to score highly on this part of the IELTS exam.

Question #1: Do the prompts matter?

You are given a card with your IELTS Speaking Part 2 question.

This card includes suggestions of what to talk about in your answer.

A student asked about suggestions.

Do I have to cover the four prompts given with the topics card to increase my score?


Ignore the prompts!

There is nothing in the scoring system about the prompts.

The Examiner doesn’t care if you answer them.

You must be strategic about Speaking Part 2.

If you stick to the suggestions on the card, it will be difficult to speak for two minutes.

Your answer could also be quite disjointed.

You can, of course, answer these questions if you want.

However, this can lower scores if you aren’t able to provide enough detail.

What to do instead

Tell a story!

You can ignore the prompts entirely.

The Examiner might not even read them and know what they are.

This is because it’s not required for you to answer them.

It is much easier to speak for 2 minutes if you tell a story.

You will be able to share vast amounts of detail about what happened.

Question #2: What structure to use?

The second question we received was about the structure of answers.

In a recent episode we shared structure for Speaking Part 1.

A listener saw this on YouTube and asked for similar structures for the rest of the exam.

Can you suggest same structure for part 2 and part 3


Today we’ll share the optimal structure for Part 2.

In an upcoming episode, we’ll provide strategies for structuring Part 3 answers.

Structure Part 2 with a story

The best way to fill two minutes is to tell a story.

The structure is simple: share what happened before, during and after.

You can begin your answer by explaining what led up to the event you’re telling a story about.

Next, you share what happened with a lot of detail.

Lastly, provide the outcome and result.

If needed, pivot your answer to fill the entire 2 minutes.

You can find details on how to do that at this link.

Sample Part 2 answer

Aubrey provides a sample Part 2 answer in the podcast episode.

Describe a song that’s very meaningful to you.
You should address:
The name of the song.
Who sings it.
What the song is about.
And explain why the song is meaningful to you.

She isn’t given the prompts.

Instead, she tells a story about the song she was named after.

Aubrey’s sample answer

One of her earliest memories is being woken by her father to hear it on the radio.

Notice that as part of the story she does end up answering the prompts.

However, she isn’t limited to those prompts.

She shares a lot of interesting detail about the song and her memory of the first time she heard it.


The best strategy for Speaking Part 2 is to tell a story.

If you stick to the prompts, your answer will likely be too short.

It is not required in the scoring system to answer them.

Structure your answer by sharing what happened before, during and after.

This way you’ll provide lots of interesting details with varied intonation!

For all the strategies you need, sign up for 3 Keys IELTS!

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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