Speaking Test: Advice for Part 2

IELTS Speaking Advice

Part 1 – Warm-up interview

Part 2 – Solo-talk

Part 3 – More difficult questions

Hey everyone. Today we're going to learn about Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking Test. First we'll look at what Part 2 is all about, and then I’ll give you some advice on how to do well.

Let’s go.


IELTS Speaking Part 2 - The Solo Talk (2 minutes)


Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking Test is a two minute solo talk on an assigned topic. You are given one minute before you begin to take some notes on a piece of paper.

There is a huge variety of topics for Part 2: hobbies, vacations you’ve taken, friendships and relationships, times you’ve given presentations, people you admire, etc. And remember, you cannot change your topic! You are stuck with what you get.

To begin Part 2, the examiner will hand you a piece of paper with your topic on it, and tell you that Part 2 has started. Here is what the paper looks like:

IELTS Speaking Part 2 Topic

The added points under “You should say” are suggestions to help you! Follow them to help organize your talk.

  • Remember, it is okay to ask the examiner to explain a word or concept written on the card! You will not lose score for this.

You are also given extra paper and one minute to take notes about your topic. After that, you are expected to speak for up to 2 minutes.


Some Advice for Speaking Part 2:


  • Ask the examiner if you don’t understand something on the card. You will not lose score for doing this! You should not just try to talk about something if you don’t fully understand it!
  • Take good notes to help yourself out. You should write your notes in point-form, focusing on key words (don’t waste time writing sentences); the examiner won’t look at your notes, but you can check them throughout your talk.
  • Don’t try to read directly from your notes. Just look at them briefly to remind yourself what you want to talk about.
  • Keep going forward! Don't repeat yourself too much. Use your notes and the points in the task to help you to keep moving.
  • If the examiner interrupts you, that’s okay! Either they are trying to help you, or you went to the full 2 minutes and you’re done. Don’t worry if you weren’t finished your idea. 
  • “What if I run out of things to say?”

You don’t have to speak for the full 2 minutes. As long as you speak for 1:30 or more, you will not lose any score. If you speak for less than 1:30, however, you will get a penalty.

If you run out of ideas, look at the question again and see if there are any extra details you can add. Feel free to use your imagination, or give personal stories from your life!

A nice technique if you need to talk more is to use the questions WHO/WHAT/WHERE/WHEN/WHY to help you think of things to say.

For example, if you just finished talking about a trip with your Aunt where you travelled to Beijing, then you already answered “who” and “where”, but did you talk about WHY you went? Did you talk about WHAT you did on the trip? WHO else did you meet during your trip?

Thinking of these question words is an easy way to add information to any topic.

  • “What if I don’t know anything about my topic?”

This is not a problem! Don’t forget that this isn’t a knowledge test. If you get a topic you don’t know anything about, it is annoying, but it doesn’t mean you will get a lower score.

The important thing is just to find something to talk about! Use your imagination and try to think of something (anything) related to the topic that you do know about and can talk about for a couple of minutes.


Good luck!