Perhaps, the most challenging part of the IELTS speaking test is part 2 where you have to speak for 2 minutes about a topic. You only have one minute to prepare and often this isn’t enough time to come up with ideas and many people would struggle to complete this task in their native language. These 5 tips will help make it easier to reach 2 minutes and make it possible to reach band 7 for fluency. Comment below with any more tips or advice for other IELTS takers.
5 Tips to Speak for 2 Minutes Without Stopping
When the card says, “you should say’’, you don’t need to limit your answer to this information
Many students think when they receive the card that they have to speak about these suggestions only. Speaking is more random than writing and often it is possible to go slightly off topic. Native speakers do this all of the time and it isn’t punished on the exam; actually, it is encouraged to speak naturally and fluently
Try to turn your answer into a story
This seems really natural for certain questions but is actually possible for the vast majority of topics. Imagine you are asked to describe a piece of furniture. Personally, I would struggle to describe any piece of furniture for more than 1 minute. However, if you create stories around the furniture and think about something interesting maybe it would easier. In my case, I might discuss the table in my living room which my father in law made for us. This way I can talk about my wife for a while, my apartment, why we needed a table, how it was a Christmas present, but we received it in April.
Past, Present and Future
This idea is absolutely crucial for 2 reasons. Firstly, it demonstrates your grammatical range and accuracy. Perhaps, more importantly, it gives you more to talk about. Let’s consider a topic related to a child. Most exam takers would just spend 2 minutes trying to describe the characteristics of the child. It might be more interesting and easier to look to the past,
Obviously, these are just a handful of ideas and there are hundreds of other potential questions.
5 W’s+1 H What, Why, When, Where, Who, How
If you are struggling to think about things to talk about, write the following words on your paper. You are allowed 1 minute to write down notes and while you should find your own strategy, it isn’t a bad idea to write down these question words. If you are struggling you can look down at your paper.
Use the full minute available to make your notes
It is incredible how often students say they are ready to speak after 20 seconds. Often, they then hesitate their way through the 1st minute and run out of things to say. I always ask why they didn’t use the whole preparation time and get a variety of unusual responses. The most important thing to realise is the examiner won’t think you are more intelligent because you didn’t prepare properly.
‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’ (Benjamin Franklin).
Use the whole minute to come up with ideas, idioms, collocations, high-level adjectives, consider your first sentence, paraphrase etc.