Part 2


Task Description

In Part 2 the examiner will choose a topic for you to talk about (one of around 20 possibilities).

Watch the video to see an example from Parts 2 and 3 of the Speaking Test. Note down what happens and read the comments that are provided in the video.

The examiner will give you a booklet with the selected topic, along with 2 or 3 guidelines to structure your monologue. After reading the topic, you will have one minute to think about what you are going to say. You may make notes on paper at this stage. The examiner will tell you when your preparation time is up, and you then talk on the topic for 1-2 minutes. The examiner will not interrupt you unless you exceed the allotted time, or do not speak long enough. You will likely be asked a short follow-up question to the topic after you finish speaking. This is your chance to demonstrate your fluency and accuracy with a range of vocabulary and sentence structures.


Skills Tested

  1. Talking about a general topic for an extended length of time.
  2. Developing your thoughts on a topic into a mini-presentation.
  3. Fluency, clarity, pronunciation and intonation.
  4. Accuracy and range of grammatical structures and vocabulary.

What you should do

  • Preparation. Go into the test well-prepared. This is not difficult, as the topics are relatively predictable and general; the kind of thing you might discuss socially. Practise talking about something for 1 - 2 minutes.
    • It's a good idea to record yourself and listen. Check for clarity, pronunciation and vocabulary selection. Time yourself: you must talk for at least a minute. Listening to yourself is a good way of getting over any shyness or embarrassment you may feel! As with Part 1, you can take the recording to a CILL teacher for feedback.
    • Expand your vocabulary. Use the resources in CILL. Integrate new vocabulary into your rehearsed talks until it feels natural.
    • Give yourself one minute (timed) to prepare in advance. Making quick, very short notes to remind you of thoughts while you speak. Expand these into full sentences when you speak and add any extra relevant information or examples.
    • Try to include personal anecdotes and information from your own life. Try also to relax and treat the experience as an informal and interesting sharing of information about yourself. Remember, the more you practise in advance, the easier and more natural this will become!

Possible Topics

  • Things you read: books, magazines, newspapers etc, and why.
  • Music: what you enjoy, which musicians or groups you admire and why, your own musical background, karaoke etc.
  • A description of your ideal accommodation, celebration or holiday destination.
  • An outing or holiday you have been on.
  • An everyday object that you find useful or you think has made life more convenient.
  • A description of a friend, a child you know or a member of your family and why you chose to talk about them.
  • A famous personality you admire and why.
  • A personal success or achievement.
  • The climate or seasonal changes in your country.
  • A person who has influenced you.
  • Something you used or played with as a child.
  • Other similar topics.

Practice Tasks

The IELTS Speaking Test Part 2: Task 1

Take any or all of the above topics and give yourself a minute to prepare for a talk. Make notes and expand them orally. An example of notes might be as follows:


Topic: An ideal celebration
What occasion? (festival, birthday etc)
Where was it? (restaurant, home, outdoors etc)   
Who was there?
What did you do?


Topic: A useful everyday object   
What is it?
What does it look like?
What does it do?
Why is it useful?
Who finds it useful?
Any alternative uses?
How it could be improved?


The IELTS Speaking Test Part 2: Task 2

Using the notes made in Task 1, talk for up to two minutes on each topic. Record yourself (and get over the embarrassment of listening to yourself: practise until you are proud of the way you speak!) Notice whether speaking for the required time is easy or difficult and what kind of sentences and vocabulary you use.


If a particular topic proves difficult or sounds stilted, work on it until it improves. Remember, you cannot choose your topic. This may all seem like a lot of preparation, but if you do it, you will be able to talk skilfully about a wide range of common conversation topics for the rest of your life!


Compare the first recording with subsequent ones to monitor your improvement. Go to the CILL teacher for help or comment if you don't know how to improve, or when you think you have a well practised talk.


Part 3 of the speaking test leads on from Part 2.