The Best Approach to Part 2
This article is about #IELTS Speaking Test Part 2. It is part of a series of articles on the #IELTS Speaking Test .
This short article will outline what is the best approach to take when doing Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking Test. It will describe an alternative approach which will help you talk more naturally and fluently.
What is Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking Test?
IELTS Speaking Test Part 2 is the candidate's long-turn. The candidate is given a booklet with a topic and some instructions and, after having had 1 minute's preparation time, has to speak for up to 2 minutes. The topics will be about everyday occurrences from life rather than anything abstract and they always start with "Describe…". The candidate is expected to stay within the general topic area they are given, but it is not necessary to follow the bulletpoints on the page exactly.
The Traditional Approach
Now, usually coursebooks and preparation courses advise candidates to approach their talks using a familiar 'beginning-middle-end' or 'introduction-main points-conclusion' structure. And, indeed, this can be an effective way of going about it. However, you only have 2 minutes to talk so a more streamlined approach would be useful. So, in this article we are going to look at an alternative. It is what we consider to be the best approach to Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking Test. It is simple and effective, easy to remember, and, in many ways, more natural than the traditional approach.
Here it is: Talk about the 5 Ws & a problem!
The Best Approach to IELTS Speaking Test Part 2: The 5 Ws
So first, let's talk about the 5Ws. They are: what, when, where, who, and why. In fact, if you take a closer look at any practice question from the exam you will see the bulletpoint prompts from the IELTS speaking test part 2 are basically asking you some or all of these 5 W questions anyway. So it makes sense to get used to talking about topics using this structure. What happened? When it did take place? Where was it? Were other people with you? Why did this happen at all?
And the problem?
So, why do we need to use a problem? Well, this is the most powerful part of this approach. When you are preparing for the 1 minute before you start talking, try to recall something that went wrong during the event you are going to describe. And if nothing went wrong imagine what it would have been like if something had gone wrong. The thing that went (or might've gone) wrong does not have to be catastrophic, just a small thing. The reason this is so useful is that it gives you the opportunity to use some different (and more advanced) grammatical structures. And remember in order to achieve a band 6 or 7 or beyond you are required to demonstrate precisely that: an ability to use a range of grammatical structures.
A 'problem' gives you an opportunity to use negatives (I didn't expect that; she wasn't happy), subordinate sentences (Although I wanted …, it wasn't …), conditional (I would have done it differently).
And as an added bonus, it also makes your "story" more interesting and engaging!
Practice IELTS Speaking test part 2 on your own or with friends using the following technique:
- Get a few magazines with lots of pictures of people and places - for example travel magazines
- Choose a picture and pretend you are one of the people - imagine a "backstory" for the characters
- Don't write notes as this takes up too much time - instead, use the pictures to guide your imagination
Set the timer for 2 minutes and speak!
Remember: 5 Ws & a problem.
If you are stuck for what pictures to use, try these from The Photo Argus. Or open up Facebook and look back at all your pictures.