The Speaking Test Format Part 2

Duration: 1 min. to prepare, 2 mins. to speak= total of 3-4 minutes

This is the long turn section.

The examiner gives the candidate a task book, and a pencil and some paper to make notes. The task book gives the topic, some points to help the candidate think of ideas to talk about,and a final prompt asking the candidate to explain one aspect of the topic.

Using the prompts on the task card effectively will help the candidate think of appropriate things to say, organise their talk, and keep gonig for 2 minutes. However, there is no penalty for NOT talking about these prompts-they are simply there to help the candidate and make the task a little easier.

The candidate is allowed 1 minute of preparation time to structure what they want to say and they can make some notes during this time. At the end of 1 minute of thinking/note taking time the examiner asks the candidate to speak about the topic for 1 to 2 minutes.

Although the examiner will actually say "you have 1 to 2 minutes for this ..." the candidate is actually expected to keep going for the full 2 minutes at which time the examiner may ask one or two additional questions to round off the long turn smoothly.

In this part it is best to keep on talking until the examiner stops you, which will be right on 2 minutes.

Part 2 Purpose:

The candidate’s ability to speak at length on a given topic (without further prompts from the examiner)is being assessed along with the candidate's ability to use appropriate language and organise ideas coherently. It is likely that the candidate will need to draw on their own experience to complete the long turn.

To ensure consistency around the world, questions are read from a script, but you can ask the examiner to explain briefly if you do not understand the question. Asking when you do not understand is VERY important as the examiner may be able to tell that you are confused from your expression but they cannot do anything unless the candidate asks for clarification.

Here is an example Part 2 question taken from the www.ielts.org website:


Candidate Task Question
  
Describe something you own which is very important to you.

You should say:

  • where you got it from
  • how long you have had it
  • what you use it for
  • and explain why it is important to you.

    When you want to practice this task:

  • allow one minute to think about what you're going to say
  • during this time you can make some notes
  • you must talk about the topic for 2 minutes
  • record your voice as you talk so you can listen to how you sound


  • Rounding off questions
     
    • Is it valuable in terms of money?
    • Would it be easy to replace?



How to Practice
In this part of the test you should try to talk for the full 2 minutes. Back up your answer by giving reasons and examples to illustrate what you want to say. Expand your answer with support from your own experience, what others have told you, what you have seen on TV or in a movie or by supporting what you say with logical argument. Never express an opinion that you do not support with evidence or argument. This will help give you more to say.

If you are talking about a beach you like, for example, explain a number of reasons why you like it, support it with an experience you had at this beach with friends or family which demonstrate why you like it so much.

Part 2 questions are on familiar topics so they are almost always what you will know about from your own experience. Again, this could be a chat with a friend, they are the kinds of topic friends would talk about. Don't get nervous just because it is a test.

Practice by talking about the example above for 2 minutes. Use a clock and stop when you have talked for 2 minutes even if you have not finished because the examiner will also stop you right on 2 minutes.

Record your voice so you can listen back to how you sound. We will talk more later about the things to listen for but at the moment you listen for just one thing: can you keep going without stopping too much?

This is absolutely critical to getting a good score and the more you practice the better you will get. You should plan to do sevveral of these questions everyday in order to build your confidence that talking for 2 minutes is not really so hard when you are used to it.