IELTS Speaking Task 2: How to succeed


Hi, my name is Emma, and in today's lesson
we are going to be looking at the IELTS. The IELTS is a test that a lot of ESL students
have to take when they want to go to a Canadian university, an Australian university, an English
university. So when they want to study overseas or often times, when they want to immigrate
to one of these countries. Okay? So we're looking specifically at the speaking part
of the IELTS, part two. So the IELTS speaking task is split up into three sections. We are
going to be looking at section two in this video.
Okay, so let me first explain what happens in section two, and then we are going to look
at some tips on what you should do if you want to do well on this section, and things
you shouldn't do.

Okay? So let's get started. So, in part two of the speaking component
of the IELTS, you will be speaking for about two minutes. Okay? So this part lasts for
about three minutes, so you have three minutes. The first minute you will be handed a question
card. Okay? So here is an example of a question card.
It will tell you, often times, to describe something. "Describe a museum that you have
visited." It will tell you what you need to say.
You should say: * Where it is
* Why you went there * What you particularly remember
This is just an example.

Okay? So it can be on different topics, but you will get a card
that looks something like this. Okay? So you have one minute to look at the question and
to make notes, and to think: "Okay, what am I going to say?" So that takes one minute,
and then after that the examiner will tell you: "Okay, you can begin."
You must talk for one to two minutes. A lot of students actually consider this the hardest
part of the speaking component because it's not a dialogue. Okay? The examiner isn't asking
you questions and you're giving responses, and you're going back and forth.

In this part
of the IELTS, you just talk and you talk for one to two minutes. So a lot of students find
this difficult because talking for two minutes, even for some native speakers, is a little
difficult. Okay, so that's what's going to happen in this part. Okay?
So what are some of the topics you might be asked about in this part of the IELTS? Well,
topics often covered include: you might be asked about a precious item, so you might
have to describe a precious item that you own. You might have to say something about
where you bought it from or: how did you get it, what does it look like, why is it so precious?
You might be asked about a special day, a sporting event that you went to or a concert,
a special trip or journey or vacation, people who have influenced you.

For example: they
might ask you to describe your favourite teacher. What was she like? Why was she so great? You
might be asked about a book, music, a television program, a movie you saw or even items of
clothing. Okay, so sometimes you're asked about historical buildings, you might be asked
about a neighbourhood in your city. The key thing that you probably will be asked is this
question is often about description, not always, but usually you have to describe something.
And then they usually have three questions, they can be: who, what, when, where, why?
Okay? So these are the types of questions that they ask.
All right, so now let's look at some things you can do in order to do well on this part
of the IELTS.

Okay, so what are some of the "Dos" for the IELTS, the speaking part? Okay,
number one — very, very important — take notes. You're given one minute where you get
to look at the question, and you're given a pencil and you can take notes, do it. Take
notes. A lot of ESL students, they think, "Ah, I don't really want to take notes, it's
a waste of time. I know what I'm going to say in my head." What happens is while they're
speaking, they forget certain key points and they go off topic; they don't stay organized.
So your notes are very important because they keep you on topic and they keep you organized
which is one thing you're marked on.

Okay, another thing that is very important
— actually this –, write keywords. So when you're making your notes, don't bother writing
sentences of what you're going to say. You only have one minute. Just write keywords,
important words that will help you to remember what you want to say. Okay?
It's very important to cover every point that is on the card. Okay? So in our previous example
it said: "Describe a museum that you have visited." And it said: "Where was the museum?"
I think it said: "What do you remember most about the museum? And why were you at the
museum?" So if you get these three questions, make sure you answer each question.

And what's a good way to know you've answered each question? As you talk, point. So for
example: this is to point as you talk, put your finger on the point you're talking about.
So if this says: "Why did you go to the museum?" Point at this while you talk about that point,
and then move your finger to the next point as you talk about it. This will help you to
remember what you've said, and to keep you on track.

Another very important thing to do is these often ask you about your own experiences.
"Describe your favourite teacher", for example. Okay? So it's good if you can remember one
of your teachers or whatever the question asks, it's good if you use your own experience.
But maybe, maybe you've never been to a concert, maybe you've never been to a sporting event
and that's what the question asks. If this is the case: lie. Okay? Make it up. If your
friend told you a story once about when they went to a concert, steal your friend's story.
Okay? It's okay to lie and to steal other people's stories on the IELTS. The main thing
is that you practice — or not practice –, that you speak English. So whether you tell your
own story about a museum you visited or if you've never visited a museum, pretend you
went to the Louvre in France. Talk about how you saw the Mona Lisa and how it was a beautiful
painting. You can make stuff up, it's okay.

Okay, the next point of "Dos" is: expand your
answers. Okay? So if it says: "Where was the museum located?" Instead of just saying for
that point: "The museum is in Toronto." Okay, that's too short. Expand on this point. "The
museum is located in the downtown core of Toronto. It's close to the university, some
very important restaurants, and the CN Tower." Okay, not true, but just… You can expand
your answer. Make it long, give examples. Okay, another thing that is a good idea: because
these questions are often about describing, it's good to use your senses, meaning when
you have to describe something, imagine it in your mind and if you run out of things
to say, think about your senses.

What did it look like? What did it smell like? What
did it sound like? For some of these, maybe you didn't taste them, like a building, but
you get the idea. You can use your senses to help you imagine the area better, or the
object, or the person. Okay, the next point: organize your speech.
This is a must. Okay? So some students, when they do this part of the IELTS, they talk,
and they talk, and they talk, but there's no organization. So what you need to do is…
it's very good to have an introduction, it's very good to have a body, and it's good to
have a conclusion.

It's almost like you're doing an essay, but you're saying it. You
want to introduce the topic, then you want to address all of the points, the three points,
and then you want some sort of conclusion. You can say: "So this is why this was a very
memorable experience.", "To sum up, my trip to Holland was a fantastic experience I'll
never forget." Okay? So you want a conclusion as well.
Okay, like I said earlier, it's good to imagine in your head the object, person, or place.
This is a very good thing to do. It will help you to be less nervous as well.
Okay, use introductory phrases. So when you introduce your topic, first thing you should
say: "I want to talk about blank.", "I'd like to talk about blank.", "I'm going to talk
about blank." You can use any of these, but it's good…

This can be your introduction:
"I'm going to talk about my trip to Spain.", "I'm going to talk about my teacher, Mrs.
Fitzgerald.", "I'm going to talk about the most precious object in my life which is my
pocket watch." Okay? So you can say whatever you'd like, but use an introductory phrase.
This is a very important point: use transitions. So what do I mean by that? Well, transitions
help to organize what you're going to say. "First of all", "Secondly", "Thirdly", "Finally",
these are all examples of transitions. And if you're… In this case, you may be talking
about what happened somewhere, you might be describing an event. "First, we went to the
soccer stadium. Then we watched the game. After that, we went for ice cream." So you
can use these types of transitions: "First", "Then", "Next", "After that", "Finally".

will help you in your cohesion marks, so in your fluency and cohesion mark.
Finally, very important: speak loudly. Okay? You don't want to mumble, you don't want to
be shy. You want to be confident. So be confident, make eye contact when you talk, speak loudly.
These are all important tips. Another thing: practice. Okay? Practice talking
for two minutes. You might have to build up to this. For some people, talking for long
periods of time is very difficult. So maybe speaking English for one minute is really
difficult for you. Start with 30 seconds, then move that to one minute, then a minute
and a half, then two minutes. But you must practice speaking for two minutes. One thing
that a lot of people do is they think: "Oh, okay. I need to speak for one to two minutes
in this part of the IELTS." That's true, but the closer you get to two minutes the better.
So if you're at one minute, that's a little bit of a short answer.

Ideally, you want to
be able to talk for two minutes. Okay? And also, don't rush with what you're going to
say. Speak nice and at a good rate, so not too fast, not too slow.
Okay, one other thing I wanted to say about "Do", it's not on this list but, often times
you will be using the past tense. Okay? So for this part of the IELTS, the past tense
is very important. Get used to talking about past experiences using the past tense.
Okay, so now let's look at "Don'ts". Okay, so now I have a list of things you should
not do. Okay? So these are the "Don'ts", so don't do this.

Okay, the first one: a lot
of ESL students want to do this, they want to memorize answers in advance. So they look
up a whole bunch of different questions and then they write down what they're going to
say, and they spend so much time memorizing for each question. This is not a good idea
because first of all, it's easy to tell when you've memorized something; it doesn't sound
natural. You're going to lose marks if it sounds like you've memorized something. And
there are just too many different questions they can ask. So don't memorize answers. That's
not a good way to prepare. Instead, focus on expanding your vocabulary.
Okay? Practice talking about museums. What words do you need to know where you can talk
about museums? Same with objects, teachers – how can you describe someone? So try to
come up with descriptive words, expand your vocabulary. That would be a better way to
prepare for this.

Okay, don't write too much. I told you for
the first part of this section, you get to write for one minute. Don't write full sentences.
It's good to write about one to two words per point. So there's about three points,
one to two words is good. Don't panic. Okay? A lot of students, as soon
as they get to this part of the exam, they get really nervous and they panic, and their
English just goes down. So don't panic. Use stress management techniques. Breathe, that's
a good thing to do when you're nervous. Okay? Imagine you're in a nice green forest or on
a nice beach. You can do these things, it will help you not to panic. It's also good
before the IELTS, I find, before the speaking part if you can go on a walk. Walking actually
calms your heart, it calms you down; it's a good thing to do.
Don't focus too much on one point.

So there are three things you have to address at least.
Don't spend your whole time talking about the first thing. So for example: if you have
to describe your favourite teacher, and the first question is: when did you have her as
a teacher? Don't spend your whole time covering this point. Okay? Make sure you cover each
point they ask you to. Don't use boring words. Okay? Remember: you're
getting marked on vocabulary. You want to use interesting vocabulary. So for example:
"good", that's a boring word, "bad", again a boring word. Use something interesting like:
"My favourite teacher was really exciting. She was very enthusiastic." That's so much
better than just saying: "My favourite teacher was good." Okay? Or my, you know, "The museum
I went to was bad." No, use something better.

Don't give short answers meaning you have
to talk for at least a minute, make sure you do this. It's better to even talk for close
to two minutes. Make sure your answers aren't too short. So for example: "I once went to
the ROM [a museum in Canada], it was a good experience. The end." Too short. You need
to expand your answer. Don't go off topic. So what do I mean by this?
Well, if you have to describe the most precious item you have, don't start talking about education
or technology. Unless it's relevant to what you're talking about, don't go off topic.
Just talk about what they want you to talk about. Okay?
This is actually a very important point: a lot of students tell me they really worry
about their accents.

They think: "Oh, I can't pronounce things very well. You know, I might
mispronounce a word. I have problems pronouncing 'r'" — for example, or certain letters, "ch".
It's okay if your pronunciation is not perfect. The main thing… And if you have an accent,
it's okay if you have an accent. Most people have accents. So you don't have to worry about
your accent. It's also… Well actually everybody has an accent. I have a Canadian accent for
example. Now, does my Canadian accent mean my American friends cannot understand me?
No. So it's okay if you, if you have an accent. The main thing is that people understand what
you're saying. So don't worry about your accent. Worry more about enunciating things, about
saying things clearly. That's what you want to do.
And again, grammar is one thing you're marked on. Your grammar does not have to be perfect.
So if you make a mistake, that's okay, move on. Okay? You can mistakes, it's okay if you
make mistakes. Okay, so I'd like to recommend a website where
you can get more tips on part two of the IELTS and also practice questions.

Again, very important
to practice. Practice with a timer. Make sure you're speaking for two minutes.
Go to Okay? So
— here you will find more tips. And also come visit us
at our website where you can do a practice test on what you've just learned.
So until next time, take care..

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