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A Complete Guide of IELTS Speaking Part 2

IELTS speaking part 2 is a cue card part, it's quite different from speaking part 1 and 3. Many students get confused about this part. This page is dedicated to discuss everything you need to know for this part. The issues that we will be covering on this page: 

  • Speaking part 2 question pattern

  • What is cue card

  • How to plan your answer

  • The common mistakes that many students make

  • Special tips to get an impressive score in this part

  • Actual test questions

Speaking Part 2 Question Pattern

  • Total time is 3-4 minutes

  • The examiner will give you a cue card with a topic written on the card

  • There will be 3-5 bullet points in the card

  • You will need to include these points in your talk

  • After you receive the cue card, you will also get 1 minute for your planning and preparation

  • You can take notes to develop your response in this 1 minute time

  • Then you will be asked to speak on that topic for up to 2 minutes

  • Sometimes the examiner also asks a couple of question on that cue card topic.

What is cue card?

IELTS Speaking Part 2 Question

The card above is called a cue card. The topic is stated in the first sentence. In this case it is "the zoo you recently visited" is the topic. Remember, the three bullet points and the final sentence are only to give you for a guideline what you should talk about. You don't need to stay rigid to these points.

You Must Avoid the Common Mistakes

As we mentioned before, There are some common mistakes that may impact on your score. Most of these mistakes students make not because they are not a good speaker, but because they don't know the techniques how to attempt the questions to maximize their score. Let's discuss these one by one in a bit detail:

Don't stop yourself. Keep speaking 

Most of the students have one common question, "What will happen if I talk less than 2 minutes, or if I talk more than 2 minutes, will it impact on my score?" Our answer is "No". It will not impact on your score. But all you need to do is, keep talking until the examiner stops you. If you stop yourself without being interrupted by the examiner, you might end up with getting low score in this part.

Don't just read the notes

Remember, the examiner will look for your speaking, not your note taking or reading skills. Therefore, don't just keep reading the notes that you have taken during the 1 minute preparation time. Because, if you do this, you will be sounding like you are reading, rather than speaking. Moreover, if you keep reading from the notes, there might be a possibility that you move from one bullet point to another bullet point very quickly and you are finishing the answer faster than you expected. That means you've run out of your notes.


There is another problem of merely reading notes, and that is the tone. You know there is a big difference between a reading tone and a speaking tone. Speaking always contains intonation, stress etc. whereas, reading may not have these. Moreover, if you keep reading the notes, you will lose natural flow of speaking, and eventually will lose the organization of your ideas that you wanted to talk about. 


Therefore, don't just keep reading your note, use it only as a guide of your direction. If you maintain your focus on just a natural flow of speaking, rather than merely on notes, ideas and sentences will keep organizing automatically.

Use the 1 minute wisely

Many students get panicked when they face a very unfamiliar topic in this part. These students completely waste this crucial 1 minute planning time fearing that they don't know anything on the topic they have been asked to talk about. Trust me, it will never be like you are asked to speak on a topic that you don't know anything about.


The topics will be very basics from real life experiences. We can  guarantee you, whatever the questions are there in the cue card, you can always make four/five sentences at least. And this is enough to meet the minimum criteria of this part. Regardless the topic you get, if you know how to use the 1 minute planning time, it will help you come up with a smart answer. Take a look below where we discussed how to develop your plan for speaking part 2. 

As we mentioned before, you will get 1 minute to develop your plan. How  you are going to perform in part 2, depends on how well you use this planning period. There are so many strategies that you can follow to organize your talk here. But we are going to give you the most effective strategy that we got from our students' experiences. Click on the title to see the detailed discussion on how you can plan for speaking part 2.

Actual Test Question for Speaking Part 2

IELTS Speaking Part 2 example 2
IELTS Speaking Part 2 Example

Source: Cambridge English IELTS Past Papers

You can review our detailed discussion on essential grammar and vocabulary.

Don't forget to check the following resources:

You can review the followings:

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