Strategies and tips for Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking Test

Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking Test is called an individual long-turn, where you are asked to talk for 1 – 2 minutes without stopping on a topic given to you. You are given 1 minute to plan what you will say and are allowed to make notes (just key ideas).

Here is an example topic cue card from

Describe something you own that 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.

Rounding off questions:

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

To hear how a candidate answered this question, here is the corresponding Mp3 recording for this question and the transcript.


  • Use your preparation time wisely. Read the instructions on the cue card carefully and use the 3 sub-topic points to guide you
  • Underline key words that strike you as important – for example, “describe”, “own”, “Important”
  • Quickly decide what “thing” you’ll talk about
  • Jot down some key ideas that answer sub-topic points
  • Remember the key word in the directions, which is DESCRIBE – so start off with describing the object – describe shape, size, color, how it functions, what it is used for, etc.
  • Remember, you need to keep talking until the examiner asks you to stop and may ask you a related follow-up question (rounding off question as listed on the cue card). As you have the rounding off questions on the cue card, be prepared to answer those as well.
  • Be careful with your VERB TENSE. If you’re describing something – it’s a statement of fact so you use PRESENT SIMPLE. If you’re describing something you had in the past and no longer have, use PAST SIMPLE. If you’re talking about long you have owned something, use PRESENT PERFECT (have + past participle).
Some useful phrases to introduce your topic:
  • “I’d like to talk about …”
  • “I’m going to talk about …”
  • Rephrase the question: “The most important thing I own is …”
Some useful phrases to explain how you feel:
  • The reason why it’s important to me is because . . .
  • It’s important to me because . . .
Here are some other sample task questions for you practice:
Describe a place you have lived in that you particularly liked.
You should say:
  • when you lived there
  • who you lived with
  • what was most memorable about this place
Describe a job that you would like to do in the future.
You should say:
  • why you are attracted to this job
  • how much training, if any, would be necessary
  • what kind of personal qualities it would require
Describe a skill you learned successfully
You should say:
  • what skill you learned
  • when and where you learned it
  • how you learned it

and explain what helped you to learn it successfully.


Give yourself a minute to plan what you’ll say and then record yourself.

It’s a good idea to look at a clock so that you can get an idea of how long you actually talk. I like this online stopwatch counter.

Remember, you want to keep talking until the examiner stops you. If you leave long pauses or finish early, the examiner won’t have much to assess your speaking skills.

I’ll give my own examples once I figure out how to upload an mp3 player! So check back!



I'm an English teacher specializing in IELTS preparation - especially writing and reading. If you have any questions, please ask! You can also sign up for weekly tips and lessons for IELTS and English!

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