Part 2 of the IELTS speaking exam is one of the more daunting sections of the test. Many people worry about filling two full minutes with constructive content and meeting the necessary standards of fluency and coherence, vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation.
Most likely, you would rarely do that in your own language, let alone having to do it in a foreign lingo!
So, it’s test day. You’ve studied the part 2 cue card. You’ve used your 60-second preparation time wisely and decided what you’re going to talk about. And you’re confident that you are going to cover a range of grammatical structures supplemented with some high level vocab, phrases and idiomatic expressions.
But how do you begin?
Read below to find out, or watch the video.
Now, whilst I always strongly advise my students against using any memorized answers, the part 2 introduction is the one element of the speaking test where a candidate can have a few rehearsed sentences that can be modified to suit any topic.
It means you can guarantee getting off to a strong start, making a positive impression, and comfortably filling the opening seconds with good, constructive speech.
Here are some of the more typical starting phrases:
1. OK, so I am going to talk about…
2. I would like to tell you about…
3. So, let me tell you about…
4. The first ____ that springs to mind is…
5. I am going to talk about…
There is absolutely nothing wrong with these phrases and each one will set you off on the right path.
However, I like to encourage my students to be a little more adventurous with their introductions and try to stand out from the other candidates the examiner will have seen that day.
So, you could try commenting on the topic before you introduce the idea you are going to talk about.
Describe a song or piece of music that you like:
“This is such a tough question for me to answer because there are just so many songs that have a special place in my heart. But I would like to tell you about…”
Describe a friend that you enjoy spending time with:
“Well, this is an easy one to for me to answer because I have one friend who I have been best friends with since we were kids. I am going to tell you about…”
Describe a traditional meal that you prepare on special occasions:
“This is something of a tricky question for me because I am not much of a chef, but I suppose the first one that really springs to mind is…”
The next technique you can employ is making good use of some of the more interesting adjectives to impress the examiner. You could even go further and modify those adjectives with an adverb. Let’s have a look at some examples.
Describe a beautiful natural scenery you have seen recently:
“I’ve seen many beautiful natural sceneries recently, it’s hard to pick one. But I’m going to tell you about…”
In this introduction, both ‘beautiful’ and ‘hard’ can be replaced with more interesting adjectives.
“I’ve seen some breath-taking landscapes lately; it’s challenging to pick just one. But the one that stands out in my mind is…”
And we can improve this sentence even further with a couple of well-placed adverbs.
“Well, I’ve visited some truly magnificent natural spots of late; it’s almost impossible to pick just one to talk about. But the first one to spring to mind, and the one that had the biggest impact on me, is…”
We can see that the last sentence is a vast improvement on the first.
It is little speaking strategies like these that can help you reach the speaking score that you need by demonstrating a rich vocabulary and strong fluency.
It will also improve your confidence going into the exam room knowing that you are well-equipped to give a strong start to your two-minute monologue.