LWT English



IELTS Speaking: Part 2 SUCCESS!

Updated: Aug 18, 2021

In today’s post, we are going to be reviewing the value of the PPF-Strategy, an approach that I (like many other IELTS teaching specialists) strongly advocate the use of, during the speaking test.

The PPF-Strategy, which stands for past-present-future strategy, is a productive technique that IELTS candidates can apply in part 2 of their speaking test. This helpful method will do two things for the test taker who can use it effectively.

Firstly, it will help the candidate think of things to say and structure their two-minute speech a little more coherently than they might without it.

Secondly, and most importantly, the PPF-Strategy will improve the test taker’s grammar score. In ensuring that the past, present and future aspects of a subject are covered in part 2, you can guarantee that a wider range of verb tenses have been put in to use. This grammatical range is a nice, clear variety for the examiner to hear and score you from accordingly.


Let’s take a more practical look at how it works.

Describe the most beautiful natural scenery you have ever seen. You should say:

- what it is

- when and where you saw it

- who you were with

And explain why you think this is the most beautiful scenery you have ever seen.

Past- …visiting the desert in Egypt was definitely one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Prior to that, the only sand I had seen had been on the beach in Benidorm, so the Sahara was a whole new world. We walked under the night sky which was truly breath-taking because of the endless stars you could see.

Present- …I took loads of pictures while we were there, so my family and I often flick through them and reminisce about what a wonderful trip it was. We even have a little jar of Saharan sand sitting on our mantlepiece in the living room. My father collected it as a souvenir.

Future- …I am actually planning on going back there later this year with some friends. It was great with my family, but with my friends it will be more of an adventure. We are going to sleep under the stars and we will probably arrange a long camel trek. It is going to be awesome!


This technique is effective, versatile, and easy to apply. During your 60-second preparation time, ask yourself ‘how can I make use of the PPF-Strategy?’. You will find your speaking score, as well as your overall confidence when you enter the examination room, will improve. Give it a try. Practice, after all, makes perfect!


Side note: The PPF-Strategy may well require a little creativity. If you need to lie in order to fill the time, by all means, lie... Lie, lie, lie, lie, lie… there are no extra points for being an honest person 😉


Useful phrases and vocabulary from this article:

  • Advocate the use of - publicly recommend or support

  • Prior to that - existing or coming before in time

  • A whole new world - something completely unfamiliar and exciting to you

  • Breath-taking - beautiful

  • Flick through - look quickly through a book, magazine, etc

  • Reminisce - indulge in enjoyable recollection of past events.

  • Sleep under the stars - sleep outside / go camping