This part gives many students a lot of difficulty and stress, and for good reason, it can be quite difficult, unpredictable, and unnatural.

After all, unless someone is giving a speech, we don’t often speak to someone for one to two minutes straight. There is usually a back and forth in our conversations where we continually ask each other questions. But in Speaking Task part 2, the spotlight is on you. Take a look at our tips below to learn how to do your best.

#1 Grammar

The key here is to read the question carefully. While you will be changing your grammar throughout the monologue, it’s important to know where to start.

Many questions may ask you about something that has already happened, or something in the past. Some questions may ask you about a favourite place or thing, and some still may ask you to talk about the future. You’ll never know what question you’re going to get so you need to be prepared for every possibility.

Examples may include:

  • Describe a book you have recently read. (Past Tenses)
  • Describe an interesting hobby you like to do. (Present)
  • Describe a language you would like to learn. (Future / Speculation Tenses)

#2 Vocabulary

As we discussed in part 1, you want to use vocabulary appropriate to the question and the topic. Many students confuse using a range of vocabulary with using the biggest words to show off all the vocab that they studied. But the key here is appropriacy.

Also, make sure you have some synonyms lined up. You will want to use a range of vocabulary. Again, this doesn’t mean big words. Make sure they are appropriate. If you can use them naturally, and you have been using them naturally in your regular speaking practice, then by all means, try and use idioms in your speaking. However, don’t force them. The examiner, who is a native speaker, can absolutely tell if you are using the idioms naturally or if they are being forced.

#3 Tell a story

There are several ways to answer a task 2 question. While you can always answer a question literally and try to follow the prompts, the best way is to tell a story.

Why tell a story?

Well, you’ve already lived it. You already know what happened. You know who was there, what it felt like, what it looked like and how it changed you or made a difference. It should make your preparation easier. It should also take some of the pressure off you when thinking about what to say. Usually when we tell a story, we have no shortage of things to say. It will also sound more natural, which is one of the main keys to being successful with the speaking test.

For example, if your question asks you to describe a possession you have that is very important to you, you can start off by saying what the possession is and then begin the story of how the possession came into your life. At this point, just keep moving along with the story and before you know it the long turn will be over.

Finally, a story helps you use a range of tenses that will be sure to impress the examiner. 

#4 The prompts are a guide and safety net

Many students receive their question and instead of trying to tell a good story, they just try to go through the prompts one after the other. Unfortunately, however, after they have made it through all the prompts, they still have a minute to speak and nothing left to say. 

Don’t let this be you!

In the previous tip we talked about telling a story. I highly recommend then that you use the prompts not only as a guide for what to talk about but as a safety net. That is, only use the prompts when you have run out of things to say from your story. Just in case you finish too early, now you have some additional ideas you can talk about to finish up the long turn.

#5 Paraphrase the question

It’s important to start every speaking task two with a basic paraphrased introduction of what you’re going to talk about. One of the best ways to begin a speaking task part 2 is to say: “I’m going to talk about + (paraphrased questions).

#6 Talk until the examiner stops you

If you tell a story, you should be able to speak for two minutes and even more. As a rule, the examiner is there to stop you when the time is up, so you should take full advantage of all the time you have to impress the examiner with your speaking ability.

If you finish too early, there’s a chance the examiner hasn’t really been able to accurately assess your speaking. In order to avoid this, practice speaking for a full 2.5 - 3 minutes at home so that when you get to the test, two minutes will feel like a breeze.

#7 Stay on topic

This may be self-evident, but just be aware. Sometimes you start off with a nice answer to the topic and end up somewhere completely different. Remember to use the prompts as a guide. However, as long as you are in the general area of the topic, especially when you tell a story, then you will be fine.

See also

External links