The Most Important 60 Seconds in IELTS Speaking

In section 2 of the IELTS Speaking test, you will be given a task card with a topic, and you’ll have 60 seconds to prepare your speech. You’ll then have to speak about the topic for one to two minutes. This 60 seconds of preparation is quite essential since it can be the difference between getting your target band score in speaking or not. In this article, we will look into this part of the speaking test and how to prepare for it:

What is the second part of the speaking test all about?
How to get prepared in just 60 seconds?
How to have an excellent presentation?
How to practice part 2 of the IELTS Speaking?
How to get a higher score in IELTS speaking?

What is the second part of the speaking test all about?

Your IELTS examiner will usually give you a very common topic about things that you do or encounter in your day to day life. These topics do not require any expert knowledge and may need you to talk about a place, someone you know, a friend, an object, etc.

I encourage you to prepare ideas for six main topic areas since most questions fit into one of these topics:

  1. Describe an event (a festival, celebration etc.)
  2. Describe an object (something you use, a gift, etc.)
  3. Describe an activity (e.g. a hobby)
  4. Describe a person (a family member, someone you admire, etc.)
  5. Describe your favourite (book/film/advertisement/website)
  6. Describe a place (your home, somewhere you visited, a holiday etc.)

Here is an example of the task card:

Describe a product you would like to buy if you had enough money.
You should say:
what the product is
where you would buy the product
how much you think the product would cost
And explain why you would like to buy it.
You will have to talk about the topic for 1 to 2 minutes.
You have 1 minute to think about what you’re going to say.
You can make some notes to help you if you wish.

How to get prepared in just 60 seconds?

First of all, don’t panic. Try to focus on the topic and find a suitable subject that you are entirely familiar with. For example, in the case of the above task, you might choose to talk about your dream car. Remember that all of your talk during this part of the speaking test must be about this specific item since you will get no marks for talking about something else.

Using the points presented in the task card, you can build a structure for your speech. For example, for the task card above, there are four bullet points that you definitely need to address. So the second step in your prep could be finding and writing down key ideas for each one of these bullet points.

For example, about the first bullet point, “what the product is” you could write down these ideas:

Luxury interior design, high power engine,
One of your friends has one

Moving forward to the second bullet point, “where you would buy the product” you could use these ideas:

The retailer at downtown
They have a variety of colours
They offer a discount

For the third bullet point, you could jot:

324k Euros
The price has increased since last month
The car is well worth it

And for the last point, these ideas could be useful:

Always dreamt of having it
It’s a safe and reliable car
Makes you feel special

Now that you know how to approach the bullet points and structure your speech, make sure you prepare some great adjectives for each topic and memorize some phrases that you can use to connect the bullet points. Also, make sure you talk about your opinions and feelings and think about some examples or stories to make your descriptions more interesting.

How to have an excellent presentation?

As mentioned earlier, the speech should take from one to two minutes. Also, in the end, the examiner might ask you a couple of additional questions. The tricky part here is to know when 2 minutes have passed. You need to get a feeling about what is it like to talk for 2 minutes. My suggestion is to practice at home with a clock, recording yourself while you are speaking on a particular topic. You can use MP3 players that can record or your cell phone. This way, you can evaluate your speech without any help from other people.

You might ask, is it really necessary to speak for the full 2 minutes in part 2 of the speaking test? Well, the instruction is: speak for 1 to 2 minutes, so it’s not strictly necessary to speak for the full 2 minutes. However, the safest approach is that you keep talking until the examiner stops you.

Now let’s review some tips to help you keep talking for two minutes:

  1. Go through the bullet points on the card in order and don’t skip any of them.
  2. Try to develop each point, and give details for each one of them, even easy ones. For instance, if one of the bullet point for the topic “describe a person” is “who is that person?”, don’t just say “I’m going to describe my friend”. Add more details, such as your friend’s name, age, what he or she looks like, where they are now, how often you speak to them, etc.
  3. Give some examples or tell stories.

How to practice part 2 of the IELTS Speaking?

Now, let’s get to the important stuff. Follow these steps when you are practising part 2 of the speaking test on your own:

  1. Choose a speaking topic from one of the Cambridge IELTS books.
  2. Record yourself answering the test.
  3. Listen to your recording
  4. Analyze your answer. How can you improve it?
  5. Take time to prepare better answers for the same questions.
  6. Try to answer the very same questions again!
  7. Repeat the process a few times until you are satisfied.

If you do this kind of practice every day, in no time you’ll definitely be more confident and better prepared than you are now.

How to score higher in IELTS speaking?

Now I want to share with you some insider tips that will guarantee you get a better band score in your IELTS speaking test. Ready?

1- Try to tell a story! When you tell a story about something that really happened to you to is actually the truth, you’ll probably find it easier to keep talking. Moreover, stories are also interesting for the examiner!

2- Try to add examples. Examples are great tools to help you clarify your idea and give the examiner a better understanding of what you actually mean.

3- Take IELTS mock tests and get evaluated by actual IELTS examiners. This is probably the most important tip that I can share. Getting feedback from an examiner can help you understand if you are ready for the actual test and if not, what needs to be done to get there. Online IELTS mock tests by are the most popular mock tests among candidates which include the speaking section of the test and are evaluated by certified IELTS examiners. So give them a try!

Our IELTS mock tests include the speaking test.

Get evaluated by a certified IELTS examiner

Let’s Get Started