Top Tips for IELTS

Speaking about news – part 2 speaking

This is the next in my series of  part 2 speaking samples. The topic this time is a story in the news. In addition to the sample talk, I suggest some helpful vocabulary for talking about the media and a way of structuring your talk. You will also find a practice suggestion and a complete script of my version with notes on the vocabulary I use.

 

News and media vocabulary

The media is a very obvious IELTS topic and it is sensible to prepare some vocabulary so that you can speak and write about it. Here are just a few suggestions:

News

  • be in the news
  • follow the news
  • a news bulletin/item
  • a front page story
  • be in/hit the headlines
  • current affairs
  • cover a story
  • a human interest story

The media

  • the (printed) press
  • the national/local media
  • the news media
  • attract media attention
  • get publicity
  • be in the public eye

Some common mistakes with prepositions

  • watch something on television
  • listen to something on the radio
  • read about a story on the internet

 Understanding the cue card

A news story

Describe some interesting  news  that you have recently read about or heard about

You should say:

  • what the story was
  • who was involved in the story
  • where you read or heard about this story

and explain why this news story was interesting to you.

The vocabulary

This is a nice topic to get in the exam as there should be plenty of good vocab to use. In your preparation time, you can be thinking about:

  • news/media words
  • specific topic words related to your story

A trap

One trap is to repeat the word “interesting” all the time. You can use it once or twice but good candidates will look for other ways to say this. You can try:

  • fascinating
  • remarkable
  • unusual
  • thought-provoking
  • the interest of

Structuring your talk – making sure you say enough

You may find that it doesn’t take you too long to describe the story or that you cannot remember much about it. In this case, you should concentrate on why you found the story interesting. One way to do this is to give 2/3 reasons why it was interesting.

Listen to my version

This is my version of a story I read about. I couldn’t remember much detail so I concentrate most on why the story was interesting to me. As you listen, can you hear the two reasons I give.

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Read the script and understand the language

The vocabulary

One reason why this talk works well is that I manage to use a lot of good vocabulary. I use media language, language to show it was interesting and topic vocabulary relating to the story.

 

See the topic vocabulary

Okay, I’m going to tell you the story or a story I read in a newspaper recently - it wasn’t front page news – it didn’t hit the headlines or anything like that but it was one of those almost human interest stories that I find fascinating.

It was about a group of men led by a fifty year old who decided that they would row from Canada I think it was to the Magnetic North Pole and that was a distance of about 450 miles.

What was so interesting about the story was the idea of rowing to the North Pole which is supposed to covered by ice and the reason this group of people decided to do it was to highlight the fact that climate change had impacted the polar cap and to … they wanted to draw everybody’s attention to the seriousness of this issue.

And another reason I found it fascinating was …well it was just a very adventurous story. The idea of sort of rowing through ice floes and I suppose I have a personal interest here because when I was at university I used to row myself and I know how difficult it is just to row on a river but on the ocean, trying to navigate through all those ice floes that’s really quite something

The structure and coherence

My answer is in fact very coherent. One way to achieve this is to think of your talk as a piece of writing in paragraphs. Look at how I have set it out. Each “paragraph” begins with a short phrase to tell the examiner what I am talking about.  The way to do this is to keep it simple:

I’m going to tell you a story…

The story is about….

One reason it’s interesting is because

Another reason it’s interesting is

 

See the coherent structure

Introduction

Okay, I’m going to tell you the story or a story I read in a newspaper recently – it wasn’t front page news – it didn’t hit the headlines or anything like that but it was one of those almost human interest stories that I find fascinating.

It was about a group of men led by a fifty year old who decided that they would row from Canada I think it was to the Magnetic North Pole and that was a distance of about 450 miles.

What was so interesting about the story was the idea of rowing to the North Pole which is supposed to covered by ice and the reason this group of people decided to do it was to highlight the fact that climate change had impacted the polar cap and to … they wanted to draw everybody’s attention to the seriousness of this issue.

And another reason I found it fascinating was well it was just a very adventurous story. The idea of sort of rowing through ice floes and I suppose I have a personal interest here because when I was at university I used to row myself and I know how difficult it is just to row on a river but on the ocean, trying to navigate through all those ice floes that’s really quite something

Practice yourself

This is definitely a topic you should practise for the exam. Here is my suggestion.

  1. go to BBC Words in the News
  2. find a story that interests you
  3. read it once quite quickly
  4. note down 5/6words or phrases you think you need to tell the story
  5. try telling the story using those word/phrases
  6. if you can’t do it, read the story again
  7. then try to tell the story again, but more briefly this time and give two reasons why it interested you

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10 Responses to Speaking about news – part 2 speaking

  1. Kay August 29, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    This material can also be used in An Adventurous Person. Just to change some sentences.

  2. Dominic Cole August 29, 2011 at 10:47 am #

    Yes and no. You can certainly use the same story but you need to be careful that you explain why the explorer was adventurous in doing what he did and not why the story was interesting. What I mean is that you must be careful to answer the questions on the cue card. But you are right that this is a story that could be used for that topic.

    More generally, it can make sense to read/prepare some stories before the exam that you can use in different contexts. If you do this though, you MUST be very careful to make sure that the story is appropriate to the question you are given. Examiners tend to hate “prepared” answers that don’t relate to the question.

    • Kay August 29, 2011 at 11:39 pm #

      YES. You’re right. But actually during the exam we are always too nervous to recall a good story which is related to the topic. Even in my mother tongue, I may not pick up a good one and describe it clearly within 2 minutes.

      Somebody suggest me to answer Part 2 in this way:
      ①To begin with, in reply the initial question of ______
      ②In answer to _____, I really need to add that ____
      ③ Going on to my third point that is _____, and the point I want to make here is (that)_____.

      ④To cut a long story short, as my very last point______

      Those sentences can help me make my speech clear. But I’ve no idea whether it is appropriate for a native speaker. Is this a good structure? Is it tedious?

      • Dominic Cole August 30, 2011 at 5:39 am #

        That’s an interesting comment about not being able to remember a good story. Let me say this:

        1. the quality of your story does not matter
        2. what matters is how fluent and coherent you are
        3. you need to practise telling stories about topics you are less familiar with
        4. it’s quite okay to say things like “i cant’ quite remember the exact details but I think what happened is….”. In fact I shall post some good language like this to help you in the next few days.
        5. Have you tried the “close your eyes and see the story” technique, it can work really well.

        Regarding your structure. it looks good to me and is very similiar to something I teach too. However, it doesn’t work so well when you are telling a story. I’d suggest that you need two different ways to approach part 2. One is the way you suggest above. You go the through the points one by one. The other is to practise telling a story.

  3. Lasam Ola September 1, 2011 at 12:04 am #

    Thanks the tips are helpful.

    • roopa September 3, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

      podiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

  4. roopa September 3, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    koooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool

  5. John October 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    Hello,

    watch something on television
    listen to something on the radio
    read about a story on the internet

    Are these the good ones?

  6. sheetal chauhan October 4, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

    great tips,thanks

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