In part 2 of the IELTS speaking module you need to give a short talk of between one and half and two minutes. There are two major problems here: speaking for long enough and staying coherent. In this video post I am going to look briefly at one way to organise your talk and improve you fluency and coherence band score.
The problem – a presentation with no preparation
I find it helps to think of part 2 as a short presentation – the challenges are the very similar. One of challenges of presentations is to organise your content so that people can understand your message and one of the basic rules of a making a good presentation is to prepare it properly. In IELTS, however, you only have 1 minute to prepare and most of that time will be spent thinking of vocabulary to use. So how can you organise your talk with little/no preparation time?
A solution – use the cue card
One solution is to use the cue card as the structure of your talk. The way to do this is quite simple – all the cue cards are organised in the same way with one major topic and 4 sub-topics. Look at this sample cue card:
There are 4 topics to talk about:
- the people
- the clothes
- the day itself
- your feelings
One natural solution is to go through each of these topics in turn and use the cue card to organise what you say.
How to work it
To see how you can make this work, take a look at this video and note these points:
- each point is discussed in turn
- there are pauses between each section
- signpost language is used to show the examiner a new topic is being introduced
The reason that the video only shows the cue card is that in the test itself it helps you to focus on the cue card as you speak. This does not mean that you look at it all the time because you also need to make eye contact with the examiner but you should keep it in your hand and refer to it constantly.
Advantages – it makes the task easier
This approach can make the task easier because you always know what you are going to say next and it allows you to pause in the right places. It can take the pressure off you. It works like this:
- Once you have spoken about one topic, you look down at the card for a moment
- Pause and think about what to say next and relax
- Look up at the examiner, make eye contact
- Start again: “The next thing I am going to tell you is…”
This can help you because one mistake candidates often make is to think they have to talk and talk without stopping. You don’t. In fact, pausing correctly is part of fluency and coherence because it allows your listener to understand your main points.
Advantages – it helps fluency and coherence
Another reason to try this approach is that it can help your fluency and coherence band score. To get this right there are 2 main points to focus on:
- using signposting language to help your listener understand the main points you are making (new post coming soon)
- expanding the points you make with reasons and examples – exactly as you would in an essay (new post coming soon)
Does it always work?
In a word, no. I am always suspicious of teachers who use the word “must”. Different people are different and different things work for different people. In my experience, some candidates find this approach very helpful, while it confuses others. My advice is to try it a few times and see if it works for you. If it doesn’t try something different.
Some practice with Voxopop
If you want some online practice, I have posted a new task at Voxopop where you can record yourself and hopefully listen to others try the same. If you are new to this site, here is the link to my previous posting about using Voxopop:
Do give it a try.