IELTS Speaking: Structuring Part 2

One of the main reasons that students lose points in Speaking Part 2 is the lack of coherence in their talk. Many candidates do not use the planning time wisely, and give their talk in a random, unstructured burst of language and ideas. This is often due to nerves. But if you can plan well, the nerves should disappear, at least a little bit.

How to structure? With segments. 

Take the following task card:


We know what to talk about. The instructions are right in front of us. But how should we break it up? Do we need to follow the order given? No, we don’t need to. Here is just one way we could give the talk. (You wouldn’t need to write the words in italics, they’re just for your benefit here.)

First segment – 10 seconds: Where – Name, where, when

Second segment – 30 seconds: Why – holiday, like cities, like Thai food, culture, weather

Third segment – 30 seconds: What –  temples, parks, restaurants, shopping malls, nightclubs

Last segment – 30-50 seconds: How I felt about city – overpopulated, humid, westernised, nice people, good food, crowded public transport, ideal for young people, exhausting

Four segments, unequally divided, written in just one minute. This will give you focus when Speaking; it will keep you going in the right direction and not returning to things you’ve already spoken about. It will prevent confusion and panic. It will give you confidence that you won’t run out of things to say.

Notice also that I have written lots of nouns and a few adjectives. And not abstract nouns, but concrete nouns. Concrete nouns will give you a better mental image of the things you have done or will do, and as a result, they will give you more confidence and accuracy in your descriptions.