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IELTS Speaking Task 2 - How to succeed

September 4, 2016

 

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Hi, my name is Emma, and in today's lesson we are going to be looking at the IELTS. The

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IELTS is a test that a lot of ESL students have to take when they want to go to a Canadian

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university, an Australian university, an English university. So when they want to study overseas

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or often times, when they want to immigrate to one of these countries. Okay? So we're

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looking specifically at the speaking part of the IELTS, part two. So the IELTS speaking

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task is split up into three sections. We are going to be looking at section two in this

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video. Okay, so let me first explain what happens

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in section two, and then we are going to look at some tips on what you should do if you

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want to do well on this section, and things you shouldn't do. Okay? So let's get started.

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So, in part two of the speaking component of the IELTS, you will be speaking for about

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two minutes. Okay? So this part lasts for about three minutes, so you have three minutes.

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The first minute you will be handed a question card. Okay?

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So here is an example of a question card. It will tell you, often times, to describe

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something. "Describe a museum that you have visited." It will tell you what you need to

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say. You should say:

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* Where it is * Why you went there

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* What you particularly remember This is just an example. Okay? So it can be

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on different topics, but you will get a card that looks something like this. Okay? So you

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have one minute to look at the question and to make notes, and to think: "Okay, what am

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I going to say?" So that takes one minute, and then after that the examiner will tell

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you: "Okay, you can begin." You must talk for one to two minutes. A lot

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of students actually consider this the hardest part of the speaking component because it's

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not a dialogue. Okay? The examiner isn't asking you questions and you're giving responses,

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and you're going back and forth. In this part of the IELTS, you just talk and you talk for

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one to two minutes. So a lot of students find this difficult because talking for two minutes,

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even for some native speakers, is a little difficult. Okay, so that's what's going to

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happen in this part. Okay? So what are some of the topics you might be

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asked about in this part of the IELTS? Well, topics often covered include: you might be

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asked about a precious item, so you might have to describe a precious item that you

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own. You might have to say something about where you bought it from or: how did you get

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it, what does it look like, why is it so precious? You might be asked about a special day, a

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sporting event that you went to or a concert, a special trip or journey or vacation, people

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who have influenced you. For example: they might ask you to describe your favourite teacher.

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What was she like? Why was she so great? You might be asked about a book, music, a television

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program, a movie you saw or even items of clothing. Okay, so sometimes you're asked

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about historical buildings, you might be asked about a neighbourhood in your city. The key

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thing that you probably will be asked is this question is often about description, not always,

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but usually you have to describe something. And then they usually have three questions,

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they can be: who, what, when, where, why? Okay? So these are the types of questions

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that they ask. All right, so now let's look at some things

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you can do in order to do well on this part of the IELTS. Okay, so what are some of the

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"Dos" for the IELTS, the speaking part? Okay, number one -- very, very important -- take

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notes. You're given one minute where you get to look at the question, and you're given

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a pencil and you can take notes, do it. Take notes. A lot of ESL students, they think,

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"Ah, I don't really want to take notes, it's a waste of time. I know what I'm going to

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say in my head." What happens is while they're speaking, they forget certain key points and

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they go off topic; they don't stay organized. So your notes are very important because they

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keep you on topic and they keep you organized which is one thing you're marked on.

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Okay, another thing that is very important -- actually this --, write keywords. So when

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you're making your notes, don't bother writing sentences of what you're going to say. You

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only have one minute. Just write keywords, important words that will help you to remember

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what you want to say. Okay? It's very important to cover every point that

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is on the card. Okay? So in our previous example it said: "Describe a museum that you have

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visited." And it said: "Where was the museum?" I think it said: "What do you remember most

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about the museum? And why were you at the museum?" So if you get these three questions,

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make sure you answer each question. Okay? And what's a good way to know you've answered

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each question? As you talk, point. So for example: this is to point as you talk, put

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your finger on the point you're talking about. So if this says: "Why did you go to the museum?"

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Point at this while you talk about that point, and then move your finger to the next point

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as you talk about it. This will help you to remember what you've said, and to keep you

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on track. Okay? Another very important thing to do is these

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often ask you about your own experiences. "Describe your favourite teacher", for example.

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Okay? So it's good if you can remember one of your teachers or whatever the question

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asks, it's good if you use your own experience. But maybe, maybe you've never been to a concert,

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maybe you've never been to a sporting event and that's what the question asks. If this

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is the case: lie. Okay? Make it up. If your friend told you a story once about when they

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went to a concert, steal your friend's story. Okay? It's okay to lie and to steal other

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people's stories on the IELTS. The main thing is that you practice -- or not practice --, that

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you speak English. So whether you tell your own story about a museum you visited or if

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you've never visited a museum, pretend you went to the Louvre in France. Talk about how

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you saw the Mona Lisa and how it was a beautiful painting. You can make stuff up, it's okay.

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Okay, the next point of "Dos" is: expand your answers. Okay? So if it says: "Where was the

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museum located?" Instead of just saying for that point: "The museum is in Toronto." Okay,

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that's too short. Expand on this point. "The museum is located in the downtown core of

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Toronto. It's close to the university, some very important restaurants, and the CN Tower."

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Okay, not true, but just... You can expand your answer. Make it long, give examples.

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Okay, another thing that is a good idea: because these questions are often about describing,

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it's good to use your senses, meaning when you have to describe something, imagine it

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in your mind and if you run out of things to say, think about your senses. What did

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it look like? What did it smell like? What did it sound like? For some of these, maybe

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you didn't taste them, like a building, but you get the idea. You can use your senses

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to help you imagine the area better, or the object, or the person.

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Okay, the next point: organize your speech. This is a must. Okay? So some students, when

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they do this part of the IELTS, they talk, and they talk, and they talk, but there's

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no organization. So what you need to do is... it's very good to have an introduction, it's

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very good to have a body, and it's good to have a conclusion. It's almost like you're

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doing an essay, but you're saying it. You want to introduce the topic, then you want

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to address all of the points, the three points, and then you want some sort of conclusion.

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You can say: "So this is why this was a very memorable experience.", "To sum up, my trip

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to Holland was a fantastic experience I'll never forget." Okay? So you want a conclusion

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as well. Okay, like I said earlier, it's good to imagine

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in your head the object, person, or place. This is a very good thing to do. It will help

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you to be less nervous as well. Okay, use introductory phrases. So when you

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introduce your topic, first thing you should say: "I want to talk about blank.", "I'd like

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to talk about blank.", "I'm going to talk about blank." You can use any of these, but

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it's good... This can be your introduction: "I'm going to talk about my trip to Spain.",

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"I'm going to talk about my teacher, Mrs. Fitzgerald.", "I'm going to talk about the

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most precious object in my life which is my pocket watch." Okay? So you can say whatever

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you'd like, but use an introductory phrase. This is a very important point: use transitions.

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So what do I mean by that? Well, transitions help to organize what you're going to say.

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"First of all", "Secondly", "Thirdly", "Finally", these are all examples of transitions. And

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if you're... In this case, you may be talking about what happened somewhere, you might be

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describing an event. "First, we went to the soccer stadium. Then we watched the game.

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After that, we went for ice cream." So you can use these types of transitions: "First",

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"Then", "Next", "After that", "Finally". These will help you in your cohesion marks, so in

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your fluency and cohesion mark. Finally, very important: speak loudly. Okay?

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You don't want to mumble, you don't want to be shy. You want to be confident. So be confident,

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make eye contact when you talk, speak loudly. These are all important tips.

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Another thing: practice. Okay? Practice talking for two minutes. You might have to build up

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to this. For some people, talking for long periods of time is very difficult. So maybe

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speaking English for one minute is really difficult for you. Start with 30 seconds,

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then move that to one minute, then a minute and a half, then two minutes. But you must

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practice speaking for two minutes. One thing that a lot of people do is they think: "Oh,

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okay. I need to speak for one to two minutes in this part of the IELTS." That's true, but

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the closer you get to two minutes the better. So if you're at one minute, that's a little

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bit of a short answer. Ideally, you want to be able to talk for two minutes. Okay? And

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also, don't rush with what you're going to say. Speak nice and at a good rate, so not

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too fast, not too slow. Okay, one other thing I wanted to say about

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"Do", it's not on this list but, often times you will be using the past tense. Okay? So

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for this part of the IELTS, the past tense is very important. Get used to talking about

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past experiences using the past tense. Okay, so now let's look at "Don'ts". Okay,

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so now I have a list of things you should not do. Okay? So these are the "Don'ts", so

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don't do this. Okay, the first one: a lot of ESL students want to do this, they want

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to memorize answers in advance. So they look up a whole bunch of different questions and

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then they write down what they're going to say, and they spend so much time memorizing

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for each question. This is not a good idea because first of all, it's easy to tell when

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you've memorized something; it doesn't sound natural. You're going to lose marks if it

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sounds like you've memorized something. And there are just too many different questions

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they can ask. So don't memorize answers. That's not a good way to prepare.

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Instead, focus on expanding your vocabulary. Okay? Practice talking about museums. What

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words do you need to know where you can talk about museums? Same with objects, teachers

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- how can you describe someone? So try to come up with descriptive words, expand your

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vocabulary. That would be a better way to prepare for this.

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Okay, don't write too much. I told you for the first part of this section, you get to

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write for one minute. Don't write full sentences. It's good to write about one to two words

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per point. So there's about three points, one to two words is good.

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Don't panic. Okay? A lot of students, as soon as they get to this part of the exam, they

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get really nervous and they panic, and their English just goes down. So don't panic. Use

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stress management techniques. Breathe, that's a good thing to do when you're nervous. Okay?

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Imagine you're in a nice green forest or on a nice beach. You can do these things, it

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will help you not to panic. It's also good before the IELTS, I find, before the speaking

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part if you can go on a walk. Walking actually calms your heart, it calms you down; it's

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a good thing to do. Don't focus too much on one point. So there

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are three things you have to address at least. Don't spend your whole time talking about

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the first thing. So for example: if you have to describe your favourite teacher, and the

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first question is: when did you have her as a teacher? Don't spend your whole time covering

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this point. Okay? Make sure you cover each point they ask you to.

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Don't use boring words. Okay? Remember: you're getting marked on vocabulary. You want to

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use interesting vocabulary. So for example: "good", that's a boring word, "bad", again

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a boring word. Use something interesting like: "My favourite teacher was really exciting.

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She was very enthusiastic." That's so much better than just saying: "My favourite teacher

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was good." Okay? Or my, you know, "The museum I went to was bad." No, use something better.

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Don't give short answers meaning you have to talk for at least a minute, make sure you

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do this. It's better to even talk for close to two minutes. Make sure your answers aren't

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too short. So for example: "I once went to the ROM [a museum in Canada], it was a good

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experience. The end." Too short. You need to expand your answer.

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Don't go off topic. So what do I mean by this? Well, if you have to describe the most precious

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item you have, don't start talking about education or technology. Unless it's relevant to what

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you're talking about, don't go off topic. Just talk about what they want you to talk

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about. Okay? This is actually a very important point: a

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lot of students tell me they really worry about their accents. They think: "Oh, I can't

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pronounce things very well. You know, I might mispronounce a word. I have problems pronouncing

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'r'" -- for example, or certain letters, "ch". It's okay if your pronunciation is not perfect.

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The main thing... And if you have an accent, it's okay if you have an accent. Most people

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have accents. So you don't have to worry about your accent. It's also... Well actually everybody

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has an accent. I have a Canadian accent for example. Now, does my Canadian accent mean

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my American friends cannot understand me? No. So it's okay if you, if you have an accent.

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The main thing is that people understand what you're saying. So don't worry about your accent.

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Worry more about enunciating things, about saying things clearly. That's what you want

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to do. And again, grammar is one thing you're marked

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on. Your grammar does not have to be perfect. So if you make a mistake, that's okay, move

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on. Okay? You can mistakes, it's okay if you make mistakes.

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Okay, so I'd like to recommend a website where you can get more tips on part two of the IELTS

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and also practice questions. Again, very important to practice. Practice with a timer. Make sure

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you're speaking for two minutes. Go to www.goodluckielts.com.

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Okay? So www.goodluckielts.com -- here you

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will find more tips. And also come visit us at our website www.engvid.com where you can

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do a practice test on what you've just learned. So until next time, take care.

 

 

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