IELTS Speaking Task 2 - How to succeed
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Hi, my name is Emma, and in today's lesson we are going to be looking at the IELTS. The
IELTS is a test that a lot of ESL students have to take when they want to go to a Canadian
university, an Australian university, an English university. So when they want to study overseas
or often times, when they want to immigrate to one of these countries. Okay? So we're
looking specifically at the speaking part of the IELTS, part two. So the IELTS speaking
task is split up into three sections. We are going to be looking at section two in this
video. Okay, so let me first explain what happens
in section two, and then we are going to look at some tips on what you should do if you
want to do well on this section, and things you shouldn't do. Okay? So let's get started.
So, in part two of the speaking component of the IELTS, you will be speaking for about
two minutes. Okay? So this part lasts for about three minutes, so you have three minutes.
The first minute you will be handed a question card. Okay?
So here is an example of a question card. It will tell you, often times, to describe
something. "Describe a museum that you have visited." It will tell you what you need to
say. You should say:
* Where it is * Why you went there
* What you particularly remember This is just an example. Okay? So it can be
on different topics, but you will get a card that looks something like this. Okay? So you
have one minute to look at the question and to make notes, and to think: "Okay, what am
I going to say?" So that takes one minute, and then after that the examiner will tell
you: "Okay, you can begin." You must talk for one to two minutes. A lot
of students actually consider this the hardest part of the speaking component because it's
not a dialogue. Okay? The examiner isn't asking you questions and you're giving responses,
and you're going back and forth. In this part of the IELTS, you just talk and you talk for
one to two minutes. So a lot of students find this difficult because talking for two minutes,
even for some native speakers, is a little difficult. Okay, so that's what's going to
happen in this part. Okay? So what are some of the topics you might be
asked about in this part of the IELTS? Well, topics often covered include: you might be
asked about a precious item, so you might have to describe a precious item that you
own. You might have to say something about where you bought it from or: how did you get
it, what does it look like, why is it so precious? You might be asked about a special day, a
sporting event that you went to or a concert, a special trip or journey or vacation, people
who have influenced you. For example: they might ask you to describe your favourite teacher.
What was she like? Why was she so great? You might be asked about a book, music, a television
program, a movie you saw or even items of clothing. Okay, so sometimes you're asked
about historical buildings, you might be asked about a neighbourhood in your city. The key
thing that you probably will be asked is this question is often about description, not always,
but usually you have to describe something. And then they usually have three questions,
they can be: who, what, when, where, why? Okay? So these are the types of questions
that they ask. All right, so now let's look at some things
you can do in order to do well on this part of the IELTS. Okay, so what are some of the
"Dos" for the IELTS, the speaking part? Okay, number one -- very, very important -- take
notes. You're given one minute where you get to look at the question, and you're given
a pencil and you can take notes, do it. Take notes. A lot of ESL students, they think,
"Ah, I don't really want to take notes, it's a waste of time. I know what I'm going to
say in my head." What happens is while they're speaking, they forget certain key points and
they go off topic; they don't stay organized. So your notes are very important because they
keep you on topic and they keep you organized which is one thing you're marked on.
Okay, another thing that is very important -- actually this --, write keywords. So when
you're making your notes, don't bother writing sentences of what you're going to say. You
only have one minute. Just write keywords, important words that will help you to remember
what you want to say. Okay? It's very important to cover every point that
is on the card. Okay? So in our previous example it said: "Describe a museum that you have
visited." And it said: "Where was the museum?" I think it said: "What do you remember most
about the museum? And why were you at the museum?" So if you get these three questions,
make sure you answer each question. Okay? And what's a good way to know you've answered
each question? As you talk, point. So for example: this is to point as you talk, put
your finger on the point you're talking about. So if this says: "Why did you go to the museum?"
Point at this while you talk about that point, and then move your finger to the next point
as you talk about it. This will help you to remember what you've said, and to keep you
on track. Okay? Another very important thing to do is these
often ask you about your own experiences. "Describe your favourite teacher", for example.
Okay? So it's good if you can remember one of your teachers or whatever the question
asks, it's good if you use your own experience. But maybe, maybe you've never been to a concert,
maybe you've never been to a sporting event and that's what the question asks. If this
is the case: lie. Okay? Make it up. If your friend told you a story once about when they
went to a concert, steal your friend's story. Okay? It's okay to lie and to steal other
people's stories on the IELTS. The main thing is that you practice -- or not practice --, that
you speak English. So whether you tell your own story about a museum you visited or if
you've never visited a museum, pretend you went to the Louvre in France. Talk about how
you saw the Mona Lisa and how it was a beautiful painting. You can make stuff up, it's okay.
Okay, the next point of "Dos" is: expand your answers. Okay? So if it says: "Where was the
museum located?" Instead of just saying for that point: "The museum is in Toronto." Okay,
that's too short. Expand on this point. "The museum is located in the downtown core of
Toronto. It's close to the university, some very important restaurants, and the CN Tower."
Okay, not true, but just... You can expand your answer. Make it long, give examples.
Okay, another thing that is a good idea: because these questions are often about describing,
it's good to use your senses, meaning when you have to describe something, imagine it
in your mind and if you run out of things to say, think about your senses. What did
it look like? What did it smell like? What did it sound like? For some of these, maybe
you didn't taste them, like a building, but you get the idea. You can use your senses
to help you imagine the area better, or the object, or the person.
Okay, the next point: organize your speech. This is a must. Okay? So some students, when
they do this part of the IELTS, they talk, and they talk, and they talk, but there's
no organization. So what you need to do is... it's very good to have an introduction, it's
very good to have a body, and it's good to have a conclusion. It's almost like you're
doing an essay, but you're saying it. You want to introduce the topic, then you want
to address all of the points, the three points, and then you want some sort of conclusion.
You can say: "So this is why this was a very memorable experience.", "To sum up, my trip
to Holland was a fantastic experience I'll never forget." Okay? So you want a conclusion
as well. Okay, like I said earlier, it's good to imagine
in your head the object, person, or place. This is a very good thing to do. It will help
you to be less nervous as well. Okay, use introductory phrases. So when you
introduce your topic, first thing you should say: "I want to talk about blank.", "I'd like
to talk about blank.", "I'm going to talk about blank." You can use any of these, but
it's good... This can be your introduction: "I'm going to talk about my trip to Spain.",
"I'm going to talk about my teacher, Mrs. Fitzgerald.", "I'm going to talk about the
most precious object in my life which is my pocket watch." Okay? So you can say whatever
you'd like, but use an introductory phrase. This is a very important point: use transitions.
So what do I mean by that? Well, transitions help to organize what you're going to say.
"First of all", "Secondly", "Thirdly", "Finally", these are all examples of transitions. And
if you're... In this case, you may be talking about what happened somewhere, you might be
describing an event. "First, we went to the soccer stadium. Then we watched the game.
After that, we went for ice cream." So you can use these types of transitions: "First",
"Then", "Next", "After that", "Finally". These will help you in your cohesion marks, so in
your fluency and cohesion mark. Finally, very important: speak loudly. Okay?
You don't want to mumble, you don't want to be shy. You want to be confident. So be confident,
make eye contact when you talk, speak loudly. These are all important tips.
Another thing: practice. Okay? Practice talking for two minutes. You might have to build up
to this. For some people, talking for long periods of time is very difficult. So maybe
speaking English for one minute is really difficult for you. Start with 30 seconds,
then move that to one minute, then a minute and a half, then two minutes. But you must
practice speaking for two minutes. One thing that a lot of people do is they think: "Oh,
okay. I need to speak for one to two minutes in this part of the IELTS." That's true, but
the closer you get to two minutes the better. So if you're at one minute, that's a little
bit of a short answer. Ideally, you want to be able to talk for two minutes. Okay? And
also, don't rush with what you're going to say. Speak nice and at a good rate, so not
too fast, not too slow. Okay, one other thing I wanted to say about
"Do", it's not on this list but, often times you will be using the past tense. Okay? So
for this part of the IELTS, the past tense is very important. Get used to talking about
past experiences using the past tense. Okay, so now let's look at "Don'ts". Okay,
so now I have a list of things you should not do. Okay? So these are the "Don'ts", so
don't do this. Okay, the first one: a lot of ESL students want to do this, they want
to memorize answers in advance. So they look up a whole bunch of different questions and
then they write down what they're going to say, and they spend so much time memorizing
for each question. This is not a good idea because first of all, it's easy to tell when
you've memorized something; it doesn't sound natural. You're going to lose marks if it
sounds like you've memorized something. And there are just too many different questions
they can ask. So don't memorize answers. That's not a good way to prepare.
Instead, focus on expanding your vocabulary. Okay? Practice talking about museums. What
words do you need to know where you can talk about museums? Same with objects, teachers
- how can you describe someone? So try to come up with descriptive words, expand your
vocabulary. That would be a better way to prepare for this.
Okay, don't write too much. I told you for the first part of this section, you get to
write for one minute. Don't write full sentences. It's good to write about one to two words
per point. So there's about three points, one to two words is good.
Don't panic. Okay? A lot of students, as soon as they get to this part of the exam, they
get really nervous and they panic, and their English just goes down. So don't panic. Use
stress management techniques. Breathe, that's a good thing to do when you're nervous. Okay?
Imagine you're in a nice green forest or on a nice beach. You can do these things, it
will help you not to panic. It's also good before the IELTS, I find, before the speaking
part if you can go on a walk. Walking actually calms your heart, it calms you down; it's
a good thing to do. Don't focus too much on one point. So there
are three things you have to address at least. Don't spend your whole time talking about
the first thing. So for example: if you have to describe your favourite teacher, and the
first question is: when did you have her as a teacher? Don't spend your whole time covering
this point. Okay? Make sure you cover each point they ask you to.
Don't use boring words. Okay? Remember: you're getting marked on vocabulary. You want to
use interesting vocabulary. So for example: "good", that's a boring word, "bad", again
a boring word. Use something interesting like: "My favourite teacher was really exciting.
She was very enthusiastic." That's so much better than just saying: "My favourite teacher
was good." Okay? Or my, you know, "The museum I went to was bad." No, use something better.
Don't give short answers meaning you have to talk for at least a minute, make sure you
do this. It's better to even talk for close to two minutes. Make sure your answers aren't
too short. So for example: "I once went to the ROM [a museum in Canada], it was a good
experience. The end." Too short. You need to expand your answer.
Don't go off topic. So what do I mean by this? Well, if you have to describe the most precious
item you have, don't start talking about education or technology. Unless it's relevant to what
you're talking about, don't go off topic. Just talk about what they want you to talk
about. Okay? This is actually a very important point: a
lot of students tell me they really worry about their accents. They think: "Oh, I can't
pronounce things very well. You know, I might mispronounce a word. I have problems pronouncing
'r'" -- for example, or certain letters, "ch". It's okay if your pronunciation is not perfect.
The main thing... And if you have an accent, it's okay if you have an accent. Most people
have accents. So you don't have to worry about your accent. It's also... Well actually everybody
has an accent. I have a Canadian accent for example. Now, does my Canadian accent mean
my American friends cannot understand me? No. So it's okay if you, if you have an accent.
The main thing is that people understand what you're saying. So don't worry about your accent.
Worry more about enunciating things, about saying things clearly. That's what you want
to do. And again, grammar is one thing you're marked
on. Your grammar does not have to be perfect. So if you make a mistake, that's okay, move
on. Okay? You can mistakes, it's okay if you make mistakes.
Okay, so I'd like to recommend a website where you can get more tips on part two of the IELTS
and also practice questions. Again, very important to practice. Practice with a timer. Make sure
you're speaking for two minutes. Go to www.goodluckielts.com.
Okay? So www.goodluckielts.com -- here you
will find more tips. And also come visit us at our website www.engvid.com where you can
do a practice test on what you've just learned. So until next time, take care.