Speaking: Part 2

Part two is the only time in the exam where you can write something down. The examiner will give you a cue card with a question on it – typically you’ll be asked to describe something. You’ll have one minute to prepare your answer, then two minutes to speak.

Let’s take a look at a sample question:

Describe a band/singer you enjoy listening to. You should say:

who they are

what kind of music do they play

when you first heard them

and say why you like them so much.

You could answer this very quickly:

I’m a fan of Céline Dion. She’s sings love songs. I first heard her on the radio. I like her music and the power of her voice.

However, you need to develop your answer – it’s a speaking test of course!

In part two:

  • Aim to speak for the full 2 minutes
  • Use the question bullet points to help structure your answers

To help you give your answer, you could try to use one of the following structures.

First, draw a cross or mind map on the paper.

Then, break down your answer using the bulletpoints and write notes – you don’t have time to write sentences so focus on key words, key phrases, key ideas for each.

For this question, think:

  1. who
  2. what
  3. when
  4. why

For example:

Some of my students like the cross, others prefer the mind map – try both and see which works for you. You can, of course, write down other ideas beyond the bullet points helping you extend your answer.

Tip: Try writing your notes in English and not your mother tongue.

Sample answer:

I’m a massive fan of the Canadian singer Céline Dion.

She performs a variety of different genres but she’s most famous for the song “My Heart Will Go On” from the blockbuster movie “Titanic”.

It’s one of my all time favourite songs and it’s my go-to number at karaoke, though I don’t share her musical ability – my friends say when I sing I sound like a strangled cat.

I think she first gained notoriety in the late 1980s when she won a popular song contest in Europe – although she’s Canadian she represented Switzerland and sang a song in French. I actually first heard her when I was at high school and our teacher played some of her songs in French. That was a fun lesson and it left a lasting impression on me. 

I love the power in her voice – she has an ability to convey emotion no matter what language she is singing in – it gives me goosebumps.

She’s had a long and illustrious career, winning many prestigious awards.

These days, she lives in Las Vegas where she has a residency. If I had the time and money I’d go there to see her sing live – I’d get seats in the front row! Seeing her in concert is something I’ve never done so I think it would be an incredible experience.

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