This is a summary of the 3 methods that students use to respond to part 2 of IELTS speaking.

Overview: When students are learning how to respond to IELTS speaking questions/topics, there are three methods that students use.

Here is an example of a task card:

Describe . . . This is called the topic sentence.

You should say:

this is often called the first prompt or point
b) this is often called the second prompt of point
c) this is the third

d) and . . . IELTS refers to this as “one aspect” of the topic

Note: For the sake of clarity, we will refer to a, b, c, and d all as prompts.

Method 1:

As the student looks at the card, he considers each prompt (a, b ,c , d) on the card, and develops a story or gives information about the topic with the help of the prompts.

The student may choose to change the order of the prompts. For example, the order may be b, c, a, d. What is important is that the student gives a response to each prompt.

Most students do use some portion of the 2 minutes for story telling. If the student becomes comfortable with story telling, speaking for 2 minutes is easier.

Method 2:

The student considers each prompt (a, b, c, d) as an individual topic and, therefore, responds to each as a separate topic.

Once the student gives a clear response to each topic, there is usually some time left of the 2 minutes. If the student is comfortable telling a story, this is one way to use the time.

Method 3:

The student speaks a direct, yet short response to each prompt (a,b,c,d). This is called the introduction. Most often, the student gives a quick response to 3 of the prompts: a, b, c. Then he develops brief response to d and offers a story.

When using this method, most students repeat the key words on the card in the prompts: a,b,c,d. The focus of this method is story telling since the student will only need about 20 to 30 seconds to speak a clear response to prompts a, b, c.

Most students learn a variation of this method. Its also the easiest to teach because it allows students to focus on quick introductions (a,b,c) and then describe an experience (story telling).

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Closing notes regarding all 3 methods

Many Chinese students have said that when they were learning English, the more they practiced telling stories, the easier it was for them to speak 1 to 2 minutes.

Note 1: For all 3 methods, the student can employ story telling. Higher level students often encourage lower level students to practice story telling because the higher level students find story telling is an easy and natural way to improve grammatical range and accuracy.

Note 2: The University of Cambridge does specifically mention story telling during IELTS speaking. However, they do say you should talk about your experience.