Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cue Cards in the IELTS Speaking Exam in the Philippines

The speaking examination in the International English Language Testing System or IELTS practices the examinee on a real communication situation wherein one should speak in front of a native speaker. It is known to everybody that the IELTS has already been a requirement for people applying for a job or seeking a study program in different English speaking countries abroad. Thus, being in a face-to-face interview is an assessment on how well the candidate can manage to have an English conversation.


Among the three different tasks in the IELTS speaking section, the second task is the one which uses a cue card. A cue card is a note card given by the examiner to the candidate. On the cue card, the task is written together with the guide questions that will help the candidate organize his or her ideas. Once the card is given, the examiner will give the candidate a minute to prepare – write and organize his ideas, and another couple of minutes to speak.

Most tasks in the second part of the IELTS ask the candidate to describe a particular topic and explain how he or she felt about the topic.

Here are some tips in coming up with a good response.

  • Read and understand the tasks in the cue card. If you are confused or some part is difficult to understand, ask the examiner.
  • Brainstorm on an idea that you think will be easier to describe.
  • Think of words that will suitably illustrate your idea.
  • Write down the notes in phrases not sentences.
Here are some questions used in the second task of the IELTS speaking examination:

1.  Describe a situation when you were late. Please say
  • What was the event you were late for?
  • What was the reason that you were late?
  • How did you feel about it?
2.    Describe somebody who is doing a great job. Please say
  • Who is he/she?
  • What job is it?
  • Why do you think this job is important?
3.    Describe a music concert you have seen.
  • What kind of music it was?
  • Where and when it took place?
  • Who you saw it with?


The second task in the IELTS speaking is not that troublesome unless you think of an answer that you can easily provide supporting details. Hence, the best thing to do is to practice speaking with other people or be in an IELTS review center where mock tests are given to candidates to have a feel of what the real IELTS speaking examination is.

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