EXAM TECHNIQUE | Planning your answer in Part 2 of the Speaking test

Today’s post is about planning, more specifically planning and organising your long-turn speech in Part 2 of the Speaking test. This part of the test lasts for 3-4 minutes: 1 minute preparation, 2 minutes to speak and follow-up questions (optional). Using that 1 minute to organise your thoughts and ideas is crucial. And can’t stress this enough: PLEASE don’t start talking without actually spending 60 seconds planning your answer. Even if don’t write anything, you can doodle, or scratch your head, your say a prayer, or even to take a deep breath. Some of my students told me that they fear the blank piece of paper in front of them and their mind simply goes blank. Maybe you’ll get the inspiration in the last 20 seconds and you manage to jot down a word or two. You’re actually paying for that minute so, use it in your own advantage. 

Exam Tip: When planning your answer to Part 2, remember that you do not have to cover all the points on the task card and you do not have to talk about them in order. It is usually a good idea, however, because the points help you to organise what you are going to say.

Activity 1 

Read the Part 2 task card and the notes that one candidate made for the questions. Notice that the candidate has not used full sentences. For example, instead of writing cricket rivalry between England and Australia, he has written cricketing rivalry btw Au + Eng. When we make notes, we often omit less important words such as articles and auxiliary verbs, and we often write only the key words. We also use shorthand, such as + for and, w. for with, and yrs for years. Develop your own shorthand in English as this will save you time. 


Describe an exciting competition or sporting event you have witnessed.
You should say:
       what the competition or sporting event was
       when and where it took place
       who won
and explain why it was exciting.

Now answer questions a-d.
a Which tenses will the candidate use? Why?
b Why do you think he has written Don’t sound bored?
c Is he going to follow the order of the points on the card?
d Why do you think he has noted down vocabulary? Has he written just isolated words?

Give yourself one minute to plan your answer to the Part 2 Exam question using the ideas in Activity 1. Whenever you practise Part 2 questions, always give yourself one minute, but no more, so that you learn how best to use the time. Then talk for one to two minutes. Record yourself. 


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