Paradigm Language Institute

IELTS Speaking - Part 2 (Talking about a place)

Friday, February 17, 2012

In Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking Test, you are asked to talk for 1-2 minutes about a person, place, thing, event or activity which is familiar to you. This article will address how to discuss a place.

During Part 2 of the test:
  • you are given a card which says - "Describe..........." and includes some ideas about what you should talk about when discussing this topic.
  • you are given a pen and paper to take notes.
  • you have 1 minute to write notes and prepare your answer.
  • you then need to talk for 1-2 minutes.

In the excellent IELTS Resource Pack (link below), there is this example topic card:

Describe a house you have visited which you particularly liked.
You should say:
  • what kind of house it is
  • why you visited the house
  • who lives (or lived) there
  • how it is different to other houses you have visited
and why you particularly liked it.

In Collins 'Speaking for IELTS', one can find this Task 2 speaking topic:

Describe a place which you enjoy visiting.
You should say:

  • where the place is
  • what you can see and do there
  • how it has changed since you first visited it
and explain why you enjoy visiting this place.

When you see the card, check (in your mind):

1. What do I need to talk about?
2. What tense should I use when speaking?
3. What can I talk about easily?
4. What good words do I know on this topic that I can use?
5. What else can I say apart from answering the questions on the card?

Points to remember:

1. For A, you need to talk about a house. In B, you have more choice.
2. In A, you should use the past tense or the present perfect tense because the statement talks about the past. In B, you should use the present simple as the statement uses the present simple.
3. For both, don't choose to talk about a place which is difficult to discuss with your level of English.
4. Write some good words/phrases on your paper - "it is a cosy and inviting little house" or "it is a
cosmopolitan city with bustling streets".
5. Think of the questions "What?", "When?", "Why?". "Who?", "Where?", "Who with?" about the
place to give yourself more to say.

Taking notes for one minute:

Don't rush - spend 1 full minute taking notes.
  • many students like making a spider diagram like the ones below.

  • some students just like to write a list of words to help them remember what they want to say.
During the 1-2 minute talk:

The public band descriptors for the IELTS Speaking test at the link below, you will see that one of the important areas for the mark is "Fluency and Coherence". In the descriptor for the higher bands, it says that the speaker must speak at length. This means continue talking,
  • carry on talking.
  • talking more also gives you the opportunity to use more vocabulary and range of structures, which can then get you a higher mark.

Sample answer for Topic A:

"Well, you know, when I looked at the topic here, the first house that came to mind was my grandparents house. Actually, it was about 50 kilometres from my house in Ayutthaya, and I used to go there every school holiday with my younger sister. I will always remember the smell; they had a huge garden with lots of colourful flowers. Whenever I smell flowers nowadays, I always think about that garden.

We went there because our parents wanted us to spend some time outside the city during the break from school. They were always worried about us spending too much time in the polluted city. And we loved it. To be honest, I would look forward to going there for weeks.

You know, my grandmother was kind of old and yet she was so great. Every time we arrived, her face lit up and she would spoil us with lots of food. I think she missed having children in the house, so she took us out to do loads of things.

This is the best house I can remember, not because the house was special, but because of the people who lived there. In truth, it is the good memories. I went back to the house recently, but it seems much smaller now. It is still the same pink colour, but now the flowers are not growing anymore. The smell has gone........."


Don't speak too fast or too slow
  • if you speak too fast, it can make your accent harder to understand
  • if you speak too slow, it will not sound natural
Use filler words
  • you know
  • in reality
  • actually
Paint a picture of the place
  • explain it in a way that the listen can really image it

If you want to get more information on Speaking Part 2, write to:

email :

and ask to join our exclusive IELTS e-tips mailing list for free monthly advice

or publish a question on our facebook homepage:


  1. it is necessary to improve IELTS Speaking to success in IELTS Exam

  2. Nice post about IELTS speaking it is very important for this test

  3. Thanks for sharing this nice post.IELTS Speaking is also very important and students should follow the IELTS Speaking tips for better result in IELTS.

  4. Good post about ielts it is very useful for students

    IELTS Reading Tips



Most Reading

Get in touch with Paradigm

Get in touch with Paradigm

Contact Us

Paradigm Language Institute

25 Alma Link Building 2nd Floor , Patumwan, Bangkok 10330
Tel: (662) 255 8889
Mobile: (668)97651910, (668)46621515
Fax: (662) 655 2600