IELTS Speaking Band 8+ Cue Card Strategies

“Speak not to reveal your IQ but your Language abilities..”

What is The IELTS Speaking – Part 2

The IELTS Speaking Part 2, also called Topic Card or Cue Card tests your ability to speak about a given topic, develop ideas around it and the usage of relevant grammar and vocabulary.

The examiner will give you a ‘task card’ with written prompts.

The examiner will ask you to talk about the topics and include the points that you can cover in your talk. The topic is about a personal experience.

You will be given one minute to prepare your talk, and you will be given a pencil and paper to make notes (do not write on the task card)

You must talk for one to two minutes about the topic. You can use your notes to help you.

Then the examiner will ask you one or two more questions on the same topic.

Table of Contents

How will I be assessed?

  • FLUENCY(25%)-talking at length, talking without pauses or hesitations in unnatural places, using linking devices.
  • LEXICAL RESOURCE(25%)-using a wide range of vocabulary and paraphrasing, using collocations and less common vocabulary, avoiding errors.
  • GRAMMAR(25%)-using a range of sentence structures, using a range of tenses appropriately.
  • PRONUNCIATION(25%)-able to be understood throughout, able to use intonation, accurate word and sound pronunciation.

As you know, you get 1 minute of time for preparing your cue card in speaking test part So How do you utilize this time?

Here are a few tips before we look at the first strategy:

  • Understand the question very well, pay attention to details.
  • look for familiar ideas to be comfortable . Cue card topics are familiar topics about which you might had personal experience, heard from others, watched in movies or read in some books. Always look for ideas on the topic from your familiarity itself
  • Start imaging the situation or creating a picture in your mind to get better ideas.
  • You may write down some vocabulary that you can use while speaking.


Mind maps are a way to visually organize information. A single idea is placed in the middle, with ideas associated with that word around the edge.

A mind map can be useful for IELTS speaking in part two because you can place the main topic from the cue card in the middle and then brainstorm ideas around it.


Another way of scoring more points is to use the PPF (Past, Present, Future) strategy. This will help good speakers speak at length (Assessment Criteria – Fluency) and demonstrate knowledge of a range of more complex grammar structures (Assessment Criteria – Grammatical Range and Accuracy).

It is not essential that you talk about past, present and future in Speaking Part 2. This strategy is an aid to help develop your answer. It can help you demonstrate knowledge of a wider range of structures.

It isn’t natural to stick to a single tense while giving a descriptive answer. Try to include different tenses to give a well rounded answer.

Extra Tips

  • Maintain eye contact when you speak
  • Appear confident and passionate about the subject
  • Speak slowly and clearly
  • Don’t repeat ideas, be precise in Part 1
  • Use synonyms
  • Give a personal narrative in Part 2
  • Avoid personal answer in Part 3, only personal example
  • Avoid short answers-always give reason/explanation

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