How to do IELTS speaking part 2

Our last article was about IELTS speaking part 1, so now we are going to look at how to do IELTS speaking part 2. Part 2 is known as the long turn and is testing slightly different things to part 1.
So let’s check out what is being tested and also how to prepare well before you begin your long turn.

What is being tested in part 2

All skills are tested in PART 2 (fluency and coherence, vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation). However PART 2 of the speaking test is specifically testing the areas of fluency and coherence.

Each part of the IELTS test is focussing on slightly different skills which is why it is divided into three parts, but all skills are being tested at all times.

PART 2 looks closely at your skill and ability in narrating and telling a story. The most important skills that are looked at when you are narrating a story are.

1) Fluency – Can you keep talking continuously and do you do so at a natural speed

2) Coherence – Are you able to speak in a way that can easily be followed because the story you tell is.

  • Complete
  • Logically arranged
  • All connected so as to form a whole

During the long turn the examiner is listening to hear that each idea or piece of information is linked by introductory expressions or phrases. This helps your story to flow more smoothly and it will give the story a sense of wholeness.
Your initial aim for speaking PART 2 is to make sure you speak continuously and avoid long pauses or stopping speaking during your story. Your score will decrease if you stop talking a lot or leave large pauses between sentences or words.

How part 2 is conducted

You will know that part 2 of the speaking test is beginning because the examiner will say the following.

“Now I’m going to give you a topic and I’d like you to talk about this topic for one to two minutes. Before you speak, you’ll have one minute to think about what you’re going to say and you can make some notes on this piece of paper if you wish. Do you understand?”
“Here’s your topic. I’d like you to describe…”

Preparation time

The examiner will provide a pencil and a piece of paper and you have 1 MINUTE to make notes about the topic you have been given.

The Long turn

After making some short notes the examiner will then let you know that it is time to begin your long turn. During the long turn you are expected to speak continuously for 1 – 2 minutes.

Things to note

• Even if you don’t like the topic you cannot ask the examiner to change it. You have to talk about the topic that they have given you.

• If you want to ask the examiner any questions this should be done during the 1 minute thinking time.

• After the 1 minute of thinking time has expired the examiner will say.

“Alright now remember, you have one to two minutes to talk about this topic and don’t worry if I stop you – I’ll tell you when the time’s up. Could you start speaking now (please)”.

• During the long turn you can keep the card with you and are able to look at it while you are speaking. Make sure you give the card back to the examiner when you are finished.

• While you are doing the long turn the examiner will remain silent and you should not ask them questions during this time.

• If you finish before 1 minute is up the examiner will usually stay silent until 1 minute has passed.

• The examiner may use hand gestures as an indication that you should speak for longer.

• After 2 minutes is up the examiner will say “Thank you”. When you hear this you can stop speaking immediately as there is no need to finish what you are saying.

• After the 2 minute long turn the examiner may ask 1–2 follow up questions that are related to the topic you spoke about during the long turn.

Using your 1 minute thinking time wisely – Reading and understanding the topic

1) Initially we recommend that you read the card completely. Then go back and note important words on the card.

2) Make sure you understand the topic fully because if you need to ask questions you should do this during your 1 minute thinking time.

Using your 1 minute thinking time wisely – Making notes

3) Use your 1 minute thinking time wisely – Make sure you have understood what you need to talk about. Jot down a few points to answer the prompts on the topic card.

4) MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT WRITE SENTENCES! (this takes too much time) Just write key words or short phrases that will help you remember the various parts of your small story. Then expand on the various points and offer more details about each.

5) Write on the piece of paper you are given NOT on the topic card.

Using your 1 minute thinking time wisely – Planning your talk

6) Ensure you answer all parts of the topic card – make sure you cover both the description (start) and the explanation (finish) during your talk.

7) Organise your talk by following the order on the card – When creating your notes we recommend you follow the order of the card. This will make it easier for you as your talk will follow a logical sequence and it is also easier for the examiner to follow.

8) Try to make your talk interesting to listen to – Talk about positive experiences as much as possible and try to let your memories of these enjoyable experiences come through when you are talking.

9) Use your notes – You have your notes and the cue card to refer to. Make sure you use them to your advantage during the long turn. Glance at each of the points you have made and expand on them offering more details.

10) Use examples from your own past – We suggest this because it is a lot easier to talk fluently about things that you have experienced than it is to construct (make up) stories during the test.

11) You can use linking words such as – and, also, then, however, although, to expand your answers and create longer sentences.

Doing well in part 2

12) Try not to pause for extended periods during your talk. Try to keep talking about anything that relates to the topic rather than leaving long silences.

13) RELAX as much as possible, the examiner wants you do well. Try to choose happy fun memories to talk about.

14) The examiner will keep track of time – They will stop you when two minutes is up.

15) If the examiner does stop you because two minutes has expired this is completely fine and you are not penalised for not finishing your story.


You do not have to cover all the points on the but we highly recommend that you do. We also advise you to follow the order of the card and address each point in the same order as it appears on the card.
The reason we suggest this is that it helps your talk to be more organised and it is easier for the examiner to follow.
When you address every point on the card including the description and the explanation there is no risk that you have missed anything so you are more likely to score well.

Generating ideas

Sometimes it can be difficult for students to generate enough ideas in 1 minute to allow them to talk continuously for two minutes.
Here is a very simple solution that will enable you to generate plenty of ideas and have lots of things to talk about.

Simply think of these WH words in relation to your PART 2 topic – When? Where? Why? Who? What? and How.

If your part 2 question is

Q: Describe your favourite holiday destination

You can ask questions such as

  • Why – Why do you like it so much
  • What – What do you do when you are there
  • When – When did you go there first
  • Where – Where is the holiday destination (Country / City / Region)
  • Who – Who did you go with
  • How – How do you get there

I hope that this article on How to do IELTS speaking part 2 has been informative. To watch a video lesson that includes a full model answer for IELTS speaking part 2, then click on the button below.

IELTS Speaking Lessons


To get lessons on all the different task types you could encounter during the IELTS test make sure you check out our online course.

IELTS Whiz online course


Damon Bailey
Damon Bailey

As one of the co-founders at IELTS Whiz I really love helping students to achieve their education goals and improve their opportunities for the future. I find it really rewarding to have a positive impact on the lives of students and enjoy assisting them on the path towards reaching their dreams.

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