Table of Contents
- What is an IELTS cue card?
- Syllabus for IELTS speaking section
- Things to keep in mind
- Common IELTS cue card topics
- Sample IELTS cue card topic with answer
- Key takeaways
The IELTS speaking section is an important part of the test because it assesses the candidate’s speech, vocabulary, fluency, and grammar. The speaking test has three parts, and you are supposed to answer each of them using IELTS cue cards. The speaking test evaluates your oratory skills and not how well you can remember a topic. Topics in IELTS speaking cue cards may repeat, however, it is important to bear in mind that the same topics are not asked every time. The topics change after a few months.
Keeping all these things in mind, check the complete reference below, for IELTS cue cards, including sample topics with answers, important tips, syllabus, and more.
What is an IELTS cue card?
While appearing for the IELTS Speaking examination, you will get a cue card, also known as a task card, containing 3-4 questions and instructions on how to attempt the questions given on the IELTS cue card. Additionally, you will not be able to edit the questions; instead, you will have to speak on whatever topic is present on the cue card. However, you will get a minute to prepare for the answer. You will also get a pencil and a piece of paper for note-making and jotting down points, which you can revisit later to recall the points for the answer.
You must speak consistently for 2 minutes till the examiner requests you to stop. The examiner will then ask several questions about the provided topic. The exam takes around 2-3 minutes to complete, including the one minute preparation time.
Syllabus for IELTS speaking section
The main syllabus of the IELTS speaking section is divided into three parts- introduction and interview, individual talk, and long discussion. Let’s have a look at each one separately.
- Introduction– Here, you will be asked to introduce yourself to the interviewers. You can expect questions related to your family, hobbies, professional life, etc. The session lasts for about 5 minutes.
- Speaking on cue- You are required to pick up an IELTS cue card and prepare for the questions given on the card for a minute. Once the preparation time is over, you have to speak on the given topic for at least 2 minutes. Once your time is up, a series of follow-up questions will be asked to check your communications and vocabulary skills. This session is for 3-4 minutes.
- Discussion with the examiner- You should elaborate on the topic presented in the IELTS cue cards. This section covers more abstract topics, and you may have to answer questions like what, in your opinion, makes the topic given in the cue card important?
The task’s major goal is to see if you can justify your thoughts and elaborate on the topic. This session will last for about 4-5 minutes.
Things to keep in mind
In addition, you must remember the following points-
- The evaluation of candidates is on the basis of four parameters on a scale of 1-9. These parameters are pronunciation, vocabulary, grammatical range and accuracy, and fluency and coherence.
- Candidates should not memorize the answers. Spontaneous answers are encouraged.
- Try breaking down the topics to understand what the question is asking.
- Use your preparation time wisely. Make a list of keywords that you can add to your answers and talk about them.
- Divide the IELTS cue card topics into introduction, transition words, description, and viewpoint.
- Try not to use unfamiliar terminologies.
- Ensure that you do not repeat your words and phrases again and again.
- Do not take too many pauses.
Common IELTS cue card topics
- An experience from your childhood that made you happy
- A photograph that has a special meaning for you
- A person you know who has had a lasting impact on your life
- A person who you find interesting
- Your favorite teacher
- A gift you have given to someone
- A gift that you received and loved
- The part of the day that you like the most
- What is your favorite song?
- Who is your favorite artist?
- What is your favorite sport?
- Any sports that you want to try?
- Any traveling sight you have visited
- A country you would like to travel to
- A place that you feel is highly polluted
- Who are all there in your family?
- What is your family experience like?
- Any childhood incident you can’t forget
- Something useful that you had borrowed from someone
- An object that you love
- Your favorite meal
- Food that you eat at home/outside
- Your favorite book genre
- The book that you like the most
- A website you frequently go to
- Your favorite comedian
- Your favorite TV show
- Your favorite building
- Recent good news shared with you
- A childhood experience that you cannot forget
- Something that you imagined
- A situation where you got angry or furious
Sample IELTS cue card topic with answer
As discussed previously, IELTS cue cards will consist of the topics that you will be required to speak on. You will get 2 minutes to speak, based on which the assessment will happen on different parameters. Let’s now look at an example of a cue topic and how you should approach it.
Question- Describe something you purchased and loved.
Answer- You should begin by naming the thing that you purchased and loved. Then go on to build up on the details of the object. The details should be articulated in a way that it brings out the benefits of having the object. You must also explain why you thought of purchasing the object in the first place.
You can start by saying, “a few years ago, I purchased (object) …for just (value) … in (place)…The (object) turned out to be a good investment… it has a lifetime guarantee … it is not harmful to the environment as it is made up of eco-friendly materials (add more details)…that is why I genuinely loved this purchase”.
Questions like these deal with your experience and memories. You will be able to ace these kinds of questions if-
- You use the same tense as asked in the question.
- Paraphrase the question to understand it better.
- Avoid using words that add fluff to your answers, like actually, really, definitely, etc.
- Get straight away to the point. Don’t beat around the bush.
- Always end your answer with a concluding line.
Now that you have gone through the detailed guide on IELTS cue card topics, you must:
- Always remember that orally practicing different types of IELTS cue card topics can be helpful for your overall speaking test.
- Stand in front of the mirror and speak on random topics. Ask your friends or family members to hear you out for a few minutes.
- In your answer, always use the tense similar to your IELTS cue topic question.
Hope you now have a better understanding about the IELTS cue card, how to prepare for an IELTS cue card question, and the best tricks and tips to ace the questions. So, do not waste any more time, and start practicing these topics today!
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Q1. When is a cue card topic allotted?
Answer- Since you will get on-spot IELTS cue card topics, you only get 1 minute to prepare for the topic and present your answers.
Q2. What maximum score can I get in the Part 2 section?
Answer- You will be scored on a scale of 1 to 9, with 1 being the minimum score and 9 being the maximum.
Q3. What is the speaking time for the IELTS cue card section?
Answer- You will get 1 minute of preparation time, after which you have to speak for at least 2 minutes.