June 10, 2019

Best way to answer the Cue card question in IELTS?

In the IELTS speaking exam, you will talk to a trained examiner and the whole conversation would be divided into three main parts:

Part 1: Introduction & General discussion
Part 2: Cue card
Part 3: Details discussion (mostly based on cue card topic)

we will closely discuss the 2nd part of the speaking exam that is Cue card. After the part 1, the examiner would ask you to pick a cue card and talk about the topic. Following is a sample Cue Card question:

Describe an important letter that you received from your friend.

You should say:

who wrote it to you
what the letter was about
how you felt about the letter

And explain why it was important to you.


 Note that a topic is provided and 4 questions follow it. The first three questions are specific (mostly “wh” questions) questions and the last one expects you to give details or reasons.

There you have 1 minute time to look at the cue card and to prepare to talk about it. This one minute is crucial as you have to set up your mind during this time frame and then talk about it. the examiner would provide a pencil and paper to let you take some notes on the topic. You are strongly advised to take short notes and plan your answer.

Unless you think properly and take some notes in this 1 minute about your topic, you won’t be able to continue your speaking properly. You will need to talk for about 2-3 minutes.

Keep talking about the topic and cover all the questions provided with the topic. Your fluency, vocabulary, and speaking skills are observed and recorded. If you give too many pauses and mumble while talking, you are likely to get a poor band score. Keep in mind that, do not try to mimic any accent. Talk naturally and the tone you are comfortable with.

After you pick your cue card, look at the topic closely. If you are lucky, you will get a very familiar topic like: “Describe one of your family members”. You know your family members and all you need to do is pick one of them and then look at the 4 questions given below the topic. Think or write the answers to these questions, and start talking about the topic focusing on the questions.

On the contrary, if you are given a topic you are not very familiar with but can guess, take 20 seconds to arrange your answers. For example, if you are asked to talk about a movie that was made based on a real event, you will need to do a quick brainstorm to think about a movie that you know was made based on a real event. Look at the questions below and write down keywords (short answers) of these questions.

In extreme cases, you might encounter a topic that needs you to use your imagination. For instance, if you are asked to talk about a city you want to visit in near future, you would instantly think about a city that you would like to talk about. For this, do not pick a city you know nothing about. Rather pick a city that you know about and say that this is the city you have planned to visit in the future.


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