IELTS Tip: Speaking Task 2 – Add details to get the high band scores
Many students ask, “What do I have to do to get a band 6 score in the IELTS speaking test?” The main difference between a score of 4-5 and 6+ is how fluently you can communicate. In other words, the interviewer wants to hear you speak comfortably - not just correctly. Of course, you do not need to sound like a native speaker to get a band 6 score, but you will need to show that you can continue speaking without too many long pauses.
One essential way to demonstrate fluency in part 2 is to add details to your answer.
First, let’s review. In Part 2, you are given a card that asks you a question and provides some prompts (ideas) on the type of information you should include in your response. You are expected to speak for between 1 and 2 minutes. A typical card is shown below:
Describe a place you have enjoyed visiting recently.
You should say:
where this place is
what this place is like
what you did there
and explain why you liked visiting this place.
Now remember, fluency is a key factor in determining your score. A student scoring band 5 or higher should have no problem speaking for the full 2 minutes. If you rush through each point and only give short specific answers, you will finish your answer in around 1 minute or less! On the other hand, adding details will make your answer much more impressive and will fill the two minutes.
To add details, try this simple technique:
For each point on the question card, say 1) a fact, and 2) an opinion or personal comment.
This technique will make your answer longer and more complete. And the great thing is it also encourages you to naturally use a variety of vocabulary and sentence structures – both important things that the interviewer is listening for. Compare the following responses.
Response A: Last week, I went to Busan. It is in South Korea..um.. It is quite a big city. It is a fun city. So, ..ah..I went to the beach and did some shopping. I also did a bit of sightseeing. And I went to a very old palace. I liked visiting there because it was a lot of fun. I ate a lot of great food and had a good time with my friend.
Response B: I’m going to tell you about a place that I visited recently. Last week, I went to Busan. It is a city on the southern coast of South Korea. We can fly there directly from Sapporo, so it took only 2 hours to get there. Um…what’s it like? It is quite a big city,…maybe 2 or 3 million people. So, there’s plenty of fun things to do. I think it is famous for its hot springs, beaches and temples. I thought it was a lively city and the people were friendly, too. While I was there, I went to the beaches and did some shopping. The beaches were more beautiful than the ones here in Sapporo. And there are some great bars next to the beach, too. The shopping was pretty good too…maybe a bit cheaper than in Japan. I also did a bit of sightseeing. We went to a very old palace near the city, which I thought was really amazing. So, um yeah, basically, I enjoyed visiting there because I could spend a whole week having fun with my best friend. And I could experience another country for a short time.
Response B is much better because it includes many details and opinions to support the facts from the first Response A. The extra details have been underlined for you. There is also:
- a strong introduction sentence (I’m going to tell you about a place that I visited recently), and
- some sentences to move between points (what’s it like?; While I was there, …), and
- a clear concluding sentence (So, um yeah, basically…)
Hopefully, this example helps you understand what it takes to get a high band score. To help you understand further how details and comments can improve your answers, you may wish to click on the link below. This link gives you some great examples responses that were scored as band 7.