IELTS Cue Card Preparation Strategy: Pattern, Topics & Test Samples

IELTS

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Rahul
Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Feb 5, 2024 13:42 IST

IELTS Cue Card: In this article, we will discuss Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking Test, commonly referred to as Speaking Cue Cards or IELTS Task Card. We will cover the exam pattern, some examples, and finally the preparation strategy. In addition to this, we will also cover IELTS Speaking Cue Card samples with answers.

speaking cue cards

The Speaking section of the IELTS examination is divided into three parts:

  • Introduction and Interview
  • Individual Long Turn
  • Discussion
If you wish to read about the Speaking Section in its entirety, we urge you to visit IELTS Speaking Tips 2024 .

IELTS Speaking Test Part-2 (IELTS Cue Card 2024) Pattern

Cue Card IELTS: Students, who are in the starting phase of their IELTS preparation, often ask, “What are speaking cue cards in IELTS speaking?” Let us find the answer to this question in detail. This part is named Individual Long Turn. The pattern is mentioned below:

  • The examiner will provide you with a Task Card, more commonly known as an IELTS Cue Card, along with a few sheets of paper and a pencil.
  • The IELTS Cue Card will include a prompt, 3 dot points, and an additional sentence.
  • The prompt is the topic on which you have to talk about. The 3 dot points are supposed to be covered in your talk. In addition, the additional sentence is a follow-up question related to that topic.
  • You will be given 1 minute to prepare your notes and then the examiner will ask you to talk for 1-2 minutes.
  • Overall, this part lasts for 3-4 minutes and is designed to test your skills and ability to speak on a particular topic. The examiner is trying to judge how coherently and clearly, you can organize your thoughts and ideas.
There are 6 main heads under which the topics usually fall. These have been provided in the chart below:

Main Heads

Topics for IELTS Speaking Cue Cards

Places

House, Country, Tourist Destination, City, Hotel, Building, etc.

People

Family, Famous Person, Your inspiration, etc.

Things

Food, Book, Film, Goals, Gift, etc.

Situations

Birthday, Wedding, When you helped someone, An important decision in your life, etc.

Work

Workplace, Project you would like to do

Study

Your field of study, Course you would like to pursue

IELTS Cue Card Topics

Cue Card IELTS: In this section of the article, we will cover some important IELTS Cue Card topics and their related questions:

IELTS Cue Card Topics

Cue Card Questions

House

  • Describe a house that you want to own
  • Describe the most comfortable area of your home
  • What changes would you like to make in your house?

Office

  • Describe a person you look up to in your office
  • Describe an office where you wish to work
  • Describe an organization where you wish to work and why

Study

  • Describe your academic background
  • Which academic field do you wish to pursue and why?
  • Which was your least favourite subject and why?

Country

  • Describe the most unique aspect of your home country
  • Describe the most unique traditional practice followed in your home country
  • Talk about the scenic beauty of your country

Tourist Destination

  • Describe a tourist destination you would like to visit
  • Which is the most beautiful place you have visited?
  • Which archaeological site do you wish to visit?

Food

  • Describe the best meal you had recently
  • Describe your favourite local cuisine
  • Describe your favourite home-made dish

Goals

  • Where do you see yourself five years down the line?
  • Describe the contribution of a person who has helped you achieve your goals
  • Which famous personality motivates you to achieve your goals and why?

Film

  • Which is the most interesting film you have watched?
  • Describe your visit to your local cinema
  • Describe your visit to your local theatre

Book

  • Describe the best book you have read
  • Which book has inspired you to achieve your goals?
  • Describe your favourite character from any book you like

Event

  • Describe your last birthday
  • Which is the most memorable birthday you had?
  • Describe a recent family event

Personality

  • Describe the influence of your parents on your life
  • Which personality inspires you the most and why?
  • Describe any celebrity you wish to emulate

School/College

  • Describe your college life
  • Describe your school life
  • Describe the contribution of your college in changing your personality

Media

  • Describe the most interesting news you came across recently
  • Describe the role of social media in our lives
  • Describe how social media has impacted your personality

Part 2 of the Speaking Test, i.e. the Cue Card IELTS, is followed by Part 3, which is linked, to Part 2. Even though this article will cater to Part 2 of the Speaking Test, we have mentioned a few details about Part 3 so that you have a fair idea of how things work.

IELTS Speaking Test Part-3 (Discussion) Pattern

In this part of the examination, you will have a discussion with the examiner on the topic that was covered in Part 2. This will involve a back-and-forth conversation with the examiner. For instance, if in Part 2 you were asked to describe your stay at a hotel, the discussion in Part 3 might involve something on hotel management. This is more of an abstract discussion where you are judged on your ability to express your opinions and your skill to explain a broader topic. Part 3 usually lasts for about 4-5 minutes.

Cue Card Topics with Answers (Cue Card 2024)

As mentioned above, there are 6 major heads under which the topics asked on the IELTS Cue Card fall. Let us look at some of the examples:

Example 1: ‘People’ question on the IELTS Cue Card

ielts cue card

Sample Answer:

Since childhood, I have been involved in sporting activities, particularly basketball. The athlete that I admire the most is Kobe Bryant. He has been an inspiration, not only for me but also for all those who believe that success can be based on hard work rather than luck.

Kobe is a famous and decorated basketball player who is famous for his extremely successful career at the Los Angeles Lakers. He has won many NBA championships and MVP awards. Besides being a famous basketball player, he is also a motivational speaker. His work ethic and discipline have inspired all those who wish to achieve something in their careers.

Since I have been following basketball for the past many years, I have seen NBA matches where Kobe has played. Besides the matches, he appears in many commercials and ad films. His inspirational videos and speeches are available on YouTube. Whenever I am in need of motivation, I always look at his videos to boost my motivation levels.

His achievements as a player, as a coach, and as a motivational speaker are unparalleled in the field of sports. He has won so many NBA championships and MVP awards because of his hard work, dedication and discipline. These qualities set him apart from others because he has never claimed that his success is due to his talent alone.

His willingness to put in the extra hours of work, his dedication and love towards his profession, and the extraordinary results that he has achieved because of these qualities have made me his great admirer. Whenever I watch him play or speak, I feel inspired and empowered. His qualities and attributes definitely make him a great leader and a source of inspiration for many.

Must Read:- Common Mistakes in IELTS Speaking and How to Fix Them!

Example 2: ‘Things’ question on the IELTS Cue Card

ielts cue card

Sample Answer:

I am going to talk about a meal that I had while I was travelling to New Delhi. I am diet-conscious so it becomes difficult for me to find the right kind of food while I am on the move. However, this meal was extremely healthy and delicious. It was a vegetable salad with grated cottage cheese on the top.

I had this meal while I was travelling to New Delhi for an important meeting. On the way, there was a small and cosy coffee shop where I had stopped for a while. The owner of the café was a very polite person who happened to be the cook. Though I was not expecting much to be honest, the meal was beyond my expectations.

I do not remember the name of the cook, who also happened to be the owner of the café, but I definitely remember his hospitality and the ambience of the café. I asked him about the secret of this recipe, to which he replied that the secret was in the freshness of the vegetables. All the vegetables were brought fresh from the market.

The freshness of the salad and the wonderful hospitality still make me remember that experience.

IELTS Cue Card – Preparation Tips

Now that you have a complete idea about the Cue Cards, first, let us understand what you should be doing on the day of the test:

  • You should focus on the main topic of the task card and use the bullet points as a source of help. Your content should be focused on the main topic, rather than the bullet points.
  • Vocabulary: Do not unnecessarily complicate your discussion. Use high-level words only if they are necessary. For e.g., if you want to use the word “flattery”, avoid using its synonyms like “blandish”. Do not use complicated words forcefully just to impress the examiner; he/she will spot it. However, if the words are necessary, go ahead!
  • Be coherent: Whenever you answer, make sure that you are answering the question and not going haywire. When you are preparing the notes based on the Cue Card, make sure that there is a clear structure. Do not make the examiner feel that you are not able to organize your thoughts.
  • Pronunciation: You will do better if you focus on clarity rather than a made-up accent. It is more important for the examiner to understand clearly, what you are speaking.
  • Do not stop speaking until the examiner instructs you to do so. With practice, you will get better at organizing your thoughts and presenting them in a time-bound manner.

Now, let us understand what you should not do:

  • Do not give memorized answers. The examiner will spot this immediately. Another way for the examiner to know that you have memorized is through Part 3 of the Speaking Test, which comes next.
  • Do not get obsessed with the bullet points, or else you might run out of ideas. These bullet points are only meant to help you answer the question.

As it has been mentioned earlier that Part 3 is linked to Part 2, here are some bonus tips for you as far as Part 3 (Discussion) is concerned:

  • Be a well-read person: Since this part will involve a discussion between you and the examiner, it might be a bit more abstract. If you are a well-read person, it will always help you speak more naturally on a topic.
  • You can give real examples to substantiate your answer. For example, if the discussion is about Space Technology, you can mention SpaceX or NASA.
  • Do not give very short or single-line answers. If you do so, you are proving to the examiner that you cannot carry out a detailed discussion on a topic, and that you have been providing only memorized answers so far.
  • Do not skip any questions. You must try to answer all the questions that pop up during the course of the discussion. IELTS is meant to judge your English and your ability to communicate, it is not a test of knowledge.

Let us look at some of the resources that you will need for preparing your Part-2 of the Speaking Test, or Cue Card.

  • https://www.ielts.org/: It is the official IELTS website. Irrespective of the section, that you want to prepare for, you must start with this website. It will give you in-depth knowledge of the test pattern. You can also go through the sample questions and read the official IELTS practice material.
  • The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS: This book must form the base of your preparation. The official website and the official guide should be read and revised thoroughly.
  • IELTS Speaking Strategies by Rachel Mitchell: This book provides strategies, explanations, structures, tips, and tricks. It will help you prepare for all the 3 Parts of the Speaking Test.
  • Collins Speaking for IELTS: The book is well structured and has a good balance of theory, examples, and tips.
  • Recorder: You can find a sufficient number of topics in the books mentioned above and on the internet. You should speak on these topics and record what you are speaking. You will get an understanding of how you speak and what areas need improvement. You can choose topics from newspapers and journals as well. Reading newspapers and journals will help you gain knowledge that might prove to be useful in Part 3 of the Speaking Test.
  • Cambly App: You can connect with native speakers via one-on-one video chat. This will help you improve your listening and speaking skills both as you will be accustomed to the language and accent.

Students need to take their IELTS Speaking Cue Cards preparation seriously. With dedicated efforts and 2-4 months of preparation, students can achieve a good score on the IELTS exam.

IELTS Cue Card FAQs

Q. What is the duration of the IELTS speaking section?

A. The overall duration of the IELTS speaking section is 11-14 minutes. Knowing the test format and practising frequently are necessary to prepare for the IELTS Speaking portion. Start by comprehending the three sections that make up the test's structure. Regularly practise speaking English to increase your confidence and fluency. Work on increasing your vocabulary and hone your exam-taking skills as well. Ask for input from native speakers or linguists to pinpoint areas that need work. During the exam, pay attention to honing your pronunciation and managing your time efficiently. Finally, on test day, maintain confidence and composure. You can improve your performance in the IELTS Speaking section by paying attention to these pointers.

Q. What is the duration of the IELTS Cue Card section?

A. The overall duration of the Speaking Cue Card section is about 3-4 minutes. It's critical to successfully practise for the IELTS Cue Card section. Learn how the cue card activity is structured before you participate. You will be assigned a topic, one minute to prepare, and two minutes to speak. Within the time allotted, practise brainstorming and organising your thoughts. Practise speaking on diverse themes while pacing yourself to improve your speaking abilities. Create a test environment simulation using cue cards or prompts. As you practise, concentrate on your vocabulary, coherence, and fluency. To pinpoint areas that need improvement, ask others for their opinions. You can increase your performance in the IELTS Cue Card part by regularly and efficiently practising.

Q. What are some of the IELTS Cue Card topics?

A. IELTS Cue Card topics fall under 6 main heads: places, people, things, situations, work, and study. Some of the IELTS Cue Card topics under these heads include: house, family, food, book, birthday, workplace, study area, etc.

Q. Do I need to use difficult IELTS vocabulary for the IELTS cue card section?

A. No, you don't have to use challenging IELTS vocabulary in the cue card part. While a wide vocabulary is helpful, it is more necessary to concentrate on conveying your ideas and thoughts clearly. It is advised to utilise terminology you are familiar with that is clear and succinct. Making blunders or becoming confused can result from using complicated jargon that you are unfamiliar with. It is preferable to utilise words that you are comfortable and capable of using correctly. However, it can improve your language score if you are able to use some higher-level terminology in a natural and suitable way. Showcasing your ability to speak clearly and eloquently is the most crucial component.

Q. What resources should I start with for IELTS Cue Card preparation?

A. For IELTS Cue Card preparation, you must start with the official IELTS website and the Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS. Here are some other tips:

  • IELTS preparation resources like as cue card topics and speaking practice exercises, are widely available on websites and mobile apps. These systems frequently offer feedback and scores to aid with performance evaluation.
  • Your vocabulary and fluency will improve if you regularly listen to English podcasts, watch English films or TV shows, and read English articles, both of which are crucial for the cue card phase.
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Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert

Rahul Singha is a seasoned editor with Shiksha Study Abroad, specializing in overseas education. With over 8 years of domain experience, he has made a significant impact in contributing to the study abroad industry ... Read Full Bio

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