Following is a Recent Exam Question asked in the IELTS Speaking Test for Task 2. The answer has been evaluated by one of our expert trainers.

The question as it appeared in the Test is as follows:

Now, I’m going to give you a topic and I’d like you to talk about it for 1-2 minutes. Before you talk you’ll have one minute to think about what you are going to say and you can make notes if you wish. Do you understand? Here’s some paper and a pencil to make notes, and here is your topic.

Talk about a website. You should say:

  • When did you hear about it?

  • What is it about?

  • What information do you get from the website?

Here is how you should spend the 1 Minute Preparation time given for this Task:

In the 1 minute that you have to think about the topic, you need to do the following:

  1. Carefully read the topic and the cues first and quickly underline the important words in each cue that would guide your speech. For example, for the above cue card, you could do the following:
    • Talk about a website.
    • When did you hear about it?
    • What is it about?
    • What information do you get from the website?
  2. Next, write 2-3 key words against the topic and each cue to build up that point. For example for the above cues:
    • Talk about a website – name (the first website name that comes to your mind or something you use very often)
    • When did you hear about it? – friends / marketing campaign / news / advertisement; approx. year / approx.. time period;
    • What is it about? – it’s past / beginning – examples; present / currently – examples; changes in website, if any;
    • What information do you get from the website? – products / services / information / social media – examples about offerings.
  3. After making sure you have put key words against each cue, write a pointer on an appropriate conclusion to your speech. For example, for the above topic, it could be:
    • Is the website popular? How & why do you say so? OR
    • Any recent news on the website OR
    • Any personal inputs on the website’s usage by yourself, family & friends.
    • About the future of such websites, etc.

Let’s now look at a model answer to the question above.

Before we look at how to approach the topic above, here are a few things you should know about the IELTS Speaking Test:

  1. In the IELTS Speaking Test, your knowledge of a certain topic is not tested. Instead, the examiners are more interested in how you say things.
  2. You would be evaluated on the following criteria, with each of them having equal weightage:
    1. Fluency & Coherence
    2. Lexical Resource (Vocabulary)
    3. Grammatical Range & Accuracy and
    4. Pronunciation
  3. Usually, the topics are on things you have done or experienced e.g. a book you have recently read or a piece of advice you have recently received or describe a rule or law you are for or against, etc.
  4. The Cue Card or Task Card is to guide you. And although you are not directly graded for speaking on the topic, your speech has to be related in some way to the topic on the Cue Card. For example, if you were given the Task to “Talk about a piece of art you like”, it does not necessarily have to be a famous painting or sculpture. It could just be a clay model done by your niece or nephew or may even be something you drew as a child that you really liked.

TRANSCRIPT:

A website that I would to talk about today is called “BigBasket.com”. BigBasket is an Indian online food and grocery store and I heard about BigBasket through a marketing campaign that it had held in our community nearly 5 years back.

BigBasket was one of the first of its kinds in India and it started operations more than 5 years back. At the time the website listed various branded and unbranded products under various categories – starting everyday grocery item; personal care products and fresh fruits & vegetables. But now it has expanded its offerings to include kitchenware, babycare and even sweets and savories from your favourite specialty store nearby. BigBasket offers home-delivery of their products at a time that is convenient to the customer. It also offers the convenience of selecting any mode of payment such as cash or coupons and of course credit and debit cards. Another interesting feature of the website is that it guarantees customer satisfaction, which essentially means that customers are allowed to return products and get a cashback for the same.

BigBasket offers detailed information about almost all their products including length, weight, price, of course, and details like composition, benefits & usage of some of their items.

So, as an online store, I think BigBasket has remained one of the leading & largest online food & grocery stores in India because they keeps adding & upgrading their offerings to attract new & existing customers. And thus despite competition from various players like Amazon, Daily Ninja, Ninja Kart, etc., they have managed to remain market leaders in this space.

SPEECH EVALUATION & ANSWER ANALYSIS

Now, let’s analyse the above answer and understand how it would score in the Test.
The speech would be analysed on the basis of the 4 criteria mentioned earlier, i.e.:

  1. Fluency & Coherence
  2. Lexical Resource (Vocabulary)
  3. Grammatical Range & Accuracy
  4. Pronunciation

Fluency & Coherence

The above speech would be marked a band 8 in Fluency & Coherence as:

  1. The candidate has spoken for a little more than 2 minutes at a constant speed, without noticeable hesitations or self-correction. The pauses that have been taken are either for emphasizing a point or to punctuate a complex sentence. For example, listen–: 01 – 07 sec – There is a pause after the first line to emphasize the following line that gives further information about the website mentioned in the first line. The pause breaks the monotone and makes the speech more listening-worthy.
  2. The candidate has also spoken about ideas that are relevant to the topic given & organized her speech with:
    • An introduction – listen to: 1 to 10 secs, where the student speaks about what BigBasket is about.
    • A body – listen to: 21 – 60 secs, where she elaborates what Bigbasket listed in the past and what it currently lists & lastly,
    • A conclusion – listen to: 1:39 – 2:06 secs, where she concludes by putting forth her view as to why BigBasket has remained a leading online grocery store.
  3. Also, note that all the three points given in the cue card have been covered by her in her speech:
    • When did you hear about it? – The introduction mentions it – listen to: 12 – 20 secs.
    • What is it about? – The body describes the website and its various offerings & special features in detail – listen to: 21- 1:25 secs.
    • What information do you get from the website? – Before concluding the speech, the student covers this point briefly to enumerate the information listed on the website being discussed – listen – 1:26 – 1:38 secs.

Lexical Resource (Vocabulary)

In the above speech:

  1. A variety of words have been used to present ideas. However, there is no unnecessary use of words. For example, in the introduction, the phrase “marketing campaign” has been used to tell about the event. However, note that no details were given. This makes the speech crisp & to the point but at the same time states the idea clearly.
  2. Words & phrases have been used skillfully throughout e.g. savories, expanded its offerings, home-delivery, cash back, etc.
  3. There are no mistakes in the usage of words.

For the reasons stated above, the response would score an 8 band in this criterion.

Grammatical Range & Accuracy

The criteria to evaluate Grammar are as follows:

  1. Use of a wide range of sentence structures and
  2. Majority of sentences should be grammatically error-free.

A speech that uses a wide range of sentence structures that are appropriate & with majority of them being error-free would attract an 8+ band. Inappropriate usage of sentences or a high frequency of grammatical errors would attract a lower band.
The above speech would score an 8 band in this criterion as:

  1. It uses a wide range of simple & complex sentences that are error-free. For example,
  2. In the introduction about the website, the speaker has used only simple sentences. Listen 0:01 to 0:11 secs.
  3. Listen – 0:30 – 0:45 secs. It is a long & complex sentence “…at the time the website listed …….. vegetables…”. The speaker has used appropriate pauses & intonation to say the sentence and bring out the idea effectively.
  4. There are no grammatical errors in the sentences used in the speech.

Pronunciation

The above speech would score an 8 band in this criterion as:

  1. It is spoken in clear English that can be understood throughout.
  2. Please note that although the speaker speaks in native English, her speech is clear and can be understood throughout.
  3. The student has used accurate words & intonation appropriately, wherever needed.
  4. The speaker has emphasized words correctly and has used intonations appropriately. For example: the speaker emphasizes “…one of the firsts of its kinds…”. Listen – 0.21 to 0:25 secs. Also, in the audio listen to – 1:14-1:25 secs, “….Another interesting feature ….. cashback for the same …” where the speaker has used intonation effectively to bring out an interesting point about the website.

BASED ON THE ABOVE ANALYSIS, THE SPEECH WOULD SCORE AN OVERALL ​8+ BAND IN TASK-2 (Cue Card question) of the SPEAKING TEST.

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