The Topic Card of IELTS Speaking Test
The topic cards are printed in the same way. The basic topic is presented and there are some guidelines or prompts on the card.
Describe an interesting trip you have been on.
You should say:
Where / When you went
What you did there
Why it was interesting
Whether you would like to go on a similar trip again.
One of the most important things to remember is that the card is slightly misleading!
On the topic card, it says "You should say..." This is not actually true: the guidelines on the card are simply there to help you! If you want to talk about those aspects, then that is OK; however if you don't want to follow the guidelines, that is also OK.
The prompts on the card are not compulsory questions - you are not required to provide answers.
As long as you are describing some aspects of the main topic "an interesting trip you have been on", there is no problem.
For most of the topic cards it is a good idea to use the guidelines because it means you have to think less about content and can therefore concentrate more on language, but if there is a guideline prompt that you don't like or you think is a little difficult, e.g., "Whether you would like to go on a similar trip again", feel free to ignore it and just talk about some other aspect of your trip.
Although we have said that content is irrelevant to your score - you cannot produce two-minute content that is not related to the topic.
A fairly common problem in Part Two is that candidates talk about a topic different to the one on their card. Example:
Describe a sport that you like playing or watching.
Sometimes a candidate will say:
I don’t like sport so I will describe my favorite hobby which is playing computer games.
Clearly this is off-topic and Part Two speeches which are off-topic are marked down –basically you lose marks.
If you are given the topic “sports”, the examiner is expecting to hear language (especially vocabulary) related to that topic. If you avoid the topic, you will not produce language related to your topic and your score will be seriously affected.
Later in this section we will look at how to select your content in Part Two.