How to Take Notes for the IELTS Long Turn Speaking Task

Instructor: Bill Sands
Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking section requires candidates to speak at length about a selected topic. Read on for a detailed look at how to best prepare for this challenging portion of the exam.

How to Take Notes for Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking Section

With only one minute, trying to take notes for the long-turn speaking task may seem like a challenge. However, if you use your time wisely, you can develop all the notes you need for your speech in this short period of time.

Work Quickly & Efficiently

Try to make your notes as efficient as possible; instead of wasting time writing down complete sentences, just jot down words to serve as prompts. A couple of words for each point on the task card should be sufficient.

Organize Your Thoughts

The goal of this part of the test is to measure your ability to speak continuously, without being helped or prompted by an examiner. Once the speaking period starts, you will not get a break. As such, your notes should be comprehensive and show a clear flow of one idea to the next. Since the overall organization of your thoughts is an essential part of your score on this part of the exam, be sure to focus on transitions between your various statements.

When organizing your notes, write ideas down vertically in the order that you wish to speak them. This will help keep you organized. Writing down words such as nouns, adjectives, adverbs will be most helpful since they can help you formulate the sentences in your speech.

In addition to vertical lists, there are a number of other methods that you can use to keep your speech focused and orderly. For example, mind maps and bullet points are useful techniques that you can also use.

Prioritize Your Thoughts

It's also important to make sure you have enough to say during the two minute time period. Write down as many ideas as possible, and then put a star or asterisk next to the essential ideas. If you cover all of these ideas and find you still have time left, you can use the less important thoughts to fill time and ensure that you don't lose points for an incomplete speech.

Employ Visuals

While you are given a pencil and paper for your notes, there are no rules on how you are meant to use them.

If you are a visual learner, consider using tables, charts, or diagrams to map out your ideas. Instead of making a simple list of major talking points, a unique visual design can help you keep your argument structured and accessible.

Study Resources For The Long Turn Task

Now that you have some ideas on how to take notes for the long turn speaking task, you'll want to make sure you're up for the challenge of speaking and the IELTS test as a whole. For further help, check out these useful resources from

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