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IELTS Speaking Section - Part 2: Long Turn Speaking

Instructor: Bill Sands
Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking section is a challenging test of a student's ability to form and express cohesive thoughts and arguments. Read on for more information about the structure and scoring for this part of the test.

IELTS Speaking - Long Turn Section

The Speaking component of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is divided into three categories, and candidates must complete these sections in chronological order. Part 2 is known as the 'Long Turn' section.

Format

Whereas Part 1 (Introduction and Interview) is structured like an interview, the Long Turn portion is much more like a speech.

The examiner will hand the candidate a card, upon which is written a selected topic. Along with the topic, the card also contains information on major talking points that should be mentioned and instructs the candidate to discuss a particular component of the topic.

After a brief preparation period, the candidate speaks at length, articulating ideas and explaining opinions until time runs out and the examiner ends the session.

Upon completion of the candidate's discourse, the examiner will then ask a couple of follow-up questions related to the original topic.

Length

Candidates will receive one minute to organize their thoughts and develop their arguments prior to speaking. They will then speak for up to two minutes. In total, Part 2 should take 3-4 minutes to complete.

Task Goals

This part of the IELTS Speaking section is intended to measure a candidate's ability to speak continuously and without prompting. Candidates will be graded on their ability to cohesively piece ideas together to form opinions and arguments.

Scoring

Like the rest of the IELTS, the Speaking section is scored using a band system that runs from 0 (incomplete/did not finish) to 9 (complete mastery of the language, essentially fluent).

Candidates do not receive an individual score for each of the three parts of the Speaking section. Instead, scoring is based on four categories, and examiners monitor each category throughout the duration of the section.

The four scoring criteria for the Speaking section are:

  • Coherence & Fluency
  • Lexical Resource
  • Pronunciation
  • Grammatical Accuracy & Range

Students receive a score of 0-9 on each of these four areas, and the final band score is the average of these numbers. If a student were to receive a 4, 6, 5, and 7 on each of the respective criteria, the sum of those numbers would be 22. Each score is weighted evenly, so this number would then be divided by four, and the result would be the student's score for the Speaking section: 5.5. The band scale accounts for half-scores, but anything ending in .25 or .75 is rounded up to the next band (a score of 5.25 becomes 5.5, and 5.75 becomes 6, and so on).

This same method is used to determine a student's final score for the exam as well. The bands for the Writing, Speaking, Reading, and Listening sections are added together and then divided to produce the grade.

Preparing for The IELTS Academic

The IELTS is not a content-focused test. There are no dates to memorize or equations to remember. Since the exam assesses a candidate's overall mastery of the English language, the list of possible topics for Part 2 is virtually endless.

Rather than trying to guess the topics that will be covered on the test, students should instead spend their time brushing up on essential skills that will be helpful no matter what they need to talk about. This IELTS Practice & Study Guide covers each of the four sections found on the test and is an excellent way to review all the major components of the exam. This Grammar Resources Course provides an entry-level review of important concepts related to grammar, which is especially helpful for the Long Turn portion.

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