Written Nov. 5, 2008

How To Speak in Part 2

Starting from this page, you will be able to read several different suggestions to help you speak better in Part 2 and avoid some mistakes. Click on the blue links to read more details.

  1. How Part 2 is Conducted

Summary: The examiners all give the same instructions to all candidates. If you are still talking at the two minute point, the examiner will say, "Thank you" and you must stop.

  1. What Skills is Part 2 Testing?

Summary: All the skills (pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, fluency and coherence) are tested. But Part 2 especially tests your fluency and coherence skills.

  1. Is Part 2 like a Speech?

Summary: Part 2 is definitely not like a speech in a Speech Contest. It is like giving a short story in any natural conversation situation. So don't memorize an answer, word-for-word. If the examiner realizes your answer is memorized, you will lose points!

  1. Understanding the Instructions on the Card

Summary: a) Make sure your answer includes any key adjective or adverb that is in the first line. b) The words, "You should say" really mean, "You should include these points but also include other suitable points".

  1. How to Best Use Your 1 Minute of Thinking Time

Summary: This is brainstorming time. 

  1. Mentally note the verb tense for each point on the card. 
  2. Check your first idea to see if it really is the best idea. 
  3. Divide the paper into four parts and write a key word or two to address each of the four points. Then write a few key words (at least one) to represent extra details. 
  4. Don't write full sentences. Spend most of the time imagining as many ideas (details) as possible. 
  1. How to Begin Talking

Summary: A formal-sounding introduction is unnecessary. Instead, 'jump straight into the story'. A particularly strong first sentence includes a relative pronoun (such as 'which' or 'who') and a summary of your answer to the last line of the card.

  1. How to Finish Talking

Summary: If you have finished but the examiner does not say, "Thank you" immediately, tell the examiner you have finished. Two other possible ways to more clearly finish are, a) by repeating the topic or, b) by repeating the main point, especially your main feeling in your story.

  1. How to Answer the One or Two Follow-up Questions

Summary: a) Not every candidate as asked a follow-up question. b) Most follow-up questions are 'Yes/No' questions. c) Give a short answer but not just a simple "Yes" or "No".

  1. Grammar in Part 2

SummaryThere are six main grammar points that are especially important in Part 2: 

  1. Verb tense or verb form
  1. The first, complex sentence
  1. Being consistent when using, "he", "him", "his", "she" and, "her".
  1. Reported Speech  (间接引语)
  1. Perfect Modals (情态动词完成式)
  1. Looking for opportunities to show conditional sentences (条件句)
  1. Do I Have to Tell the Truth?

Summary: You don't have to tell the truth. Examiners know that sometimes candidates don't have a real example from their own lives to answer the card. But true stories are often spoken more convincingly, are easier to speak and result in a story that has a more unified (= coherent) feeling.

  1. Try to Make Your Story Interesting!

Summary: Part 2, like all parts of the test, is a situation of communicating naturally with another human being, not just 'giving a performance'. As well as that, the more interesting the story, the less the examiner will notice your small errors. A story is interesting when the listener receives new information about your country, China, and new information about you, which includes your feelings and opinions.