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IELTS Cue Card Feedback 2021

IELTS Cue Card Feedback 2021

Hey!  Last week, Nick and I set our listeners the challenge to record themselves attempting three current cue card questions. Today, we will be going through a selection of those recordings to give feedback and advice that we think will be helpful for every test-taker. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy listening to two ex-examiner’s giving a demonstration of how the IELTS speaking band descriptors are applied.

If you want to take part in the next event like this, make sure you are following our Facebook page, where we post information about the podcast and much more each week. Below, you can find a summary of the episode, which includes all of the links to useful materials and the times of each part of the discussion (so you can go directly to the part you want to listen to) 🚀

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My IELTS Classroom Podcast Summary: IELTS Cue Card Feedback!

00:00 – 01:55 Introduction (Shelly and Nick are melting)  

05:18 – 09:53 IELTS Cue Card Basics: 

As today our focus is purely on Part 2, let’s review this part of the test in a bit more detail:

  • How long do you have to prepare before you start to speak? 1 minute.
  • Can you make notes? Yes, and we encourage this. Having short notes to help you during the two minutes can be a real help if you “run dry”.
  • Can you start early if you want to? Yes, but we don’t recommend that you do this unless you are a native speaker. Use this time to think of ideas and high-level vocabulary.
  • Do you have to talk about all of the bullets on the card? No, this is not necessary as there is no penalty for not covering a bullet. In my experience, students speak much more naturally when they just focus on the main topic of the cue card and speak freely.
  • How will you know when your two minutes are up? The examiner will interrupt you (even if you are in the middle of a sentence!).
  • Is it good if the examiner interrupts you? Yes! It means that you managed to keep speaking for 2 minutes, which is very good for your fluency and coherence score!
  • What might the examiner ask you after you stop speaking? You may be asked a short question. We call this the “follow-up” question. It is always a yes/no question and, if you spoke for 2 minutes, your answer to this should be very short – just one or two sentences. If you didn’t manage to speak for 2 minutes, try to extend your answer for longer if you can to show the examiner that you are able to speak fluently.

20:00 : IELTS Cue Card Feedback For the rest of the episode, Nick and I will give detailed feedback to all of the students who sent us recordings for these three cue cards:


If you enjoyed this episode, you can listen to Nick and I giving students similar feedback in our 2020 Cue Card Challenge here


In the episode, Nick and I give rough scores for each student, but no examiner can give a score based on only one part of the test as your overall score will be based on your performance in all three parts of the test. All we  do is offer a rough idea of the band level that these students can expect if they continue to perform at this level. Our IELTS cue card feedback will cover:

  1. Over-use of idioms
  2. Rapid speech
  3. Changing the focus of the cue card to match what you want to talk about
  4. Problems pronouncing single words
  5. Instances of high-level topic specific vocabulary
  6. Instances of high-level pronunciation
  7. How to never end your cue card

Thank you once again to all of the students who participated in today’s episode. Nick and I will be emailing everybody this week with full feedback and advice to everybody who took part. 


All of our live and video lessons are on our main website www.myieltsclassroom.com, which is where you can also sign up for a mock speaking test or book a personal speaking lesson with Nick or Shelly 🚀

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