IELTS Cue Cards
In the IELTS speaking test, you will have exactly 1 minute to prepare for a particular topic, and this topic is called the IELTS Cue card. It is also known as a task card or Candidate Task Card.
IELTS Cue Card Overview
IELTS Cue Card is the second task in the IELTS speaking section. There are various Cue Card topics for the IELTS speaking section.
This assessment aims to identify if the candidate is proficient enough to structure their response and speak continuously for 2-minutes. It also evaluates the usage of language and organizational skills.
Also, most candidates confuse the IELTS cue card with a q card. To clear this, it is not the alphabet 'Q' but the word 'Cue'.
On the IELTS cue card, a few questions and the instructions on how to answer these questions are mentioned.
You must speak for about 2 minutes on the topic you receive in the cue card. This topic is known as IELTS Cue Card.
You will have a minute to think about the answer and be offered a pencil and paper to make the notes. However, there is no option to change the topic.
Once you complete your talk, the examiner will ask you some questions related to the given topic. So, the total activity lasts 3-4 minutes - including a preparation time of 1 minute.
How are IELTS Cue Cards Marked?
- FC – Fluency and Coherence (It measures the ability of the candidate to speak fluently without any repetition or interruption)
- LR – Lexical resource (In this section, the vocabulary of the candidate is assessed)
- GR – Grammar (As the name suggests, it measures the grammatical paradigm in the speech)
- PR – Pronunciation (It measures the ability to pronounce the English language correctly, irrespective of one's mother tongue)
Each of these factors have given a cumulative value, and together these values form the overall score.
The score range varies between 0 – 9 pointers. The average of these four scores is calculated in the following way to calculate the band score:
For instance, below are the scores of a candidate:
- Fluency and Coherence: 6
- Lexical resource: 6.5
- Grammar: 7
- Pronunciation: 6
- The total comes out to be 25.5.
So, divide this by 4, which comes to 6.3 on average. It is the band score.
IELTS Speaking Cue Cards
To score well in the speaking section, it is best to be well-prepared with the common topics.
Below are the examples of common IELTS speaking cue card topics:
It involves talking about your family/family members.
In this, you need to talk about anything/anyone close to you. It could be your favourite person, a movie, or a toy.
It involves an event that occurred in the past or will happen shortly.
It involves any memorable occasion, such as a birthday, marriage, etc.
It includes speaking about any object, such as a chair, mirror, etc.
In this, you need to talk about feelings and emotions such as happiness, grief, etc.
It involves talking about any particular person, be it a friend/relative/neighbour.
It includes speaking about random places you have visited or would like to visit.
It includes talking about your work life/student life.
IELTS Speaking Cue Cards Topics with Answers
Well, It is impossible to prepare for all the cue card topics, but there is a set pattern for cue cards. If we can prepare these topics, there are high chances of scoring well in the exam.
So, here are the nine subjects out of which most of the cue card topics are framed:
Favourites: It includes talking about your favourite thing or place.
- Describe your favourite movie
- Describe your hobby
- Describe your favourite travel destination
- Describe your favourite sport
- Describe your favourite meal
Time-Based: It includes speaking about a particular event that occurred in the past/present/future.
- Describe a meal you like to make after a hectic day.
- Describe an exciting pre-workout.
- Describe your life before marriage.
- Describe an outdoor game you would like to play.
- Describe an area of art and craft you would like to explore.
Person: Here, you need to describe any person/guide/celebrity.
- A person you love
- Your manager
- Your favourite celebrity
- Your best friend
- The oldest friend of yours
Family: In this type, you have to talk about your family
- Describe Your Family
- Describe your best memorable family outing
- Describe the family member you love the most
- Describe your family history
Object: This involves speaking about any object.
Describe your family photograph.
Describe a dress you would like to wear to the office
Describe your go-to cafe.
Describe your most cherished gift
Describe a stationary item you love the most.
Place: In this section, you have to talk about places you have visited or would like to visit.
- A Place you remember from your childhood
- A country you want to visit
- A street that you like to visit
- Describe a polluted place
- A place near water you visited
- Your favourite childhood park
Work/Study: In this section, you have to talk about your workplace/work life/student life.
- The best project on which you have worked
- A holiday homework you still remember
- A subject you still found useful.
- Your dream job
- Something you like to do more in your work
- The happiest time of your life
- Your school Farwell experience
- A difficult decision you now cherish.
- Your most significant achievement
- An incident that made you laugh
Occasions: In this section, you must talk about any particular occasion/event.
- A family outing you attended.
- Your last birthday.
- Your favourite festival
Do IELTS cue cards repeat?
The IELTS cue cards are updated every 4-months, where 50% of topics are changed every April, September, and December. So, it means there are chances that some topics might repeat, but it is equally difficult for applicants to know and prepare for the 50% of possible cards that could appear in their test.
Also, part 2 of the speaking test assess your ability to speak fluently and naturally about any particular topic, so your ability to memorize pre-prepared answer is of no use here.
So, the best thing to do is thoroughly prepare for the sections because the topics may change, but the type will not.
It means there is only a set type of cue cards (such as a person, object, memory etc.) that repeat, and you can prepare all of them and ace your exam.
How can I solve my IELTS cue card?
- Focus on the main topic and make notes in bullet points as a source of help. When you speak, your content should revolve around the main topic and not the sub-points.
- Do not try to use fancy vocabulary unnecessarily.
- Speak fluently and be coherent. Make sure to make the examiner feel that you are organized with your thoughts.
- Keep the talk going on until the examiner asks you to stop.
- Do not try to memorize anything. Organize your thoughts on the spot and speak fluently.
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