Recent Part 2 IELTS questions about Places and suggested responses (July 2017)


One of the major themes in Part 2 is to describe a place, however, there are two types of answer to fit according to the topics. Here’s the first batch of places  that corresponds to this theme:

  1. Describe a time you went to a crowded place
  1. Describe a city you’ve been to
  1. Describe a time you had good experience in the countryside
  1. Describe a popular place where people like to go swimming
  1. Describe a shop that just opened in your hometown

Cue Card

Describe a time you went to a crowded place

You should say:

When you went there

What you did there

Whom you went with

And explain how you felt about it


Answer from 1-5:

As you know, Beijing is the capital city of China which is the center of attraction for tourists, job and business opportunities. Because of its popularity more and more people want to visit Beijing, this is mainly for the reason that Beijing has its beautiful scenery and cultural inheritance. Last month, we went to visit a place called Bird’s Nest which is a huge stadium in Beijing. During this trip, I was with my friends to attend a local band concert. I have learned that, it’s the largest stadium in China and it can accommodate 10 thousand people in total. In addition to that, the sports’ stadium is shaped like a dome with an open roof and with many entrances going inside. This entertainment facility is situated in the city center and it’s the venue for many major concerts, sports events, and a large gathering. However, when there aren’t any major events, it’s open to the public, you know, people can go there to run on the track or play any sports such as badminton or swimming. Perhaps, the primary reason why I visited this stadium is because I love going to concerts, as a matter of fact, I have been to many local stadiums but the Bird’s Nest is the most astonishing stadium I have visited. For the fact that, the place looks very fancy and famous bands internationally or locally hold there concert on this stadium. To sum up it up, I enjoyed going to Beijing learning about it’s history and attending this wonderful concert experience.


Answer Overview:

Beijing stadium topic is suitable for the PLACE theme. You can use the details provided above to describe your cue card, however, you must fit-in the right key points according to what’s given to you. For instance, you are given a topic to “Describe a popular place where people like to go swimming”, you can replace some information above to suit your subject. You can pretend that the stadium is located in Guangzhou (anyhow, the examiner don’t care about the truth, they care about your language) and there’s a huge swimming pool in this place, etc. Same goes with the other cue cards.

IELTS Speaking: Can I ask Examiner Questions?

Can I ask the examiner questions during the exam?

This page explains to your questions you should and shouldn’t ask examiners in each part of the IELTS speaking test. Take a moment to go through 🙂

Asking Questions in Speaking Part 1

Of course, you can ask the examiner to repeat the question in IELTS speaking part 1 (Could you repeat that, please?) but that’s about all you can ask. You can’t ask other questions. The examiner is limited to asking questions only in speaking part 1 and can’t help you or explain. The examiner can’t explain questions and can’t explain words.

Asking Questions in Speaking Part 2

You can’t ask any questions in part 2. And you definitely won’t be able to ask the examiner to change the topic. You must use the topic that has been given to you and try your best to talk about something related to your cue card. If you don’t understand a word on your cue card, the examiner can’t help you. You need to follow the topic on your card and follow the prompts you understand. You can add any other information you want to your talk to make it longer which relates to the topic. Remember to use plenty of LINKING PHRASES!!
The examiner will tell you when to start talking and when to stop. You don’t need to ask.

Asking Questions in Speaking Part 3

You can ask the examiner to explain words and to explain the question in IELTS speaking part 3.  This is useful because the examiner will rephrase the question using different words and make it easier to understand. You can also ask the examiner to repeat the question, the same as part 1.

Here is the list of questions you can ask in speaking part 3:

  • Could you explain that, please? (the examiner will rephrase the question)
  • What do you mean exactly? (the examiner will rephrase the question)
  • Could you explain what X means, please? (for a specific word)
  • What does X mean? (for a specific word)

Don’t ask the examiner the following questions:

  • Have you been there?
  • What do you think?
  • Where do you come from?
  • Do you agree with me?
  • Can you change the question?
  • Can you give me an example?
  • Can you give me a different topic?
  • What are your opinions?

Thinking Time

Sometimes you need to time to think about the question and think of your answer. One way to do that is to ask the examiner to repeat the question. It is a useful way to gain time to think. Alternatively, you can say “It’s an interesting question. I’ve never really thought about it before. I suppose” You could use that method for difficult questions in part 3.

Will I lose marks if I ask the examiner to repeat the question?

No, it won’t affect your score. Your score is calculated on fluency, vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. There is no score for understanding or comprehension. So, it is fine to ask the examiner to repeat one to two questions in part 1 or to explain a question in part 3.