• Mai Duc Nguyen

Speaking Part 2 Revision - Describing an Experience

(a) In the second part of the IELTS Speaking exam, you can be given a topic which requires you to describe an experience. Examples of such topics include:

- Describe a special memory in your childhood.

- Describe a trip that you took part in and particularly enjoyed.

- Describe a shopping experience which disappointed you.

- Describe a school event that you were part of.

- Describe an occasion when you spent time with your family.

(b) There are a number of skills which you need to acquire in order to successfully answer these topics.

1. Pay attention to tense:

Make sure you use verbs in the past tense when necessary.

2. Create an interesting story:

By creating an interesting story, you can better grab the attention of the IELTS examiner. Apparently the correct use of English grammar and vocabulary is still more important. Please keep in mind that you do not have to strictly follow the 4 supporting questions.

3. Use 1 minute of preparation wisely:

During your 1 minute of taking notes, you should only write down key words (verbs, names, years, etc.) and avoid producing long, complicated sentences. Another tip to generate ideas during this time is to think of question-starting (WH) words such as What, Where, When, Who, Which, Whom and How. Each WH word will help you unfold a new idea for your 2-minute talk.

(c) Sample response for the topic: Describe a shopping experience which disappointed you.

Please note: This is a sample response only. It is composed for the purpose of helping candidates better understand the IELTS Speaking Part 2. When spoken, it may not last for exactly 2 minutes.

You should say:

- When and where the shopping experience took place.

- What you intended to buy.

- What went wrong and did not meet your expectations.

And explain why this shopping experience disappointed you.

I would like to tell you about an online shopping experience which did not meet my expectations as a customer. It was an experience with the online retailer of books and office supplies Lizza.

I first knew about Lizza when my girlfriend bought two history books from the store and was really satisfied with the quality of what she received. Because of my passion for politics, a month ago I decided to purchase a book written by former Secretary of State of the US, Mrs. Hillary Clinton. The book, which is named "What Happened", was published in September 2017. When I finished my online payment, Lizza informed me that it would take 2 business days for them to deliver the book to my address.

However, after waiting for 5 business days, I had still not received what I ordered. As a result, I decided to give the online store a call. The customer service department explained that due to a problem in the delivery process, I had to wait for an extra 1 week to receive my book. What further depressed me was that the employee talking with me was neither friendly nor provided any information on the details of the delivery problem.

After nearly 2 weeks, the book was finally delivered to my address. However, its printing and paper quality did not meet my expectations. There were a number of blank pages and pages with writings on them. Therefore, I called the store again to give a complaint. This time, they explained that the product department may have accidentally labelled my order as "purchasing a second-hand book", while in fact I purchased a new, hard-cover version.

Although at the end the store apologized me and sent me a new book free of delivery charge, I was overall disappointed with the shopping experience and would certainly not suggest Lizza to my family and friends.

Please click here to see more sample IELTS Speaking questions and answers.

Is there any experience in your life which you would never forget? If yes, please share it with others by leaving a comment.

Watch this video produced by a Vox journalist to understand his experience in Norway and the reasons why this country is full of Tesla cars.

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