• Mai Duc Nguyen

Speaking Part 2 Revision – Describing a Person

In the second part of the IELTS Speaking exam, you may be asked to describe a person. The topic can be about describing a family member, a celebrity, a close friend or a teacher who has big influences on you. This article will analyze tips to overcome this type of question and provide you with a sample Part 2 answer.

1. Sample Speaking Part 2 topic involving the description of a person:

Describe an artist or entertainer who you admire.

You should say:

- Who the person is and what job he/she is doing

- How you first knew about the person

- What are special about this person

And explain why you admire him/her.

2. Tips for describing a person:

- Choose the person to describe wisely:

Describing celebrities such as Bill Gates or Steve Jobs may not be a good idea since the IELTS examiner has probably heard of them many times. Furthermore, describing a foreign singer may be difficult as you lack detailed information about the singer.

- During one minute of preparation, make notes including key words about the person:

You should base your notes on question-starting words such as WHO (his/her name), WHAT (his/her job), WHERE (his/her place of living or working), WHEN (times of his/her achievements), HOW (the means which made you know him/her), WHICH (which of his/her piece of work most impresses you).

- Tell specific and interesting stories about the person:

You should avoid talking about generic and boring stories. If the person you are talking about has written a book, tell the IELTS examiner something about the book. In addition, if the person you are talking about often go out with you, share a special occasion when you two spend time together.

- Use verbs in the past tense when necessary:

For example, when your favorite singer published his/her first album, you should use verbs in the past tense.

- Use strong verbs to describe the person’s achievements:

For example, instead of saying He/she came up with a plan to solve the problem of youth crimes in my city, you can say He/she developed/ proposed/ devised a plan to solve the problem of youth crimes in my city.

3. Sample Speaking Part 2 response:

Topic: Describe a successful businessman or businesswoman who you admire.

You should say:

- Who the person is

- In which industry he/she is working

- What company or project he/she has been leading

And explain why you admire him/her.

Response: I would like to tell you about a businesswoman who I really adore. She is Sheryl Sandberg, currently serving as the Chief Operating Officer (or COO) of Facebook.

Before joining Facebook, Mrs. Sandberg attended Harvard Business School and worked for Google as a leader of its global operations team. Under the leadership of Mrs. Sandberg, Google had transformed itself from an obscure start-up to a global profitable corporation with over 20,000 employees.

The important message which Mrs. Sandberg would like to pass onto young graduates is that when they search companies to work for, do not only look at their current financial performance but also future potentials. In fact, when she left Google to join Facebook, Facebook was also a small start-up. However, after nearly 10 years at this social media company, she has helped Facebook significantly grow and become the world’s leading business in its industry.

In addition to business success, Mrs. Sandberg is also well-known for her active role in the global fight against gender inequality. To be more specific, she has delivered multiple speeches to inspire women to break the glass ceiling and achieve more at the workplaces. Furthermore, she has also written a book named “Lean In”, calling for greater governmental intervention to improve career opportunities for women worldwide.

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

If you were to face the same topic as stated in section 2, who would you describe and why? Please share your thoughts with others by leaving a comment.

Watch this video produced by The Economist to see the plan of Munib al-Masri, the richest person of Palestine, to rebuild the country.

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