How Can I Improve My Speaking Part 2

How Can I Improve My Speaking Part 2

by Mark Feeley



Hi everyone, and welcome to the instructor blog! I hope your studies at AGOS are going well.

I’m Mark, and in my previous blog, I discussed the importance of using a wider range of tenses, and how this can help you to achieve higher scores in the IELTS speaking tests. In this blog, I provided an example of a good Speaking Part 2 answer. The reason why this answer was better is that the speaker has added more background details to the talk, which has given them an opportunity to use a wider range of grammar (marked in bold in the example). This includes:


Relative Clauses

–‘which is my smartphone’.


Present Perfect

–‘listen to the latest tunes I’ve downloaded’.


Past Perfect

――’I’d wanted to buy…’.

–‘I’d sat down…’.


Past Perfect Continuous

–‘I’d been standing…’.


Past Modal Verbs



Conditional Tenses

–If I didn’t have a smartphone, I wouldn’t know what I’d do to pass the time.’


When you are taking the IELTS speaking test, therefore, try to use a wider range of tenses. A lot of students however, ask me how they can improve their speaking. In this blog, I will give you some ideas of activities that you can do outside of the classroom to help you improve the range and accuracy of the tenses you use when you are speaking:



To help improve your ability to use different tenses, practice writing sentences using verb tenses such as the Past Continuous, Past Perfect and Conditionals. This will help you to become more confident when you use these tenses.

In addition, try to write a regular diary about your daily life. When you are writing your diary, try to use a variety of tenses.


–Recording your speaking

In addition, try recording your speaking when you are answering questions, and try to use some of the verb tenses. After you have finished, listen to your speaking and make a note of the tenses that you have used. Then, record yourself speaking again and try to improve.

When you listen to the recording of your speaking, you can also write down exactly what you said. This will give you extra listening practice, and provide an opportunity for you to examine more closely the accuracy of the grammar that you have used. In particular Develop a bank of answers so you can detect your common errors such as `missing articles, prepositions’ or the` s’on plural nouns’.


–Ask a classmate or friend to help you

You can also ask a classmate or a friend to listen to the recordings, as they may be able to notice mistakes that you can’t.

Alternatively, try to describe a picture to your friend and see if they recreate it. Tell a story to your classmate and see how many details they can remember!


–Don’t be afraid to take risks

One final piece of advice is to come out of your comfort zone, and don’t be afraid to take risks. Even if you do make mistakes, simply trying to use a wider range of grammar can help you to achieve a higher score.


I hope you find this useful. Good luck with your studies at AGOS!

TOEFL Essentialsテスト(ETSの新しい英語能力評価テスト)が始まりました

掲題について、TOEFLテスト日本事務局のETS Japan、TOEFL事業部から下記のご連絡を頂きました:

米国の非営利教育団体であるETS(本社:米国ニュージャージー州プリンストン)は、2021年8月21日に新しい英語能力評価テストであるTOEFL Essentialsテストの実施を開始いたしました。

ETS Japanでは、日本国内の英語学習者の皆様を対象にした日本語のWebサイトを公開しております。

TOEFL Essentialsテスト受験者向け日本語Webサイト トップページ


既に公開されている英語のTest Takersサイトに加え母語での情報収集により、テスト詳細の理解促進にお役立ていただければ幸いです。

TOEFL Essentialsテスト 受験者向け日本語Webサイト公開のリリース


A Wider Range of Grammar in IELTS

Hi everyone, and welcome to the instructor blog! I hope your studies at AGOS are going well.


I’m Mark, and today, I’m going to be talking about the importance of using a wider range of grammar, and how this can help you to improve your score in the IELTS speaking test. A lot of test takers in Japan struggle to use a wide range of grammar in the IELTS speaking interview, especially tenses which can be harder to use, such as the Past Perfect, Past Continuous, or Conditional sentences using ‘If’. However, using these structures can help you to achieve higher scores in this test.  Take the following example.


Here is part of a typical IELTS Speaking Part 2 question:


‘Describe an electronic device you use every day’.


A typical answer might begin as follows:


‘I’m going to talk about a useful electronic device I use. This is my smartphone. Actually, I bought a new smartphone last year and I use it every day. I bought my new smartphone because my previous smartphone was old and I accidently sat on my phone and cracked the screen, so I needed to buy a replacement. I take the train to work every day, so I use my smartphone to check the news, listen to music and send text messages to my friends, and …. er’.


The problem with this answer is that the speaker only uses a limited range of grammar, especially tenses. In this part of the answer, apart from ‘going to’, the speaker only uses the Present Simple and Past Simple tenses.

A much better answer to this type of question might be something like:

‘I’m going to talk about a useful electronic device I use, which is my brand-new smartphone that I bought last year. Actually, I’d wanted to buy a new one for a long time, but I was always working overtime and could never find time to go to the shop and buy a new one because it always takes ages. However, last year, while I was commuting to work on the train, I accidentally sat on my phone and cracked the screen. You see, I’d been standing for a long time, and because I was tired, I slipped my phone into my back trouser pocket and forgot about it until after I’d sat down. It’s very important to me so I was crushed. 

I take the train to work every day, so I use my phone to catch up on the news, listen to the latest tunes I’ve downloaded and send text messages to my friends. If I didn’t have my smartphone, I wouldn’t know what I’d do to pass the time.  Anyway I was very happy to get a new one.’


This is a much better answer to this question, and in my next blog, I will analyze why.

スピーキング攻略 (TOEFL iBT®/IELTS):徹底的に準備をしよう! — 柳澤洋美

Speaking Sectionでは、聞かれたことに自由に答えられて、相手に納得してもらうこと…それが理想です。大した準備もせずにTOEFL iBT®で20点、あるいはIELTSで6.5以上を取れるような帰国生の方などは別として、純ジャパにとって、自由に意見を言って高得点を狙えるまでには、かなりの道のりがあります。






○ピカッと光る単語を2,3個を書き入れる。例えば、高齢化社会についての問題で、barrier-free(バリアフリーの)、 feel isolated from society(社会から孤独していると感じる)、average lifespan(平均寿命)などを入れて、採点官に語彙力のアピールをします。


※河合出版:『かなり詳しく学べるTOEFL iBT®テスト スピーキング・ライティング 演習編』より

IELTS Listeningの語数制限 ― by 土橋

IELTS Listeningの空欄補充問題には、解答に対する語数制限が設けられています。例えば問題文に以下のような指示があった場合、解答として何単語まで書いてよいか、分かりますか?

Complete the notes below.
Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS for each answer.


IELTS初学者の中には、この“NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS”という表現に、一瞬戸惑われる方もいらっしゃるかもしれません。ちなみに、英和辞典で意味を調べると、“no more than ~”は「(数量が)~しかない、たった、わずか」といった定義が出てきます。


例えば、ある問題の正解が“leather boots”(革のブーツ)だったとしましょう。これを“boots made of leather”と書くと不正解です。どちらの表現も意味するものは同じですが、後者は語数制限違反となります。


A new type of TOEFL Task 2 campus conversation (Part 2): How to answer it

In a previous post, I introduced a new type of Task 2 campus conversation in which the student agreed with the basic idea of the plan to close down the computer lab because students had their own laptops, but she didn’t like the idea of adding more books to the library. If you haven’t seen the first post, please go back and look at this new type of Task 2.

How should we organize our answer? It could look something like this:

The university is planning to get rid of the computer lab in the multimedia department because they argue that most students have their own laptops, and it will give them more space to expand the book section.

The woman mostly agreed with this plan. First of all, she said that most students in the multimedia department had their own laptops because they were quite inexpensive and everyone needed them for homework. As a result, the computer lab was hardly ever used these days.

However, she didn’t think it was a good idea to expand the number of books as published books in the multimedia field are typically soon out-of-date.  She suggested that the space would be better utilized as a meeting area for groups working on projects.

So, it’s not widely different from what we are used to. We can add ‘mostly’ to ‘agreed’ and use a contrasting linking word to introduce the second point, such as ‘However’.

In conclusion, you are still more likely to see the old pattern, but please be aware that this new pattern above is possible.