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IELTS Speaking Cue Cards: Sample Answers & Tips

Yocket Editorial Team

IELTS is a global English language exam that assesses a candidate’s listening, writing, reading, and speaking abilities in the English language. Students must pay close attention to all portions to achieve their desired high score. Although the Speaking module appears to be less challenging than others, many students still need assistance to excel in this section. This could be because of difficulties during face-to-face interviews or discussions or a lack of confidence to express themselves. 

In order to overcome such difficulties, students must dedicate enough time to practicing these sections. The IELTS Cue Card offers test takers a topic or prompt and gives them an appropriate amount of time to talk about it. This cue card is an integral part of the exam that checks for applicants' speaking abilities, fluency, and capacity for clear thought under pressure.

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What is an IELTS Speaking Cue Card?

When you take the IELTS test, you will be given a cue card with 3-4 questions and instructions on how to answer them. You will not be able to choose which topic to respond to, but you will have a minute to prepare your response. You'll also be handed a pencil and paper to jot down notes if you need help remembering the points that you mentally prepared in that one minute. You will be given one minute in the IELTS speaking exam to prepare to talk on the given topic. You must speak for at least two minutes without stuttering until the examiner asks you to stop. 

Pattern for the IELTS Speaking Test

The IELTS exam consists of two sections: Academic and General. The Academic Module is for students who want to study abroad in countries where English is the primary medium of communication. The General Module is for those who wish to immigrate to English-speaking nations for training or a job. The speaking test is identical for both types and determines if the candidate can communicate well in English with native English speakers. The exam lasts 11-14 minutes, and the syllabus is as follows:

Introduction and Interview:

Generally, the interviewer asks questions regarding general concepts such as family, schooling, passions, and employment at the start of the interview. This section lasts about 4 to 5 minutes.

Speak on a cue card:

You must first choose an IELTS Cue Card, and you will be given a minute to prepare based on the topic. You can use this one minute to jot down points and prepare a structure. You will then have to speak for 2 to 3 minutes. Make sure you speak without stuttering or stammering. Speak in a structured manner, and only talk about things that are relevant to the topic. After the allotted time, you will be asked follow-up questions about the same topic. This usually lasts 3 to 4 minutes. Follow-up questions that are asked can be:

  • What, in your perspective, makes the subject significant?
  • Is there anything you would do to change this?

The entire section of the test lasts about four to five minutes, including the questioning.

IELTS cue cards Assessment

The IELTS Speaking cue card will be assessed based on the following aspects:

Pronounce The Words Accurately:

The candidate's pronunciation, accent, conciseness, and unique phonemic sounds will be assessed.

Bibliographical Resource:

The candidate's language competency is evaluated based on the kind of vocabulary they use. Things like how many time is the same word being repeated, does the candidate have a wide vocabulary range and much more will be evaluated.

Grammatical Variety and Accuracy:

The structure and formation of sentences are assessed. The sentences should not sound forced and should be grammatically right. Be extra cautious to ensure you are not using any incomplete phrases or over complicated and confusing phrases while speaking. 

Being Fluent and Coherent:

The purpose of this exam is to determine whether or not the applicant can communicate fluently and clearly. Therefore there is extra emphasis on the candidate’s ability to speak for a significant duration by maintaining a natural pace and clarity.

As a result, applicants should take care that:

  • Answers are never memorized.
  • Understand the subject
  • Use the one minute given for preparation to write down the main points that you will be discussing.
  • Divide the topics for the article into introductions, phrases of transition, descriptions, and perspectives.
  • Use familiar terminology, try to avoid complicating the sentences by using difficult and uncommon words.

Suggested: IELTS Exam Dates 2023

How To Respond to a Cue Card in IELTS Exam?

  • Stay calm while responding.
  • Your body language conveys a lot, so pay attention to that as well.
  • Don't be in a rush; instead, strive to make the most of your time.
  • Try to avoid speaking in a repetitive tone.
  • Refrain from being concerned if you make errors.
  • Answer the five Ws and one H: What, Who, Where, When, Why and How

IELTS Cue Card Sample Questions

  • A part-time job you'd want to do overseas
  • A street market purchasing experience
  • Something intriguing you discovered on social networking
  • A city in which you want to reside in the future
  • Discuss your favorite singer.
  • An item of local news that piqued your interest
  • It would be best if you went to see a new public-private building.
  • Transferring to a new school or a new residence
  • One of the most challenging tasks you have undertaken
  • A book that you like to read
  • A café you'd want to go to
  • A recreational activity that you would like to do near or in the sea
  • You participated in an art and craft project at school.
  • An instance in which you did not make effective use of your time
  • You want to go somewhere calm.
  • A film that you enjoyed
  • An occasion when you aided a buddy
  • Describe an instance when you were running late for work.
  • A firm where you would want to work
  • A frequently visited website
  • When you were a kid, you had an idol you admired.
  • A risk that resulted in a favorable consequence
  • A favorite device of yours
  • A film that has inspired you
  • The most thrilling experience you've had
  • A helpful skill you've learned
  • A family member with whom you have a strong tie
  • A scientific topic that piques your attention
  • You went on a brief trip but ended up hating it.
  • Experience during a farm visit
  • Your favorite writer
  • A song or poetry about the country's history
  • The behavior your friend has and the reason you want to adopt it
  • Explain what you would do once you won an incredible amount of money.
  • An advertisement that stuck with you.
  • Puzzle-solving experience
  • A creative individual whose work you admire
  • A close friend who has played an essential role in your life
  • Explain why you appreciate a confident business person.
  • A toxic plant found in your home or country
  • A desirable electrical gadget
  • Describe a time when you were terrified.
  • An desire that you have nurtured for a long time
  • Describe a dream that you want to come true.
  • An instance in which you were duped
  • You made a crucial choice.
  • Your preferred politician
  • An AI-powered application
  • A pandemic that you saw
  • A period when you had to reconsider and modify your mind


In conclusion, the IELTS Cue Card plays a pivotal role in evaluating the speaking abilities of candidates in the IELTS Speaking section. Through the topic or prompt, they assess the fluency and communication skills of the candidate.They evaluate things like fluency, coherence, and confidence in delivering well-structured and cohesive answers.

Test takers should definitely not take this section lightly; spend enough time practising this section by working on things like language proficiency, critical thinking skills, and the ability to communicate quickly under pressure. By regularly practicing with a wide range of cue card topics and sample topics, candidates can develop their vocabulary, sharpen their speaking skills and improve their fluency.

For more guidance and assistance to ease your study abroad journey, our counselors at Yocket are always at your service.

Frequently Asked Questions About IELTS Cue Cards

Can I utilize difficult vocabulary for the IELTS cue card section?

Can I present my personal opinions during the Cue Card response?

Will the IELTS pattern be different in 2023?

Can I ask for a new cue card if I don't like the topic?

How are cue card topics selected?

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