IELTS Speaking, Cue Card: Strategies of taking notes

A number of my friends and students have requested me to share a post on taking notes and their significance in IELTS Speaking Part 2. So, here is a short article on Cue Card Strategies: Taking Notes. I hope this is useful for you. But first, have a look at this picture below.

IELTS Speaking, Cue Card: Strategies of taking notes

Think about the picture for a while. Then go through the article. We’ll come back to it eventually.

Those of you, who have appeared in the IELTS exam, know that in Speaking Module you are given around 1-2 minutes prior to your 2-minute talk on topic card/task card/ cue card segment. Generally, some thoughts and questions will occur in your mind like:

  • Is it important to take notes?
  • Why should I take notes? I’m good enough in English.
  • I become confused when I take notes. It’s better not to.
  • It might kill my valuable time! etc.

Well, in my opinion, like almost all the IELTS teachers/ trainers or people like me, who are passionate about IELTS, you MUST take notes before you start to talk about your IELTS cue card. It’s utterly important. There are a few reasons behind it.

Reason 1:

It drastically reduces your over-confidence. Many students, get a lower band than their original level of English due to their over-confidence in this language. Note-taking restricts it in many ways.

Reason 2:

It is human psychology to forget many important details when speaking on a singular topic for a fixed amount of time. You can’t recall everything in a short time. Here, writing some key points may help you to remember them.

Reason 3:

Your cue card answers must follow a logical order which, in this short time, can only be maintained by taking notes.

Reason 4:

It also helps you to avoid irrelevant issues, which might distract the examiner from the key points.

Reason 5:

Taking notes doesn’t kill your time as it is mandatory for the examiner to provide you time for this. Also, you don’t get a lower band for taking notes. Looking at your notes once in a while doesn’t affect your score in any way.

Reason 6:

It may help you to remember some uncommon vocabulary while you speak. Writing something before saying always helps!

All the above-mentioned points make Taking Notes a serious matter.  So, you should start practicing it before you do it for real in the exam.

Now comes the big deal! How to take your notes and arrange them in such a short time!

There are some strategies that you can follow. You can do it with your own ideas as well.

  1. Make a habit of doing this before you appear in your IELTS exam.
  2. Take a piece of paper and use a pencil for this. In the exam, you will be given a pencil, not a pen.
  3. Write in the cue card title in short in the middle and circle it. Look at the sample picture below.
  4. Look at the options or questions and write your answers briefly (one or two words, if possible) around the circle.
  5. Write some unknown and rarely used vocabulary which you may use in your talk.

That’s it. You are now ready to provide a very good answer to the cue card.

The picture above is a model of taking notes. You don’t need to highlight it with colours, but drawing something like it and taking a look when speaking can really make a difference.

Follow this link for the model answer to the cue card and the model of taking notes above.

A building/ structure with architectural interest 

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