I am often asked how best to use the minute you are given to consider your response to part two of the speaking task. I will consider a number of tactics in later posts but for now I would suggest that you should read the question carefully. This might seem like obvious advice but I am frequently surprised during practice sessions with my students how often they fail to spot a crucial piece of information.  I suppose it’s easily done if you are nervous.

In particular, a common problem is mistaking the verb tense in the first sentence on the card. Consider the following three:

Describe a seaside place you like to visit

Describe a seaside place you liked to visit

Describe a seaside place you would like to visit

Part two topics can talk about present, past or hypothetical future situations. It’s absolutely crucial that speak about your topic in the correct tense. So in that one minute of thinking time spend the first couple of seconds establishing what that tense is.