Although there might appear to be an almost infinite variety of different part two topics, all of them fall into one of four categories:

  • People
  • Places
  • Things
  • Experiences

Here’s a typical ‘thing’ cue card, it’s actually from the official IELTS website:

And here is a sample high band score response:

I would like to tell you about my watch. It’s not particularly valuable, or at least I don’t think it is, but it’s a heirloom handed down from my grandfather to my father and now me. I can remember really clearly when Dad gave it to me, it’s quite a few years ago now but it seems like yesterday. It was my 18th birthday and I was only a few weeks away from leaving school. It was actually an ordinary school day in the middle of the week and, as usual, Dad brought me a cup of tea in bed to wake me up. And then he handed me the watch. He didn’t make a big thing of it, that’s not really his style and he doesn’t go in for displays of emotion. He just put it in my hand saying, ‘my Dad gave me this on my 18th so I suppose you had better have it now.’ It meant far more to me than if he had wrapped it up and presented it to me in front of all the family. I’ve had the watch now for seven years and I use it everyday. It’s serviceable and keeps perfect time and because it’s quite plain and unpretentious it goes with pretty much any type of clothing or occasion from casual to formal. And so why is it important to me? Well, it’s not because it is a priceless antique because it most definitely isn’t. It only has sentimental value and that’s because my Dad wore it for many years and I also know that my grandad used to wear it – that was obviously long before I was born. And hopefully one day, if I get the chance, I would love the opportunity to hand it down to my son on his 18th. 

This response would score highly for lexical resource. I have used the word vintage as an alternative to the very ordinary word old and have also described the watch as an heirloom, meaning a object passed down through generations of the same family. 

Priceless, serviceable and unpretentious are words which have a much more precise meaning than more common alternative words a band six candidate might use such as expensive, useful and simple.

Note also the idiomatic phrase, to make a big thing of. It’s used often by native speakers but infrequently by all but the best users of English as a second language. Similarly sentimental value  is a useful collocation which displays close familiarity with the language. 

We have used a range of narrative tenses whilst noting the crucial fact that cue card has asked us about an object we own now. 

And finally we have a phrasal verb, to hand down, and a conditional in the last sentence to display a range of grammatical structures.