IELTS Speaking Part 2: describe a plant

IELTS Speaking Part 2: describe a plant

A student sent me this question from a recent test in Australia:

Describe a plant grown in your country. You should say
- what the plant is
- where it is grown
- why you like or dislike it
- and explain why it is important to your country.

If you haven’t prepared for this question you might find it difficult, so let’s prepare in advance. Do some research about plants in your country; my tip is to choose a plant that produces some kind of food (a crop).

IELTS Speaking Part 2: correct the mistakes

There are some good descriptions of plants in the comments below last week’s lesson. But here are some sentences that need correcting:

  1. It is the finest quality cotton all over the world as a result it is being exported in high prices.
  2. As the result of mass planting of rice, it has more affordable price in market which every resident can enjoy rice foods.
  3. I get used to drinking cafe in the early morning.
  4. Most charming thing about crop is that it changes its color from green to yellow.
  5. India is one of the country which grows wheat on large scale.
  6. These plants very small till they year or two.
  7. Since I am belong the farming family, I do like the cotton plants very much.
  8. It is so favourite to me that I can’t start my day without a cup of tea.
  9. Interesting enough, nutritionists examine Fat Choy and confirm that it has no nutrition value at all.

IELTS Speaking Part 2: plant, flower or tree

Here are two tasks that are similar to a recent exam question:

1) Describe a plant, flower or tree that is famous or important in your country.
You should say

- what type of plant, flower or tree it is
- where it grows or is usually seen
- how it is used in your country
- and why it is famous or important

2) Describe a plant, flower or tree that you like.
You should say

- what type of plant, flower or tree it is
- where it grows or is usually seen
- when you first saw it
- and why you like it

The two tasks are almost the same, so let’s choose the same plant, flower or tree for both. Which one would you choose to describe? You’ll see my choice next week.

IELTS Speaking Part 2: planning time

In part 2 of the speaking test you are given 1 minute to plan some ideas before you start speaking. Most people find it difficult to prepare good ideas in such a short time.

But what would happen if you had 5 minutes or even 10 minutes to plan your ideas? Would the extra planning time help you to prepare a much better answer? I think it should.

When practising at home, it’s useful to experiment with the amount of planning time that you give yourself. For example, I’m going to give myself 10 minutes to plan ideas for the describe a plant task. I’ll show you my plan in tomorrow’s lesson.

IELTS Speaking Part 2: 10-minute plan

Yesterday I suggested that you try giving yourself more time to plan your part 2 answers. I tried giving myself 10 minutes to prepare ideas for the task below.

Describe a plant, flower or tree that is famous or important in your country.
You should say

- what type of plant, flower or tree it is
- where it grows or is usually seen
- how it is used in your country
- and why it is famous or important

Here’s my 10-minute plan:

  • Oak tree, specifically the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest, a famous tree, tourist attraction, perhaps 1000 years old, huge trunk and branches.
  • Oaks grow all over the country, in parks etc., a common tree in England. Major Oak in Sherwood forest near Nottingham, unusual to see one so large, wide and thick.
  • Oak furniture, building beams, strong, reliable wood e.g. I have an oak table and wardrobe at home. Major Oak is a tourist attraction, people visit to marvel at it e.g. I went there on a school trip as a child.
  • Oaks symbolise history, strength, solidity, reliability, often used in building names e.g. Oak House. Major Oak was supposedly Robin Hood’s hideout, one of the biggest of this type of tree, old, historic, mythical status, legendary, Britain’s favourite tree, important to the local tourism industry.

Notice that I took ideas from this reading task. I’ll use the plan above when I give my full sample answer in next Friday’s lesson.

IELTS Speaking Part 2: ‘tree’ description

Here’s the question that we’ve been looking at recently:

Describe a plant, flower or tree that is famous or important in your country.
You should say

- what type of plant, flower or tree it is
- where it grows or is usually seen
- how it is used in your country
- and why it is famous or important

And here’s my answer, using the plan from this lesson:

  • I’m going to talk about oak trees, and I’ll also describe a specific example of a famous oak tree called the Major Oak. This is a huge tree in Sherwood Forest; it’s thought to be around 1000 years old, and I’d probably say that it’s the most impressive tree that I’ve ever seen.
  • Oaks are very common in England; they can be seen in fields and areas of woodland in the countryside, but they are also commonly found in parks and gardens in towns and cities. The Major Oak is in Sherwood Forest, which is near Nottingham. It stands out from the other oak trees because its trunk and branches are so wide and thick.
  • The wood from oak trees is used to make furniture; for example, I have an oak table, wardrobe and various other pieces of oak furniture at home. Oak is a strong and reliable wood that has traditionally been used in construction, for beams and other parts of the framework of houses and other buildings. The Major Oak obviously hasn’t been used in this way; it’s a tourist attraction that people visit and marvel at. For example, I went to see it on a school trip as a child.
  • The oak tree is important in England because it symbolises history, strength and reliability - probably because of its traditional role in construction. The Major Oak is famous for a completely different reason: it was supposedly Robin Hood’s hideout, so it has a kind of legendary or mythical status because of the stories that are associated with it. For this reason, and because of its age and unusual size, the Major Oak has become known as Britain’s favourite tree.

IELTS Speaking Part 2: three grammar points

Let’s look again at the description of a tree that I shared in last Friday’s lesson. I’ve already listed the good vocabulary from the description here, so let’s focus on grammar.

Here are three grammar points from my description:

  1. I used a variety of verb tenses
  • Future: I’m going to talk about / I’ll also describe
  • Present simple: This is / they are / I have / it symbolises
  • Past simple: I went, it was
  • Present perfect: that I’ve ever seen
  1. I also used some passives
  • Present: it’s thought to be, they can be seen, they are commonly found, wood is used, stories are associated with it
  • Present perfect: has traditionally been used, hasn’t been used, has become known
  1. I used pronouns to refer back to nouns already used
  • a tree called the Major Oak. This is…, it’s thought to be…
  • Oaks are very common… they can be seen…
  • Sherwood Forest, which is
  • a wood that has traditionally been used
  • The oak tree is important… because it symbolises… its traditional role
  • The Major Oak is famous… stories that are associated with it