In part two of your IELTS Speaking test, you might be asked to talk about your favorite song. Your cue card will probably say: ‘Describe your favorite song.’ And it will give you some ideas on what to talk about.
Let’s look at how to answer this question really well for a band-seven score. Here, you’ll also see a good example answer to this question (go straight to the answer here).
Song vs Piece of Music
Remember, there’s a difference between ‘song’ and ‘piece of music.’
If you’re asked to talk about a song, then you must describe a piece of music with lyrics (words, and a singer).
But if you’re asked to talk about a piece of music, then you can describe any music, including purely instrumental music (with instruments only) such as classical music.
(See how to answer the ‘piece of music’ question here).
What You Can Say About a Song
You need to be prepared to speak for two full minutes in part two of the test. For this ‘song’ question, you could talk about:
- What your favorite song is (or any song that you like)
- What genre (kind) of music that song is
- Why you like the tune
- Why you like the lyrics
- How it makes you feel
- Why it’s so popular in your country (or group of friends)
- When you listen to it
- When you like to sing it
- How long you’ve liked this song for
- When you first heard it (a good opportunity for a short story here)
- What the song reminds you of (perhaps happy memories)
- Why you like the band or singer
- What the songwriter is trying to express
- Anything else you can think of
Try to Tell a Story
In part two, it’s a good idea to prepare lots of short stories.
Stories really help you keep speaking easily for two minutes. You can also show off your past tenses when you tell a story.
On top of this, when you’ve prepared one story, you can often use it for a few different questions.
For this ‘song’ question, you could prepare a story about:
- A time of your life when you listened to this song a lot
- A time when you saw the band or singer live in concert
- When you first heard the song (if you can remember)
- How this song helped you in some way
- When you were listening to this song recently
- Any other memories connected to this song
Use Word Groups
To achieve a strong band-seven score in part two, you need to use some interesting vocabulary. This means words and phrases that are not very common.
One technique to help you with this is to memorize several word groups.
A word group is a collection of interesting words, phrases, and idioms that describe one characteristic of something.
For example, you might prepare a word group to describe a ‘useful thing.’ This word group might include, ‘helpful, handy, practical, versatile, multi-functional, a time-saving device, worth its weight on gold…’ and a few more interesting words and phrases.
You memorize this word group, and then you can use it in many different part-two questions. For example, this ‘useful thing’ word group could be used to answer any of these questions:
- Describe something very useful that you own
- Describe a valuable thing you own
- Describe something precious to you
- Describe something you bought recently
- Describe something you’ve lost
- Describe something you owned as a child
- And many more questions about a thing
You can learn more about word groups here.
For our question about music, we’ll use the ‘uplifting thing’ word group in our example answer (see below).
Apps to Help You Memorize Faster
There are some wonderful apps to help you memorize word groups and improve your vocabulary faster for IELTS.
The best flashcard app is probably Anki App, which uses spaced repetition to ensure you properly memorize your new vocabulary.
Now, let’s take a look at a good answer to this ‘song’ question…
Favorite Song Cue Card
Describe your favorite song.
You should say:
- What song it is
- Who sings this song
- What kind of music it is
And say why it’s your favorite song.
I’m going to talk about a song called ‘We Are the Champions,’ which is from a very famous British rock band named Queen. I love ‘We Are the Champions’ because it’s such an uplifting, joyful, rousing song that never fails to cheer me up whenever I’m feeling a bit blue.
To my mind, it’s really a song about fighting and pushing forward and never giving up until you win, even when life gets hard. It’s really encouraging and exhilarating. I think this song lifts the spirits of anyone who hears it. In particular, the chorus is so powerful and glorious. And it’s so much fun to sing along to. The lyrics are quite simple but beautiful and very feel-good. They’re really easy to understand. I think that’s why this song is so popular all around the world. Everyone knows and feels inspired by the lyrics of ‘We Are the Champions’, and everyone can sing along with it.
I remember, about five years ago I was traveling in Hong Kong and I was sitting in a restaurant by the sea, when suddenly I heard people singing. It was some sort of sports team, perhaps a basketball team, walking past after a game. They were all singing ‘We Are the Champions’ really loudly and cheerfully. I think they had just won a big match or tournament. It was quite a moving and heartwarming experience, to hear that lovely song so far from home. It really put a smile on my face.
One thing that makes this song very special is the lead singer of Queen, whose name is Freddie Mercury. When he was alive, he had such an incredible voice. His voice was very unique and easy to recognize and remember. I’m not sure who wrote ‘We Are the Champions.’ It might have been Freddie Mercury, or it might have been one of the other band members. They were all very talented.
(Word Group Used: ‘Uplifting Thing’)
Uplifting, Cheerful, Joyful, Catchy, Heartening, Feel-good, Heartwarming, Full of joy, Merry, Invigorating, Glorious, Exhilarating, Encouraging, Inspiring, Rousing, Touching, Moving, Lifts my spirits, Really cheers me up, Never fails to cheer me up, Fills my heart with joy, Puts a smile on my face, I do it whenever I feel a bit blue, Can’t get it out of my head.
See more word groups here.
Your Turn To Answer
Now that you’ve seen an example, it’s your turn to try.
Before you begin, choose a word group to memorize, or create your own word group that might be used to talk about a song you like.
Also, think of at least one short story from your memories related to that song.
Next, set up the voice recorder on your phone and set the timer to one minute. Then look at the cue card above and tell yourself aloud to, ‘Describe your favorite song.’
Spend one minute preparing your answer. You should focus on preparing:
- Things to talk about (including your story)
- Interesting vocabulary to use
When the minute is finished, start speaking. Try to speak for two minutes without stopping or hesitating.
Listen to your recorded answer, try to identify any mistakes, and then… do it again!
This is a fantastic way to prepare for part two of your IELTS Speaking test.