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Organising ideas logically

Learn about organising ideas logically in the IELTS speaking test. Improve your band score in Coherence and cohesion.
person writing on a notepad
© Macquarie University

Camilo’s first response was effective in that he spoke fluently and used all of the prompts on the topic card to develop his ideas. However, the following problems were identified in terms of organisation:

  • Poor organisation: He did not really follow the same order of the prompts given on the topic card . He provided extra information about two of the prompts after he had already covered them.
  • Irrelevant ideas: Camilo talked about his sister, but this did not relate to any of the prompts on the topic card and he did not logically connect this to any of his other ideas.
  • Failure to meet time requirement: He did not develop his ideas enough and failed to speak for two minutes (he speaks for 1 minute and 35 seconds).

Coherence is determined by how ideas are organised and connected. You should aim to provide logically organised answers across the three parts of the test in order to achieve a high mark for Fluency and coherence.

Sequencing ideas logically is particularly important in Part 2 as you are required to speak on your own for up to two minutes. You can achieve this by:

Using all the prompts on the topic card: Using only 1 or 2 is not enough to develop an entire, coherent answer.

Following the same order of the prompts: These are presented in a logical and sequential order.

Adding your own prompts: As you plan your answers, include 2-3 new prompts (i.e. points) with information that is relevant to the general topic of the question.

Developing each prompt: Include 2-3 ideas per prompt. This will guarantee that you have enough content to speak for two minutes.

Planning properly: Use the 1-minute planning time to write down the ideas you want to include in your answer. You are allowed to read from your planning sheet as you give your answer.

Below is the plan that Camilo used for his second answer:

Planning diagram for Part 2

This is an effective plan because it:

• is well organised (using a grid divided into four),

• is easy to follow (following the prompts clockwise),

• uses all the prompts on the topic card,

• avoids full sentences and only includes key words,

• uses abbreviations to save time (e.g. convt for convenient, W-ing assign for writing assignments)

• uses bullet points (which you can tick as you cover that point when you speak).

© Macquarie University
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