Saturday, 24 August 2013

Travel Notes (Speaking Part 2)

In previous posts, we have mentioned the importance of taking notes during your speaking exam. Making a quick plan of what you will say helps you to speak continuously without hesitation. It will also ensure that you address all parts of the question and maximise the material you can talk about.

Remember: Talking too much is never a problem, but talking too little can devastate your score!

Let's take a look at this common travel topic:

Describe a holiday that you are planning to take or would like to take in the future. You should say:
  • Where you would go
  • Who you would go with
  • What kinds of activities you’d like to take part in

And say if you think you’ll be able to go on this holiday in the near future.

Begin by writing the name of the place, along with some adjectives to describe it. Always explain the reason for your statement. Remember to offer as much information as possible. Do you want to go to New York? Why? Describe an experience which made you interested in New York.

A good set of notes for this topic might look like so:

Morocco - exotic, interesting, foreign, colourful
often in films, photographs
beautiful scenery, landscape
meet my friend there - fun, adventurous, outgoing
activities - shopping, eating local cuisine, trekking in desert
I already have a plan to go

Below you can find some good examples of answers to this question. Pay attention to the smooth flow of information and detailed vocabulary. Also, note that the speaker uses a slow, clear pace. Try to avoid rushing through your answer! See below for transcripts.

Wow, there are just so many holidays I’d like to go on. Because it’s wintertime in New Zealand at the moment, I’d really like to travel someplace warm and sunny. I’ve heard that Fiji is really nice at this time of year, but any tropical island in the Pacific would probably do. I’d most like to travel with my girlfriend so that we could spend some relaxing evenings at the beach together. I find spending time near the sea to be extremely soothing. During the day, I’d swim in the sea and do a lot of reading, then at night I’d have a couple of cocktails, hang out by the pool, and look at the stars. I would also like to try out water-skiing, or maybe take a boat trip and try to catch a fish for my dinner!  Beach vacations are the best because they really take you away from your day to day life; you can sort of take a break from worrying about everything and just enjoy the beautiful scenery around you. I’m not sure how soon I’ll be able to take this trip, but hopefully next year. Or sooner!

I don’t have any travel plans at the moment, but of course there’s a lot of places I’d like to go. First and foremost, I’d like to visit New Zealand’s South Island. I’ve heard that it has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. The Southern Alps are a famously beautiful and majestic mountain range. Also, I tend to enjoy active vacations. It’s not my style to just go somewhere and sit around. So, if I go to the South Island, I can participate in adventure sports like mountain climbing, skiing, and maybe even bungee jumping or skydiving, if I can muster up the courage! I’d love to go with a group of friends who would be willing to take part in these adventures with me. Travelling alone is OK, too, but it’s always nicer to share your experiences with others. Will I go there soon? Probably. I need to wait until I’ve finished this semester of University and earned a little money. But after that I will definitely take some time off to travel around the South Island. Actually, I can’t wait!

Well, this is a topic that I’m happy to talk about! I already have plans to go on an amazing trip next autumn. This holiday will be to several different cities in Morocco, which is located in Africa. I’m really excited to go there because I’ve never been to Africa before. It’s one of the only continents that I haven’t visited. I’m especially interested in Morocco because I’ve seen some films about it, and it seems like a very mystical and exotic place. I imagine it’s full of beautiful colours and delicious, spicy food. Maybe it won’t be exactly how I expect, but I’m looking forward to learning more. When I’m in Morocco, I’ll probably take a trek into the desert. I’ve seen some photographs of desert landscapes that have a unique, barren beauty. When I return to the city, I’ll also be sure to do some shopping and taste some local cuisine. When I go on a trip, I just like to explore my surroundings and try to experience as much as I can of the local culture. Though I’m flying to Morocco by myself, I’m planning to meet up with a friend there who is visiting from the United States. I’m excited to go on this adventure!

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