In part 2 of the IELTS speaking test, you will be asked to describe something. This is often a person, a place, or an object, but there are many other possibilities. Today, we are going to look at a cue card that asks you to describe a company. Specifically, it says “Describe a large company that you are interested in.”
In this article, I will show you have to give a good answer to this question by examining the cue card, making notes, and picking the right language. I will also show you my own sample band 9 answer to this question.
Cue card: Describe a Large Company
There are many ways that you could be asked to describe a company in the IELTS exam but today we are specifically looking at one form: “describe a large company that you are interested in.” (Note those two important details in bold.)
Whenever you go into the exam, you should not try to anticipate the questions you will be given because that is impossible. Instead, you should be prepared for any question and you should face those questions as individual questions by paying attention to the specific wording.
Here is our cue card for today:
Describe a large company you are interested in.
You should say:
– what kind of company it is
– what the company does
– why you are interested in it
and explain how you became interested in this company.
Analysing the Cue Card
The important thing to note here is that you aren’t just writing about any company. It must be (1) a large company, and (2) one that is interesting to you. Thus, you cannot talk about a small company or one that you do not find interesting.
As for the bullet points, these are mere recommendations. You do not have to talk about these, but it is worth trying to discuss them as they may help you speak more fluently for a longer period of time.
Planning your Answer
Once you are given the cue card, you will have about 1 minute to prepare your answer. This is not much time, so you should think quickly. Try to decide immediately upon one company. Even if it is not perfect, you can try your best to talk about it. Ideas:
Think of a few interesting things to say and some useful phrases that you might want to include. You can also note down some words on a piece of paper. If these help you structure your answer, that would also be an advantage. However, don’t overthink it.
It can sometimes be a good idea just to follow the cue card in order to guide you logically through your response. It’s really a personal choice and depends on your own ways of thinking.
The language that you would use to answer this question would differ greatly dependent upon the company that you choose to talk about. Talking about a technology giant like Apple or Google would be quite different than a supermarket like Tesco or Walmart. Talking about a music company like Spotify might be quite different from an agricultural one like Monsanto.
However, there are definitely some words and phrases that can help you to discuss large companies in general. For this, you might find it useful to learn some business English phrases or else to read articles about big businesses.
Here are some useful words and phrases:
Start-upNoun – a relatively new companyBizBooks is an exciting start-up that aims to revolutionise the publishing industry.FoundVerb – to begin a companyThis company was founded by two women in 2014.SpecialiseVerb – to do a particular thingThey specialise in making shoes for disabled people.MonopolyNoun – having control over a whole market or areaIt is said that Google now has a monopoly on internet searches.
There are many more words. Here’s a PPT that I made many years ago that shows some vocabulary and examples about how to describe companies:
Finding New Vocabulary about Companies
If you want to find vocabulary for a particular company, then you might benefit from going to their Wikipedia page and reading it carefully, noting down language that is interesting or useful.
For example, later I will talk about a company that interests me, called Tesla. The Wikipedia page is full of great language:
- based in
- current products include
- ranked as
- a tribute to
You can do this for companies that you are interested in as a way of building up your vocabulary skills, but make sure that you know how to use these words. They are useless unless you can put them properly into sentences.
Sample Band 9 Answer
One company that I’m really interested in is Tesla, which is frequently in the news these days. To be honest, I don’t own a Tesla and probably never will, but the company itself is quite fascinating and I admire what they are doing for the world.
Tesla is a large American corporation that primarily manufactures high-end electric cars. Their aim is to produce vehicles that are not only greener than the ones people typically use, but far superior. This is what makes them very different from other electric car companies as traditionally they have been viewed as inferior to petrol-powered vehicles. Teslas, however, are faster and safer than petrol cars, as well as looking cool enough to have become fashionable.
I suppose I became interested in the company through its CEO, Elon Musk. Over the past decade, he has become quite an outspoken figure in the tech world for a number of reasons. His goal in life seems to be to save humanity from its various problems and his pursuit of that goal has made him – at times – the world’s richest man. I admire his vision and commitment and also his fierce intellect. I think that he has done an amazing job to position this company at the top of its field. It is not only a good manufacturer of electric vehicles, but the only American car company that has never gone bankrupt.
Hopefully, in a few years, the rest of the world will follow his lead and use ecologically responsible methods to power their transportation, thus partially reversing the damage done to our environment.
Notes on the Answer
You can see that I have basically followed the outline of the cue card, although at the end it became a little blurred. I have used some business language and also some topic-specific language:
- petrol-powered vehicles
- tech world
I have tried to make this answer sound natural and logical. This is important as it allows you to transition from one idea to the next easily and logically. There was no mention of CEOs on the cue card, but I decided to bring up Elon Musk as it allowed me to frame the latter part of my answer more effectively. Don’t be afraid to bring an extra dimension to your answer as long as it doesn’t stray too far from the question prompt.