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Telling a story or personal anecdote - Tips

In Part 2 of the IELTS speaking test, you may be asked to speak about a
time or event in your life. This kind of question can be answered using the
‘anecdote method’. Below are some tips for using this method.
Do:

 Take time to think about the question and the story before you start talking.

 Use narrative tenses – past simple, past continuous and past perfect.

 Use adjectives and adverbs to make the story interesting.

 Use sequencing words: first of all, then, after that, later on, finally, in the end …

 Give your story an introduction. Say briefly what your story is about.

 Give background to your story. Say when and where it took place and what you
were doing at that time.

 Say what happened step by step. Use words like so, because and although to
connect the actions until you reach the end of the story.

 Keep the action moving!

 Finish your story or anecdote by saying why it is important to you or why you
remember it.

Don’t:

 Get stuck on details at the start of your story and then run out of time to tell the
whole story.

 Use a flat voice – intonation helps keep the story interesting and makes it easier
to follow.

Examples of tasks that would be suitable for using this method:

 Describe a great holiday you had.

 Describe a difficult journey you had.

 Describe a perfect day you’ve had.

 Describe a special event in your life.

 Describe a birthday you remember.

Level/unit: IELTS

Reference: www.britishcouncil.org
Telling a story or personal anecdote – Planning
sheet
This sheet is to help you plan and structure your anecdote.

Write short notes in the boxes. Don’t write full sentences.


Introduction

Background

Action

Wrapping up

Level/unit: IELTS

Reference: www.britishcouncil.org
Telling a story or personal anecdote – exercise
Put the phrases in the correct part of the anecdote.

This is a story about …. I was living in the city at that time … This made me realize
something important ..

Suddenly … I’m going to tell you about something unforgettable that happened to me.
Later on, …

What happened next was …. When I look back on that story now, I feel …. After all
this, I learnt that …

This took place a few years ago. At that time, I was …. I’d like to talk about
the time when I …

Introduction Background

Action Wrapping up

Level/unit: IELTS

Reference: www.britishcouncil.org
Useful phrases for stories and personal anecdotes.

Introduction Background

This is a story about …. At that time, I was ….

I’m going to tell you about something I was living in the city at that time …
unforgettable that happened to me.
This took place a few years ago.
I’d like to talk about the time when I …

Action Wrapping up

What happened next was ….


This made me realize something
Later on, … important ..

Suddenly … When I look back on that story now, I feel


….

After all this, I learnt that …

Level/unit: IELTS

Reference: www.britishcouncil.org