Describe An Aquatic Animal: IELTS Cue Card

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Updated on Jul 04, 2024, 06:30

In the IELTS Speaking test, Part 2, you’ll be asked to speak about a topic for up to two minutes. This part, often called the cue card or individual long run, is designed to assess your ability to speak fluently and coherently on a specific subject.



For the topic "Describe An Aquatic Animal," you'll want to focus on an aquatic creature that has left an impression on you. It could be a marine mammal like a dolphin or a majestic species like a sea turtle. Consider a particular experience or encounter that stands out, whether seeing them in their natural habitat or learning about their unique characteristics.



To help you prepare effectively, I’ll share some strategies and a sample answer that can guide you in structuring your response.

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1. Describe An Aquatic Animal: How to Answer?

When the cue card section starts, the examiner will introduce the topic and hand you the cue card. You will have 1 minute to prepare your response. Use this time wisely to plan your structure and gather your thoughts. The examiner will then ask you to start speaking. You should speak for 1-2 minutes without interruption.

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2. Describe An Aquatic Animal: Sample Answers

Sample answers are crucial for IELTS preparation, particularly for topics like ‘Describe An Aquatic Animal’ They provide practical examples of structuring responses within time limits, articulating thoughts clearly, and concluding effectively. 

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3. Describe An Aquatic Animal: Follow-up Questions

Expect the examiner to ask follow-up questions that explore different aspects of the positive change you described. These questions may delve into the reasons behind the change, its impact on your life, challenges faced, comparisons with other experiences, and implications for the future.


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Describe An Aquatic Animal: How to Answer?

When the cue card section begins, the examiner will hand you a card with a topic and some prompts. You will have one minute to prepare your response and can make notes. 



Cue Card/Topic: Describe An Aquatic Animal

You should say

  • What does it look like?
  • When did you see it?
  • Where did you see it?
  • Explain why it is interesting.



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This structure helps you stay organised and covers all topic aspects clearly and logically.


Introduction (Covers: What does it look like?)


  • Introduce the aquatic animal and why it fascinates you.
  • Mention where you first encountered or learned about this animal.
  • Briefly outline what you plan to discuss in your response.


Describing Your Experience/Opinion/Interest (Covers: When did you see it? / Where did you see it?)


  • Describe the habitat of the aquatic animal and any unique physical features.
  • Share any personal experiences, such as observations in the wild or interactions during visits to aquariums or marine parks.
  • Express your opinion on what makes this animal special or why you find it intriguing.


Key Highlights (Covers: Explain why it is interesting. )


  • Discuss interesting behaviours or abilities of the aquatic animal.
  • Mention its significance in its ecosystem or any conservation efforts to protect its species.
  • Reflect on how learning about this animal has impacted your understanding of marine life or environmental conservation.




  • Summarise the key points you’ve discussed about the aquatic animal.
  • Reiterate why this animal holds personal significance for you.
  • End positively, perhaps mentioning your ongoing interest in learning more about aquatic wildlife.


Following this structure, you can provide a well-rounded and engaging response to the cue card topic "Describe An Aquatic Animal." This approach helps ensure you make the most of your speaking time and effectively demonstrate your language skills.


IELTS Speaking Cue Card 2024 Topics With Samples


Describe An Aquatic Animal: Sample Answers

Sample answers are important for the IELTS speaking section, especially for prompts like ‘ Describe An Aquatic Animal.’ 


They clarify task requirements, demonstrating how to structure responses, what language to employ, and how to convey thoughts effectively within the time limit. 

Sample Answer 1
Sample Answer 2
Sample Answer 3

Introduction (Covers: What does it look like?)


  • One aquatic animal that has always fascinated me is the majestic sea turtle, specifically the Olive Ridley sea turtle. 
  • These turtles are known for their olive-green shell and ability to undertake incredible ocean migrations.


Describing Your Experience/Opinion/Interest (Covers: When did you see it? / Where did you see it?)


  • I had the privilege of seeing Olive Ridley sea turtles during a visit to the beaches of Odisha. 
  • It was during the annual mass nesting event, known as arribada, where thousands of turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. 
  • Witnessing this spectacle of nature was truly mesmerising, especially as volunteers helped protect the nests and ensure the safety of these endangered creatures.


Key Highlights (Covers: Explain why it is interesting. )


  • The Olive Ridley sea turtle's life cycle and conservation significance make it so fascinating. 
  • These turtles travel thousands of kilometres from their feeding grounds to the nesting beaches, navigating through ocean currents with remarkable precision. 
  • Their role in maintaining healthy marine ecosystems, particularly in controlling jellyfish populations, underscores their importance in marine conservation efforts.




  • In conclusion, encountering the Olive Ridley sea turtles in Odisha was a profound experience that deepened my appreciation for marine biodiversity and conservation. 
  • These ancient creatures remind us of the fragile balance of our oceans and the importance of preserving their habitats for future generations.



Describe An Aquatic Animal: Follow-up Questions

In the IELTS Speaking test, Part 3 follows the cue card round and involves a deeper discussion with the examiner. This segment evaluates your ability to elaborate on your initial response, provide detailed explanations, and engage in a more spontaneous conversation. 


Follow-Up Question 1

Question 1. How are aquatic animals like the one you described important to marine ecosystems?


Answer 1: Aquatic animals such as whale sharks play crucial roles in maintaining marine biodiversity. Their feeding habits help regulate prey populations and contribute to nutrient cycling in ocean ecosystems. Protecting their habitats ensures the health of marine environments for future generations.


Answer 2: The Gangetic Dolphin, for instance, serves as an indicator species for the health of riverine ecosystems. Their presence indicates clean water and a balanced ecosystem, making them crucial for maintaining biodiversity and supporting fisheries.

Follow-Up Question 2

Question 2:  Can you discuss any conservation efforts aimed at protecting this species?


Answer 1: Conservation initiatives for whale sharks often focus on monitoring their migration patterns and establishing marine protected areas where they congregate. Community-based projects educate local fishermen about sustainable fishing practices to reduce accidental bycatch.


Answer 2: Efforts to protect the Gangetic Dolphin include river conservation programs that address pollution, habitat degradation, and illegal fishing practices. Conservationists collaborate with local communities to raise awareness and promote dolphin-friendly practices along river banks.


Follow-Up Question 3

Question 3: What challenges do these animals face due to human activities?


Answer 1: Whale sharks face threats such as accidental entanglement in fishing gear, habitat loss due to coastal development, and illegal trade in their fins and meat. Climate change also poses risks by altering their migratory routes and affecting food availability.


Answer 2: Gangetic Dolphins are threatened by pollution from agricultural runoff, industrial waste, and dam construction that alters river flow. These activities degrade water quality and disrupt their natural habitats, leading to population decline.


Follow-Up Question 4

Question 4: Have you ever encountered any other aquatic animals?


Answer 1: During a scuba diving trip in the Andaman Islands, I had the unforgettable experience of swimming alongside vibrant coral reefs teeming with tropical fish. The intricate ecosystems supported by corals showcased the interconnectedness of marine life and the beauty of underwater habitats.



Answer 2: Exploring the backwaters of Kerala, I encountered freshwater species like the giant river prawn and various migratory birds. These experiences highlighted the diverse aquatic life that thrives in India's unique waterways and wetland habitats.



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Q. How is my performance evaluated?

Ans. Your performance is evaluated based on four criteria: Fluency and Coherence, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range and Accuracy, and Pronunciation. Each criterion contributes to your overall band score for the speaking test.



Q. Can I ask the examiner to explain the topic if I don't understand it?

Ans. Yes, you can ask the examiner to explain or clarify the topic if you do not understand it. However, the examiner cannot provide extensive explanations or give examples.

Q. Is it okay to use personal experiences in my speech?

Ans. Yes, using personal experiences is encouraged as it can make your speech more interesting and easier to talk about. Just make sure to stay on topic and address the task card prompts.