Trinity English

The Topic

How long do I have to speak for?

4 minutes

What should I speak about?

Whatever interests you! Choose a topic that you know by heart, something personal to you or something you know a lot about. However, it is important to remember that the topic is NOT a presentation. You shouldn't just present a list of facts. You will be evaluated on your ability to give opinions, express ideas and describe past, present and future events. In level II you will also be expected to use appropriate language to agree and disagree, give reasons and to keep the conversation going.

Is there anything I can't talk about?


You can't use any of the subjects listed in the subjects for conversation.

So ISE Foundation has "sports and hobbies" as a subject for conversation, so you can't choose "sports and hobbies" for the topic.

You could choose a specific hobby or sport, for example "Swimming" or "My volleyball teeam" but you can't choose "sports and hobbies" in the general sense.

I will check all of your topics and help you as much as you need! Just ask if you need help.

What makes a good topic?

Please look very carefully at the grammar for your level and try to include the possibilty to use that grammar and language functions in the four areas of the topic.

As we saw last lesson, try to include something about the past, the future, a description using comparatives and superlatives, and give an opinion with reasons. Remember to also prepare a question to ask the examiner.

For level II choose a topic that will let you consider different sides to the same story so you can discuss advantages and disadvantages, benefits and drawbacks, compare and contrast ideas speculate and consider hypothetical or future scenarios. Your topic can be as simple as "my family" to a contemporary issue such as "why are footballers paid so much?" You aren't limited to 4 areas for discussion and you can make a mind-map or list to help form your discussion.


  • Spend time choosing and preparing your topic.
  • Choose a topic that interests you and that you can spend up to four minutes discussing.
  • Try to think of a topic that includes lots of language for your level. For example, a topic in which you can talk about advantages and disadvantages, speculate or ask for opinions.
  • Use a range of different language functions from the level. Think of the language you will need and the questions the examiner might ask you.
  • Use a diagram or mind map to help you plan your topic.
  • Think of questions you can ask the examiner about your topic.
  • Practise listening to English as well as speaking it — you are tested on your interactive listening skills (how well you follow the conversation), so practise having conversations in English.


  • Don’t choose a technical topic — it’s difficult to remember technical vocabulary in the exam.
  • Don’t memorise a script — you can plan ideas and phrases for your topic. but it is a discussion and it is important to be natural.
ISE Foundation (A2) Speaking & Listening sample video
TRINITY ISE I (B1) Speaking & Listening
ISE II (B2) Speaking & Listening sample video No.2
You can find these videos on the Trinity ISE website with the evaluation comments and scores. It is useful to read them before watching.

See you on Thursday!