Speaking Test Basics

  1. The speaking test is a face-to-face interview with an examiner.
  2. There is only one speaking test for all candidates. Academic and General Test candidates take the same speaking test.
  3. If you are doing the computer-delivered IELTS, you will still have a face-to-face interview with an examiner. 
  4. It is recorded so you can ask for a revision/remark if you wish later.
  5. This is an informal speaking test.
  6. The examiner who asks the questions will decide your results at the end of the test.
  7. The test lasts between 11 to 14 minutes (not more and not less).
  8. The examiner controls the time and length of your answers.
  9. The test comprises of:
  • ID check and Greeting
  • Part 1: questions and answers 4 to 5 minutes
  • Part 2: a talk for 1-2 minutes with rounding off questions for 1 minute
  • Part 3: discussion 4 to 5 minutes
  1. There are four marking criteria:
  • Fluency and Cohesion
  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar
  • Pronunciation

Check questions answered

Speaking test: PART 1

In part 1, the examiner introduces him/herself and confirms your identity (ID check). Then, you will be interviewed with questions based on familiar topics. There are usually two sets of questions: the first set is usually about your home or work/studies and the questions are practically the same for all candidates. The questions in the second set are a bit more unpredictable, although there are some recurrent topics that can be expected. 

The first set of questions can be like these:

Work

  • What is your job?
  • Where do you work?
  • Why did you choose that job?
  • What responsibilities do you have at work?

On the other hand, the second set of questions can change from one student to the other, and they look like these:

Cooking

  • Do you like cooking?
  • Did you learn to cook when you were a child?
  • Do you often bake?
  • What type of things are baked in your country?
  • Is baking popular in your country?
  • Do you think baking is a healthy method of cooking?
  • Do you prefer home-cooked meals to eating out?

Check the latest IELTS Speaking Part 1: 10 Questions by topic

Sample Answer:

Do you think baking is a healthy method of cooking?
This is a tricky question. I believe that baking is beneficial for our mental health, but what we bake might not be healthy at all. So, if we just focus on the actual process of baking, we can find it relaxing and rewarding in the end, and, in that sense, I’d say it is healthy. However, it also depends on what we bake and the ingredients we use.

What are you expected to do in PART 1 questions?

Most importantly, I’d say that you are expected to answer a question honestly and fully. You are not expected to talk for a long time, but, at the same time, you should give a full answer that explains your main idea and not just a simple statement.

You should also:

  1. Use appropriate grammar structures.

Have you ever read a newspaper or magazine in a foreign language? 

  • Yes, I’ve already read … 
  • No, I’ve never read…
  1. Use varied phrases to express your opinion
  • In my view… 
  • From my point of view… 
  • As I see it… 
  • I reckon… 
  • I’d say that…
  1. Use a large variety of vocabulary. Try not to stick to the same words over and over again, and avoid repeating the words from the question as much as you can. Your ability to paraphrase and use synonyms appropriately will show the examiner that you know the language and are aware of how to use it correctly. This can be applied to verbs, adverbs, adjectives, and nouns.
  • I like
  • I enjoy
  • I’m into
  • I’m keen on
  • I’m crazy about
  • I’m fond of …
  1. Use “high level” words. These words are context-bound, which means that they are much more specific and related to the topic you are talking about.
  • The food is good. No 
  • The food is tasty. Yes
  1. Expand your answers. You should always try to make your point clear by means of explaining the reasons why, giving examples, or showing a cause-consequence relation.
Where do you do your shopping? 
I do my shopping at a grocery near my house. No 
Although I prefer doing my shopping at big supermarkets, I go to a small grocery near my house because it’s more convenient. Yes
Do you think reading a magazine in a foreign language is a good way to learn the language? 
I do think reading is a good way to learn a new language. For instance, my cousin was learning French and couldn’t make any progress until she subscribed to a French magazine. 
  1. Pay attention to your body language. You should make eye-contact with the examiner, look confident and relaxed.

Speaking Test PART 2

This is known as “the talk”, a face-to-face interview with the examiner. In part 2, you will be given a topic card. You will have 1 minute to prepare your talk and then you will need to speak for 1-2 minutes. You should start preparing as soon as you are given the card, pen, and paper. The examiner will let you know when to start talking since they will be taking the time. Keep talking as long as you can. Most topics are stories about yourself or something that happened in your life. 

The cue card looks like this:

Describe a friend of your family you remember from your childhood. 
You should say:
 who the person
was what he/she was like 
how your family met the person 
And explain why you remember that person.

Check the latest IELTS Speaking Part 2: 10 Questions by topic

What are you expected to do in the PART 2 question?

You are expected to give an answer that is amusing and entertaining. You should tell a story to the examiner and you should do it relaxed and casual so that your English does not sound forced and unnatural. 

You should also:

  1. Use the prompts to help you answer and organize the questions. Although you do not necessarily need to talk about all of them in the question, they can help you develop your ideas and organize your talk.
  2. Use the preparation time (1 minute) to think about the vocabulary you are going to use and add details to the questions.
  3. If you feel that you won’t be able to talk for 2 minutes, use the preparation time to ask extra questions (what, why, how, when, where, etc.)
  • Where did you meet this person?
  • When did you meet this person?
  • How did you feel when you met him/her?

If you want to see a full answer for part 2 questions, Check questions answered

Speaking Test PART 3

In part 3 questions, the examiner will ask a broader range of questions based on the topic you had in speaking part 2. The questions require you to expand your answers further with explanations and examples of the world in general. 

The questions look like the following:

Friendship

  • What do you think makes someone a good friend to a whole family?
  • Do you think we meet different kinds of people at different stages of our lives? In what ways are these types of friends different?
  • How easy is it to make friends with people from a different age group?

Influence of friends

  • Do you think it is possible to be friends with someone if you never meet them in person?
  • Is this real friendship?
  • What kind of influence can friends have on our lives?
  • How important would you say it is to have friends from different cultures?

Check the latest IELTS Speaking Part 3: 10 Questions by topic

What are you expected to do in PART 3 questions?

You are expected to reflect upon a topic in a deep way. You should express your opinion and be able to support it accurately and fully. Remember to respect the grammar structures of each question and use different phrases to introduce your point of view. 

Part 3 Sample Answer:

Why is it difficult to give people gifts?                                                      
There are many things that we need to have in mind when we are buying a gift for someone. In fact, we need to be familiar with their personality and their taste in order to come up with an appropriate gift. That is why it is really difficult to give people gifts, mainly if we want to give them something thoughtful and daring. Otherwise, we fall into the category of pointless presents, which are gifts we actually wouldn’t like to receive and we can tell by the person’s look that they didn’t like it either.