IELTS Preparation Course

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Speaking Section Guide


Understand the Speaking test

The Speaking test is as close to a real-life situation as an exam can get.

You will talk to a certified examiner in the IELTS Speaking test. The test is interactive and as close to a real-life situation as a test can get. A variety of accents may be used, and the test will be recorded.

The content of the IELTS Speaking test is the same for both the academic and general training versions of the test.


Purpose of the test

The IELTS Speaking test is designed to assess a wide range of skills.

The examiner will want to see how well you can

  • communicate opinions and information on everyday topics and common experiences; to do this you will need to answer a range of questions
  • speak at length on a given topic using appropriate language
  • organise your ideas coherently
  • express and justify your opinions
  • analyse, discuss and speculate about issues

Make sure that you relax and talk fluently. You will need to speak naturally.

Timing

The IELTS Speaking test takes 11-14 minutes.

Three sections

The Speaking test is made up of three sections:

SectionDurationInformation
Part 1 Introduction and interview4-5 minutesThe examiner will introduce him or herself and ask you to introduce yourself and confirm your identity. The examiner will ask you general questions on familiar topics, e.g. home, family, work, studies and interests. This section should help you relax and talk naturally.
Part 2 Individual long turn 3-4 minutesThe examiner will give you a task card which asks you to talk about a particular topic, including points to include in your talk. You will be given one minute to prepare and make notes. You will then be asked to talk for 1-2 minutes on the topic. You will not be interrupted during this time, so it is important to keep talking. The examiner will then ask you one or two questions on the same topic.
Part 3 Two-way discussion 4-5 minutesThe examiner will ask you further questions which are connected to the topic of Part 2. These questions are designed to give you an opportunity to discuss more abstract issues and ideas.


Marking

You will be assessed on your performance throughout the test by certificated IELTS examiners. 

You will be marked on the four criteria of the IELTS Speaking Test Band Descriptors:

  • fluency and coherence
  • lexical resource
  • grammatical range and accuracy
  • pronunciation

Scores are reported in whole and half bands.

Speaking part 1

In part 1 of the Speaking test the examiner will introduce him or herself and ask general questions on familiar topics.

The examiner will ask you to confirm your identity.

He or she will then ask general questions on familiar topics such as home, family, work, studies and interests. Part 1 of the test will last 4-5 minutes.

How to practise

You will need a study partner to practise the Speaking test.

Ask your study partner to interview you using the questions below. Record yourself if you can.

Speaking test part 1: questions

Let’s talk about your home town or village:

  • what kind of place is it?
  • what’s the most interesting part of your town/village?
  • what kind of jobs do the people in your town/village do?
  • would you say it’s a good place to live? (why?)

Let’s move on to talk about accommodation:

  • tell me about the kind of accommodation you live in?
  • how long have you lived there?
  • what do you like about living there?
  • what sort of accommodation would you most like to live in?

Speaking Part One Audio

Speaking part 2

In the IELTS speaking part 2 test you will be given a task card on a particular topic, and this will include key points that you should talk about. 

This section of the Speaking test gives you the opportunity to speak for longer on a topic.

You will be given one minute to prepare to talk about the topic on the task card.  A pencil and paper will be provided for you to make notes.

You will have to talk for 1-2 minutes, and then the examiner will ask you one or two questions on the same topic. Part 2 takes 3-4 minutes in total.

How to practise

Ask your study partner to listen while you speak about the task card topic. You should talk for 1-2 minutes.

Your study partner should then ask you one or two questions on the same topic using the rounding off questions. 

Record yourself if you can.

Speaking test part 2: candidate task card

Describe something you own which is very important to you. 

You should say:

  • where you got it from
  • how long you have had it
  • what you use it for; and 
  • explain why it is important to you.

You will have to talk about the topic for 1 to 2 minutes.

You have one minute to think about what you're going to say.

You can make some notes to help you if you wish.

Rounding off questions

Tell me

  • is it valuable in terms of money?

  • would it be easy to replace?

Speaking Part Two Audio

Speaking part 3

In part 3 of the Speaking test the examiner will ask further questions which are connected to the topics  discussed in part 2. 

This part of the test is designed to give you the opportunity to talk about more abstract issues and ideas. It is a two-way discussion with the examiner, and will last 4-5 minutes.

How to practise

Ask your study partner to prompt your practice test discussion using the questions below. Try to speak as naturally and fluently as possible.

Record your discussion if you can.

Let’s consider first of all how people’s values have changed. 
  • What kind of things give status to people in your country? 
  • Have things changed since your parents’ time? 

Finally, let’s talk about the role of advertising. 

  • Do you think advertising influences what people buy?