IELTS Speaking Test


The IELTS speaking test is an interview between one candidate and one examiner.   The test is held a few days before or after the Listening-Reading-Writing tests or in some cases, on the same day.  The test is for 11-14 minutes. There are 3 parts to the test.

Part 1 – warm-up
Here, the examiner checks the candidate’s passport. In this part, you will be asked questions on familiar topics like your job, friends, hobbies, hometown etc.

Part 2 – long turn
In this stage, you will be given a topic. You will have a notepad and pencil to make notes. You have one minute to prepare. The examiner will tell you when to start.  You need to speak for up to 2 minutes on the topic.

Part 3 – discussion
In this stage, the examiner will ask you questions related to the topic in stage 2. Here, you should try to give extended or long answers. Answer all questions in three or four sentences.

Note: the test will be recorded on an audio recorder.

 Points to remember

– Your accent is not important.
  All that matters is that you speak clearly so that the examiner can understand you.

– IELTS is not a test of your knowledge. There are no correct or wrong answers. You can give any answer. The examiner  is interested only in your English.

 – Use your imagination and make up stories.
    You need not tell the truth all the time. You can make up an answer.

– You can say ‘I don’t know’.

If you find a question difficult to answer, you can say something like ‘I’m sorry I don’t know much about that’. / ‘I’m not sure about that.’ But it is important that you talk more.  Because one sentence answers will not get you score.  The examiner needs to hear English from you to give you a score.

– Ask the examiner to repeat or to explain

If you didn’t hear a question clearly, you can ask the examiner to repeat. “Sorry, could you please repeat that question?’

If you didn’t understand a question or a word in the question you can ask: ‘I’m sorry but I didn’t understand the question; could you please explain it to me?

‘I’m sorry, could you please explain what you mean by ‘gap year’?

– Be pleasant, be in a friendly mood, be chatty (talkative).

How does the examiner mark you?

You are marked on four criteria.  For each of the points, you are given a score from 1-9. Then the four scores are added and divided by four to get your score for speaking.

– Fluency and coherence

Fluency means you should not have too many hesitations when you speak.  But it doesn’t mean speaking very fast either.   Speak at a steady pace, with pauses in between.

Coherence means the sentences should be related.  For this, try to tell a point and then develop it by adding information.

 – Lexical Resources

This means using vocabulary appropriate to the topic.  Use uncommon words and also idioms and idiomatic expressions.

– Grammatical range and accuracy

Do not make too many grammar mistakes.  Uses You need to use simple and complex sentences.   Use different tenses.

– Pronunciation

Use word stress and sentence stress correctly.  Your voice should rise and fall as you speak. Use chunking while speaking.  That is, you should divide a sentence into parts and speak.

When I was in school  | I used to play | badminton with my friends. Or, When I was in school  | I used to play badminton | with my friends.