Watch Aashish complete an IELTS Speaking Part 1 example test. Here are the questions he is asked:
Let’s talk about what you do.
- Do you work or are you a student?
- What job do you do?
- Do you meet interesting people in your job?
- How long have you been doing this sort of work?
Let’s go on to talk about friends now.
- Are your friends mostly your age or different ages? Why?
- Do you usually see your friends during the week or at weekends?
- The last time you saw your friends, what did you do together?
- In what ways are your friends important to you?
I’d like to move on to talk about food and cooking now.
- What kind of food do you like to eat?
- What kind of new food would you like to try? Why?
- Do you like cooking? Why not?
- What was the last meal you cooked?
As you watch, think about these questions:
- How long are his answers?
- Does he directly answer each question?
- Does he give reasons and/or examples?
- Do his answers sound natural?
- Is he relaxed? Does his speaking seem effortless?
Note that IELTS Speaking Part 1 example is from 00:00-03:36. The rest of the video shows IELTS Speaking Part 3.
How well did he do?
- His answers for the first topic are all short, particularly the last question: ‘How long have you been doing this kind of work?’, ‘Umm, for a year and a half now’. This is good though – because it is a natural and complete answer to the question. Remember, answer the questions in Part 1 as if you were speaking your native language.
- Notice his answer to Topic 2 Question 2: ‘Do you usually see your friends during the week or at the weekends?’ is ‘It depends…’ He then goes on to explain what it depends on. This is often a good way to answer Part 1 questions.
- His longest answer is to the question; ‘Do you like cooking? Why not?’. This is because he has something interesting to say! Again, perfectly natural. I suggest that your answers in Part 1 should generally be 2-4 sentences long. Note that this is a good guideline to follow but it’s not a rule – some answers may be shorter and others may be longer.
- The whole of Part 1 is 3 minutes 36 seconds but he still gets 7.5. This is a bit short (Part 1 should be 4 to 5 minutes in total) but he does completely answer all of the questions, giving reasons and details, so this does not affect his score. He also answers the questions in Part 3 very well (see video from 3:37-8:38). Remember you are marked across the whole test, so you can give short but detailed, accurate answers in Part 1, then really show off your speaking skills in Parts 2 and 3 and expect to get a high score.
Aashish got Band 7.5 in IELTS Speaking. Why?
Let’s consider why Aashish got 7.5, based on the IELTS Speaking Assessment Criteria:
Fluency and Coherence
- Speaks at length effortlessly
- Very little hesitation (apart from thinking about what to say)
- Has a wide enough vocabulary to discuss a variety of topics at length
- Uses some less common vocabulary and shows good awareness of collocation
Grammatical Range and Accuracy
- Uses a wide range of structures
- Frequently produces error free sentences
- Is easy to understand throughout
- Uses a range of pronunciation features accurately (including stress, intonation and connected speech)
So for IELTS Speaking Part 1, remember:
- Directly answer the questions
- Give reasons / details (extended answers but not too long)
- Answer naturally, as if you were speaking your native language
- You may feel nervous at the start of the test – use Part 1 to relax. Imagine you are speaking to a friend in a coffee shop
- Before the test, practice with a friend and time yourself. Aim to complete 3 topics in 4-5 minutes.
You can also find lots of practice questions for Part 1 here. These are similar to the kind of questions you will get in the real exam but they are not the same. Do not try to memorise questions or answers – even if they do come up in the real exam, you will sound unnatural, which will lower your score.