IELTS Speaking Test Overview
The IELTS speaking test is a one-to-one interview which lasts for 11 – 14 minutes. There are 3 parts which test your spoken English skills with various types of questions.
IELTS Speaking Part 1
In Part 1 you are asked simple questions about yourself and everyday topics. There are 3 topics in Part 1, with 4 questions in each. The first topic is either about what you do (work/study) OR where you live now / your hometown. Topics 2 and 3 could be anything related to daily life. For example; evenings, music, pets, art, news, photography, colours, the internet or whatever. Here are some example questions for the topic ‘Weekends’:
- What do you usually do at the weekend?
- Do you ever have to work or study at the weekend?
- What are you planning to do next weekend?
- Are there enough different things to do in your town or city at the weekend?
You can get more IELTS Speaking sample topics and questions for Part 1 here.
IELTS Speaking Part 2
In Part 2 you have to talk about a topic for 2 minutes. Before you talk you have 1 minute to think about what you are going to say and make notes. The topic will be related to your life – something you have done / experienced or would like to do in the future. The topic in Part 2 might require you to describe an experience in your past, something in your present or something you want in the future. Here’s an example:
Describe something healthy you enjoy doing.
You should say:
- what you do
- where you do it
- who you do it with
and explain why you think doing this is healthy.
IELTS Speaking Part 3
In Part 3 the examiner will ask you more complex questions related to the topic in Part 2. You have to give your opinions and give reasons and/or examples to support your opinions. The questions will require you to do different things. For example; identify, suggest, consider, agree/disagree, explain, compare, evaluate or speculate. You should give longer answers in Part 3 than in Part 1 and try to demonstrate how well you can discuss abstract ideas, perhaps unrelated to your personal experience. Here are some example questions for the topic ‘Leisure Activities’:
- What types of leisure activities are popular in your country?
- Why it is important for people to have time for leisure activities?
- Do men and women enjoy the same kinds of leisure activities?
- Are the types of leisure activities that are popular today the same as those that were popular in the past?
- What types of leisure activities may become more popular in the future?
IELTS Speaking Test Marking Criteria
The examiner will listen carefully to your answers and give you a band score from 1 to 9 based on the language you produce. They will grade your performance in four areas:
- Fluency and Coherence (FC)
- Lexical Resource (LR)
- Grammatical Range and Accuracy (GRA)
- Pronunciation (P)
You can find out more about the speaking test marking criteria here.
Getting IELTS Band 7+ in the Speaking Test
This can be challenging as it requires you to demonstrate fluent, effortless speech as well as a high level of accuracy in terms of vocabulary and grammar. It is achievable, if you focus on developing excellent spoken English, which takes lots of time and practice. For more advice on reaching IELTS Band 7 or higher, check out: