An Introduction to IELTS Speaking

men talking

In the IELTS Speaking test, examiners judge your ability to hold conversation on various topics as well as your prowess to use a wide range of vocabulary and grammatical structures.

The IELTS Speaking test is 11 to 14 minutes long. You will sit on a one-on-one interview with the examiner, who will ask you several questions from different topics. Your answer will also be recorded on a device for separate evaluation.

The IELTS Speaking test is divided into three parts, each roughly 4 to 5 minutes long.

In Part 1 of the IELTS Speaking test, you will be asked personal questions relating to your family, friends, and interests.

In Part 2, you have to give a short speech based on a personal question.

In Part 3, general questions related to the topic of Part 2 are asked. Unlike Part 1 and Part 2, here the questions are not personal. Rather, they focus on society and the world.

It is a misconception that your body language, personality, or opinions are evaluated. Only the words you speak and their accuracy matter.

IELTS Speaking Part 1

In the first part, you are asked personal questions about your home, family, friends, and interests.

The examiner will introduce a topic and start asking you several personal questions on that topic. For example, a topic could be “music” and a question could be “What is your favorite song?”

The questions are set beforehand and will not change depending on your answers. But sometimes the examiners may ask you to elaborate.

You need to provide short answers to these questions, usually just two or three sentences.

This part takes about 5 minutes.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Part 2 entails giving a short speech on a personal matter.

The examiner will provide you with a cue card (a question paper) which has a topic and four short questions. For instance, the topic could be “your most memorable holiday” and questions could be “where was it, when was it, what did you do, and why do you remember it?”

You are given one minute to prepare your response. You can even write down the points that you want to talk about.

After one-minute preparation time, you need to give a continuous speech of between one and two minutes.

The examiner will not ask you any questions, except sometimes at the end of your speech if something needs clarification.

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Part 3 is just like Part 1: you will be asked several questions for which you need to provide short answers.

The difference is that this time you will not be asked personal questions but general questions about society and the world.

For example, you could be asked about the influence of media on children, the effects of pollution, or the importance of sports. You may be asked to compare and contrast things and comment on the past, present and future of some issues.

This part, where you have to demonstrate logical reasoning and critical thinking, lasts for roughly five minutes.

The Speaking test is not held on the same day as the Listening, Reading, and the Writing test. Instead, it is held on a separate day, usually one or two days before or after the other test day.

What type of answer is expected?

There are four criteria for judgement of your answers in the IELTS Speaking test. They are:

Fluency and Coherence – You have to speak uninterruptedly and have to make logical sense.

Vocabulary – You have to demonstrate a knowledge of a wide range of English lexicon.

Grammar – While speaking, you should not make grammatical errors. Moreover, you should use different grammatical structures.

Pronunciation – Your pronunciation should be as accurate as a native English speaker.

For a detailed analysis of the evaluation of the Speaking test in IELTS, click here ».

Next lesson:

IELTS Speaking Part 1: Types of questions

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