Explanations » IELTS » IELTS – Exam 1 – Speaking
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  • IELTS Speaking Test

    The IELTS Speaking test is the same for both the Academic and General Training modules, and it is designed to evaluate your English speaking skills. It has three parts and lasts between 11 to 14 minutes.

    • Part 1: After checking your ID, you’ll answer some warm-up questions about yourself and your life. This helps you get comfortable with speaking. This part lasts 4-5 minutes.
    • Part 2: You will be asked to talk about a specific topic for 1 to 2 minutes, with one minute to prepare beforehand. This tests your ability to discuss a topic in depth using appropriate language. You will have 1 minute to prepare, and then you’ll have to speak for up to 2 minutes.
    • Part 3: Your examiner will ask you more questions related to the topic in Part 2. You’ll have a deeper conversation about related issues. This part checks how well you can express and justify your opinions and organise your thoughts clearly. This part lasts 4-5 minutes.

    Many test centres now offer the Speaking test via video call, which is just like the face-to-face test in terms of content, scoring, and format.

    Overall, the test assesses your ability to communicate on everyday topics, speak at length, and manage a detailed discussion. It’s important to stay relaxed and speak naturally during the test.


    This part lasts approximately 4-5 minutes.


    When you’re sitting down, your examiner will ask you to say your name and show your ID. Then, you’ll start part one of the test, where you will be asked some general questions about yourself, such as where you live, what you do, etc. This introductory part usually lasts about 30 seconds.


    After the brief introduction, your examiner will then say, “Let’s talk about [TOPIC 1]”, followed by some questions about this topic. After answering a few questions about a topic, the examiner will move to a new topic by saying “Let’s talk about [TOPIC 2]”. You will be asked about up to three different topics.

    These are some of the topics you may be asked about:

    • Birthdays
    • Childhood
    • Clothes
    • Daily routines
    • Entertainment
    • Environment
    • Family
    • Friends
    • Flowers
    • Food and health
    • Going out
    • Happiness
    • Hobbies
    • Home
    • Internet
    • Languages
    • Leisure time
    • Music
    • Neighbours
    • Newspapers
    • Outdoor activities
    • Pets
    • Reading
    • Shopping
    • Sport
    • Transport
    • Weather
    • Work


    In part two of the test, the examiner will give you a piece of paper and a pen, and he’ll then hand you a topic card: a card that describes a topic, along with some points you should cover in your talk. This topic usually requires you to describe something from your experience, such as an object, and event, a place, a person, or an idea.

    Here’s an example of a topic card:


    Describe your favorite book

    You should say:

    • What the book is
    • Who wrote it
    • What the story is about
    • Why it is your favorite book

    And explain how this book makes you feel.

    You will have one minute to prepare your talk, and then you should speak for two minutes.

    You’ll get one minute to prepare and organize your thoughts. During this time, you can jot down notes on the provided paper to use during your talk. After preparation, you need to speak for 1 to 2 minutes on the topic. It’s important to keep talking for at least 1 minute, but you shouldn’t exceed 2 minutes.

    During this part, the examiner evaluates your ability to speak at length on a given topic, use language appropriately, and organize your ideas effectively. This part is designed to test your ability to communicate clearly and coherently in spoken English, particularly your fluency and linguistic coherence when speaking at length.


    This part of the test lasts about 4-5 minutes.

    The discussion in Part 3 is generally related to the topic you spoke about in Part 2. For example, if you talked about your favorite book in Part 2, Part 3 might involve questions about reading habits, the importance of literature in education, or the impact of technology on reading.

    The examiner will ask you several questions that require deeper, more thoughtful responses. These questions are designed to test your ability to articulate and support your views, discuss various aspects of a topic, and handle a more formal and structured discussion.

    How is the IELTS Speaking Test marked?

    The scoring for the IELTS Speaking Test is based on four key criteria, each making up 25% of the total score. Here’s a breakdown of these criteria:

    1. Fluency and Coherence
      • Fluency: Your ability to speak smoothly without excessive pausing or hesitation.
      • Coherence: How logically you connect your ideas and whether you can develop topics in a clear and understandable way.
    2. Lexical Resource
      • Your ability to use vocabulary appropriately and flexibly across various topics. This includes not only the range of words you know but also how appropriately you use them to express meaning clearly and accurately.
    3. Grammatical Range and Accuracy
      • The range of grammar structures you use and how accurately you use them. This criterion evaluates both the complexity of the grammar you employ and how many mistakes you make.
    4. Pronunciation
      • How understandable your speech is to a regular English speaker. This does not require a British or American accent; rather, it focuses on clear articulation, proper intonation, and the use of stress to convey meaning effectively.

    Each of these criteria is scored on a band scale from 0 to 9. To perform well, it’s essential to speak as naturally as possible, be clear and logical in your speech, use a wide range of vocabulary and grammar structures, and work on clear and effective pronunciation.