The speaking part of the IELTS test is divided into three parts. What is the examiner looking for?

  • fluency - speaking without hesitation/using a range of ways to connect your ideas
  • lexical resource - using a wide range of vocabulary/ the ability to talk about different subjects using idiomatic language
  • grammar - using a wide range of structures accurately
  • pronunciation - can you be easily understood?

Here is what to expect:

Part 1 : 4-5 minutes introduction/ general questions. The examiner will introduce her/himself and will ask you your name. You will be then asked questions about some general subjects. EG Home, studies, work, hobbies

Can I have your name please?

What kind of accommodation do you live in?

Do you like studying? Why/why not?

What do you do for a living?

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

To get the interview off to a good start, give full relevant answers. Don't make your answers too long though as the examiner is likely to stop you. Avoid one word answers. EG Do you like your job? Yes. Always explain your answers by giving reasons why.

Do you like your job? 

Yes, I do. It's very interesting and gives me a chance to meet new people.

Give your opinions and reasons for them, the examiner is assessing your communication skills.

Do you prefer watching TV or reading in the evenings?

I prefer watching TV. I'm normally very tired after work........

Part 2: 3-4 minutes. You will be given a task card with a specific thing to talk about with key points that you should include in your answer. You are given 1 minute to prepare and you can use a pen and a piece of paper. You then talk for 1 -2 minutes. Always use the 1 minute to make notes. Try to make 2-3 points for each question, if you can. Practise making notes quickly.

Example Task Card :

Describe an occasion when someone visited your home. You should say

who the person was

what the occasion was

what you did during the visit

and explain how you felt about the person's visit

This is a chance to talk about something familiar. Make sure you use all your "interesting" vocabulary and expressions. The last point on the card often asks about your opinion. Make sure you answer this, especially if your answers tend to be around 1 minute. Use the structure on the task card to give your answer.  Start with " I'm going to speak about an occasion when someone visited my home. The person  was my cousin. He lives in........./ Moving onto what the occasion was............./ Finally, I felt really happy to see my cousin after such a long time. So that's why I decided to talk about my cousin's visit." Always try and speak about something that is real. It is much easier to do this than to make something up. Always give reasons for your answers "There are a few reasons I believe that......./ The main reason I think......." If you can't remember a word "I can't remember the word, but it's like......." If you get confused while explaining something " Sorry, let me start again......

Part 3: 4-5 minutes. The examiner will ask you questions that are in some way connected to Part 2. This is a two way discussion with the examiner. As this is a discussion you will be expected to give more detailed answers than in Part 1. Therefore, you need to have a technique to help you give longer answers.  Here are some tips:

  • answer the examiner's question
  • give some reasons why
  • give examples
  • offer a different point of view

Part 3 Questions:

How often do you get together with your family?/ In your country, what sorts of things do people do together as a family?/ Do people do things together as a family when their are national holidays and festivals?/ What are the benefits of doing things together as a family?


The best way to prepare for the speaking part is, rather surprisingly, to SPEAK ENGLISH A LOT! The best way (of course) is to find a highly - experienced, patient and friendly teacher and have regular classes with lots of advice and feedback ;) Book you free trial class here. But if you can't afford one to one classes, you must find someone to practise with on a regular basis. Practise speaking about : your studies/ job/ home/ home town/ where you live/ family/ hobbies. Record your answers and get used to speaking for 1 -2 minutes, so that you know how long this "feels".

Problems understanding the examiner?   

PART 1 -the examiner is not allowed to help you. But he/she can repeat the question.

Sorry can you say the question again, please?

PART 2 - the examiner is not allowed to help.

PART 3 - the examiner is allowed to rephrase the question.

Can you say that in a different way, please?

Keeley is a good teacher who is very professional. She has a standard British accent.
— Zhe Xiao, China



Any questions? Contact me on the chat box below! Good luck:)