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Things you need to be aware of in the IELTS Speaking Test

Below is an example of the IELTS Speaking test. Note how the “Examiner question”, “Candidate response” and the “”Response notes” are clearly indicated by the symbols before them.

IELTS speaking exam

Be aware of not doing these things in the IELTS Speaking Test

You should not speak too quickly or too slowly. It is also important to have good intonation and stress.

You will not get a high score if you are too hesitant and have too many pauses when you speak, although a few pauses to collect your thoughts are fine.

IELTS speaking exam 1

Try not to speak too quickly, either. Rapid speech often indicates a lack of cohesion in what you are saying and severely affects the rhythm and flow of your speech.

IELTS speaking exam 2

Some features of spoken English are acceptable in the Speaking Test.

The use of contractions in the Speaking Test is fine – for example, “I’ll for “I will” and “I’d” for “I would”.

IELTS speaking exam 3
Conversation markers – such as “Well”, “Let me see” or “To be honest” – are useful in the exam if you are trying to think what you will say next, and could improve your score if used well.

IELTS speaking exam 4

Always try to use a wide variety of vocabulary when you speak.

IELTS speaking exam 5


Overview of the Parts of the Speaking Exam

Part One of the exam can have up to three groups of questions and last for 4 to 5 minutes overall.

The topics are always about something familiar to you, such as “what you do”, “accommodation” or “transport”.

Sample Questions Part One:

Let’s talk about your accommodation

  • Do you live in a house or an apartment?
  • How long have you lived there?
  • Do many people live your house/apartment with you?
  • How would you improve the building you live in?


Sample Questions Part One:

Let’s turn to the topic about transport

  • How do you usually travel to work or college/school?
  • Are public transport services good where you live (why/why not)?
  • How could transport be improved?


The examiner will introduce the topic before asking specific questions. Always try to give a full answer, and don’t change the topic or ask questions when responding to the examiner in Part One, unless it is important.

In Part Two of the exam you are required to speak for up to 2 minutes, but not less than 1 minute, on a topic the examiner provides on a task card. Before you speak you are given exactly 1 minute to think about what you want to say and make some notes on a piece of paper.

You can refer to the task card while speaking, so there is no need to write the questions down in full in the writing time. You must address all the requirements on the task card. Here is an example of notes made that focus on what, who, where and why, with key points for each.

Unlike Part One, the questions in Part Three, which lasts 4 to 5 minutes and are generally related to the topic in Part Two, are more discussion focused and requires you to suggest reasons for something or think about what might happen in the future, for example:


The examiner might also ask follow up questions to try to get you to justify or expand on a comment you made previously.

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