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A quick look at IELTS Speaking test

Duration: 11 to 14 minutes  

The Speaking test will assess your use of spoken English. The test will last between 11 and 14 minutes where you will discuss a variety of topics with an IELTS examiner. Your test will take place in a quiet room with an examiner who will encourage you to keep speaking. Unlike an AI test, an IELTS examiner will be able to make you feel relaxed and confident. They’re also able to understand your accent to ensure you get the best possible score. There are 3 parts to the Speaking test.  

Part 1  

The examiner will ask you general questions about yourself and a range of familiar topics, such as home, family, work, studies and interests. This part lasts between 4 and 5 minutes.  

Part 2  

You will be given a task card and the examiner will ask you to talk about a topic. You will have 1 minute to prepare before speaking for up to 2 minutes. The examiner will then ask one or two questions on the same topic to finish this part of the test.  

Part 3

You will be asked further questions connected to the topic in Part 2. These questions will allow you to discuss more abstract ideas and issues. This part of the test lasts between 4 and 5 minutes. 

Part 1: Introduction and questions on familiar topics

4 to 5 minutes 

Part 1 of the test will start with the examiner asking you to state your name and show your identification. 

Next, you will be asked general questions about yourself such as where you live or what you are currently doing (working or studying). 

You will then be asked some questions about a range of familiar topics, for example, about the music you like, cooking, the weather, or movies you prefer. You will generally be asked about one or two topics.  

The examiner will ask scripted questions and will listen to your answer, prompting you to extend your response with a “why?” or “why not?” if your answer is too short.  

This part of the test follows a question-answer format focusing on your ability to communicate opinions and information on everyday topics by answering a range of questions. 

Sample task

Have a go at this sample task for IELTS Speaking, Part 1:

Part 2: Individual long turn

3 to 4 minutes 

After Part 1, the examiner will give you a topic and will ask you to talk about it for one to two minutes. 

The topic will be handed to you on a card and you will also be given a piece of paper and a pencil for making notes. On the card, you will see the speaking prompt and some points you can cover in your talk relating to this. 

You will have exactly one minute to prepare and make notes before you speak. The examiner will use a timer and will tell you when your time is up.  

The examiner will tell you when to start your talk and will remind you that they will stop you after 2 minutes.  The points on the task card will help you to think of what to say and you should try to keep talking for the full 2 minutes. They may ask you a question about what you have said before going on to the next section. 

This part of the test assesses your ability to speak at length on a particular topic, using appropriate language and organising your ideas in a logical way. You can use your own experience on the topic to help complete the long turn.

Sample task

Have a go at this sample task for IELTS Speaking, Part 2:

Part 3: Two-way discussion

4 to 5 minutes 

The questions in part three will be connected to the general topic that you spoke about in Part 2. You will discuss the topic in a more general and abstract way showing the examiner that you are able to express and justify your opinions, analyse, discuss and speculate on the topic in more depth. 

If your long turn was about a beautiful place to visit in your city, this section might begin by talking about beautiful places and the first question might be, “Do you think it’s important to maintain beautiful places in cities?” 

The examiner will speak more with you in this section and may ask you to justify your opinions to see how well you are able to communicate about abstract ideas compared to the personal topics you spoke about in Parts 1 and 2. 

In Part 3, you are assessed on your ability to express and justify opinions and to analyse, discuss and speculate about a range of issues connected to the general topic you spoke about in Part 2.  

Sample task

Have a go at this sample task for IELTS Speaking, Part 3: