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The Speaking test is an assessment of how well and fluid your spoken English is and is divided into 3 parts, regardless of whether you are sitting for the Academic or General Training test. 

Here’s what you must know about the IELTS Speaking test and how to prepare in order to deliver your best performance on test day! 

The IELTS Speaking test - Four things you need to know 

speaking test with female examiner

1. How the Speaking test will be conducted

The Speaking test will be conducted face-to-face with a human examiner, at IELTS test centres whether it is the IELTS on paper or IELTS on computer format. 

The Speaking test will last between 11 to 14 minutes and will largely be very conversational where questions will be asked and topics will be discussed. 

2. The three parts of the Speaking test

Task 1 - Interview style

The first part of the Speaking test involves the examiner asking you questions about yourself and your lifestyle. This includes topics such as home living, your family, work and hobbies.

It will be very familiar in nature and will last between 4 to 5 minutes.

Task 2 - Topic presentation

The second part of the Speaking test involves you taking a task card with a topic. You will then be given one minute to make notes on the topic, pencil and paper will be provided, in order to better prepare your thoughts and response.

You will then speak on the topic for up to 2 minutes before the examiner will stop you and ask a series of questions on the same topic. The session will last between 3 to 4 minutes including the preparation time.

Task 3 - General discussion

In the final part of the test, you will have a discussion on issues related to the topic in Part 2. It will be done in a general way and possibly go in-depth depending on the situation.

This section of the Speaking test will last between 4 to 5 minutes.

Three parts of speaking test

3. How you will be assessed on test day

Your Speaking test will be assessed based on four main criteria: 

  • Fluency and coherence 

  • Lexical resource 

  • Grammatical range and accuracy 

  • Pronunciation 

The key here is to hold as fluid, wide and natural of a conversation as possible. Here are three tips you can use to score better and impress your examiner. 

A. Use a wider range of grammatical structures and vocabulary

Try to utilise a range of simple and complex sentences to express your thoughts. You want to mix it up as well as showcase your vocabulary during the conversation.

While adding complexity is good, you want to make sure you are familiar with using them and avoid making mistakes or fillers just for the sake of it. There has to be a purpose to the sentence or words used.

B. Don’t focus on your accent

One of the worst things you can do is to worry about your accent. This could cause you to become too self-conscious and lose confidence, resulting in speaking poorly even though you know your topic and what to say.

IELTS examiners are used to a wide range of accents so you don’t have to worry. Just focus on the content and the conversation.

C. Extend your answers and go deeper

One great way to impress your examiner is to go deeper into the topic and answer in full. Give more details in your answer and always try to answer the ‘why’ to your statement.

The more you can justify your opinions or viewpoints the better!

4. How to better prepare yourself for the Speaking test

A great way to ensure you are well-prepared is to start taking sample practice tests that will mimic the real conditions of the Speaking test. 

You can access our test preparation materials here

In addition, you can also attend a free IELTS Masterclass presented by IELTS experts who will share tips and tricks, including on the speaking part, to help you score better with confidence! 

If you prefer a paid option to simulate the exact test you will encounter, without the actual grading, you can take the IELTS Progress Check paid test

It will be as close as possible to the real deal and you will also get back personalised feedback that will be valuable to help you pinpoint areas that need improvement. 

Increase your vocabulary

Prepare for the IELTS Speaking test with IDP today

Preparing early for your IELTS Speaking test is critical to success.  

It gives you time to get familiar with the format and hold practice conversations to help you achieve the band score you desire. 

Take the time to go through our resources and prepare yourself better with our wide range of sample tests at your disposal! 

And once you are ready, you can book your IELTS test here