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Everybody knows how significant it is to ace the IELTS test with flying colours. Besides the fact that it’s an internally-recognised language certification, it’s also the key to getting into your dream course and university. 

The general nature of the Speaking test may seem simple. But there’s a certain test format in place that test takers need to be familiar with to prepare and strategise more efficiently.  

In this article, we’ll take you through the three different parts of the IELTS Speaking test, everything there is to know about the Speaking test format and how to score better for each part.

Part 1: Questions about the test taker (4 - 5 mins)

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Just like a normal conversation, examiners would set the tone of the assessment by starting with simple and introductory questions about the test taker. Think of it as a warm-up.  

These questions typically consist of more familiar topics ranging from their personal interests, family, home life, and anything related to their background.   

Besides introducing themselves, this allows test takers to get the hang of crafting timely responses and getting comfortable with the examiner.   

At the same time, examiners can already get a rough gauge of the test taker’s ability to engage in a conversation and decide how they want the flow of the speaking test to go.   

During Part 1, examiners are always looking out for one’s capacity to speak smoothly while displaying a broad vocabulary range to recount these familiar topics.   

The key to acing the first part of the IELTS Speaking test is to stick to what you know and don’t be afraid to be yourself. Share about your day-to-day activities, different personal interests, and perhaps what life is like at home.

Part 2: Talking about a topic for up to 2 minutes

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Part 2 of the Speaking test is where students will be tested on their ability to continuously talk about a given topic and develop unique ideas about it. All while using proper grammar and vocabulary.  

Test takers will be given a random card with a certain topic. These act as cue cards that would prompt the next stage of the conversation, give examiners more insight into your thoughts, and how you would effectively communicate those messages in the English language.  

Examples of some of these topics can include everything from a book you’ve been reading recently, a female world leader you look up to, a family member that impacted your life, or even something as simple as describing your favourite picture at home.  

You will have one minute to mentally prepare and craft your answers before sharing them for the next two minutes. From there, the examiner will continue to ask a few more questions on the given topic.  

In Part 2, being able to dive deep into a topic with no given prompts and relating them to your own experiences is what examiners are looking out for. Unlike Part 1, which is a more guided conversation, the cue cards given in Part 2 allow students to come up with their own unique responses.  

Try to practice with a range of different topics beforehand, organise your thoughts, and think of your delivery during the actual test.

Part 3: General discussion, linked to Part 2 (4 – 5 mins)

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Last but certainly not least, Part 3 of the Speaking test tackles the responses from Part 2 in an attempt to draw out more abstract and elaborate answers from the students.   

This is where examiners are keeping an eye out for one’s capacity to speak about related issues in much greater depth, provide analysis, and justify their opinions.   

However, expect to be interrupted by the examiner from time to time during this part of the test. This is completely normal and is meant to prompt test takers to dive deeper into the particular topic.   

There is also no preparation time beforehand, which challenges students to think on their feet.  While the topic may have originated from Part 2, one must avoid repeating those ideas in Part 3 to the best of their abilities. The objective is to expand on those answers and share more about your general view as opposed to a personal experience.  

To get a better idea of how to prepare for the last portion of the Speaking test, here’s 4-step strategy test takers can adopt:   

Step 1: Give a direct answer to the question.   Step 2: Explain with reasons.   Step 3: Provide an example to support your answer.  Step 4: Give an alternative or consequence.  

With this strategy, test takers have a clear framework which can be applied to any question thrown at them.   

Practice by having discussions or mini-debates with your friends and family on potential topics such as education, society, and nature, and use that as preparation for the big day!

Do your best in all parts of the IELTS Speaking test! 

Now that you know the ins and outs of the three different parts of the Speaking test, it’s now time for test takers like you to prepare and ace it.   

If you’re looking for that extra boost to help you with your IELTS test preparation, look no further than IDP.   

From a wealth of IELTS test resources available down to the process of booking your test, our goal is to guide each student at every step of their journey.  

 All you have to do is to download the IDP app to gain access to exclusive prep materials.   

Book your IELTS testexternal icon with us today and we’ll take it from there!