IELTS Speaking Test

The IELTS speaking test lasts about 11 to 14 minutes. It has 3 parts, and it’s worth 25% of your IELTS score.

However, the speaking test is very unique because it’s much shorter than the other sections. Specifically, the  IELTS writing test (1 hour), the IELTS listening test (45 minutes), reading (1 hour), and the speaking test (11-14 minutes).

The speaking test is shorter but it gives you more opportunities to practice more basic skills.

Let’s talk more about the IELTS Speaking test.

About the IELTS Speaking test

IELTS speaking test is a face to face with an examiner in a room test. There is only one IELTS speaking test for all students.  The Academic General Training candidates take the same IELTS speaking test. And If you are doing computer-delivered IELTS, you will still have a face to face test with the examiner online.

The speaking test remains the same for everyone. The speaking test is recorded in case, you wanted to ask for a remark if you wish later. Also, the examiner who asks the questions will decide your results at the end of the test.

The test take not less than 11 minutes and not more than 14 minutes.  The person who will do the speaking test for you controls the time and length of your answers.

The Parts Of The Speaking test.

As we have said that the test is between 11 to 14 minutes long and it has three parts. And these three parts of the speaking test are as following:

Part 1 = questions and answers 4 to 5 mins

In this part, the examiner will ask you questions about yourself, your family, your work and your interests. And you have to answer them in 4 to 5 minutes

Part 2 = a talk for 1-2 mins with rounding off questions for 1 min.

In this part, You will be given a task card that asks you to speak about a particular topic and includes points that you can cover in your talk. You will be given 1 minute to prepare your talk. You will then speak for 1-2 minutes.

Part 3 = discussion 4 to 5 mins

In this part, you will have a longer discussion on the topic. The examiner will ask you some questions connected to the topic in Part 2. So you have to get yourself ready.

The IELTS Speaking Test

This is the fun part of the test, for many reasons. You get to rest before it. You are a little tired from the previous 3 parts and therefore more relaxed. The examiners are trained to smile no matter what, so you feel as if you are speaking to your best friend.

The first part of the Speaking test is an interview, which means that the examiner asks you questions about yourself, your work, studies, parents, brothers/sisters, pets, etc. This is an easy task to prepare for.

In the second part of the Speaking test you receive a card with 3-4 questions. After one minute, during which you have to think about something to say, you should give a short speech for one to two minutes, which answers those questions. At the end, the examiner might ask you a couple of additional questions.

In the third part of the test you have a discussion with the examiner. The topic is somehow related to the one from section two, but it is about more abstract ideas. You have to express and justify your opinions.

The examiner will record your session. Don’t worry about it; the recording is to test the examiner and not you.

IELTS Speaking Part 1Introduction and interview (4-5 minutes) In the first part, the examiner will ask a number of general questions. Be prepared to introduce yourself, to say where you come from, and to talk about such topics as your family or home, your count r y or city, your job or studies, your interests or hobbies.
IELTS Speaking Part 2Individual long turn (3-4 minutes) In this part, you are given a card outlining a particular topic and asked to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to prepare and make notes if you wish. Be prepared to describe people, places, or events and to explain their significance to you.
IELTS Speaking Part 3 Two-way discussion (4-5 minutes) In the Last part, the examiner asks questions Linked to the topic in Part 2 and develops a discussion of more abstract issues. Be prepared to listen carefully and respond appropriately, to express opinions and preferences, and give reasons.


IELTS Speaking Marking:

Performance is assessed on the following criteria:

  • Fluency and Coherence:

Do you express ideas and opinions clearly and coherently, without long hesitations?

  • Lexical Resource:

Do you use a wide range of vocabulary?

  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy:

Do you use a wide range of structures and make only a few minor mistakes?

  • Pronunciation:

Are you easy to understand? Do you use English pronunciation features naturally?

The overall result is translated into a score on the IELTS nine-band scale.

IELTS Speaking Test Tips

Tip 1: Don’t memorise answers

Don’t memorise answers especially in Part 1. Memorised language doesn’t give the examiner an accurate measure of your English-language skills. Your examiner will be able to tell if you have memorised your answers and this may influence your final band score.

Tip 2: Don’t use big and unfamiliar words

You may want to impress the examiner with big and complex words in your Speaking test. But to be safe, avoid using words you are not familiar with. There is a higher chance of making mistakes by either mispronouncing words or using them in the wrong context. Mistakes can affect your final band score.

Use a range of vocabulary that you know which is relevant to the topic being discussed. Look at the topics in Tip 10, making vocabulary lists or mind maps to help you learn more words and phrases connected to these topic areas.

Tip 3: Use a range of grammatical structures

When IELTS examiners assess your speaking skills, they mark you against the following assessment criteria:

  • Fluency and coherence
  • Lexical resource
  • Grammatical range and accuracy
  • Pronunciation

Try and use a range of grammatical structures using complex and simple sentences to express what you want to say. Know your own errors and practice speaking to friends in English, or record yourself to see if you can spot errors. If you hear an error, make sure to correct yourself. You are assessed on your ability to use different grammatical structures accurately, so it’s important to practise speaking about the past, the present and the future using correct tenses.

Tip 4: Don’t worry about your accent

With a face-to-face Speaking test, the IELTS examiner understands a wide range of accents so will be able to understand what you say, unlike an AI machine. If you can communicate well, then there is nothing to worry about. But do be aware of sounds that you have difficulty with and make sure to use stress and intonation as English is a stress-timed language. Practice with friends and they will tell you if they can’t understand what you are saying.

Tip 5: Pause to think

There is no harm in taking a brief pause to think about what to say. We all do it to process questions. You can use phrases to give you time to think during the Speaking test – phrases such as:

  • That’s an interesting question
  • I have never thought about that, but…
  • Let me see
  • That’s a good point
  • That’s a difficult question, but I’ll try and answer it
  • Well, some people say that is the case, however, I think…
  • Let me think about that for a minute

Tip 6: Avoid using fillers

Speak confidently and avoid using filler words. We generally use fillers when we don’t know what to say, however, this shows the examiner that you can’t access the appropriate language or ideas so it’s important to avoid them and to use the phrases we gave you in Tip 5.

Avoid the following fillers:

  • Like
  • You know
  • Umm…
  • Ahh…
  • Ehh…
  • Well
  • Yeah…

Tip 7: Extend your answers

Try and answer the examiner’s questions in full. Extend your answers and don’t wait for the examiner to prompt you with a question. When your answers are short, this shows the examiner that you cannot talk in detail about a topic. If the examiner says ‘Why?’, they are prompting you to give a reason for your answer and to extend more fully.

Tip 8: Smiling helps pronunciation

Smiling can help calm your nerves which in turn helps your pronunciation. Make sure to enunciate clearly, opening your mouth wide enough so that sounds come out clearly. When we smile, our mouth is bigger and the tone of our voice is more friendly. Using clear enunciation and tone will show the examiner that you can use a range of pronunciation features.

Tip 9: Don’t speak in a monotone

Sometimes when we speak, we produce a flat sound, a monotone, with little variation. This makes it more difficult to express what you say and makes it more difficult for the listener to identify what parts of your message are important. Putting emphasis on certain words and pausing at sections in your speech can make your conversation with the IELTS examiner more engaging. When we emphasise certain words it makes it easier to compare and contrast ideas by stressing keywords. It also increases the flow of conversation, so remember:

  • Don’t speak in a monotone
  • Vary the stress and intonation to add emphasis
  • Use your hands to gesture and help the rhythm of the conversation

Tip 10 – Practice common IELTS topics

Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking test requires you to speak on a given topic for about 2 minutes. Practice common IELTS topics with friends, family or colleagues to improve and to learn vocabulary associated with each topic.

Common topics you can practice for the Speaking test include:

  • Tourism and travel
  • Education
  • Transport
  • Environment
  • Family life
  • Sport and recreation
  • Crime and punishment
  • The internet
  • Advertising and retail

At the end, you have to know that the IELTS test will be so easy if you had enough practice before the test. You can see the latest versions of the speaking test in IELTS the New IELTS Speaking Actual Tests 2020. This book has some fresh questions for the speaking test with model answers. You can use these questions to test yourself. Good luck with your upcoming test. You can also check The Best IELTS 14 Speaking Materials 2020 for more Speaking materials.