In the IELTS Speaking test, you will have a discussion with a certified examiner. It will be interactive and as close to a real-life situation as a test can get.

The IELTS Speaking test is 11-14 minutes long and is in three parts.

Part 1

You will answer questions about yourself and your family.

Part 2

You will speak about a topic.

Part 3

You will have a longer discussion about the topic introduced in Part 2.


The IELTS Speaking test is the same for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests.


IELTS Speaking Part 1

In part 1 of the IELTS Speaking test the examiner will introduce him or herself and ask general questions on familiar topics. First, the examiner will ask you to confirm your identity. He or she will then ask general questions on familiar topics such as home, family, work, studies and interests. Part 1 of the test will last 4-5 minutes.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

In part 2 of the IELTS Speaking test you will be given a task card on a particular topic, and this will include key points that you should talk about. This section of the Speaking test gives you the opportunity to speak for longer on a topic.

You will be given one minute to prepare to talk about the topic on the task card.  A pencil and paper will be provided for you to make notes. You will have to talk for 1-2 minutes, and then the examiner will ask you one or two questions on the same topic. Part 2 takes 3-4 minutes in total.

IELTS Speaking Part 3

In part 3 of the IELTS Speaking test the examiner will ask further questions which are connected to the topics  discussed in part 2. 

This part of the test is designed to give you the opportunity to talk about more abstract issues and ideas. It is a two-way discussion with the examiner, and will last 4-5 minutes.


The examiners award marks under four headings:

FLUENCY AND COHERENCE: speaking in a continuous way, without unnatural hesitation, and organising your thoughts and speech in a logical way.

LEXICAL RESOURCE: using a range of vocabulary appropriate to the topic.

GRAMMATICAL RANGE AND ACCURACY: using a range of grammatical forms, including more complex forms, with a reasonable degree of accuracy.

PRONUNCIATION: speaking so that you can be understood by the examiner.



  • Speak clearly and loudly. Make sure you are heard, but do not yell.
  • Keep eye contact with the examiner, even if he or she looks away or makes notes. If the examiner is writing, looking away, or not smiling, this does not mean that you are doing badly. It just means they are doing their job.
  • Ask the examiner to repeat or explain a question if the task is unclear.
  • You need to sound natural and not as if you have learnt answers by heart. Be spontaneous and relevant.
  • Focus on the task and respond precisely to the question the examiner is asking you.
  • In Part 1, state your answer and then expand, if possible.
  • In Part 2, make notes to answer the questions on the Task Card. Try to do this in one minute. Don’t waste preparation time writing out full sentences. Make notes of just your key ideas.
  • Make a mind map of some of the vocabulary and ideas you can use. The examiner will be listening to see whether you know a range of words related to the topic.
  • Practise to activate what you know.
  • The examiner will give you one minute to make some notes. During this time, he or she will not talk to you. The notes are not marked and will be thrown away after the test. You cannot take them out of the room.
  • You are NOT impressing the examiner if you start immediately without planning, whatever your level. Always make a brief written plan as it helps to keep you on the subject and stops you from wandering away from the points you are asked about.
  • Remember that you are being checked on your fluency and coherence. Coherence involves following a logical and clear argument. If your talk is not organised, you will lose marks.
  • What if you haven’t got any experience of the topic? Don’t panic! Use your imagination and invent some ideas.
  • Remember that the examiner is testing your ability to speak English, not your views or general knowledge.
  • Concentrate generally on what you are saying rather than being accurate. You will then make fewer mistakes.
  • It is important to speak for at least one full minute during Part 2. You can speak up to two minutes if you can. The examiner will tell you to stop and will then ask a question related to the topic.
  • Introduce your topic clearly at the start of your talk, e.g. ‘I’m going to talk about my first job.’ or ‘What I’d like to talk about is…’
  • At the end of your talk, the examiner will lead you to Part 3 by asking you about a more general aspect of the topic.
  • Give a full answer to each question and take the initiative. Think about how topics can be developed so that you are ready to explore the questions you are asked.
  • Answer each question directly. Don’t talk about something unrelated to the examiner’s question.
  • Try to link your ideas so that your speech flows well.




Sample Task Card 1 + follow-up questions

Sample Task Card 2 + follow-up questions

Sample Task Card 3 + follow-up questions

Sample Task Card 4 + follow-up questions

Sample Task Card 5 + follow-up questions

Sample Task Card 6 + follow-up questions

Sample Task Card 7 + follow-up questions

Sample Task Card 8 + follow-up questions

Sample Task Card 9 + follow-up questions

Sample Task Card 10 + follow-up questions


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