English proficiency Exam

IELTS Speaking Test and Tips

8 min read
Blog Summary Preparing for the IELTS Speaking Test? This blog holds the key to your success! Unveil expert tips for acing the interview-style IELTS Speaking Test. From conquering nervousness to mastering the test pattern, discover how to shine in this face-to-face assessment. Delve into the format, score breakdown, and expected questions for each section. Learn to craft fluent, coherent responses with varied grammar and pronunciation. Sidestep common pitfalls and enhance your vocabulary. With 7 essential tips to boost your confidence and performance, you're on your way to nailing the IELTS Speaking Test.

IELTS Speaking Test: How to Prepare for it and IELTS Speaking Tips 

If you are reading this blog, you must be trying to prepare for the IELTS Speaking Test and wondering how to ace it. The IELTS Speaking test involves a face-to-face interview between the test-taker and a qualified examiner that lasts for about 11 to 14 minutes. Being assessed live in front of an examiner during the IELTS speaking test can be daunting. However, you can easily ace this section if you are familiar with the various IELTS Speaking topics and questions you might encounter on that day. Preparing well for the IELTS Speaking test is essential, and you must first understand the test pattern, scoring methods, question types and more. Continue reading to get a clear idea of what to expect for your IELTS Speaking test, and follow the IELTS Speaking tips to get your desired scores in this section.

Read more: IELTS Exam: Overview 

IELTS Speaking Test Format 

IELTS Speaking Test Sections 

IELTS Speaking Test Format 

IELTS Speaking Test Time 

Part 1

Introduction and Interview 

4-5 minutes 

Part 2

Individual Long Term 

3-4 minutes 

Part 3

Two-way Discussion 

4-5 minutes 

IELTS Speaking Test Part 1

In the Introduction and Interview section, the test-taker has to answer general questions related to themselves and certain familiar topics like their family, home, studies, interests and such. 

IELTS Speaking Test Part 2

In the Individual Long-Term section, a test taker gets one minute to prepare and will have to speak for up to two minutes. The test taker is given a card with a particular topic, 

and the examiner may question them on the same topic at the end as part of the test. 

IELTS Speaking Test Part 3

In this Two-way Discussion section, the test taker will further be questioned by the examiner on the topic they had received in the IELTS Speaking Test Part 2. This is an opportunity for the test taker to discuss the topic in detail and share their opinions and views. 

IELTS Speaking Test Score 

The IELTS Speaking test score is calculated based on a set of highly specific Speaking Assessment Criteria. The following table will give a detailed overview of the IELTS Speaking Test scoring pattern.


IELTS Speaking Test Criteria

IELTS Speaking Test Criteria Explained 

IELTS Speaking Test Key Indicators 


Fluency and Coherence 

The ability to speak with a standard rate of continuity and to link thoughts and language together to create coherent, connected speech.

For Fluency 

  • Speech Rate 
  • Speech Continuity 

For coherence 

  • Logical sequencing of sentences 
  • Clear marking of stages in a discussion 
  • Narration or argument 
  • Use of cohesive devices like pronouns, conjunctions, etc., within and between sentences 


Lexical Resource 

It refers to the range of vocabulary possessed by the test taker and their ability to express meanings and attitudes precisely. 

  • Variety of words used 
  • Adequacy of words used
  • Appropriacy of words used 
  • Ability to circumlocute with or without noticeable hesitation*


Grammatical Range and Accuracy, 

The grammatical range and accuracy of the test taker’s grammatical resource are tested. 

For Grammatical Range 

  • Length of a spoken sentence 
  • Complexity of spoken sentence 
  • Appropriate use of subordinate clauses 
  • Range of sentence structures 

For Grammatical Accuracy 

  • Number of grammatical errors in a particular amount of speech
  • Communicative effect of error 



This refers to the capacity of the test taker to generate comprehensible speech that meets the requirements of the Speaking test.

  • Amount of strain to the listener 
  • Amount of speech that is unintelligible 
  • Noticeability of influence of the first language of the test taker 

* The ability to use other words to get around a vocabulary gap 

IELTS Speaking Questions 

This section will cover the IELTS Speaking topics you will likely get in your exam. The key to acing the IELTS Speaking test is to prepare ideas for these topics and not memorise them. It is important that you sound natural when you speak. 

IELTS Speaking Test Questions (Part 1)

Here are some of the IELTS speaking questions that you can prepare for in Part 1:

  • Study 
  • Work
  • Hometown
  • Childhood 
  • Family and Friends 
  • Birthday 
  • Interests 
  • Hobbies 
  • Leisure time 
  • Neighbours and Neighbourhood 
  • Weather 
  • Pets 

Here is a table of the four main IELTS Speaking topics you can get in Part 1 and the questions you can expect:


IELTS Speaking Topics (Part 1)

IELTS Speaking Test Sample Questions 



What do you study?

Why did you choose that subject?

Is it a popular subject in your country?

Do you like the subject?

What are the main aspects of your subject?

If you had a chance, would you change your subject?

Do you plan to get a job in the same field as your subject?



What is your job?

Where do you work?

Do you get along well with your colleagues?

Why did you choose this job?

What was your first day like?

Do you like your job?

What are the responsibilities you have at work?

Do you plan to continue with your job in the future?



Where is your home?

Do you live in a house or a flat?

Who do you live with?

What is your favourite room?

If you had a chance, what would you change about your home?

What facilities are there near your home?

What is your neighbourhood like?



Where is your hometown?

Do you visit your hometown often?

What is the oldest place in your hometown?

Is there good public transportation in your hometown?

How can your hometown be improved?

Has your hometown changed much since you were a child?

Do you think your hometown is a good place to bring up children?

Check out the following links to prepare for the IELTS Speaking Test Part 1

IELTS Speaking Test Sample 1 (Part 1) 

IELTS Speaking Test Sample 2 (Part 1)

IELTS Speaking Test Questions (Part 2)

In part 2 of the IELTS Speaking test, you will get one minute to prepare on the topic given to you in the card. Start preparing the topic as soon as you get the card, pen and paper. You will be informed by the examiner when to start speaking. Here are some IELTS Speaking topics with answers you can prepare for in Part 2 of the test.

Example 1: Describe a book you have recently read.

You could say:

  • What kind of book is it 
  • What is the book about
  • What sort of people would like the book
  • Explain why you like the book 

Example 2: Describe a journey that didn’t go as planned.

You could say:

  • Where were you travelling to 
  • How were you going to travel 
  • Who were you planning on travelling with 
  • What went wrong 
  • Explain what you would do differently the next time 

Example 3: Describe a teacher who has greatly influenced you.

You could say: 

  • Which subject they taught 
  • What was special about them
  • Explain why this person had a big impact on you

Example 4: Describe a piece of advice you recently received 

You could say: 

  • Who gave you the advice 
  • When this happened 
  • What the advice was 
  • Explain how you felt about the advice

For more practice on the IELTS Speaking test Part 2, check out the following links:

IELTS Speaking Test Sample 1 (Part 2)

IELTS Speaking Test Sample 2 (Part 2)

IELTS Speaking Test Questions (Part 3)

In this section, the examiner will ask you a broader range of questions on the topic you received in Part 2. This section requires you to expand on your answers, give examples, and support your answers with reasons. Here are some questions you can expect in Part 3.


IELTS Speaking Topics (Part 3)

IELTS Speaking Test Sample Questions 



Do you think children can learn a lot from books?

Do you think paper books will be outdated one day?

What are the advantages of an e-book?

Do you think libraries are still useful in today’s society?

Do you think fairy tales are useful books for children?


Media and News 

Do you believe everything you read in the newspaper?

Should children be allowed to watch a lot of T.V.?

Do you think T.V. influences how we think?

Do you think famous people are responsible for acting as role models for the younger generation?

How has T.V. changed our lives?



Why do you think some people prefer to travel abroad than in their own country?

How have holidays changed in the last few decades?

Do you think it is safer to travel now than in the past?

Do you think travelling to a foreign country can change how people think?

Check out the following links to get an idea of the IELTS Speaking Test Questions for Part 3:

IELTS Speaking Test Sample 1 (Part 3)

IELTS Speaking Test Sample 2 (Part 3)

7 IELTS Speaking Tips 

In the IELTS Speaking test, the examiner mainly evaluates how articulate you are and how confident you sound while talking in English. Here are 7 IELTS Speaking tips to help you nail this section:

1. Avoid memorising answers 

An examiner will be able to quickly identify if you have memorised the answers, especially in Part 1. Suppose you memorise the answers in the IELTS Speaking test. In that case, the examiner won’t be able to evaluate your accurate proficiency in the English language, which in turn might reflect on your final band score.

2. Ensure to use various grammatical structures

While expressing your opinions, make sure to use a range of grammatical structures through both simple and complex sentences. Avoid answering questions with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Instead, develop your responses to each question and try to be detailed in your answers. It is important to know how to speak about the past, present and future using the right tenses. 

3. Steer clear of big and unfamiliar words 

To be on the safe side, avoid using big and complex words that you are unfamiliar with. Keep your speech simple and casual to avoid mispronouncing or using words in the wrong context. 

4. Take sufficient pauses 

If you need some time to ponder what you want to say or process a question, there is no harm in taking a brief pause. You can make use of some of these phrases to give yourself some time to think:

  • That’s an interesting question…
  • I’ve never thought about that before…
  • Let me see…
  • That’s a difficult question, but I’ll try and answer it…

5. Avoid using fillers.

During your IELTS Speaking test, ensure you respond confidently to all the questions. Fillers such as “umm”, “ahh”, “well”, “like”, etc., are often used when you are not sure of what to say. However, this gives the examiner the impression that you cannot access the appropriate words or ideas at the right time. So be careful to avoid using such fillers in your speech. 

6. Don’t speak in a monotone 

If the tone of your responses in the IELTS Speaking test is monotonous, with very little variation, it might affect your band score. When you don’t emphasise the important points in your speech and don’t take the necessary pauses, your ideas will not get expressed effectively. So for an engaging conversation, ensure that you vary the stress and intonation to deliver your ideas successfully.

7. Consistently practice common IELTS topics. 

Start practising common IELTS topics with your friends or family members to improve your fluency and vocabulary. You can also record yourself and replay it to identify your weak areas that can be improved. 


Frequently Asked Questions

How to improve IELTS Speaking?

Here are some IELTS Speaking tips to keep in mind to perform well and get your desired score:

  • Record yourself speaking and identify your mistakes 
  • Know what to expect 
  • Don’t memorise the answers 
  • Speak clearly, fluently and naturally
  • Make the most of the time allotted for the test