How to Prepare for the IELTS Speaking Test

One of the sections in the IELTS Test assesses your speaking skills. This section consists of three face-to-face sessions which will be recorded and takes 11-14 minutes to complete in total. You can prepare for the speaking section by practicing English with your friends, family or even complete strangers, but there are some other specific tips and tricks you should know before the test day.



Part 1

Part 1 of the Speaking Test lasts 4-5 minutes and you will be asked questions about a number of everyday topics, e.g. your work/studies, your hometown, free time, holidays, music, books, films, etc. Before the test, think of and remember important words for these topics. Make sure you can say in English:What your job is

  • What you are studying and why
  • What your favourite type of music/books/films is/are
  • What your hobbies/interests are, etc.

Don’t write out and learn your answers by heart! They won’t sound natural and the examiner will know! Also, avoid overlong or short yes/no answers. Try to imagine a friend of a friend, whom you don’t know, is asking you these questions. Put your shoulders down, take a deep breath and smile. You can do this!


Part 2

Part 2 lasts 3-4 minutes and you’ll be given a topic to speak about for 2 minutes. You have 1 minute to prepare and there will be a number of points/ideas that you must include, so make sure to:

  • Use the preparation time well;
  • Make brief notes;
  • Think about the order in which you will use your notes;
  • Think about the tenses you will use.

You can broaden out the topic by spending some of the time talking about, for example, other people or places involved in the topic, your feelings, etc. Just make sure that you don’t go off-topic! Keep to your notes and make sure you cover the points on the topic card. If you can’t remember an important word, think how you could paraphrase it, describe it, or avoid it! If you make a grammar mistake, try to correct it, but don’t worry too much. We all make grammar mistakes when we’re talking, even native speakers.


Part 3

The last part of the test takes 4-5 minutes to complete and consists of a discussion between you and the examiner. He or she will ask for your opinions/ideas/speculations/comparisons related to the topic in part 2, so this is your chance to shine!

  • Listen to the question carefully so that your answer reflects the grammar/tense of the question.
  • If you can’t think of an answer/opinion immediately, buy some time: rephrase the question or hedge (e.g. That’s an interesting question. I haven’t thought about that before)
  • Above all else, relax and stay calm!

To practice for the speaking section of the IELTS, there is plenty of material online.

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