The IELTS speaking test is one of the many assessments you’ll be expected to take. When you register for the International English Testing System (IELTS) exams, you’ll be asked to take a series of tests to determine your English language proficiency..
One of the key IELTS Test assessments is your speaking ability. You’ll have a face-to-face conversation with a certified examiner in the speaking skill phase.
You’ll be questioned about topics you’re familiar with, such as your home, work, or academics. This talk will be recorded and will last approximately 11-14 minutes in total. Try to relax when you’re in front of the examiner so you can speak as naturally as possible.
Purpose of the IELTS Speaking Test
The IELTS Speaking test is used to evaluate a variety of skills.
The examiner will be looking to evaluate how well you can
- Speak at length on a given topic using appropriate language
- Analyse, discuss and speculate about issues
- Communicate opinions and information on everyday topics and common experiences; to do this you will need to answer a range of questions
- Express and justify your opinions
- Organise your ideas coherently
- Make sure that you relax and talk fluently. You will need to speak naturally.
Prepare For IELTS Speaking Test
The IELTS Speaking test takes 11-14 minutes.
Three sections of the IELTS Speaking Test
The Speaking test is made up of three sections:
Section Duration Information
Part 1 Introduction and interview 4-5 minutes The examiner will introduce him or herself and ask you to introduce yourself and confirm your identity. The examiner will ask you general questions on familiar topics, e.g. home, family, work, studies and interests. This section should help you relax and talk naturally.
Part 2 Individual long turn 3-4 minutes The examiner will give you a task card which asks you to talk about a particular topic, including points to include in your talk. You will be given one minute to prepare and make notes. You will then be asked to talk for 1-2 minutes on the topic. You’ll not be interrupted during this time, so it is important to keep talking. The examiner will then ask you one or two questions on the same topic.
Part 3 Two-way discussion 4-5 minutes The examiner will ask you further questions which are connected to the topic of Part 2. These questions are designed to give you an opportunity to discuss more abstract issues and ideas.
They are sections to the assessment criteria for the IELTS speaking test.
The first is Fluency and Coherence. The means how easily and clearly you are able to speak. The second section is the Lexical Resource, which concerns your vocabulary. Another assessment criteria is your Pronunciation, where stress, intonation, and saying words correctly are important. The fourth of the assessment criteria is Grammar.
To score high in this test, you’ll need to have a mix of complex, compound, and simple sentences. You’ll also need to apply the right tenses and word forms in the right situations. Finally, you must use your grammar to express your ideas clearly.
Below is a guide on how to prepare for the three (3) sections of the IELTS speaking test.
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 you are studying and why.
- What your favourite type of music/books/films is/are
- The nature of your job
- What your hobbies/interests are, etc.
- In answering these questions, you need to sound as natural as possible. Also, avoid overlong or short yes/no answers. Try and be calm while providing articulated answers to the questions.
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.
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!