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IELTS Speaking Test Topics

Are you planning to take your IELTS Speaking test soon?  If so, it is important to understand the test format and the types of questions that you may be asked.  It is also useful to do a bit of research to review the common topics that are seen in the IELTS test so that you are prepared for test day.

What is the format of the test?

The IELTS Speaking test is always delivered in real time face to face with an examiner.  You may either do this at a test centre or over a video call. There are three parts during the test and the whole test combined will take approximately 15 minutes.

Part 1: Introduction and interview – you will be asked some questions about familiar topics in English.  Some example topics are:

  • Hometown
  • Family or friends
  • Hobbies or activities in your spare time
  • Work or studies

This part lasts for around 5 minutes.

Part 2: Individual long turn – you will be given a card with a topic on it and you will have to speak about that topic for between 1 to 2 minutes.  You will have 1 minute to prepare for this topic and you can take notes during this time.  Some example topics may be:

  • Describe someone you know (i.e. a friend, a memorable teacher, someone you respect)
  • Describe a film/TV show or book you enjoyed
  • Describe an important possession you own
  • Describe an interesting experience (i.e. your last holiday)

You will also get some extra details on your card to help you come up with some ideas for your short talk. You then may get some extra questions about this topic.

Part 3 – Two-way discussion – in this section, you will be asked some more detailed questions which are linked to part 2.  Usually, these questions ask you for your opinion on a certain topic or situation.  The examiner will not time your answers, but answers to part 3 questions usually have more detail than the questions you get in part 1.

Examples of Speaking Test Topics

Let’s look at some specific examples for each part and ways that they can be answered

Part 1:

Let’s talk about your hometown or village.

  • What kind of place is it?
  • What’s the most interesting part of your town/village?
  • What kind of jobs do the people in your town/village do?
  • Would you say it’s a good place to live? (Why?)

Let’s move on to talk about accommodation.

  • Tell me about the kind of accommodation you live in?
  • How long have you lived there?
  • What do you like about living there?
  • What sort of accommodation would you most like to live in?

See examples here on how to answer these types of questions.

Part 2:

Describe something you own which is very important to you.

You should say:

  • where you got it from
  • how long you have had it
  • what you use it for and explain why it is important to you.

Rounding off questions

Is it valuable in terms of money?

Would it be easy to replace?

See an sample answer to this task.

Part 3:

Let’s consider first of all how people’s values have changed.

  • What kind of things give status to people in your country?
  • Have things changed since your parents’ time?

Finally, let’s talk about the role of advertising.

  • Do you think advertising influences what people buy?

Look at some sample answers to these types of questions.

Once you have checked the sample answers, practice the questions above with a friend!

Tips for test day

Part 1 Tips:

Try to give some extra details to your answers as this will help increase your score

Adding extra detail will help your score.  For example:

Do you like your hometown?

Student A: Yes, I do

Student B: Oh, yes very much. I especially like the weather as it is warm all year round

Student B’s answer is better as it uses more vocabulary and a more complex sentence structure.

Don’t talk for too long!

Giving one or two examples for each question is good but try not to speak for too long on each question in this section as you may repeat yourself and this may affect your coherence scores.  If you are satisfied that you have answered the question, stop talking!

Part 2 Tips:

Time yourself when you practice

It is vital to time yourself, so you experience what it feels like to speak about the topic for between 1 to 2 minutes. You can practice this on the free British Council IELTS preparation app.

Make Notes!

Before you speak, you have a bit of time to take notes.  Think of useful vocabulary you can use for your talk and take this time to plan out your ideas.

Cover all the points

Make sure you pace your talk evenly so that you have covered all the points that the card has instructed you to.

Part 3 Tips:

If you don’t understand the question, say so!

Never attempt to answer a question that you have not understood properly.  If you don’t understand the question, you can ask the examiner to repeat the question. If there is a word in the question that you don’t understand, you can ask for clarification.

Give yourself some “thinking” time

You don’t have to provide an answer immediately. Give yourself some thinking time by adding a “filler”.  This will buy you some time to think of an answer.  Some examples are:

  • That’s an interesting question..
  • Well, let me have a think about that..
  • I’ve never thought about that, let me see…

Need more preparation resources?

If you would like a variety of free preparation resources, visit our prepare page.

Ready to take your IELTS test? 

With over 110 locations across Canada, you can search for your city and find your closest IELTS test centre on our registration page.

Best of luck with your IELTS preparation!