IELTS Speaking Test

The Speaking part of an IELTS test takes a slightly different format to the other three sections. It is the only section that is completed face-to-face with an examiner, rather than on paper (or on a computer).
If you need to get prepared for the Speaking part of the test, we have everything you need to get ready. From information on what to expect on the day, to top study tips and how to access useful and free practice materials.

What is the IELTS Speaking test?

IELTS Speaking is one of four parts of your IELTS test, the others being Reading, Writing and Listening. The Speaking test takes place in a separate, private room with just you and the examiner. It assesses a wide range of skills, including your ability to:

  • Talk at length on a given topic, using appropriate language.
  • Communicate opinions on everyday topics and discuss common experiences.
  • Express and justify opinions.
  • Organise your ideas coherently.
  • Analyse, discuss and speculate about issues.

Speaking test format

The IELTS Speaking section lasts 11-14 minutes in total and it aims to be like real-life conversations as closely as possible. There are three sections to your Speaking test which include:

IELTS Speaking Part 1:

This involves answering questions about yourself and your family. The examiner will lead the discussion with some questions. This part will last around 4 to 5 minutes.

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IELTS Speaking Part 2:

Speaking about a topic chosen by the examiner, you’ll have approximately 1 minute to prepare once you’ve been given your topic. You will then be asked to talk about it for a further 2 minutes.

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IELTS Speaking Part 3:

A longer, more in-depth discussion about the topic presented in Part 2. This is a two-way discussion with the examiner and lasts for around 4 to 5 minutes.

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How do I prepare for my IELTS Speaking test?

We recommend finding a study partner to practice your speaking with. This will help to replicate the exam scenario as closely as possible and give you valuable practice for test day. Once you’ve found someone to practise with, we recommend you use the free practice materials online provided by British Council. We have lots of past tests you can use to help you prepare for your IELTS Speaking exam.

Free practice tests

*Top Tip: Practise the 3 parts of the Speaking test one straight after the other, just as you would do in your exam. This will help to replicate the exam experience as closely as possible and ensure you’re prepared for test day.

How much time do I need to put into preparation?

The more prepared you feel, the more likely you are to succeed on the day.

It’s hard to say exactly how much time you’ll need to prepare, as this will differ based on how quickly you learn and how confident you are at speaking in English. We would recommend as much practice as possible, as this will get you used to speaking about a wide range of different topics and ensure you are familiar with the test format on the day (so there will be no surprises!).

Top tips for doing well in your IELTS Speaking test

Your speaking test will be face-to-face with an examiner and will aim to mimic a real-life conversation. Try to relax and speak naturally. Before your test, it can help to practice your verbal skills with a friend or teacher.

The first part of the Speaking test will include topics such as your studies, work, or home life. This should help you to settle into the conversation by talking about topics that you are familiar with.

We highly recommend practising your verbal skills with a friend or teacher.

IETLS Speaking test step by step tips:

Following this step-by-step guide to tackling the IELTS speaking questions part 1, 2 & 3 can be immensely beneficial for test takers. These sections require a combination of fluency, coherence and varied vocabulary, here are our tips:

  • To avoid short answers. Talk as much as you can and expand on your answers where possible during the IELTS speaking questions part 1, 2 & 3.
  • Try not to be too rehearsed. Be as fluent, confident, and spontaneous as you can be.
  • Have fun! Enjoying the conversation will help it flow better.
  • Aim to talk more than the examiner of the IELTS speaking section.
  • If you are confused, it is completely fine to ask the examiner to clarify the question.
  • Don’t memorise your answers. Examiners may change the questions if they feel you are just repeating rehearsed lines.
  • You will be marked on how you effectively communicate your opinions.
  • Don’t overcomplicate the vocabulary you use.

Still not booked your IELTS test? Register online today!

Now that you have all the preparation tips you need, if you’ve still not booked your IELTS test, you can do so online today. We have over 80 test centres located across Canada, so you’re sure to find one near you.

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Need more information on the other parts of your test?

Test & practice tips for IELTS Reading

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Test & practice tips for IELTS Listening

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Test & practice tips for IELTS Writing

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Frequently Asked Questions

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