What’s in the Speaking Test

The Speaking Test is a one-to-one interview with a certified IELTS examiner that last between 11-14 minutes. It has three sections: 

  • Section 1 – personal information and two general topics (4-5 minutes)
  • Section 2 – Individual long turn – you speak on a specific topic given to you by the examiner for up to two minutes with one-minute’s preparation time (3-4 minutes)
  • Section 3 – two-way discussion related to the topic you spoke on in Section 2. This section is more abstract and explores issues in a more in-depth way (4-5 minutes)

Section 1 – Familiar Topics

In this section, the examiner will start by checking your ID and will then ask a few questions about what you do, where you’re from or where you live.

You should be prepared to talk about:

  • your job or your studies
  • the town or city you come from or where you are living
  • the house or apartment that you are living in

Then the test will move on to familiar, everyday topics – you will be asked up to four questions on two different topics.

Themes can include: the weather, the seasons, travel, holidays, news, leisure time, clothes, shopping, the Internet, reading books, writing e-mails, watching films, listening to music and many others. 

Section 2 - Individual Long Turn

In this section, you will be given a topic card and asked to speak on this theme for up to two minutes. You will be given one minute of preparation time before speaking. The examiner will give you a pencil and paper to make notes, if you want to.

Here’s an example of a topic card:

Describe a film that you have seen recently

You should say:

  • what the film was called.
  • what the film was about
  • who you saw the film with

and say why you enjoyed or did not enjoy the film.

Section 3 – Two-Way Discussion

In the final section, the examiner will ask you follow-up questions to develop a discussion on the topic you spoke about in the long turn.

This is your chance to shine and use the full range of your vocabulary and grammar resources.

In this section you may be asked to: 

  •   agree or disagree
  •   comment on something
  •   compare
  •   explain 
  •   outline advantages and disadvantages
  •   speculate


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