What is the IELTS Speaking Test?
The test is broken down into three parts:
- Part 1 is about YOU. They will ask you familiar, everyday questions about your life. This will last around 4-5 minutes.
- Part 2 is sometimes called the ‘long turn’. You will be given a cue card and you will have 1 minute to prepare your answer. You will then be asked to speak for up to 2 minutes.
- Part 3 is more abstract. This is your opportunity to really develop your answers and discuss the issues brought up by the examiner. This will last 4-5 minutes.
What is the Purpose of the test?
It is extremely important that you understand what the test is and, more importantly, what it is NOT.
It is NOT:
- A test of how many answers you’ve memorised.
- A test of how many ‘big’/’fancy’/’high-level’ words you know.
- A test of how many different grammar structures and tenses you know.
- A test of how ‘British’ or ‘American’ your accent is.
- A test of how well you can communicate through spoken English.
There is a little more to it than that, as you will see below, but you should always remember that they are simply testing if you can open your mouth and communicate in English.
Don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be.
IELTS Speaking Part 1
In part 1 you will be asked questions on familiar topics such as your hometown and your family. Click below for lots of sample questions and answers.
Simple yet effective ways to extend your answers in Part 1 of the Speaking test.
10 quick tips on what you should and shouldn’t do in Part 1.
IELTS Speaking Part 2
This part of the test allows you to speak for longer on a given topic.
You will be given a card with a particular topic on it, and this will include key points that you should talk about.
You will be given one minute to plan and then you will talk for between 1-2 minutes.
Below are some tips that I give to all of my speaking classes:
Click below for a strategy you can use each and every time.
IELTS Speaking Part 3
In part 3 test the examiner will ask further questions which are linked to the topic talked about in part 2.
This part of the test is designed to give you the opportunity to talk about things in a more abstract way.
Below are the most common questions that examiners ask in Part 3.
Below are some tips about the psychology of Part 3 and how to mentally prepare for that part of the test.
There are four parts to the IELTS marks scheme:
- Fluency and Coherence
- Lexical Resource
- Grammatical Range and Accuracy
Don’t worry if you don’t know exactly what these are; we will look at each of them in detail in this article.
IELTS Speaking Topics
In Part 1 of the test, it is very likely that you’ll be asked about familiar topics, such as:
- Your job or studies;
- Your hometown;
- Your family;
- Your home;
- Your likes and dislikes.
That does not mean that you should prepare memorised answers for these topics. The examiner will know exactly what you’re doing and could lower your score.
In Parts 2 and 3, it is impossible to predict which topics will come up. I carried out extensive research on this and you can see the results here.
IELTS Speaking Tips
Is it OK to ask the examiner questions? There are only two that you can ask him or her. The above article shows you how.
I don’t believe in quick fixes and tips are just that. These tips are useful if you just need a quick guide but do realise that you need more than just tips.
The above article will help you take a strategic approach to your preparation for your speaking test.
Many students think that they should speak in a very formal way. You don’t want to speak very informally, but you don’t want to sound like a robot either.
I believe that pronunciation is the most important skill to master. Quite simply, without clear pronunciation it doesn’t matter how good your fluency, grammar or vocabulary are. If the examiner can’t understand what you’re actually saying, you will struggle in all areas.
The articles below will help you work on your pronunciation skills.
- IELTS Pronunciation Guide
- 10 English Words Even Native Speakers Find Difficult to Pronounce
- Practice Pronunciation at Home for Free
- Is Accent Important?
Vocabulary is probably the most misunderstood area of the whole test. Most students think that learning lists of ‘high-level’ words or idioms will get them the score they need. In fact, it’s probably the best way to LOWER your score.
You should use vocabulary as a tool to help you communicate clearly, NOT to show off.
Over 1000 comments! Wow! Thanks to everyone who joined me for the live lesson. Sorry about the tech. issues at the end. For the free PDF go to https://www.ieltsadvantage.com/ and you'll see the free vocabulary eBook at the bottom of the screen.
Posted by IELTS Advantage on Thursday, January 19, 2017
Fluency is a really tricky area because it is so connected to grammar, vocabulary, and confidence. Luckily, I believe that it is the area that can be ‘fixed’ quite easily.
IELTS Speaking Practice
There are a variety of ways that you can practice your speaking. The most important things to remember are:
- It is better to practice on your own than not practice at all. Don’t let the lack of a partner stop you practicing.
- There are thousands of ways to practice with a partner online. You’ll find some in the articles below.
- Focus on the 4 marking criteria. Everything else is irrelevant.
- Be a reflective learner. Record your practice sessions and honestly appraise your performance.
- Practicing for the sake of it will not help. You need to identify your weaknesses and take action on improving those shortcomings.
This article will show you how to practice on your own, find other people to practice with and find an IELTS expert to help you with your speaking.
There are lots of real practice questions out there. It’s important that you use these before your test to give you an idea of what to expect on test day. This article will show you how to use these effectively.
The following links are from the British Council and will give you real questions to practice at home:
Reviewing Your Speaking Performance
Step 1– Get some real IELTS questions. You’ll find information on where to find those above.
Step 2– You can either get someone else to play the role of the examiner or you can read the questions yourself.
Step 3– Record your whole test using a recording device, such as your phone.
Step 4– Listen to your performance and critically evaluate your answers. You should focus on pronunciation, fluency, coherence, grammar, and vocabulary.
Step 5– Take action on any weak areas.
Step 6– Repeat and compare to analyse progress.
We cover absolutely everything you need to know about this test on our VIP Course. It also includes one on one mock tests and feedback from IELTS experts. You can check out the VIP Course here.
If you need advice on your IELTS preparation, feel free to get in touch- firstname.lastname@example.org