What is the purpose of the test?
The Speaking test is an oral interview between you and the examiner. The purpose of the test is to determine how effectively you can communicate in English.
How long is the test?
The test is 11 to 14 minutes long.
There are three main parts. Each part is clearly divided into specific time units.
|Part||Suggested time & title|
|1||Introduction and interview||4-5 minutes|
|2||Individual long turn||3-4 minutes|
|3||Two-way discussion||4-5 minutes|
Note that you do not have to worry about how long each section is as the examiner will manage the time for you. The examiner will move you from one part to the next with such phrases as, ‘Now let’s talk about …’. He or she can interrupt you if you have spoken long enough on a topic.
What is the structure of the test?
The test is divided into three main parts.
Each part is different in terms of:
|Part||Interaction||Task and language|
|1 4-5 minutes||Introduction Interview||The examiner greets you and then introduces themself to you. The examiner checks your identification. The examiner asks you some questions about topics that are familiar to you.|
|2 3-4 minutes||Individual long turn||The examiner gives you a card with a topic written on it and some prompts to help you with your answer. You are also given a pencil and a piece of paper to make notes if you wish. You have one minute to think about the topic and prepare your answer. Then, you must speak about the topic for one to two minutes. The examiner may stop you if you speak longer than this. After you finish talking, the examiner may ask you one or two follow-up questions.|
|3 4-5 minutes||Two-way discussion||The examiner asks you some questions to involve you in a discussion. The questions the examiner asks have the same theme as Part 2. The language required in the discussion is generally more abstract than in the other sections.|
What style of speaking should you use?
Your style of speaking should be:
It should also show that:
How is your interview assessed?
Your IELTS Speaking test is assessed by a qualified examiner using four specific categories:
In this step we will briefly introduce what each of these categories means. In the following steps we will examine each category in detail. In the ‘Practice Tests‘ section of the module, we will assess two complete interviews using these four categories.
1 Fluency and coherence
Fluency is determined by:
Coherence is determined by:
2 Lexical resource
Lexical resource refers to your use of vocabulary.
This is determined by:
3 Grammatical range and accuracy
Grammatical range is determined by:
Grammatical accuracy is determined by:
This is the ability to produce speech (sounds) that can be understood.
This is determined by:
This part will last between 4-5 minutes and involves a general introduction. Initially, the examiner
confirms that he or she has the right person by checking the candidate’s name, origin, and identification. Then, the examiner asks the candidate about familiar topics in life such as his/her country, home town, family, studies/jobs, free-time activities, future plans, etc.
Examples Where do you come from?
Where did you grow up?
Where is your home town?
You should practise answering the typical questions in this part by using lists of questions provided
in this book.
Part 2 is the long turn or individual talk. It provides an opportunity for the candidate to deliver a
long, uninterrupted response. The examiner will give the candidate a topic card with a subject such
as education, family, work, interests and lifestyle and some cues or a few guiding questions on the
card. These questions are short, and the structure of the questions is simple. The candidate must
talk for 1 to 2 minutes on this subject. He/She is expected to demonstrate an ability to construct
a long sample of English. The examiner will assess the candidate’s fluency, coherence, range of
structures, pronunciation and vocabulary.
The candidate has an optional 1 minute in order to prepare for his/her talk, and is provided with some paper and a pencil in order to make some brief notes. After the candidate’s talk, the examiner will ask 1 or 2 brief questions in order to finish off this part which takes about 3-4 minutes.
Examples Topic Card
Describe your personality.
You should say:
what kind of person you think you are
what your family and friends think about your personality
whether you think your personality is special
and how your personality affects your life.
How do you like your personality?
How have your teachers influenced you?
Part 3 is the most complex testing part of the IELTS Speaking test. Here, the examiner will prompt
and lead the candidate with a series of questions on the topic spoken about in Part 2. These
questions will be more demanding and require some critical analysis on the part of the candidate.
The examiner is still in control, but must allow the candidate to produce longer utterances or discuss the questions. The candidate will be scored on how effectively he / she can develop the abstract ideas on the IELTS test. These questions and discussions may take 4-5 minutes.
Examples What do you think you are talented in?
How much are you influenced by your friends in terms of personality?
Are you willing to change your personality if many people find some aspects of it to be
Do you believe that people considered eccentric are talented in certain fields?
Do you plan to have a different family life from that of your parents? What are some
changes you would like to make?