Unit 1: Understanding Speaking Test
Unit 3: Focus on Fluency & Coherence
Unit 3: Focus on Pronunciation
Unit 6: Focus on Lexical Resource
Unit 5: Focus on Grammatical Range & Accuracy

Part 1 of the Speaking Test

In IELTS Speaking part 1, the test will begin with the examiner first introducing himself/herself and then asking you about your identity. He/she will then ask you general/ simple questions relating to your background, home, work, studies, family, interests, hobbies, and so on. You’ll then have to speak on a given topic for about 4-5 minutes continuously, after which you’ll be asked a few personal questions. You’ll have to then answer these questions very casually and honestly.


This video contains the pre-introduction.

The test kicks off with pre-introduction, you’ll have a brief conversation with the examiner as they introduce themselves, confirm who you are, and check your identity.

The questions they’ll ask you in this pre-test introduction aren’t marked but they are your first chance to make a good impression.


With the pre-test introduction complete, the actual test will start and you’ll be marked on everything you say from now on.

Think of the Examiner as being just like your teacher. In fact, most examiners are usually teachers like me, so we’ll understand how you feel because some of our own students will feel the same. We are not there to catch you out. Indeed, we’ll want you to do well and will do everything that we can to make you feel comfortable.

The Examiner has a set of questions. When you’re asked a question, try to answer it without repeating the whole question in your answer. For example:

If you are asked ‘What’s the most interesting thing about your hometown?’
Don’t reply ‘The most interesting thing about my hometown is…’
Just say ‘It’s…’
Then, you can expand on your answer, if possible, by adding something like: ‘Most people find this interesting because…. For others ….’
You can then add a synonym of the words used by the Examiner. So, instead of interesting say something like: ‘Most people find this fascinating because…’

So, don’t try to ‘fill up’ your answer by repeating the question back to the Examiner and try to add a little ‘extra’ to show off your English. Remember, it’s a conversation with the Examiner. He/she will want to see if you are fluent and coherent. They can’t do this if you just repeat back large chunks of a question! Examiners are looking for your own ideas.

The topics are usually very familiar and the Examiner normally asks you about yourself. Try to give examples and create ideas, willingly. Never say, ‘I don’t know.’

Giving Full Answers

Impress the examiner with your ability to give full answers to his or her questions. To avoid simple yes or no answers or short responses generally, try using the REDS method to add detail to your initial response:

  • Give a Reason
  • Offer an Example
  • Give Details
  • Speculate

If you can include any of the two function, your answer will be complete.

REDS in Action:
Question: What job would you like to do?
Answer (Reason): I’ve always wanted to be a vet. I love animals and I think it would be a very rewarding job.

Question: What skills do you need for this job?
Answer (Example): I think you need to be sensitive to people’s feelings. If you’re dealing with their sick or injured pets, you need to be honest but also appreciate how they might be feeling.

Question: Where do you come from?
Answer (Detail): I come from Mashad in Iran. It’s well known as a religious center and is really crowded most of the year.

Question: Do you often go out to restaurants?
Answer (Speculate): Unfortunately, since I had my baby, no. If I had the chance I’d really like to eat out more often, especially in Chinese or Italian restaurants.

Don’ts of the speaking test

  • Don’t try to memorize answers, and then try to answer questions from these memorized answers. By doing so, you are more likely to get a low score.
  • Looking or not at the examiner’s eyes will never change your score, so try to focus on your speaking and nothing else.
  • You should not give long answers, try to keep your answers short with a maximum of four or five sentences.
  • Don’t use irrelevant vocabulary or idioms for showing the examiner that you know idioms. Idioms and vocabulary should be relevant to the question.

Do’s of the speaking test

  • Be confident and don’t hesitate when answering the questions. These questions are about you, so you know them and can give straightforward answers.
  • Practice before attending the exam by learning techniques on how to answer the questions.
  • Understand how the speaking score is given and what to expect in this part, so that you won’t have any surprises.
  • Try to use idioms and a wide range of vocabulary appropriately. The vocabulary should be related to the question.
  • Always speak with the contracted format.

Speaking Tips for Task 1

  • Be Confident: 

The key to scoring a high band in the Speaking Test is by speaking with confidence. As soon as you begin the test, relax, and try to not treat it as a test but as a conversation with a good friend. 

  • Know the questions that you can expect:

You must have an idea about what questions to expect from the examiner. Try to practice answering these questions mentally so that you’ll be able to speak fluently and without panicking during the test.

For example:

Prepare the questions which the examiner might ask you, according to persona topics. Suppose, you’re preparing for questions under ‘WORK’, make sure you have the answers to:

What is your job?
Where do you work?
Do you like your job?
How are your colleagues?
Why did you choose this job?
What are your responsibilities?
How long have you been in this job?
  • Show interest in the questions:

Even if you’re unsure about the question posed to you by the questioner, show interest towards it, and try to answer it by talking about your experiences related to the subject. At any point during the test, don’t pause for too long or hesitate in answering, that’ll only make you more nervous and will display a lack of confidence.

  • Try to expand on your answers:

As in speaking part 1, you’ll only be questioned on personal topics, so try to avoid giving one line, or short answers. For every question posed to you, try to expand on it, by elaborating on the subject. Replying with long and elaborate answers will show that you have confidence and that you’re comfortable in having conversations in English.

  • Avoid giving Yes or No answers:

You should definitely avoid giving one-word answers as it’ll display a lack of confidence. Since confidence is one of the key factors considered during the test, avoid giving one word or short answers, it is essential to remain calm so that you’ll be able to give elaborate replies.

  • Try to answer all the questions asked by the examiner:

Since, Speaking Part 1 will contain all personal questions, and/ or questions related to you, you should try your best to answer each and every question with honesty and confidence. In any case, if you don’t understand the question posed to you, you can always ask the examiner to explain it, as they’ll only check for your language skills and not your knowledge on the topic.

Video Guide

Lets watch this fantastic video by Emma.