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The Speaking test is an assessment of how well and fluid your spoken English is and is divided into 3 parts, regardless of whether you are sitting for the Academic or General Training test. 

Here’s what you must know about the IELTS Speaking test and how to prepare in order to deliver your best performance on test day! 

The IELTS Speaking test - Four things you need to know 

speaking test with female examiner

1. How the Speaking test will be conducted

The Speaking test will be conducted face-to-face with a human examiner, at IELTS test centres whether it is the IELTS on paper or IELTS on computer format. 

The Speaking test will last between 11 to 14 minutes and will largely be very conversational where questions will be asked and topics will be discussed. 

2. The three parts of the Speaking test

Task 1 - Interview style

The first part of the Speaking test involves the examiner asking you questions about yourself and your lifestyle. This includes topics such as home living, your family, work and hobbies.

It will be very familiar in nature and will last between 4 to 5 minutes.

How to perform at your best in part 1

Task 2 - Topic presentation

The second part of the Speaking test involves you taking a task card with a topic. You will then be given one minute to make notes on the topic, pencil and paper will be provided, in order to better prepare your thoughts and response.

You will then speak on the topic for up to 2 minutes before the examiner will stop you and ask a series of questions on the same topic. The session will last between 3 to 4 minutes including the preparation time.

How to speak confidently for 2 minutes

Task 3 - General discussion

In the final part of the test, you will have a discussion on issues related to the topic in Part 2. It will be done in a general way and possibly go in-depth depending on the situation.

This section of the Speaking test will last between 4 to 5 minutes.

How to perform at your best in the part 3 discussion

Three parts of speaking test

3. How you will be assessed on test day

Your Speaking test will be assessed based on four main criteria: 

  • Fluency and coherence 

  • Lexical resource 

  • Grammatical range and accuracy 

  • Pronunciation 

Learn about the IELTS Speaking test band scores

The key here is to hold as fluid, wide and natural of a conversation as possible. Here are three tips you can use to score better and impress your examiner. 

A. Use a wider range of grammatical structures and vocabulary

Try to utilise a range of simple and complex sentences to express your thoughts. You want to mix it up as well as showcase your vocabulary during the conversation.

While adding complexity is good, you want to make sure you are familiar with using them and avoid making mistakes or fillers just for the sake of it. There has to be a purpose to the sentence or words used.

B. Don’t focus on your accent

One of the worst things you can do is to worry about your accent. This could cause you to become too self-conscious and lose confidence, resulting in speaking poorly even though you know your topic and what to say.

IELTS examiners are used to a wide range of accents so you don’t have to worry. Just focus on the content and the conversation.

C. Extend your answers and go deeper

One great way to impress your examiner is to go deeper into the topic and answer in full. Give more details in your answer and always try to answer the ‘why’ to your statement.

The more you can justify your opinions or viewpoints the better!

IELTS Speaking Test Tips: Top 5 Mistakes To Avoid

4. How to better prepare yourself for the Speaking test

A great way to ensure you are well-prepared is to start taking sample practice tests that will mimic the real conditions of the Speaking test. 

You can also get premium preparation with IELTS Speaking Coaching.

  • IELTS Speaking Coaching is an official IELTS mock Speaking test from IDP Education for test takers who need to boost their Speaking score.

  • Complete a mock Speaking test and receive a detailed report within 3-5 days with tips to improve your spoken English.

Improve your English skills

Access our practice materials and get prepared with our wide range of practice tests. Additionally, don't forget to download your free IELTS Preparation Guide and get IELTS tips from our IELTS Experts during our Masterclass events to learn how to improve.

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