IELTS Speaking – Techniques and Resources


The IELTS speaking test is a face-to-face interview with a certified examiner. The discussion tests your English speaking skills. The test is designed to be as close to a real conversation as possible. It is the most interactive section of the IELTS test. It usually lasts from 11 to 14 minutes and has three parts. Be ready to talk to a real human, and have a real-life conversation with him/her.

The speaking test will be recorded. The recording is done so that later on your score test can have a clear example of what your answers were. The test is also recorded so that you can ask for a remark if you do not agree with the given score.

The IELTS speaking test format is the same for general and academic tests. It has three parts and will be a conversation between you and an IELTS examiner. However, you cannot ask the IELTS examiner questions. He or she is the only one who may ask questions during the examination.

Required Skills

The speaking section, like other sections of the IELTS exam, requires you to have a wide range of vocabulary. An advanced vocabulary will ensure that you have the words you would need to express your thoughts. It will also help you answer correctly when the examiner asks you questions.

You also need to have a robust grammatical background. Having advanced grammar means that you will be able to form your sentences correctly. For this reason, your grammar needs to be pretty advanced to aim at a high score. If your answers start to get too long and it seems as though you will not fit within your time window, the examiner might cut you off. This is ok, and don’t be afraid when sometimes the examiner stops you and asks another question. He/she just controls the time, and this usually will not result in a low score.

Lastly, it would be best if you had proper pronunciation. Good pronunciation will help the examiner understand you. If you feel like your pronunciation is not the best that it can be, you can work on improving your speaking voice.

Now, let’s move on and talk more about how each part of the speaking test is conducted. Knowing the details of the test will help you in the preparation process.

IELTS Speaking Part One 

In the first part of the IELTS speaking test, the IELTS examiner will ask you general questions. These questions will be mainly about yourself. They will ask you to tell them about your hobbies, interests and the things you usually like to do. Your answers have to be short and concise. They want answers to be one or two sentences long. This part of the speaking section will take approximately four to five minutes to complete.

IELTS Speaking Part Two

Part two of the speaking test is the most challenging because you need to Part two of the speaking test is the most challenging because you need to talk for up to two minutes. But, if you have enough techniques and a sufficient level of English language skills, we are sure you can do well in this part. This part will take approximately three to four minutes. First, the IELTS examiner will give you a topic card which you’ll need to discuss. You will have 1 minute to prepare for the talk. You will have to speak for 1 to 2 minutes.

IELTS Speaking Part Three

Part three of the speaking test usually takes from four to five minutes to complete. It is like the first part of the speaking test. The IELTS examiner will ask you questions. However, this time the questions will not be about you. In this part, the examiner will ask you questions about general topics. For example, they could ask you about your opinion on the environment or education. Moreover, this time, you will need to give longer and detailed answers. 


For the speaking section of the IELTS test, there are four marking criteria. Each criterion has the same effect on the overall grade as they are each 25% of the score. The four marking criteria are fluency and cohesion, vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. 

The fluency and cohesion criteria grades on how smooth you can communicate your ideas. To score high in these criteria, make sure you practice answering questions on the spot. It is much harder than answering questions on paper when you have time to prepare your answers, so make sure to practice enough.

The vocabulary criterion scores the level of your vocabulary. They also take into consideration whether you are using the words in a correct way. You may use sophisticated vocabulary, but they might be out of the context and not make sense. To avoid making mistakes such as these, practice to improve your vocabulary and use only words which you are sure you know.

You will also be scored on the level of your grammar. For you to plan your sentences in a correct manner, you need to have a certain level of grammar capabilities. There are many ways you can practice to improve your grammar.

The last grading criterion will be focused on your pronunciation. It would be best if you pronounce the words correctly so that the examiner can understand what you are saying. Thus, make sure you improve your speaking voice before you show up for the test.

How to Study

You can visit the links provided on this page for each part of the speaking test. These links will aid you in your preparations so that you are ready to face the test when you walk into the testing centre. However, to achieve the best possible score, we recommend that you have a speaking session with someone who worked as an IELTS examiner. Working with a certified examiner to prepare will ensure that you receive personalized training. You will also get good feedback that you can use to improve your score before the test. 

They are the ones who can give the best feedback on what level you are now and how to improve your score further. 

ALISTAIR BROWN: As a writing and speaking examiner for more than 10 years, I bring a lot of experience. I have seen the frustrations that students have with IELTS from a career where I have actively guided and corrected students’ studies. I am looking for the most effective ways to teach IELTS as I understand students’ needs.