IELTS Speaking: The Basics

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      IELTS uses either a test-booklet or computer format for its Reading, Writing, and Listening tests, all of which are completed together in one sitting. Speaking takes place separately. In most cases, Speaking interviews are scheduled on the same day as the booklet or computer test. However, sometimes the interview can be scheduled up to one week before or after you take the rest of the exam by booklet or computer. You will receive instructions about this when you register for the IELTS at your local test center.

      When you take the Speaking test, you will enter a room where your examiner will be waiting to greet you. He or she will ask you to identify yourself, and your Speaking test will begin immediately after that. To get an idea of what the test is like, check out this short video. The student is answering IELTS Speaking questions in Part 1 of the exam.

      The IELTS Speaking Test has three parts. We will look at each part in depth later in this post. For now, let’s just get familiar with each one.

      IELTS Speaking Part 1: The Basics
      Part 1 is like a personal interview. It lasts about 4-5 minutes. You will in introduce yourself and talk about IELTS Speaking topics related to your life and your experiences in response to the examiner’s questions. Think of this interaction as “small talk.” These are the kinds of questions you might exchange with someone you just met.

      IELTS Speaking Part 2: The Basics
      Part 2 is called the “long turn.” Here, you are given a question on a topic and some sub-points you must cover in your speech. You will have a minute to prepare a response, and your goal is to speak for about 2 minutes. The examiner may ask you some follow-up questions when you finish your short speech.

      IELTS Speaking Part 3: The Basics
      Finally, you’ll have a conversation on the same (or similar) issue you spoke about in Part 2. This will be a discussion, much like the first section of the exam (Part 1). However, the questions are more complicated because they require you to offer an opinion or some analysis. To illustrate, imagine your Part 2 topic is to describe a happy memory from your childhood. In Part 3, the examiner could ask you: “What are some important things a person should do in order to live a happy life?” Here, the theme of “happiness” connects both sections.

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