The IELTS speaking questions often repeat and hence it is a good idea to go through the question papers of recent IELTS tests. This will help you get a basic idea about the kind of questions asked. And if you are lucky you might be asked the same set of questions. You can find sample answers for speaking questions at many websites. However, while preparing for the test don’t memorise long answers. Remember that the examiners are trained to distinguish learned answers from spontaneous ones. If they suspect that you are saying answers that have been memorized, you will not get any marks.
No right or wrong answers
The IELTS speaking test is not an assessment of your general knowledge. The examiner is only interested in testing your English speaking skills. That means there are no right or wrong answers for the questions. All answers will earn marks as long as they are in good English.
Use varied and advanced vocabulary
While discussing non-personal topics, you should demonstrate your range of vocabulary by using a variety of words. The examiners are specifically interested in knowing if you can use complex sentences. Even if you make a few mistakes, you will get credit for your attempts.
You can pause, but not for so long
If you can’t answer a question right away, say a filler phrase such as the ones given below.
- That’s a good question!
- Well, actually, I have never thought about this before.
- Well, let me see…
- Let me think about it.
The advantage of using a filler phrase is that it will give you a few seconds to think about an answer. However, don’t wait too long. If you do that, you will get fewer marks for fluency.
You should speak loudly enough so that the examiner can hear you properly. While speaking, pronounce your words as clearly and correctly as possible.
Overview of the speaking module
The speaking module consists of three parts. It takes between 11 and 14 minutes. Note that all the speaking tasks in this module are recorded. It is easy to obtain a band score of 8 in the speaking module: you just need to express your views clearly and coherently. Avoid one-word answers.
Part 1: Introduction and interview
This part lasts four to five minutes. The examiner introduces himself or herself and verifies your identity. Note that you have to produce a valid ID or passport. All questions asked in the first part are about topics you are familiar with. Generally, questions from up to three topics are asked. For example, some questions could be about your job or studies; some questions could be about the city you live in or its transport system. You don’t require any specialized knowledge or skill to answer these questions. However, you should be able to give your answers in fluent and correct English.
Part 2: Individual speech
You will be given a task card with a topic and a list of questions. You must discuss these questions during this task. You will be given one minute for preparing your answer and making notes. You will then talk about this topic for about two minutes. Note that your speech should answer all questions given in the task card: failure to do so will lower your score. You have to finish your speech in two minutes: if you don’t, the examiner will stop you. The examiner may also ask one or two questions to round off this part. This section takes three to four minutes.
Part 3: Two-way discussion
During this section you will have to engage in a discussion with the examiner. The discussion is usually based on questions asked in Part 2