IELTS – Speaking (General Information)

IELTS – Speaking

The speaking module of IELTS examination is a one-to-one oral interaction between the candidate and the examiner. The speaking session is recorded and consists of three parts. These three sections allow the assessor to evaluate the candidate in four criteria of IELTS Speaking Test Band Descriptors which are:

  1. fluency and coherence
  2. lexical resource
  3. grammatical range and accuracy
  4. pronunciation


The speaking test takes around 11-14 minutes.

Examination Description

During the face-to-face oral interview, a friendly conversation most likely covers certain aspect of your past, present and future situations. The interviewer directs the discussion through questions which gives you opportunity to communicate opinions and information on general topics, common experiences and situations. By answering a range of questions the examiner evaluates the extensive range of speaking skills. Competence in speaking at length on a designated topic utilizing correct grammar usage, logical data organization and clarity and analysis of expressed opinions are also assessed.

Speaking Test Sections

The interview has three portions:

1. General questions of yourself

In this part, the interviewer introduces him/herself. The examiner then asks the candidate to identify him/herself and later confirms the examinee’s identity by asking for a valid identification card. Following the exchange of introduction, questions about family, work, school, home, studies, interests and other familiar topics (general questions) will be asked. This part usually lasts about 4-5 minutes.

Sample questions:

Where do you live?

Tell me something about your place.

Describe the public transport in your place.

Which do you prefer living in your hometown or here in the city?

What do you like about living in a rural area?

What subject is the hardest for you?

Tell me something about your job.

What are your plans for the future?

2. One-way discussion

Sample of IELTS task card

The interviewer chooses a specific topic for the candidate and gives the task card to him/her. Written in the card are the particular topic and aspects of the subject which the candidate can talk about. To prepare for the discussion, the examinee is given one minute to write an outline for his or her speech. A pencil and paper will be provided for making the notes. After the preparation phase, the candidate is given 1-2 minutes to talk about the topic. Usually the assessor takes back the task card before you start talking. However, you may request him/her to let you view the task card while talking and referring to your notes. After the short speech, the examiner asks a couple of related questions on the topic. This section usually lasts for 3-4 minutes.

3. Two-way discussion

Additional questions directly or indirectly related to the topic of Part Two will be raised. This allows the interviewer to assess the ability of the candidate to expound and speculate about issues.  At about 4-5 minutes this part is completed.

General Tips

Practice is one of the most important key to improve this skill. It is also essential to calm down and speak with confidence during the interview. Too much anxiety causes difficulty of the candidate to draw him/herself into the conversation even though they have good speaking skills.

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Daisy Jane Antipuesto RN MN

Currently a Nursing Local Board Examination Reviewer. Subjects handled are Pediatric, Obstetric and Psychiatric Nursing. Previous work experiences include: Clinical instructor/lecturer, clinical coordinator (Level II), caregiver instructor/lecturer, NC2 examination reviewer and staff/clinic nurse. Areas of specialization: Emergency room, Orthopedic Ward and Delivery Room. Also an IELTS passer.

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