Speaking Hints & Tips

  1. May happen on a different day: The speaking module may not happen on the same day as the other modules. The speaking module may take place the day before, the day after, or the day of the exam. It also may not happen in the same location. If it occurs the day of the exam, you will have time for a lunch break. The day and time of the test may not be chosen. Test date and time are disclosed several days beforehand, so it is important to check your email regularly for updates.
  2. Face-to-face: The speaking test is done one-to-one, face-to-face, just you and the examiner. The test will be recorded.
  3. Know the speaking tasks: You should be familiar with the three tasks and what kinds of questions you can expect from each one. In Task 1, since everyone who comes into the room has to have the questions in common, there are a limited number of questions that can be asked. Live action IELTS Speaking videos can be found on youtube.
  4. Answer questions using full sentences: If they ask you your name, you should not simply respond “Liz”. Speaking in full sentences. Repeat the question back to them, paraphrasing and elaborating if at all possible. “My name is Elizabeth, but people call me Liz.”
  5. Don’t make the examiner ask you “Why?”: Give details to support all of your answers, even if the question is a simple yes/no. For instance, “Do you like to dance?” may be answered with “I do love to dance thanks to my mother, who taught me how to waltz when I was in primary school.” If the examiner thinks you have given too much information, they will stop you and continue on with the next question.
  6. Don’t worry if the examiner cuts you off midsentence: The speaking test can last just 11-14 minutes and you must be asked a certain number of questions so that the examiner can gauge your understanding and speaking ability.
  7. Present yourself well: Use good posture, don’t fidget, look the interviewer in the eyes (don’t always look down or around the room), don’t stutter, speak clearly. In a nutshell, the same rules apply for a job interview as for the speaking test.
  8. Fluency is vital: Speaking fluently and confidently is more important than finding the right word. If you can’t remember a vocabulary word, explain the idea.
  9. Be expressive: Use hand gestures, joke, smile, be witty, funny, and be monotone (modulate your voice tone).
  10. Alter the question: You may be asked a question about which you have no information. For instance, “Tell me about a popular form of art in your country.” If you have no idea about art, you may not say “I don’t know, I’m not into art.” However, you may try to rephrase the question in the same way, but alter the idea about which you have no information. “I am afraid I don’t know much about art, but may I tell you about a popular form of public entertainment in my country?” The examiner may say yes or may insist that you answer the original question, but points will not be taken for asking pertinent questions.
  11. Take notes during Task 2: Again, take notes in Task 2! It is a mistake not to. It is important to organize your thoughts and write down some key vocabulary you may use. If you are prone to blanking out (forgetting what you were going to say), you may be glad that you have your notes to help you out.
  12. Keep it interesting: Think up some interesting answers to common questions. Remember that the IELTS examiner talks to dozens of students each day. Boring and common answers may not get you the points that you want. For example, if you are asked, “What do you do for fun?”, don’t say “I watch television.” It may be true, but it is boring. Instead of that, try something like, “I love to run, so if I have spare time, I usually go for a jog on the seaside.”
  13. Task 3 requires more detail: In Task 3, giving examples is imperative. Feel free to be chatty and talkative. Tell a story or a joke, give an example from your life something famous and well-known.


The IELTS Speaking module may be done on the day before, the day of, or the day after the test itself. It is approximately 10-14 minutes in length and, unlike such tests as the TOEFL, which is done while talking into a computer microphone, the IELTS Speaking is done one-on-one with a trained IELTS examiner.

The test is comprised of three tasks.

Task one is made up of a series of general questions on various topics such as where you are from, what your favorite televion series/movie/music is, what kinds of food you like, etc. The logic behind these questions is that each student who takes the test will have a background in and idea about the topic. Example questions include “Do you live in a house or in an apartment?”, “Have you ever had a pet?” and “Which colors have special importance in your culture?”

Task two is called the Long Turn. In this task, students must speak for 1-2 mintues without stopping. Before speaking, test takers are given a card. On the card are a series of prompts (sentences that tell you which topics to talk about). The test taker has one minute to read the prompts, organize a speech, and must then speak for 1-2 minutes. This task emphasizes organization, clarity of speech, and time management.

Task three contains questions which are related thematically to the topic in Task 2. For instance, if in Task 2 you are prompted to speak about a gift you have received, Task 3 will ask you about presents, gift giving and receiving, and perhaps special days on which gifts are exchanged. Task 3 can be the most difficult because it is often not as straightforward ask Task 1. For example, ”Tell me about a special day on which gifts are exchanged.” Answers for this task should be thoroughly answered with relevant examples and experiences from your life.


The Speaking module of the IELTS is not always done on the day of the test. It may be done the day before the test, the day of the test, or the day after the test. It lasts 10-14 minutes and is done one-on-one with an IELTS examiner, who will be a native speaker of English.

The test consists of 3 sections, or tasks.

The first task consists of a series of general questions, which means that every student who comes into the room will have an idea about the topic. Example questions include “Where did you grow up?”, “What do you do in your spare time?” and “What is your favorite color?”

The second task is called the Long Turn. This part requires the student to speak on their own for 1-2 mintues without stopping. Students are given a card with a series of prompts on them. The student has one minute to look at the card, arrange their speech, and then talk for 1-2 minutes. The focus in this task is on clarity of speech, organization and time management.

The third task consists of a series of questions that are connected to the topic presented in the second task. For example, if the second task prompts you to talk about a concert, the third task will follow up with questions about music, entertainment, and other related topics. This task is often the most difficult because it asks questions in a more abstract way. An example is “What kind of music is best to listen to while studying?” Answers for this task should not be too short.