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IELTS Speaking Test

Assessing your English speaking skills

When you take IELTS, the Speaking test will take place in the form of one-on-one interactive discussions with a certified Examiner. It aims to find out how well you can communicate with spoken English in real life situations.

The Speaking test is conducted in 11-14 minutes duration and is divided into three parts.

Part 1: You will answer questions about yourself, your family, your work and hobbies.

Part 2: You will talk about a topic. This topic is printed on a card called the IELTS Cue card or Candidate Task Card, and is chosen by your examiner. After preparing for a full minute, you will be invited to talk for about one to two minutes until your examiner states enough and you can stop. Next, you will be given several response questions that you need to answer.

Part 3: You will discuss the topic from previous section 2 with your examiner in more detail. Here you can be given further questions to discuss the topic.

For both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training test modules, you will have the same Speaking test, one-on-one with a certified IELTS Examiner.

To take the Speaking test, you must bring the same national passport/identity card that you used on the IELTS Registration Form and the same identity document will be used for each part of the test. Your identity will be checked before you enter the Speaking exam room which is quiet and free of distraction. Your examiner will guide you to carry out all three parts of the test and your conversation will be recorded using a digital recorder.

While Listening, Reading and Writing components of the test are always completed immediately after each other and with no break, not so with the Speaking test. You may need to wait for your turn up until several hours on the test day. In addition, sometimes you need to complete the Speaking test on a different day than the other three test components. You can ask your test schedule at your registered venue. However, if you take a Computer-Delivered IELTS test, you can simply complete your Speaking test on the same day.

You can complete the Speaking Test a bit easier if you are used to communicating using good and correct English. But you still need to practice first, because then you will be more mentally prepared when discussing with your examiner.

Please note, to get your best score in IELTS Speaking, you must display all your language skills. Speaking fluently, with a consistent tempo without stammering, pertaining confidence without correcting your mistakes, and naturally using the appropriate intonations, will reflect that you deserve a decent score band. Moreover, speaking with rich vocabulary and idioms, using precise grammar, and demonstrating complex yet effective sentences are absolutely necessary so that you can reach the highest score band. Watch the following video to find out what speaking ability a score of IELTS Band 9 represents:

To see how an IELTS Speaking test is conducted, watch other sample test videos on IELTS Essentials from IDP channel or in this article. Here we present information from IELTS experts regarding how IELTS Band are given to each test-taker. You can compare the various performances and find out the background of the scoring for each test-taker, starting from Band 3.5 to Band 9 as the highest score band. By knowing what each IELTS Band represents, you can do a self-assessment of your current speaking skills. If you want to know how the standards are used officially, you can download the Speaking Assessment Criteria file here.

Want to know other IELTS tips? Learn more on the IELTS Exam Tips page!

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