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International English Language Testing System Speaking Test

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The Speaking test is the shortest part of the IELTS exam, lasting only 11-15 minutes. However, for many test-takers this brief experience can seem to last an eternity! IELTS Speaking is a quick, but intense in-person interview. It requires focus, creativity, and strong English skills to think of responses to the interviewer’s questions quickly.

It is very important to relax and remain confident during the IELTS interview. Being alert but calm will help you do your best. How can you achieve this? The best thing you can do is study and prepare. Knowing what to expect on the IELTS Speaking exam, practicing a variety of strategies, and answering many, many practice questions will help you on exam day.
This Guide to IELTS speaking covers what you need to know about this short, but challenging part of the IELTS exam. We’ll start with basic information to introduce you to IELTS Speaking and how it’s scored. The second half of the post focuses on each of the three main parts of the test, with tips and strategies to help you develop your approach.

IELTS Speaking: The Basics
IELTS uses a “paper” 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 paper test. However, sometimes the interview can be scheduled up to one week before or after the paper exam. You will receive instructions about this when you register for the IELTS at your local test center.

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 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 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.

IELTS Speaking: Scoring
IELTS uses four scoring categories to assess your speaking skills. Make sure to study these “Band descriptors,” which IELTS uses to assign Speaking Band scores.

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