IELTS Speaking

Here you will find everything you need to know about the IELTS speaking. We offer free tutorials, tips, model answers and topics to help your prepare successfully for your IELTS speaking exam.

Important information surrounding the speaking test:

  • The academic and general IELTS speaking test is the same
  • The test is done face to face with an examiner, even if you're doing a computer-delivered test.
  • All of the speaking tests are recorded, so you can ask for a remark at a later stage.
  • The tests comprises of 3 parts and lasts 11 to 14 minutes.
  • The test is informal.
  • The examiner doing the exam with you decided on your results once the test is done.

The test format of the IELTS speaking test :

IELTS Speaking Part One (4-5 minutes)

  • In the first section of the speaking test, the examiner will introduce him/herself and check your identity for the IELTS exam. Examiners are required to follow a script throughout the interview to help ensure consistency across all IELTS speaking tests.
  •  the examiner will usually start off by asking you straightforward questions about where you live or what you do – so it is definitely a good idea to be ready to talk about these topics. He / She will then move on to asking questions about familiar subjects such as family, shopping, eating out or what you do in your free time. There is no set number of questions.

IELTS Speaking Part Two (3-4 minutes)

  • In this section of the test, you will be asked to give a short talk using a cue card. 
  • You will have one minute to think about the prompts and prepare what you’re going to say. You will then be expected to speak for 1-2 minutes. When the time is up, the examiner will ask another question or two to wrap up this stage of the test.

IELTS Speaking Part Three (4-5 minutes)

  • The last part of the test involves a discussion.
  • The examiner will ask you open-ended questions related to the topic from Part Two and you will be expected to give extended answers. As with Part One, there is no set number of questions.

How is the test assessed?

The speaking test is assessed according to the following criteria:

  • Fluency and coherence (25%)
  • Lexical resource (25%)
  • Grammatical range and accuracy (25%)
  • Pronunciation (25%)

Each of these areas contributes 25% to your overall band score for the  speaking test.

Detailed information about the band descriptors can be found in this tutorial.

In order to achieve a Band 6 score in the speaking test for IELTS test, you will need to show that you:

  • are willing to speak at length
  • have a wide enough vocabulary to discuss topics at length
  • use a mix of simple and complex structures
  • use a range of pronunciation features


If it’s a Band 8 score you’re after, you will need to:

  • speak fluently with only occasional repetition or self-correction
  • use a wide vocabulary resource readily and flexibly
  • use a wide range of structures flexibly
  • use a wide range of pronunciation features


Do you know which areas you need to work on? 

If not, find out by taking a mock speaking test, which we offer as part of our ‘IELTS Speaking Confidence Course

If you want feedback to know exactly what to improve on, have a look at our new IELTS speaking feedback service.

Once you know which areas to focus on, follow the links below to help you improve your performance in each of these areas:

Take a look at some useful resources to help you prepare and pass your exam :

If you don't know where to start, take a look at our IELTS online course for your preparation.