Tips and advice for the IELTS Speaking test

Hello All,

Welcome to my post on tips and advice for those of you preparing for the IELTS speaking exam.

The Speaking exam is in three parts

1) Oral Interview – this will focus on general subjects, i.e. your hobbies, family, host family, work etc.  After asking you some general quesions about yourself the examiner will then ask you questions about a specific topic and you will have to give your opinions/convey general information about this topic.   Subjects that may be covered include your home, work, study etc.   This part takes around 4-5 minutes.

Advice – to prepare yourself for this you can write down a list of  general subjects and  the corresponding vocabulary and, either alone or with your tutor, practice speaking for two minutes.  If you are alone, you can practise by making a recording of yourself.  Speak outside the classroom as much as possible and practise speaking about general topics to your friends in English.

2)  Individual Long Turn.  For this part you will be expected to speak for two minutes on a particuar subject given to you by the examiner.   You will be given a task card and instructions.   You may prepare yourself for one minute by making notes on paper the examiner will give you.

At the end, the examiner will ask you two specific questions of the topic.

This task will last for 3-4 minutes in all.

Advice – to prepare yourself for this ensure you familiarise yourself with as many general topical subjects as you can, i.e.  what makes a healthy lifestyle, advertising, my favourite book or film etc, mobile phones etc.  Also, think about some more abstract topics you might be asked to speak about, i.e. a big decision I made, life in the future etc

Again, practise with a friend or your tutor,  talk to yourself in spare moments, making sure you have a good range of vocablulary appropriate to the topic.  Practise structuring your answers too and think about the grammar and tenses you may want to use.  Your friend or tutor can help by thinking of typical questions to ask you at the end of your talk.

3) Discussion.  In this part of the speaking exam you will asked to discuss and express your opinions on a specific topic which will follow on from the topic in part 2 of the test.  The topics will range over a number of subjects, i.e. travel and tourism, health, crime, the environment, technology, etc.

Advice – concentrate on the types of language needed in order to  express yourself and structure this task, i.e. agreement and disagreement, expressing opinion etc.  You can practise writing down possible questions that could arise from the topics – remember that  in this part of the test, the questions may be more abstract and in-depth, so make sure that you are familiar with this type of question.

This part of the exam will last for 4-5 minutes.

You can practise and study for all parts of the speaking exam by visiting www.ielts.org and using the practice materials and tests for students.  You can also order materials online or buy books on IELTS practice tests.

Look out for tips and advice on the IELTS Listening exam coming soon…