IELTS Speaking Tips

The Speaking section is another part of the IELTS test that many people find  challenging to answer. Well, regardless of how difficult it may appear to be, you will always have a great chance in doing well during this part of the test. You just need to learn about what the speaking test is all about, how it works, how you can answer it properly and what are the tips and techniques in having a great score. These tips have already helped many students pass the English proficiency assessment test. Check out the tips below to learn about the exam and increase your chance in passing it:

IELTS Speaking

The IELTS Speaking is the last part of the IELTS test. The Speaking test is scheduled separately and it could be 3 days before or 3 days after your exam. It consists of a one-on-one interview with an examiner. The speaking test takes between 11-14 minutes. There are 3 parts of the speaking test:

Part Focus Time
Introduction and interview You answer general questions about yourself, your home, your family, job, studies, etc. 4-5 mins
Individual long turn You will give a speech for up to two minutes. The examiner will give you a task card and you have one minute to prepare for it. You can take down notes. 3-4 mins
Two-way discussion The examiner will ask you questions related to Part 2. You are being assessed on how you can talk about abstract ideas and issues. 4-5 mins

IELTS Speaking Tips

Here is the criteria that the examiner will use to assess your speaking skills:

Criteria How Responses are Assessed
Fluency and Coherence Key points for fluency are your speed and how fluid and continuously you speak.
Lexical Resource The range of vocabulary you use and how well you use the language to express opinions
Grammatical Range and accuracy The range, accuracy and appropriate use of grammar
Pronunciation How easy it is for the listener to understand your speech

 The Role of the Examine

IELTS examiners are qualified teachers and they are specially trained to assess your speaking skills based on the IELTS band scale. Think of the examiner as your friend. The examiner is on your side and he/she wants you to do well. So you need not be afraid or intimated by them. They will be patient with you as time allows.

Tips for IELTS Speaking test

  • Smile as you greet the interviewer. Make sure that you build rapport with the examiner.
  • Keep to the topic. Don’t digress. Think of two main points to discuss in your speech. It’s not the length of the answer but it’s the quality of your answers that matter.
  • Talk for about 80 % of the time. Don’t worry if you speak too long. The examiner will cut you and ask you another question.
  • Talk about a difficult topic by using ‘maybe’ and ‘perhaps’. Use these probability vocabulary to give indirect answers.
  • Ask for clarifications to questions which you failed to understand. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The examiner won’t take it against you.
  • Give extra information to a short answer to keep the conversation going. Always extend your answers. Avoid one-liner answers. Give 2-3 sentences giving reasons for your answer. Give concrete examples.
  • Make a guess at the meaning of a word or phrase you do not understand and ask the examiner if you were right.
  • Use body language and voice intonation to create a conversational exchange between you and the interviewer.

Things NOT to do in the Speaking Test

·      Give only short answers. Avoid one-liner answers. Divide your answers into two.

·      Go silent if you do not understand something the examiner said. Use buying time techniques to think about your answer.

·      Say that you have never thought about a topic so you cannot say anything. Even if you don’t have personal experience about something, you can use other people’s experience or based it from what you read or seen on TV or movies.

How experts Speak

·      Let the examiner talk for about 80% of the time. If the examiner is talking most of the time, that means more questions. And you don’t want more questions.

·      Avoid looking at the examiner’s eye. Make sure that you make eye contact with the examiner. If you’re intimidated, you can just look on his/her forehead and he/she wouldn’t notice.

·      Wait for the examiner to prompt you before speaking. You should know when it’s your turn to speak. Start out strong with confidence. Think quickly on your answers.

·      Worry a lot. Use breathing exercises to release the nerves. Think positive about yourself. Don’t think of it as a test but rather just a conversation with a friend.

·      Digress a lot. Never digress. Don’t stretch a topic too much. Your answers need not be long as long as you give two major points and concrete examples.


There are times that you make mistakes in your speech. You can still recover from your mistakes. Here are some suggested expressions to use to correct your speech:

Asking for repetition

I’m sorry?

Would you mind repeating that?


Could you repeat the question please?

Sorry, what was that?

I’m afraid I didn’t catch your last remark.

Asking for clarification

I’m not sure what you mean by that.

Could you explain what you mean by …?

When you say XXX, do you mean …?

Do you mean …?

Clarifying or rephrasing something

What I mean is …

What I’m trying to say is …

In other words …

Perhaps I could make that clearer by saying …

Summing up

In short, …

So basically, …

To sum up, …

So in conclusion, …

Briefly, …

To summarize, …

Giving yourself time to think (buying time)

Let me just think about that for a second.

Could you give me a minute to think about that?


Part 1

In Part 1 the candidate answers general questions about themselves, their homes/families, their jobs/studies, their interests, and a range of similar topic areas. This part lasts between four and five minutes. Part 1 focuses on Present Tense.

Avoid using the same words from the question. Don’t just answer with a yes or no. Always extend your answers to keep the conversation going. Never say “I don’t know”. If you don’t have a personal experience on the topic, you can use other people’s experiences.


Let’s talk about your home town or village

What kind of place is it?

What’s the most interesting part of your town/village?

What kind of jobs do the people in your town/village do?

Would you say it’s a good place to live?

Part 2

In Part 2 the candidate is given a task card and is asked to talked on a particular topic. The candidate has one minute to prepare before speaking for between one and two minutes. The examiner then asks one or two rounding-off questions. Part 2 focuses on the Past.

Maximize the one-minute preparation time to think about ideas and vocabulary on the topic. Use a mindmap to jot down phrases that you will use to deliver your speech. Make sure you structure your speech with an introduction, body and conclusion.

During the one-minute preparation time do the following:

  1. Write in phrases and not complete sentences.
  2. Write points according to how the questions are presented.
  3. Draw a line between words connected to the description and explanation.
  4. Use topic-specific vocabulary such as nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives.


Describe your favorite shop.You should say:where it is

what things it sells

what sort of people are its customers

And explain why you like the shop. 

 Sample Answer

My favorite shop is Starbucks. It is located in Fort Bonifacio. Starbucks serves mainly coffee such as frappes, espressos, lattes, and cappuccinos. They also have delicious pastries like their turnover sandwiches which I absolutely adore.

When I go to Starbucks, I mostly see businessmen conducting meetings. There are also professionals working on their laptops while sipping their coffees. I guess the place is really conducive and has a quiet ambience.

Why do I like Starbucks? Their coffees are definitely the best. The aroma of their coffees are simply divine. Also, their customer service is impeccable. They serve coffee quite fast and efficiently. I would recommend going to Starbucks.  

English Speaking Skills
Part 3

In Part 3 the examiner and candidate engage in a discussion of more abstract issues and concepts which are related to the topic prompt in Part 2. The discussion lasts between four and five minutes. Part 3 focuses on the future and modals (can, could, might, may, etc.) You are expected to predict, guess, analyze, relate, suggest and evaluate (give your opinion) in this part.

Here you would have no time to prepare your answer and it’s hard to predict the types of questions that will be asked of you. However, there are types of questions that you can prepare for your speech. Here is a list of them:

  1. Predicting

For predicting questions, use the language of probability such as perhaps, maybe, probably. Use the future tense in answering these questions.

Ex. What changes do you regarding the future of travel?

  1. Advantages/Disadvantages

For advantages and disadvantages, give two advantages and two disadvantages and make sure that you give concrete examples.

Ex. What are the advantages and disadvantages of studying a foreign language?

  1. Problem/Solution

Use synonyms for problems such as issues, concerns, etc. Use signals words for solutions such as address, deal, solve, etc.

Ex. What are the causes of obesity and how can we solve it?

  1. Opinion

Always make a stand. Don’t be neutral. Give two reasons why you agree or disagree on a particular topic.

Ex. Do you think the government should ban public smoking?

  1. Comparisons

Use language of comparisons such as like, in the same way, on the other hand, different, in contrast, similarly.

Ex. What are the differences between men and women in terms of communication?

IELTS Speaking Topics

Here are some sample IELTS speaking questions which you use for practice.

  1. Advertising

What are the positive effects of advertising?

Should advertising on smoking be banned?

2. Animal Rights

Do you agree that testing on animals should be prevented?

What should the government do to prevent animal cruelty?

3. Cities

What are the disadvantages of living in big cities?

How can we solve the problems associated with living in the cities?

4. Crime

Is crime situation in your country getting worse or getting better?

How can individuals help in preventing crime?

5. Education

What are the pros and cons of co-ed schools?

What developments do you think will happen in schools in the future?

6. Environment

What is the most pressing problem in the environment today?

What can you do to help care for the environment?

What To Know About IELTS Speaking

7. Family

How would you compare families today and in the past?

What do you think is the impact of divorce on the children?

8. Gender

Do you think that there are more jobs that are more appropriate for men or for women?

How can we promote gender equality in the workplace?

9. Genetic Engineering

Are you in favor of genetically modified foods?

Should the government allot funds for genetic engineering?

10. Global Issues

What are the advantages of globalization?

Should 1st world countries help the third world countries?

11. Government and Society

Do you think the government should censor movies?

How can the government solve the problem of poverty?

12. Guns and Weapons

Should government impose a total gun ban?

What do you think of the government allotting more funds for nuclear weapons?

13. Health

What are the negative effects of fast food?

How can we solve the problem of obesity?

14. Housing and Architecture

What are the advantages of old buildings?

How would you compares buildings in the past and present?

15. International Language

What are the positive effects of learning a foreign language?

Should children learn a new language at a young age?

16. Money

Can money buy happiness?

How would you compare the things that people value today and in the past?

17.Personal Development

Which is more important: your job or your co-workers?

What are the things that make people happy today?

18. Sport and Leisure

Do you think that athletes are overpaid?

Should government focus more on sports rather than on other things?


How can tourism benefit a country?

How do you think tourism will develop in the future?

20.Traditions and Modern Life

Do you think that old traditions are dying?

How can we protect our traditions from modernization?

There are countless of information that you can obtain to prepare for the exam.

To know more about IELTS speaking, watch this video: