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IELTS Speaking

Explore official IELTS preparation materials for Speaking test, from free practice tests to events and tips from IELTS Experts.

The IELTS Speaking is the same for both General Training test and Academic test and assesses your use of spoken English. All speaking tests are conducted face-to-face with a certified IELTS examiner and are recorded in case they need to be reviewed.

The Speaking test takes between 11 and 14 minutes and consists of 3 parts. Part 1 is the first part of the test where the examiner will ask you some general questions about familiar topics like work, family, studies and hobbies.

In Part 2 you will be given a card with a topic. You will be given one minute to take notes on the topic and will be given a pencil and paper to prepare your response. You will then speak on the topic for two minutes. In Part 3 of the interview, you will have a two-way discussion with the examiner where they will ask questions related to the topic discussed in Part 2.

The Speaking test may be conducted on the same day as the other tests or a week before or after the other test parts.

IELTS - paper sample tests

Speaking (11–14 minutes)

In the Speaking test, you have a discussion with a certified examiner. It is interactive and as close to a real-life situation as a test can get.

There are three parts to the test and each part fulfils a specific function in terms of interaction pattern, task input and test taker output.

In Part 1, you answer questions about yourself and your family. In Part 2, you speak about a topic. In Part 3, you have a longer discussion on the topic.

The Speaking test is the same for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. Each of the three parts is designed to test a different aspect of your communication ability.

  • What accents can be heard in the Listening and Speaking tests?
    As IELTS is an international test, a variety of voices and native-speaker accents are used in both the General Training and Academic tests.
  • Can I do all parts of the test on the same day?
    The Listening, Reading, and Writing parts of the test are completed immediately after each other on the same day. In some test centres, you will sit the Speaking test on the same day, or up to 7 days before or after your test date. If you take IELTS on Computer, contact your test centre for more information on the Speaking test date.
  • What do I need to bring to my Speaking test?
    You must bring the same passport or national identity card that you used to book your IELTS test. Your ID will be checked before you enter the interview room and again during the interview.
  • What happens in the IELTS Speaking test?
    The Speaking test is a discussion with a highly qualified IELTS examiner who assesses your ability to talk about a range of topics. The Speaking test has three parts and is recorded. A description of the three parts of the interview is found in the Information for Candidates booklet.
  • What order will I complete the IELTS test in?
    If you take IELTS on Computer, you will do the tests in the following order on the same day: Listening, Reading and Writing, with the Speaking test before or after this test session. If you take IELTS on Paper, you will do the tests in the following order: Listening, Reading and Writing. Depending on the test centre, the Speaking test can be done on the same day, or up to 7 days either before or after the test date.
  • Can I make notes during the IELTS on computer test?
    Yes. IELTS on computer provides a note-taking and highlight function. You can try these functions on the familiarisation tests here. You can also write notes on the login details sheet you receive at the beginning of the test.
  • If I take IELTS on paper, can I write notes in the question booklets?
    Yes, you are encouraged to write notes on the question booklets. IELTS examiners do not have access to your question booklets.
  • Can I write my answers in capital letters?
    Yes, you can use all capital letters in the IELTS Reading and Listening sections. If you use capital letters in the Writing section, make sure that your punctuation is correct and the examiner can see where you start and finish sentences.
  • How can I improve my Writing band score?
    Read the assessment criteria used for both Academic and General Training Writing tests carefully before your test day. The examiner will assess your writing based on four criteria for Task 1 and Task 2. Remember that Writing Task 2 is worth twice as many marks as Task 1. You can improve your Writing band score by practising. Our news and articles page has extensive tips and advice to help you prepare and improve your English-language skills.
  • What to do if I am late to my test due to situations beyond my control?
    If you experience difficulty on a test day, please inform the test centre immediately. The test centre may offer you a test on the next available test date.
  • Do I have to write in pencil for the IELTS on Paper test?
    The test centre will provide pencils for the IELTS Listening, Reading, and Writing tests. This is because tests are scanned and work best with pencil. It also means that you can easily erase and rewrite words.
  • What should I bring on my test day?
    You must bring the same passport or national identity card that you used to book your IELTS test. If you do a IELTS on Paper test, you can take pens, pencils and erasers into the examination room. If you do a IELTS on Computer test, the centre will provide you with pencils and paper. You must leave all of your personal belongings outside the examination room in a secure area or locker. Mobile phones, pagers and smart watches must be switched off and left with your personal belongings. If you keep mobile phones or electronic devices with you, you will be disqualified. Contact your test centre to know more, as some of these instructions may vary from centre to centre.
  • I am a native speaker. Why do I need to take the IELTS test?
    IELTS may be a requirement for entering your desired course in an educational institution. It is also used in many countries as a part of their migration assessment. If you are not sure as to why you might need to sit the IELTS test or about the score you need, contact the organisation you are applying to. They will be able to provide further information, including whether native speakers need to complete the IELTS test. Even if English is your primary language, you will still need to prepare for the test.
  • How often can I re-sit the IELTS test?
    There is no limit on how many times you can retake the IELTS test. It is recommended you do additional study and preparation before retaking IELTS. Some test centres offer preparation courses and language classes. Contact your local test centre for more information.
  • How much does the IELTS Test cost?
    The Academic and General Training test fee is the same. You can contact your nearest test centre to find out the test fee for your country and in your local currency. The current cost of the test is 212 EUR for IELTS on computer and IELTS on Paper.
  • What band score do I need to study abroad?
    The band score  you need  to  study abroad is set by the institution to which you are applying and not by IELTS. The score needed to apply to  a course may vary based on the institution or course you want to apply for. If  you are  not sure what band score  you need to apply for your desired course,  check out our Who accepts IELTS page or double-check with the institution you wish to apply to. 
  • What band score do I need to migrate abroad?
    The band score you need to migrate to a particular country varies. Check our Who accepts IELTS page to check what band score you need.
  • What is the price of the IELTS UKVI test?
    The price of the IELTS Academic and General Training Test for UKVI is €240. Check the IELTS booking system for accurate prices.
  • What is the difference between IELTS and IELTS for UKVI
    IELTS and IELTS for UKVI are exactly the same test in terms of format, content, scoring and level of difficulty. The only difference is an IELTS for UKVI test is approved by the UK Home Office for work, study and migration purposes. If you take an IELTS for UKVI test, your test report form will be a little different to show that you have taken an IELTS for UKVI test at an approved IELTS test centre.
  • Do I need to give my test centre notice if I have special requirements?
    Yes, it is best to contact your local test centre as early as possible informing them about your special needs. Giving adequate notice is necessary for the modified test versions to be prepared or special administrative arrangements to be made.
  • Is a health condition considered to be a special requirement?
    Yes, it is. We can provide a variety of arrangements to support you during the test if you have special requirements due to hearing loss, low vision, learning difficulties, medical conditions or infant feeding. We can provide modified and enlarged print papers, braille papers, braille and enlarged print versions of the Speaking test, lip reading version of the Listening test, extra time for the Reading and Writing test or use of a computer (e.g. for candidates with dyslexia), a scribe to write answers on your behalf or a special Listening Test (e.g. using amplification equipment and/or lip-reading version of the Listening test for those with hearing difficulties). Test centres deal with all applications for special arrangements individually. You will be asked for full details of your particular circumstances.
  • What is the difference between IELTS on paper and IELTS on computer?
    If you choose to take IELTS on computer, you will take the Listening, Reading and Writing test parts using a computer. If you choose to take the  IELTS on paper,  you will complete the Listening, Reading and Writing test parts on paper. The Speaking test for both paper and computer  are  face to face with an examiner. This is the best way  to measure  your  speaking skills  as it takes a more  realistic  approach: a life-like conversation with an examiner.
  • Will I lose marks if my opinions differ to that of the examiner?
    In your Writing and Speaking tests, there are no right or wrong opinions. The examiner is assessing how well you can use your English to report information and express ideas.
  • What order will I complete the IELTS test in?
    If you take IELTS on Computer, you will do the tests in the following order on the same day: Listening, Reading and Writing, with the Speaking test before or after this test session. If you take IELTS on Paper, you will do the tests in the following order: Listening, Reading and Writing. Depending on the test centre, the Speaking test can be done on the same day, or up to 7 days either before or after the test date.
  • How can I improve my Writing Band score?
    Read the assessment criteria used for both Academic and General Training Writing tests carefully before your test day. The examiner will assess your writing based on four criteria for Task 1 and Task 2. Remember that Writing Task 2 is worth twice as many marks as Task 1. You can improve your Writing band score by practising. Our news and articles page has extensive tips and advice to help you prepare and improve your English-language skills.
  • Will I be penalised if I mix UK and US spelling in my Writing test?
    No. You can use either British or American English. If you use both in the same sentence it will not be a problem.
  • Why are the topics in the Reading and Writing test so difficult?
    Every IELTS test is carefully produced and tested to ensure a consistent level of difficulty across all the test versions. We want every IELTS test  taker to have their true English-language ability reflected in their result, which is why we offer so many free and paid tools to help you  practise and prepare. Check out our preparation  tools for tips and advice so that you can be as prepared as possible for your test date.
  • Can we use numbered lists to support our opinion?
    It is not a good idea to use numbered lists in the IELTS Writing test. It is better to use full sentences, connecting words and paragraphs to show your writing ability.
  • Do I have to write in pencil for the IELTS on Paper test?
    The test centre will provide pencils for the IELTS Listening, Reading, and Writing tests. This is because tests are scanned and work best with pencil. It also means that you can easily erase and rewrite words.
  • What is the maximum number of words we should write in the Writing Task 1 and Writing Task 2 essay?
    This varies from person to person, because some people write quickly. There is no exact number, but approximately 180 words for Task 1 and 280 words for Task 2 can be a good guide, as long as you have enough time to go back and check your work.
  • Should we expect topics related to COVID-19 in the Speaking and Writing tests?
    No, not as part of the question. However, topics in the IELTS Speaking and Writing tests could be related to health, so you can use COVID-19 as an example if you want to.
  • Will I get more marks if I write more than the word limit in Writing?
    The minimum word limit is important and you must write at least 150 words for Writing Task 1 and at least 250 words for Writing Task 2. If you write less than this, you will have fewer ideas and may lose marks. However if you write much more, this does not mean you will gain marks. It is more important that you use correct English, appropriate grammar, and a wide range of vocabulary and sentence structures.
  • Can I write my answers in capital letters?
    Yes, you can use all capital letters in the IELTS Reading and Listening sections. If you use capital letters in the Writing section, make sure that your punctuation is correct and the examiner can see where you start and finish sentences.
  • What order will I complete the IELTS test in?
    If you take IELTS on Computer, you will do the tests in the following order on the same day: Listening, Reading and Writing, with the Speaking test before or after this test session. If you take IELTS on Paper, you will do the tests in the following order: Listening, Reading and Writing. Depending on the test centre, the Speaking test can be done on the same day, or up to 7 days either before or after the test date.
  • Can I do all parts of the test on the same day?
    The Listening, Reading, and Writing parts of the test are completed immediately after each other on the same day. In some test centres, you will sit the Speaking test on the same day, or up to 7 days before or after your test date. If you take IELTS on Computer, contact your test centre for more information on the Speaking test date.
  • Can I make notes during the IELTS on computer test?
    Yes. IELTS on computer provides a note-taking and highlight function. You can try these functions on the familiarisation tests here. You can also write notes on the login details sheet you receive at the beginning of the test.
  • Can I do all parts of the IELTS test on computer?
    If you take an IELTS on computer test, the Reading, Writing and Listening parts of the IELTS test are completed on a computer, but the Speaking test is completed face-to-face with an IELTS examiner.
  • What is the best strategy for tackling the Reading test?
    It can depend on the question type, but also think about skimming and scanning. First, look at the headings, diagrams or glossary to get a quick idea of the article and its general meaning. Then look at the key words in the questions to help direct you to the right spot in the article. Also remember that if you know more words, it is easier to read.
  • Why are the topics in the Reading and Writing test so difficult?
    Every IELTS test is carefully produced and tested to ensure a consistent level of difficulty across all the test versions. We want every IELTS test  taker to have their true English-language ability reflected in their result, which is why we offer so many free and paid tools to help you  practise and prepare. Check out our preparation  tools for tips and advice so that you can be as prepared as possible for your test date.
  • Can you give us some practical tips to help read quicker and save time during the Reading test?
    Try skimming and scanning and focus on content words like nouns and verbs.
  • Do I have to write in pencil for the IELTS on Paper test?
    The test centre will provide pencils for the IELTS Listening, Reading, and Writing tests. This is because tests are scanned and work best with pencil. It also means that you can easily erase and rewrite words.
  • Do I have to use the full two minutes in IELTS Speaking, Part 2?
    In Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking test, the examiner will stop you at 2 minutes. This is a good thing because you have shown a lot of language. If you only speak for a minute or a minute and a half for example, the examiner might say "Can you tell me anything more about that?" to encourage you to keep speaking.
  • What accents can be heard in the Listening and Speaking tests?
    As IELTS is an international test, a variety of voices and native-speaker accents are used in both the General Training and Academic tests.
  • What order will I complete the IELTS test in?
    If you take IELTS on Computer, you will do the tests in the following order on the same day: Listening, Reading and Writing, with the Speaking test before or after this test session. If you take IELTS on Paper, you will do the tests in the following order: Listening, Reading and Writing. Depending on the test centre, the Speaking test can be done on the same day, or up to 7 days either before or after the test date.
  • Can I do all parts of the test on the same day?
    The Listening, Reading, and Writing parts of the test are completed immediately after each other on the same day. In some test centres, you will sit the Speaking test on the same day, or up to 7 days before or after your test date. If you take IELTS on Computer, contact your test centre for more information on the Speaking test date.
  • Will I lose marks if my opinions differ to that of the examiner?
    In your Writing and Speaking tests, there are no right or wrong opinions. The examiner is assessing how well you can use your English to report information and express ideas.
  • Do I have to speak with a particular accent in my IELTS Speaking test?
    Everyone speaks with an accent and you are not expected to change your accent for the IELTS test. Instead, focus on speaking clearly and at a natural pace so that the examiner can understand you. Practising your English every day and listening to different native speaker accents will help you to more clearly pronounce difficult words.
  • What do I need to bring to my Speaking test?
    You must bring the same passport or national identity card that you used to book your IELTS test. Your ID will be checked before you enter the interview room and again during the interview.
  • Should we expect topics related to COVID-19 in the Speaking and Writing tests?
    No, not as part of the question. However, topics in the IELTS Speaking and Writing tests could be related to health, so you can use COVID-19 as an example if you want to.
  • What happens in the IELTS Speaking test?
    The Speaking test is a discussion with a highly qualified IELTS examiner who assesses your ability to talk about a range of topics. The Speaking test has three parts and is recorded. A description of the three parts of the interview is found in the Information for Candidates booklet.
  • Does an examiner know which country I am from? Does the examiner mark me based on my accent?
    In the IELTS Speaking test, the examiner knows where you are from because they ask for your passport. They may also ask you about where you are from, but it will not affect your score. Accent is not a problem unless you do not have some natural features of English, such as the sounds or rhythm.
  • What is the difference between IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training?
    If you plan to migrate to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK or the USA, taking an IELTS General Training test makes sense. Or if you plan on studying in secondary education, or enrolling in vocational training, this might still be the right choice. But if you plan to study in higher education or want professional registration in an English-speaking country, you might need to take an IELTS Academic test.
  • Can I ask the examiner to repeat a question if I don't understand it the first time?
    Yes, you can ask the examiner to repeat the question in the IELTS Speaking test. You can also ask for clarification if you don't understand a word or what they are trying to ask.
  • Can I do all parts of the test on the same day?
    The Listening, Reading, and Writing parts of the test are completed immediately after each other on the same day. In some test centres, you will sit the Speaking test on the same day, or up to 7 days before or after your test date. If you take IELTS on computer, the Speaking test will be taken on the same day, either before, or after the other three parts of the test.
  • Any tips or tricks to score full marks in the last section of the Listening test?
    Lectures follow a predictable pattern or structure. The more lectures you listen to, the more you understand that structure. Also, knowing more words can help you better understand.
  • In the Listening test, can I get a second chance to hear the recording if I don't hear it the first time?
    In the IELTS Listening test, the recording is played once only. It is important to concentrate from the beginning until the end for the whole 30 minutes.
  • What accents be heard in the Listening and Speaking tests?
    As IELTS is an international test, a variety of voices and native-speaker accents are used in both the General Training and Academic tests.
  • What is the difference between raw scores and band scores?
    The Listening and Reading parts of the IELTS test  are scored out of 40 and then converted  to a  band score which ranges  from  band 1  to  band 9. The Listening and Reading tests contain 40 questions and each correct question will be awarded 1 mark (so the maximum a test  taker can score here is 40).  Band scores, ranging from band 1 to band 9, are  awarded based on the raw scores.  
  • Can I do all parts of the test on computer?
    f you take an IELTS on computer test, the Reading, Writing and Listening parts of the IELTS test are completed on a computer, but the Speaking test is completed face-to-face with an IELTS examiner.
  • Can I listen to the recording twice in my Listening test?
    No. In the IELTS Listening test, each recording is played once only.
  • How much does IELTS One Skill Retake cost?
    The price for One Skill Retake is the same whether you retake IELTS Listening, Reading, Writing or Speaking. The cost is €146 for IELTS and €161 for IELTS UKVI. *Only valid for 1 module
  • Who accepts IELTS One Skill Retake
    IELTS One Skill Retake is accepted by UK Visas and Immigration, the Australian Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency, Immigration New Zealand and an increasing number of universities and institutions each month. Test takers can determine whether their institution accepts One Skill Retake here. Always check the website of the organisation you intend to apply to for more information about eligibility requirements.
  • How will I receive my IELTS One Skill Retake results?
    You will receive a new IELTS Test Report Form, that includes your new IELTS One Skill Retake result as well as the results from the previous skills you did not retake. This Test Report Form will be dated the same as your original IELTS Academic or General Training test.
  • Can I take One Skill Retake at a different test centre location as to my original test, or does it have to be the same one?
    If you wish to retake just one skill of the IELTS test (One Skill Retake), you have the option to do so at a different test center. However, it is essential to ensure that the test centre you choose is the same company through which you initially took the test. For instance, if you took your original IELTS test with IDP, you are eligible to book your One Skill Retake only at any of the eligible IDP IELTS test centre. Please also check with the organisation that you are applying to if they accept One Skill Retake taken in a different country. To check if this option is available to you, please log into your IDP IELTS account to view your IELTS result.
  • What is IELTS One Skill Retake?
    IELTS One Skill Retake allows you to retake one of the four skills (Listening, Reading, Writing, or Speaking) if you need to improve in just one area. We know most test takers get the scores they need first time, but if you feel you haven’t performed to your best in one area, IELTS One Skill Retake can help you get back on track.
  • What is the length and format of IELTS One Skill Retake?
    You can retake any one skill of the IELTS test, whether it’s Listening, Reading, Writing, or Speaking. The format and timing of that IELTS One Skill Retake test is the same as a normal IELTS test, only you can save time by not needing to complete the other three skills.
  • Can I apply for Enquiry on Results (EOR) and IELTS One Skill Retake at the same time?
    If you want to submit an Enquiry On Results against your original full IELTS test, you must do so within two weeks of the date of the original full IELTS test date for Listening, Reading and Writing, and wait until you receive your remark status before registering for a One Skill Retake against the same full IELTS test.
  • Can I take IELTS One Skill Retake?
    Yes, you can take IELTS One Skill Retake if : you have completed a full test at a centre that offers One Skill Retake your full test was an eligible IELTS on computer test you sit your One Skill Retake within 60 days of your full IELTS test
  • What is the maximum length of time you can take between your original four skill IELTS test and IELTS One skill Retake?
    You can take up to 60 days between your original test and your IELTS One Skill Retake.
  • Can I complete a IELTS One Skill Retake multiple times?
    No. You can only complete your retake once per full IELTS test.
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