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How to get a high IELTS speaking score

IELTS speaking Practice: Free IELTS speaking Samples

In this guide you will find free IELTS speaking samples, IELTS speaking practice questions, and IELTS speaking exam tips. If you're looking for IELTS exam preparation and need a high IELTS speaking score, this page contains everything you'll need to get started.

IELTS Speaking Exam Info

The IELTS speaking exam can be a little intimidating at first, especially because you'll be tested live in front of your examiner. Due to this live format, finding free IELTS speaking samples with answers can be difficult, but don't worry we have you covered. Before starting the IELTS speaking questions, let's look at the IELTS speaking test in a little more detail.

IELTS Speaking Practice Test: Preparing Yourself for Test Day

When you take the IELTS Speaking test, you'll enter a room where your examiner will be waiting to greet you. Before the IELTS speaking test starts, the examiner will ask you a few questions. You will be judged on how you answer these questions, so it's important you're prepared to answer them, well.

IELTS Speaking Examiner Questions: How to Respond for a high IELTS Score

  1. The examiner will introduce themselves and ask what your name is. You'll reply "My name's _______".
  2. Next, you'll be asked "What can I call you?", in which you can reply "You can call me_______". You may use your English name here, if you have one. This may sound odd, but some people cannot pronounce their own English name. This is NOT ACCEPTABLE. If you cannot pronounce it, you're better off not using it.
  3. Following your name, they ask where you're from. Just say "I'm from_____". That's enough. You don't need to give any extra information about your answers at this stage.
  4. Finally, you'll be asked for identification. After showing it, you'll begin the test.

The speaking test lasts about 11 - 15 minutes, consisting of three parts.

IELTS Speaking Exam - Part 1

In part 1, You'll be asked 4-6 questions about yourself and a range of familiar topics, such as home, family, work, studies and interests. This part lasts between 4 - 5 minutes.

IELTS Speaking Exam - Part 2

In part 2, you'll talk about a particular topic. The topic is selected for you and will be given to you on a card. You will then have 1 minute to prepare your answer and then a maximum of 2 minutes to speak. The examiner will then ask you one or two questions on that same topic.

IELTS Speaking Exam - Part 3

In part 3, you'll continue with the same topic from part 2. First, you'll be asked questions about the topic. Then, you'll discuss more abstract ideas and issues. Part 3 takes around 4 - 5 minutes.

To get an idea of what the test is like for each part, you can watch the official IELTS YouTube videos below.

How to Answer IELTS Speaking Exam Part 1 Questions

Speaking Part 1 lasts between 4-5 minutes and you will be asked questions about familiar topics, such as your job, your studies, your family, your hometown, your hobbies, etc.

For example, here is what the examiner could ask you:

Where are you from?
Do you work or study?
Can you describe your hometown?
How long have you been living there?
Has your hometown changed much since you were a child?
Does it rain much in your country? (Where? When?)
Have you ever been caught in the rain without a coat or umbrella?
Do you think that rain affects people's mood?

As you can see, the questions from Part 1 are almost exactly like daily conversations with native speakers. If you're comfortable having basic conversations with a native English speaker, part 1 should not be too much trouble, however, you should still prepare for it.

Think of this way!

Even native-English speakers might make mistakes if they have not practiced specifics of each part, even part 1. You're not just answering questions, you are fully explaining your answers in a structured and cohesive way, so make sure to prepare yourself for all parts, no matter how easy it appears.

If you want to practice some free IELTS speaking practice questions from part 1, have a look at our long list of IELTS Speaking Sample Questions Part 1. It's a list of common questions examiners have asked people in the past. You can practice answering these questions in a mirror or with a friend.

IELTS Speaking Exam Part 1 Tips for Success

When answering questions in Part 1, your answer shouldn't be too short or too long.. For example, if you're asked "Do you like sports?" Saying "No. I don't like sports." is not a good enough answer. Always remember, you're here to prove you can speak English, so you need to give the examiner longer answers in order for them to grade you. An acceptable response would be "I understand the benefits of being in sports and the entertainment of watching it, but even as a child, I could never get into sports. I would prefer to sit down and read an engaging book.". As a general rule, a Part 1 answer should have about 3-4 sentences.

Another key tip to keep in mind is to talk naturally like you were talking to a good friend. When you feel uncomfortable or stressed its natural to do the following

  • Look down when talking
  • Talk in a monotone voice
  • Talk quietly
  • Give one word answers ("No.")
  • Frown

The above list are things you MUST NOT DO! Let's look at a list of things you should do :)

  • Make eye natural contact with the examiner
  • Talk with passion. Be excited and happy to answer the questions.
  • Talk loud enough, so the examiner will have no problem hearing you.
  • Give descriptive answers.
  • SMILE :)

Finally, it can be very helpful to begin your response by paraphrasing a portion of the question. You can use synonyms where possible, but you can also rearrange the sentence structure of the question. This will show you have a better command of the English language.

How to Answer IELTS Speaking Exam Part 2 Questions

IELTS Speaking Part 2 is the individual part of the test. You'll be given a candidate task card, pen and paper and will be expected to speak a monologue for around 2 minutes. As you can see from the candidate task card example below, there is a topic that the examiner will expect you to talk about and and bullet points to help guide you, but are not requirements for your speech.

Candidate Task Card
Describe something you own which is very important to you.
  • Where you got it from
  • How long you have had it
  • What you use it for.
  • And explain why it is important to you.

You'll have 1 minute to prepare your speech. Use the pen and paper to write down your notes in point form. You can use your notes during your speech. The examiner will then start a timer and you will begin your 2 minute monologue.

IELTS Speaking Exam Part 2 Tips for Success

Due to IELTS speaking part 2 requiring you to speak for 2 minutes straight and potentially talk about an unfamiliar topic, many IELTS students get nervous and stress out during their speech and run out of things to say. In order to help you overcome these problems, we have come up with 5 tips that can help you feel confident and relaxed during your speech.

1. Don't let bullet points on the cue card limit your answer

A common misconception is that students have to talk about exactly what is written on the card, but that is not true. In the Official Marking Criteria for the Speaking Test there is nothing stating that you have to talk about every bullet point. Lots of IELTS examiners know this, but they don't tell students because they don't want to give them an unfair advantage. The bullet points are only there to help you, so if there are one or two that you don't like or you don't feel comfortable talking about, leave them out and talk about something else.

The rule is that you must talk about the general topic, but you don't have to talk about all of the bullet points. So what does this mean to you? It means you can choose to talk about some of the bullet points you are comfortable with and other things unrelated to the bullet points but related to the topic. This will help you give a better and a more fluent answer.

2. Plan your answer during the 1 minute preparation time

You will have one minute to prepare before you start talking. During this 1 minute, You should layout your speaking response's structure and put down some keywords to help you remember what you want to talk about during your speech. Remember! you need to speak for 2 minutes speech and that's a lot of time. If you don't plan well, you are not likely to do a great job. Maybe if you prepared yourself a structure, things would be a lot easier :)

3. Prepare a structure to plan out your speaking answer

There's nothing worse then having an idea in your mind, but failing to express it into words that's easy for the listening to follow and understand. This is typically the case when you aren't practiced in speaking with structure. It's recommended you have a structure in mind to answer any question. You can use the below structure as a reference.

Introduction

Here you can use one sentence to introduce what you will talk about. A simple introductory phrase like, "I'm going to talk about…" or "I' like to talk about .." will work just fine.

Main event

This is where you talk about the most important details about the event or problem. The details can be from the bullet points or other things relevant to the main topic. When you are practicing, a good way to come up with details is to use 'Who, what, why, where, how'. This will help you quickly and easily expand your answer.

A quick note on adjectives. If you describe something with an adjective, you're going to want to explain it with examples. Simply using a fancy word to describe something will not get you a high score, detailed explanations will.

Finally, if you can, make your speech about a life experience. It'll make it easier to talk about and will come out more naturally. However, if you have no experience with the topic, then you can just make it up. The examiner will not fact check, so have some fun with it. The examiner will, however, ask a follow-up question, so be prepared to answer it.

Your feelings

This is like a conclusion of your story. Saying how you felt will add an important layer to your story. If you are talking about a memorable journey you have made, you can say something like this "Overall, the trip was the happiest moment of my life. I really had a great time with my family."

Future

Finally, discussing what you might do in the future is a great way to end finish your speech. It will help you gain extra marks because you'll show an ability to use future tense. Some useful language expressions are 'With regards to the future, I will ..' or "I think when I am get older, I will .."


4. Don't Worry About Making Mistakes

Everybody taking an IELTS speaking exam makes both grammar and vocabulary mistakes. The examiners are actually expecting you to make some mistakes. What's important is getting the message across; making a few small mistakes will not hurt your overall message. What will hurt your message is thinking about the mistake. Losing your train of thought is dangerous. If you can correct it immediately without losing your train of thought, then it's fine to correct it, but if you struggle or it takes a little bit of time to think of the correction, then please forget it and move on.

IELTS Speaking Questions

Reading this guide won't help you unless you put the ideas into practice. Every part 2 question is different and therefore requires a different response. There is no magic formula, so you need to find some example questions and practice. Luckily, we have gathered 101 part 2 questions for you to practice with. Try to answer it as naturally as possible and use the techniques above to extend your answer if needed. Here are all 101 part 2 questions.

How to Answer IELTS Speaking Exam Part 3 Questions

In part 3 of the Speaking test, the examiner will ask a broader range of questions which are based on the topics discussed in part 2. These questions are more abstract and require you to develop your answer further with explanations and examples. It is going to be a discussion with the examiner that will last for about 4-5 minutes. The examiner wants to see that you can fluently express your opinions and that you are able to justify them by giving reasons and examples.

Ok, let's just say that the question in Part 2 is "Describe a book that you read recently". In Part 3, the questions you are going to be asked are related to the topic "book". So, here are some general and abstract questions that could be asked in Part 3 based on this topic:

  • What kind of books are considered good reads in your opinion?
  • Why do you think so many people read on tablets nowadays?
  • Do you think that traditional books will be replaced by tablet reading in the future?

If you have done some research on IELTS Speaking Part 3 questions, you might think they are unpredictable, making them challenging to prepare for. However, if you look at them closely, you can see patterns among the questions. Generally speaking, questions in IELTS speaking part 3 ask you to

  1. give your opinion or preference on a topic
  2. compare and contrast two things
  3. make a prediction on something in the future
  4. make a comparison with the past 
  5. talk about a hypothetical situation
  6. talk about your ideas about people in society
  7. talk about causes and effects
  8. provide solutions to a problem

Do you see the pattern? Let's have a look some more example questions.

Give your opinion on a topic
  • What do think about the way languages are taught in schools?
  • What is your opinion on companies checking job applicants' online profiles?
  • Do you think the education system in your country influences young people’s behavior?
  • Is using the Internet a social or solitary activity?
  • Is food safety becoming an increasing serious problem in our lives?
  • What do you think of betting on sports events?
  • Do you regard famous writers as good role models?
Express your preference
  • What do think is better for you? home cooking or eating out?
  • Do you generally read a lot of books or do you prefer watching T.V?
  • Do you prefer to live in a big city or in a small town?
Talk about people or things in your country
  • Do people in your country spend a lot of money on their education?
  • How do most people travel long distances in your country?
  • How popular is watching television in your country?
  • How healthy is your country’s food?
Talk about causes and effects
  • What are some of the causes of water pollution?
  • How does advertising influence what people choose to buy?
  • What causes climate change?
  • Why do you think so many people read on tablets nowadays?
  • Why do people like watching television?
  • What effects can watching television have on children?
Compare and contrast two things
  • What are the differences between living in the city and the countryside
  • What is the difference between studying online and studying at a school
  • What is the difference between clothes that young people and old people like to wear?
Make a prediction on something in the future
  • What do you think cities will be like in 50 years time? 
  • Some people say that working from home will be quite common in the future. Do you agree with this statement?
  • Will computers and robots replace teachers in the future?
Make a comparison with the past
  • How are education priorities today different from those in the past?
  • How are the eating habits now different from eating habits in the past
  • How has teaching changed in your country over the past few decades?
  • Are TV programmes nowadays the same as TV programmes in the past?
Talk about a hypothetical situation
  • If you could choose a city to live in, where would you choose? 
  • If you could influence or had the power to change the world with your writings what would you want to change?
Provide solutions to a problem
  • How can traffic be reduced in a city?
  • how can we stop violence on TV?
  • What can we do to slow down global warming?

All information on this page was referenced from the official IELTS website: www.ielts.org

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