Complete Guide to IELTS Speaking

The Speaking test is the shortest part of the IELTS exam, lasting only 11-15 minutes. However, for many test-takers this brief experience can seem to last an eternity! IELTS Speaking is a quick, but intense in-person interview. It requires focus, creativity, and strong English skills to think of responses to the interviewer’s questions quickly.

It is very important to relax and remain confident during the IELTS interview. Being alert but calm will help you do your best. How can you achieve this? The best thing you can do is study and prepare. Knowing what to expect on the IELTS Speaking exam, practicing a variety of strategies, and answering many, many practice questions will help you on exam day.

This Guide to IELTS speaking covers what you need to know about this short, but challenging part of the IELTS exam. We’ll start with basic (but important!) information to introduce you to IELTS Speaking and how it’s scored. The second half of the post focuses on each of the three main parts of the test, with tips and strategies to help you develop your approach.

IELTS Speaking: The Basics

IELTS uses a “paper” format for its Reading, Writing, and Listening tests, all of which are completed together in one sitting. Speaking takes place separately. In most cases, Speaking interviews are scheduled on the same day as the paper test. However, sometimes the interview can be scheduled up to one week before or after the paper exam. You will receive instructions about this when you register for the IELTS at your local test center.

When you take the Speaking test, you will enter a room where your examiner will be waiting to greet you. He or she will ask you to identify yourself, and your Speaking test will begin immediately after that. To get an idea of what the test is like, check out this short video. The student is answering IELTS Speaking questions in Part 1 of the exam.

The IELTS Speaking Test has three parts. We will look at each part in depth later in this post. For now, let’s just get familiar with each one.