IELTS Speaking Tips

The IELTS speaking section is often regarded as one of the trickiest components of the exam, demanding a unique set of skills from test-takers. Unlike the more straightforward nature of the listening, reading, and writing sections, speaking requires candidates to communicate effectively in real-time. This involves not only showcasing a strong command of the English language but also demonstrating the ability to articulate thoughts coherently, maintain a natural flow of speech, and respond thoughtfully to a variety of prompts. Moreover, the speaking test assesses candidates on their pronunciation, intonation, and overall fluency, adding an additional layer of complexity to the evaluation process.

It's crucial to recognize that the IELTS exam is divided into two main categories: Academic and General Training. The Academic module is typically taken by individuals planning to pursue higher education or professional registration, while the General Training module is intended for those seeking migration opportunities or undertaking non-academic training or work experience. While the content and structure of the speaking section remain consistent across both modules, the topics may vary, aligning with the specific goals of the Academic or General Training tracks. As such, test-takers must be well-prepared for a diverse range of subjects and be able to adapt their language skills to different contexts in order to succeed in the IELTS speaking test.

IELTS Speaking Section (Pattern)





Part 1: Introduction and Interview

4-5 minutes

- Introduction: Examiner introduces themselves and confirms your identity. - Interview: Basic personal questions on familiar topics like home, studies, work, and interests.

To assess your ability to provide information about yourself and your background straightforwardly.

Part 2: Long Turn

3-4 minutes

- Receive a task card with a topic and prompts. - 1 minute to prepare notes. - 1-2 minutes to speak on the topic.

To evaluate your ability to speak at length on a given topic, organize your thoughts, and convey relevant information coherently.

Part 3: Discussion

4-5 minutes

- Follow-up questions related to the Part 2 topic. - Broader discussion on related issues and abstract ideas.

To assess your ability to engage in a more complex conversation, express opinions, and discuss abstract and academic topics.


Key Points:

  • The Speaking test is typically conducted in a face-to-face interview with an examiner.
  • Part 1 is more personal, Part 2 involves an extended monologue, and Part 3 focuses on discussing abstract ideas.
  • The examiner guides the conversation, and candidates are expected to respond naturally and coherently.
  • Pronunciation, vocabulary range, grammatical accuracy, fluency, and coherence are evaluated across all three parts.


Remember, effective preparation involves practising not only the content but also the timing for each part to ensure that you manage your responses within the allocated time for each section.


Tips for Scoring 8.5 + Bands in the IELTS Speaking Test

  • Memorising answers will not work:

    Avoid memorising scripted responses. The IELTS Speaking test assesses your ability to communicate naturally, so rehearsed answers may come across as unnatural and hinder your score.

  • Big fat words are NOT the key:

    Focus on clarity and accuracy rather than using complex vocabulary unnecessarily. It's more important to convey your ideas effectively using words you are comfortable with.

  • Use a range of grammar structures:

    Demonstrate your command over the English language by incorporating various grammar structures. This shows flexibility and a deeper understanding of the language.

  • Accent does not play any role:

    The IELTS Speaking test is designed to accommodate various accents. Focus on clear pronunciation and effective communication rather than trying to imitate a specific accent.

  • Think before you speak:

    Pause briefly to collect your thoughts before providing a response. It's better to provide a well-organised and thoughtful answer than to rush into a response.

  • Fillers are a big no-no:

    Minimise the use of fillers such as "um," "uh," or repetitive phrases. These can impact the fluency and coherence of your speech.

  • Smile while you speak, it helps a lot:

    A positive and friendly tone can contribute to a better overall impression. Smiling while speaking can help create a more engaging and confident delivery.

  • Extend your answer:

    Whenever possible, elaborate on your responses. Provide additional details, examples, or explanations to showcase your language proficiency and ability to express yourself in depth.

  • Do not use monotone to answer:

    Vary your tone, pitch, and intonation. A monotone delivery can make your speech less engaging. Express emotions and enthusiasm appropriately.

  • Practice, practice, practice:

    Regularly practice speaking English on a variety of topics. Engage in mock interviews, record yourself, and seek feedback. The more you practice, the more comfortable and confident you'll become in the actual test setting.

IELTS Speaking Do's & Don'ts



Do maintain eye contact with the examiner.

Don't look away or avoid eye contact.

Do speak clearly and at a moderate pace.

Don't rush through your responses.

Do listen carefully to the examiner's questions.

Don't interrupt the examiner or answer without understanding the question.

Do elaborate on your answers with details and examples.

Don't give overly brief or one-word responses.

Do practice active listening during the discussion.

Don't ignore or dismiss the examiner's follow-up questions.

Do use a variety of vocabulary to express yourself.

Don't rely on repetitive words or phrases.

Do use a mix of sentence structures and tenses.

Don't stick to simple or repetitive grammar patterns.

Do ask for clarification if you don't understand a question.

Don't guess the meaning; seek clarity instead.

Do maintain a positive and confident demeanor.

Don't appear nervous, anxious, or overly formal.

Do practice pronunciation and intonation.

Don't mumble or speak too softly.

Do keep your responses relevant to the topic.

Don't go off on tangents unrelated to the question.

Do use transitions to connect ideas in your responses.

Don't jump abruptly between ideas.


Following these Do's and avoiding the corresponding Don'ts can significantly improve your performance in the IELTS Speaking test and contribute to a higher band score.

Marking Criteria of IELTS Speaking Section

Marking Criteria



- Function: Assesses how smoothly and coherently you can speak without hesitation or unnecessary pauses.


- Importance: Demonstrates your ability to maintain a steady flow of speech, contributing to effective communication.

Lexical Resources

- Function: Evaluate the range and accuracy of your vocabulary. Includes the use of synonyms, varied expressions, and appropriate word choices.


- Importance: Reflects your ability to convey ideas precisely and express yourself in diverse ways.

Grammar Range and Accuracy

- Function: Examines the variety and correctness of your grammatical structures and usage.


- Importance: Demonstrates your command over the English language, showcasing the ability to use grammar structures accurately and appropriately in different contexts.


- Function: Assesses the clarity, correctness, and naturalness of your pronunciation. Includes intonation, stress, and rhythm.


- Importance: Contributes to the overall comprehensibility of your speech, allowing the examiner to understand you easily.


Additional Tips:

  • Coherence and Cohesion: Although not explicitly mentioned in the table, coherence and cohesion are crucial aspects. Ensure a logical flow in your responses and use linking words to connect ideas smoothly.
  • Interactive Communication: The ability to engage in a meaningful conversation, respond to follow-up questions, and express opinions is also evaluated. Practice active listening and engage with the examiner naturally.


Understanding and focusing on these criteria during your preparation can help you target specific areas for improvement and increase your chances of achieving a higher band score in the IELTS Speaking section.

Common IELTS Speaking Topics

The IELTS Speaking test covers a wide range of topics to assess your ability to communicate effectively in English. While the specific questions may vary, common themes often include:

  • Personal Information:

    Introduction about yourself, your hometown, and your family.

  • Hobbies and Interests:

    Questions about your hobbies, what you enjoy doing in your free time, and whether you prefer indoor or outdoor activities.

  • Education:

    Your studies, your favourite subjects, and your future educational plans.

  • Work:

    Your current job or studies, your responsibilities, and your career aspirations.

  • Technology:

    Questions related to the use of technology, your favourite gadgets, or the impact of technology on society.

  • Travel and Tourism:

    Your travel experiences, favourite destinations, or preferences for types of vacations.

  • Daily Routine:

    Describe your typical day, including your morning routine, work/study schedule, and evening activities.

  • Environment and Nature:

    Topics like environmental issues, conservation, or your opinion on climate change.

  • Food and Cooking:

    Your favourite foods, cooking habits, or your views on healthy eating.

  • Shopping:

    Questions about your shopping habits, favourite places to shop, and whether you prefer online or in-person shopping.

  • Family:

    Questions about family traditions, family events, and relationships with family members.

  • Celebrations and Festivals:

    How you celebrate holidays, your favourite festivals, and the importance of celebrations in your culture.

  • Art and Culture:

    Your interest in art, music, literature, or cultural events in your community.

  • Sports and Exercise:

    Your favourite sports, exercise routines, or the importance of physical activity.

  • Social Issues:

    Questions related to social problems, volunteering, or your views on community involvement.


It's important to note that these topics are not exhaustive, and the actual questions may vary. Therefore, it's beneficial to practice discussing a wide range of subjects to feel confident and well-prepared for any topic that may come up in the IELTS Speaking test.

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