IELTS Speaking Test Format: An Overview

IELTS Speaking Test Format: An Overview

IELTS Speaking Test Format: An Overview

The IELTS Speaking test has 3 parts and each part has a different goal and needs a different approach. 

  • Part 1 includes your document (ID) check, some warm up, introduction questions and then questions about on 2 different topics related to you and your life.
  • Part 2 is a long turn where you have 1 to 2 minutes to talk about a topic you will be given in the test. You have 1 minute to prepare. 
  • Part 3 is a deeper conversation based on the topic you talked about in Part 2.

The whole test will last 11- 14 minutes. 

Notice the IELTS Speaking test is the same for both Academic and General modules.

As of July 2020, some test centres in some countries are delivering the speaking test by video calls.

IELTS Speaking Test Format: Part 1

Name and ID check

This part of the test lasts 4- 5 minutes

At the start of the test you will…

  • Give your full name
  • Give the name you want the examiner to call you
  • Show your ID or passport


  • Arrive early
  • Relax and smile as you walk into the room
  • Have your ID ready (the same one you registered with)
  • Don’t be too formal. IELTS Speaking is a test of natural, conversational English, not formal academic English.

Introducing yourself

Next you will be asked 2 or 3 questions on one of the following topics 



  • These question are really a kind of warm-up for both you and the examiner.
  • Use this time to get relaxed, and also to make a good first impression
    • smile
    • be confident
    • use simple language to help you warm up 

Topics 1 and 2

You will be asked 3 to 4 questions on a first topic and then a further 3 to 4 questions on a second topic


For these questions, you should 

  • give fairly short answers 
  • spend about 10 – 20 seconds on each answer
  • not worry if the examiner interrupts you 
  • Most questions are about you, so talk about you and your own life and experience.
  • Some questions are yes/no questions (closed questions), e.g. Do you like your hometown? However, never just answer yes or no. You need to expand your answer.
  • Give a direct answer, explain why, and maybe add a detail or example. 

What Happens in IELTS Speaking Part 1?

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