name='viewport'/> THE IELTS: IELTS SPEAKING TEST - SKILLS expr:class='"loading" + data:blog.mobileClass'>


The IELTS Speaking Module is designed to allow you to demonstrate your oral skills in a variety of situations. These situations are similar to those you may meet at university in an English-speaking environment where you will be expected to speak in front of your colleagues in tutorials and to discuss issues relevant to your area of study, both with your lecturers and with other students.

In the course of the speaking interview you will be expected to:
- answer the examiner’s questions fully;
- speak at some length on a particular topic;
- express and justify your opinions on a range of topics.

DEVELOPING SPEAKING SKILLS 1: Answering questions fully

In Part 1 of the interview, the examiner will ask you questions based on everyday topics and your personal experiences.


Imagine you have been asked the following question:

Now read two possible answers to this question:
a) Eight months.
b) Eight months in total. I lived in Bristol for the first three months and then I moved to London

Answer b) is better because it includes some additional information.

Exercise 1. Think of answers to the following questions. In each case, try to expand your answer to include at least one piece of additional information.
  • What is the capital of your country?
  • What languages can you speak?
  • Have you got any brothers or sisters?
  • What do you like to do in your free time?

When expanding answers, you will have to make sure that the extra information is relevant and that you have not strayed from the organic topic of the question.

Exercise 2. Imagine you have been asked the following question.

What additional information could you give to expand your answer?

The expanded student’s answer could be:
I’d like to study Chemical Engineering. But first I’ll have to pass several general Chemistry exams. My mother is a chemical engineer, so I’ve always been interested in the field. I’m interested in working as an industrial chemist. I’m hoping to win a scholarship.

EXAM TIP: Always try to include at least one additional piece of information. If you don’t do this, your examiner will probably ask you a related follow-up question anyway


In Part 2 of the interview, the examiner will ask you to speak for one to two minutes on a subject which he or she will give you on a card. This is known as a long turn.

You will have a minute to prepare and can make some notes. You should use your minute to jot down some ideas or key points to help you organize your thoughts. Do not try writing out your whole speech.

Exercise 3. Imagine that you have been given the following topic:

Talk about a person from your childhood whom you particularly admired.
You should mention:
- your relationship to him or her
- what he or she did
- what you admired about this person

you should include following points in your talk:
- the name of the person
- the person’s appearance
- reasons why you liked them
- their home
- their hobbies

Look at this student’s notes made during the one-minute preparation time.

DEVELOPING SPEAKING SKILLS 3: Expressing and justifying your opinions

In Part 3 of the IELTS Interview, you will be asked to express your opinion on a variety of general topics. These topics will be linked thematically to Part 2 topic. Remember that your examiner will be assessing your English, not your opinion. Try to make the language flow naturally and remember to keep going.

Exercise 4. Look at exchanges 1-6 that follow; in each case the examiner’s question is in bold. In each answer, the student is giving his/her opinion on a particular subject. Circle the phrases the speaker uses to introduce his/her opinions. The first one is done for you.

The examiner will follow a logical line of inquiry. Look at exchanges 2-6 again. What questions do you think the examiner might ask next? The first one is done for you.


2. How does living in a city compare with living in a small town?
Living in a small town is, in my opinion, far less stressful than living in a crowded city.

3. How can we encourage more people to use public transport?
Well, I’m convinced that if buses and trains were cheaper more people would leave their cars at home.

4. Do you believe that it should be compulsory to study a foreign language?
No, I don’t believe that being able to speak a foreign language is necessarily useful. It depends on the language, I suppose.

5. What role do museums play in our society?
Personally, I believe they have an important role to play. They give us a sense of history.

6. How important is sport in the school curriculum?
One of the best things about sport at school is that it encourages children to work together as well as helping to keep them fit.

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