The IELTS Speaking test consists of a short (11-14 minutes long) interactive discussion with a certified examiner.
The Speaking test in three parts: In Part 1 you will answer questions about yourself and your family, in Part 2 you will introduce, and speak about a general topic on which you will have a longer discussion in Part 3. The Speaking test is the same for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests.
To get a better idea of what an IELTS Speaking test is like, there is a plethora of video downloads on YouTube showing realistic Test discussions between an examiner and a test taker.
Here is a random link to get you started, and you can find many others on YouTube:
Note: All recorded test discussions mention the test takers’ awarded scores. In your IELTS Essentials Pack you can find a table with the assessment band scores, do not forget though that despite the examiners’ training, the final score is also an “impression” mark that can slightly vary from one examiner to the other. Go through the scoring components and try to understand how the examiners have decided on the different scores awarded. Write down your observations and try to follow suit in your Speaking practice test, and certainly during the actual IELTS test.
How to practice for the IELTS Speaking test
It is essential that you find a study partner (a teacher or a friend) to help you practice. This should not be difficult as the “examiner” actually speaks as little as possible, guiding the discussion with short questions. Take the three parts of the practice tests in order and without a break so that your practice is as realistic as possible.
Most of all, you need to speak fluently, clearly, coherently, and accurately. Be spontaneous in answering the questions, but to get a high score what you say must also make sense (coherent) and be relevant. In no case should you give the impression that you have memorized model answers.
Do not prepare answers in advance. It is the language you speak that matters, not the ideas you express, so long as you make sense. Having said that, here is a link that will help you prepare for Part 1:
Ideally, make videos of your practice discussions (you can use your smartphone), otherwise record yourself so that you can go back and check your performance.
Reviewing your Speaking tests, discuss your test with your study partner and evaluate the way you spoke. Were you fluent? Were you able to express yourself naturally and clearly? Did you stress, intonate and pace your speech correctly? Did you pause in the middle of sentences?
These are your guidelines towards a successful preparation:
- Video record and time yourself through every Speaking practice test
- Study pronunciation, stress, intonation, and tone pacing
- Advance fluency and speech delivery in English
- Improve your vocabulary and topic development
- Understand scoring and skill assessment