The IELTS speaking test has 3 parts.
1. Part 1: This is a simple interview style that lasts for about 5 minutes. There are around 12 questions on 3 different topics and it’s all about you, for example your job /studies / daily routine an so on.
2. Part 2: Here you need to give a short talk based on topics on a card, it lasts about 3 minutes. (1 minute preparation and 2 minutes of speaking) The card will ask you to describe something. This is a topic based task, the examiner may ask a follow up question at the end of the 2 minutes.
3. Part 3: This a where you have talk in more detail. You may have to give an opinion and give reasons and examples with more depth to your answers. The questions are connected to the topic in Part 2. This part of the test takes about 5 minutes.
There are four marking criteria in the IELTS speaking test. Each part is 25% of the marks for the test.
1. Fluency and Coherence
2. Lexical Resource
3. Grammatical Range and Accuracy
Fluency and coherence will be assessed on how well your speaking flows, if you are often self correcting and pausing or hesitating, then fluency is marked down. Coherence is marked on how well the examiner can understand you.
Lexical resource is marked on how good your vocabulary usage is, such as the use of collocations, idioms, paraphrasing, synonyms, phrasal verbs and a wide range of non standard vocabulary.
Grammatical range and accuracy is marked on your range and accuracy of grammar, tenses, the correct use of sentence structures and avoiding errors.
Pronunciation will be assessed on how clearly you speak so that you are well understood, your accent is not a problem here as long the examiner can understand you. The use of good intonation and word stress is also a marking factor here.
IELTS Speaking Part 1
In this part of the test there are about 3 different topics and around 12 questions with topics such as: Hometown, Work, Studies, Family, Hobbies, Daily routine and so on. The main point here is to speak freely without hesitation , just speak naturally without memorising answers to specific topics. It is not necessary to give long detailed answers, just keep it simple but natural.
IELTS Speaking Part 2
This part of the test involves a specific topic on a card or prompt that is given by the examiner. In this case there are no questions but you will ‘Describe’ and ‘Explain’ something and talk about the points on the card in a little more detail, you will be assessed on your fluency. Here is an example card with prompts.
Click here for IELTS Speaking Part 2: Useful technique for difficult topics
IELTS Speaking Part 3
Here you are asked around 5 questions by the examiner and you may need to give an opinion, compare, predict, talk about the past, talk about people, give a hypothetical response, give reasons and examples with a much more detailed answer. This part of the speaking test tends to be the most difficult for students, also the topics in part 3 are connected to the topics in Part 2 of the speaking test.
The key to getting a good score in part 3 is to give longer more detailed answers, in this section of the test it is not necessary to worry about very accurate grammar, the main focus of this is to expand your answer with detail and an example, make sure you stay on topic also. This part of the test needs a lot of practice to reach a good band level. Part 3 of the speaking test lasts about 5 minutes.
Do you need further practice with speaking? Click here for the IELTS speaking service
Example topics for IELTS Speaking part 3.
These topics are useful for self practice. Here is a 5 step system to practice for free.
Get your smartphone with a recording app.
Ask a friend to play the role of examiner asking the questions.
Record yourself answering the questions as if in the exam.
Playback the recording, make notes on weak areas that need to be improved
Do this regularly and you will see improvements.