Listening, Reading and Writing are completed in one sitting. The Speaking test may be taken on the same day or up to seven days before or after the other tests. All test takers take the same Listening and Speaking tests while the Reading and Writing tests differ depending on whether the test taker is taking the Academic or General Training versions of the test. The Speaking part takes 11 – 14 minutes and it is a face-to-face interview between the test taker and an examiner.
The speaking test contains three sections as follows:
- Section 1: introduction and interview (4 – 5 minutes). Test takers may be asked about their home, family, work, studies, hobbies, interests, reasons for taking IELTS exam as well as other general topics such as clothing, free time, computers and the internet.
- Section 2: long turn (3 – 4 minutes). Test takers are given a task card about a particular topic. Test takers have one minute to prepare to talk about this topic. The task card states the points that should be included in the talk and one aspect of the topic which must be explained during the talk. Test takers are then expected to talk about the topic for 2 minutes, after which the examiner may ask one or two questions.
- Section 3: discussions (4 – 5 minutes). The third section involves a discussion between the examiner and the test taker, generally on questions relating to the theme which they have already spoken about in Section 2.
Let´s have a look at a sample set of IELTS speaking questions:
Tell me about where you live.
What are the advantages of living there?
What are the disadvantages of living there?
What is your favourite animal?
Why do you think some people like keeping pets?
Are there any animals you are scared of?
Are zoos popular in your country?
Do you think men or women make the best cooks?
Is it important to teach children to cook from a young age?
What is a typical dish from your country or region?
Do people in your country or region eat traditional or international food?
I would like you to describe a personal achievement you are proud of.
Do you think that in your country academic success is more valued than other kinds of achievement such as achievement in sport?
In your opinion, is it recognition and prizes that motivate students to succeed or is it a personal sense of achievement?
What do you think makes some students more successful than others?
Some people think that a successful person is someone who earns a lot of money. Do you agree?
Do you think that people in your country take the same pride in their work as they used to?