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:
Let´s talk about your studies. What are you studying at the moment?
How do you hope to use your studies in the future?
What do you like most about your studies?
Let´s talk about reading.
What types of reading material do you prefer to read? Why?
Do you read as much now as you did when you were younger? Why or why not?
Where do you usually read? Why?
What do you like most about reading? Why?
Let´s talk about relaxing. How do you normally relax?
Have you always relaxed in the same way?
Do you prefer to relax by yourself or with other people? Why?
Do you think men and women relax in different ways? Why?
I would like you to describe an item of clothing that you bought but do not really use.
Did it cost much money?
Do you often buy things that are not useful?
Let´s consider first the topic of recycling. There is a growing trend towards introducing public recycling schemes in many countries. What are the reasons for and results of this?
Do you believe individuals or governments should be responsible for recycling? Why?
What could be done to encourage people to recycle more?
Now let´s talk about consumerism. Some people think that owning the latest products and goods is extremely important. What is your opinion?
Are there any disadvantages to having a wide array of choice but similar items?
Do you think people will buy more or less in the future?