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:
Could you tell me where are you from?
Let´s talk about your studies. Where do you study?
How long does it take you to travel there each day?
What are the advantages of studying at this location?
Now let´s talk about news. In what ways do you normally find out about news and current events?
Which do you prefer: international or national news?
How often do you listen to or read the news?
Which types of news do you find most interesting?
Now let´s talk about art. What type of art do you enjoy most?
Have you ever learned anything artistic?
Would you prefer to create art or view art?
Do you think it is important for art to be taught in schools?
I would like you to talk about a person you have lived with.
Do you still keep in touch with this person?
Do you like living with other people?
Let´s consider first the topic of family. In many societies traditional family structure is changing. Some people argue that this represents the breakdown of moral values. Do you agree or disagree?
What are some of the reasons for the changing structure of families?
How do you think family structure might change further in the future?
Now let´s talk about living with others. What are some of the problems which can arise between people who live together? Are there some potential solutions to these problems?
Some people believe that living with other people shapes our personality traits and characteristics. What is your view?
What types of personality characteristics are necessary in order to successfully live with other? For what reasons?