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:
Where are you from?
Let´s talk about travelling. When was the last time you went on a trip?
Do you like to travel?
What do you need to do when preparing for travel?
Is it a good idea to plan details of your trip before departure?
How popular is international travel in your country?
What are the most popular places to visit for people in your country?
I would like you to talk about an important person in your community.
Let´s talk about community leadership. How important are leaders to a community of people?
What characteristics are advantages and which are disadvantages for social leaders?
If you could be a leader in your neighborhood what social issue would you address?
I´m going to ask you some more questions about community programs. What are some important programs for communities to provide their residents?
To what extent should governments be responsible for financial support of recreation centers?
Have the programs in your community changed much since you were a child?