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?
Could you tell me about the accommodation you are currently living in?
Do you have a favourite part of the house?
Do you think you will stay where you are living for a while?
Now let´s move on to talk about hats and caps. Do you ever wear a hat or a cap?
Why do some people wear hats or caps?
Do you think head gear was more popular in the past? If so, why was it more popular in the past?
Now let´s talk about time. When was the last time you were rather late?
How do you feel when other people are late?
Do you think people these days have enough time?
How do you think children perceive time?
I would like you to tell me about someone you think is attractive.
I would like to discuss some more general questions related to beauty. First of all, I would like to talk about physical appearance and societal pressure. Do you think these days there is a lot of pressure to conform to a norm or to look beautiful?
So what are some of the dangers of this pressure to be attractive?
Let´s talk about concepts of beauty throughout time. Do you think our idea of beauty has changed over time or basically stayed the same?