Understanding the IELTS Speaking Test: Pattern, Format, Scoring Criteria

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Understanding the IELTS Speaking Test


The IELTS speaking test, a crucial component of the IELTS exam, evaluates proficiency in English communication. This test examines candidates' vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and fluency. 

The IELTS speaking test format is unique because it involves a face-to-face interview between the student and the examiner. This interactive format tests the student's ability to speak and engage in a real-life conversation. Every speaking exam is recorded, ensuring the fairness and accuracy of the assessment. 

In this blog, we have given complete details of the IELTS speaking test along with mentioning  IELTS speaking test questions, and the IELTS speaking topics.

Understanding the IELTS Speaking Test

There are three components to it:

  • Part 1: Introduction and Interview (4-5 minutes)

  • Part 2: Cue Card (3-4 minutes)

  • Part 3: Discussion (4-5 minutes)

There are 11–14 minutes in total. Let's examine every aspect in more detail.

IELTS Speaking Part 1 Format

In Part 1, the examiner can ask general questions about work/study, hobbies, family, and other well-known subjects. This section examines our ability to convey ideas and facts about common topics.


IELTS Speaking Test Questions

The most frequent IELTS speaking test questions are listed below.

  • What is your full name?

  • Where are you from?

  • Do you work or study?

  • What are your hobbies?


IELTS Speaking Topics Part 1

The most frequent IELTS speaking topics are listed below.

  • IELTS Speaking Part 1 Topic 1: Advertisements

  • IELTS Speaking Part 1 Topic 2: Art

  • IELTS Speaking Part 1 Topic 3: Bags

  • IELTS Speaking Part 1: Topic 4: Celebrities

  • IELTS Speaking Part 1: Topic 5: Chocolate


IELTS Speaking Part 1: Tips

  • Regular practice of speaking English will improve your confidence and fluency.

  • To prepare well, familiarise yourself with popular topics and questions from the Speaking portion of the IELTS.

  • To establish a comfortable environment, stay friendly and conversational with the examiner.

  • To show your language skills, give more in-depth responses than a straightforward "yes" or "no."

  • Use rich and diverse vocabulary and grammatical constructions to show your command of the language.

  • Ensure your communication is understandable by paying attention to your pronunciation and tone.

  • Avoid speaking too quickly or too slowly, and instead, keep your speech flowing naturally.

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IELTS Speaking Part 2 Format

You'll receive a cue card with a specific topic in Part 2. You have one minute to prepare before speaking for two minutes on that subject. After that, the examiner asks you some follow-up questions. 

Sample Cue Card Topic: Describe a park or a garden in your city - IELTS cue card

You should say:

  • Where is it?

  • How can you go there?

  • How frequently do you go there?

  • And explain why this is your favourite park.

Also read: IELTS Exam Fees 2024


IELTS Speaking Practice Test Sample

A sample is given below:

Where is it?

Ram Niwas Garden, a royal garden built in 1868 by Maharaja Sawai Man Singh, is a historical landmark in Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. The beautiful garden at the city's core is a testament to its rich history and culture.

How can you go there?

You can quickly go there in a two-wheeler or four-wheeler vehicle, or if you don’t want to drive, you can take public transport.

How frequently do you go there?

The park is a few kilometres away from my home, so I visit it very often whenever I want to feel relaxed and calm.

And explain why this is your favourite park.

In Ram Niwas Garden, I can disconnect from the stresses of daily life and rediscover my connection to the natural world. Whether I'm seeking solitude for self-reflection or spending time with close friends, the park provides a peaceful refuge where I can unwind. I'm constantly inspired by this park's tranquillity, which makes me appreciate nature's blessings.


IELTS Speaking Part 2: Tips

  • Understand the topic and the task very well.

  • During the one-minute preparation, arrange your ideas.

  • Use the entire two minutes to speak to show your language proficiency.

  • Make use of proper grammar, a wide vocabulary, and excellent pronunciation.

  • Give specific instances or stories from your own life to support your arguments.

  • Talk with confidence and ease while maintaining eye contact.

IELTS Speaking Part 3 Pattern

The examiner will ask more complex, creative questions about the subjects covered in Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking exam in Part 3. The goal is to examine your ability to express your views, analyse the problem, and predict possibilities.


IELTS Speaking Topics Part 3

The topics that are most common for IELTS speaking are listed here.

  • Public Speaking: IELTS Speaking Part 3 Sample Answer

  • Leadership: IELTS Speaking Part 3 Sample Answer

  • Travel and Holidays: IELTS Speaking Part 3 Model Answer

  • Beauty: IELTS Speaking Part 3 Sample Answer


IELTS Speaking Part 3 Sample Follow-Up Questions

Question: What do you believe these parks' futures hold?

Answer: I sincerely hope that these parks are loved and well-maintained. If there were more of these parks worldwide showcasing and conserving nature's incredible creations, that would be fantastic. We can still trust in rooftop gardens despite the rapid growth of cities.

Question: What is your position about roof gardens in terms of natural habitats?

Answer: It could be challenging to design livable roof gardens for each person since they would want to customise them and may employ non-local species that could confuse nearby wildlife. Ecologists must carefully plan the gardens with local species in mind for this idea to succeed. This is feasible, but it would require careful execution and continuous monitoring.

Question: What additional happy recollections of this park do you possess?

Answer: My family and I used to go on picnics on the weekends. I used to take my painting supplies outside to paint. Other times, after we ate, I would play tag with my family. My family and I enjoyed stringing daisies and buttercups into flower chains. I wore a crown of flowers, which we only took off once we got home. These are a few more pleasant recollections.

Question: What instructive things may this park teach us?

Answer: Undoubtedly, this park offers us a number of important lessons. First, it is clear how important it is to protect the environment and establish green spaces in urban areas. This park serves as an example of how these areas, which offer a tranquil escape from the busy city life, enhance community well-being.

Question: Do you think people ought to contribute to the upkeep of public gardens and parks?

Answer: In my opinion, people are obligated to preserve public parks and gardens. Doing so would not only help them lead healthier lifestyles but also offer various benefits, including clean air, a clean environment, and a place to socialise.

Read more : 15 Best IELTS Preparation books in 2024


IELTS Speaking Part 3 Tips

The following tips will help you answer the Speaking Part 3 questions on the IELTS:

  • Understand the questions being asked of you and pay attention to them.

  • Provide precise instances and proof to back up your responses.

  • Justify your opinions with reasoned and concise explanations.

  • In your speech, use a range of vocabulary and phrase constructions.

  • Pay close attention to the questions posed by the examiner and give direct answers.

  • To make your speech coherent, arrange your ideas and employ connecting words.

  • Speak with assurance and a cheerful disposition.

  • Instead of responding incoherently, try to be as specific and perceptive as possible.

IELTS Speaking Scoring Criteria

There are four categories used to judge your performance in the Speaking test, and each one is worth 25% of your final score:

  • Fluency and Coherence: Your capacity for coherent speech and logical concept-linking

  • Lexical Resource: The range and accuracy of word choice

  • Range and Accuracy of Grammar: Your proficiency with grammar in English

  • Pronunciation: The capacity to speak words with accuracy and employ suitable intonation

Every section has a score between 0 and 9. Your overall IELTS Speaking band score is calculated by averaging the points.


How to Calculate Your IELTS Speaking Score?

Suppose you obtained the subsequent scores:

Fluency and Coherence: 6

Pronunciation: 7

Lexical Resource: 7

Grammatical Range and Accuracy: 8

Calculate your overall band score: (6 + 7 + 7 + 8)/4 = 7. Your IELTS Speaking band score would be 7.


The following are the IELTS speaking scoring criteria:

To give you an idea of the IELTS speaking score, here is the band score chart:

IELTS Speaking Marking Criteria

Fluency and Coherence




Lexical Resource


Grammatical Range and Accuracy


Total IELTS Speaking Score


Also read : 5 Ways Reading Books Can Improve Your IELTS Exam Performance

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid in IELTS Speaking

  • Giving one-word or brief answers: The examiner wants to evaluate your ability to talk in detail, so avoid providing one-word or brief answers.

  • Reciting and learning prepared responses: The examiner's goal of testing your ability to speak spontaneously can be contradicted because examiners can quickly spot prepared responses.

  • Speaking too fast or too slow: Speaking too fast can make you hard to understand while speaking too slowly might make you sound uneasy or less fluent in front of the examiner.

  • Making frequent grammatical or pronunciation problems: Small errors are acceptable, but persistent grammatical, word stress or tone problems will lower your score.

  • Off-topic or irrelevant information: Pay close attention to the questions given and, without needless diversion or talking, deliver focused, appropriate responses.

You can improve your test-taking performance and raise your chances of receiving the IELTS Speaking band score you want by using these techniques, practising frequently, and maintaining focus throughout.

Tips for Success in IELTS Speaking

Here are a few tips to attain success in the IELTS speaking test:

  • Use the proper idioms and informal phrases—To improve your fluency, use natural English idioms and informal phrases in your speech, such as "It cost an arm and a leg" or "She was over the moon."

  • Use discourse indicators to create a seamless transition between ideas- To connect your ideas coherently, use transitional words and phrases such as "furthermore," "in addition," "however," "consequently," etc.

  • When necessary, rephrase or explain your responses- Use different and accurate words to clarify your idea if you think the examiner didn't grasp it all.

  • If you don't understand a question, ask for clarification- If the question is unclear, don't be afraid to ask the examiner to clarify or repeat it.

  • Remain upbeat and interact with the examiner- Make eye contact, smile, and engage the examiner by posing rhetorical questions or soliciting their opinion.

  • Vary your speech pace, rhythm, and intonation patterns- To make your speech sound more engaging and genuine, change the rhythm, tempo, and tone. You can also change the intonation and the rate at which you speak.

  • Provide thorough answers that include pertinent information and examples- Illuminate your views with vivid examples, experiences from your own life, or imagined situations to provide more detail to your responses.

  • Demonstrate understanding of global issues and current affairs- When appropriate, demonstrate your understanding of current affairs, socioeconomic trends, and global issues.

  • Communicate your thoughts politely and consider other viewpoints- Recognise opposing points of view while politely stating your position on difficult subjects.

  • Show off your ability to think critically by evaluating and speculating- Show your critical thinking skills by looking at problems from several perspectives and making predictions about possible outcomes or long-term effects.


In summary, IELTS Speaking is an integral part of the IELTS test that assesses a candidate's English speaking abilities in preparation for studying abroad. Four essential criteria are used to evaluate the aspirant candidate: Pronunciation, Lexical Resources, Grammar Range and Accuracy, and Fluency and Coherence. To achieve the highest band score, prepare your communication based on these four factors.

If you want to understand more about the IELTS Speaking test or want to prepare for IELTS,  we recommend you sign up for our IELTS courses designed by our experts. If you need further guidance, please contact Prepare IELTS Exam (PI) expert counsellors. Our team of education experts is dedicated to assisting you in the best possible way for the IELTS exam. You can also get a one-on-one counselling session online via our platform. Contact us at info@prepareieltsexam.com or call us at +91 9773398388.


You will have to attempt three sections in total. The answers to the questions will take up the first section. The discussion of a topic will take up the second section. Finally, a discussion of a topic based on part 2 is covered in the third section.

You will receive a score for this IELTS module based on your proficiency in vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and fluency.

You will frequently be asked questions of this nature for which you have no idea of the solution or for which you are unable to think of one at the moment. Saying, "Honestly, I don't have any idea about this question as I never thought about it before", is appropriate in this circumstance. This ought to be adequate.

Part 1 will contain a maximum of 12 questions. The questions will centre around three different topics. You will be required to respond to at least five questions in part three, depending on how long your responses are.

Yes, in order to receive a high band score, you must speak for two minutes. This is because you have to demonstrate that you are willing to improve your score to receive at least band score 6 or above as part of the fluency criterion of the test. It implies that providing long answers shouldn't cause any discomfort.


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