What is in IELTS speaking section?

Format of speaking section in IELTS

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Main reason people fail to perform in speaking section of IELTS or TOEFL is not that they don’t know English; it’s just that they overburden themselves with fear of failure. What you need to do to excel in these parts is understand format of the test, prepare in advance for it and back yourself to perform well. Today we will take a look at speaking section format of IELTS.

 The purpose of the IELTS Speaking Module is to establish your ability to speak on a number of topics.

The Speaking Module always has the same format:

The test is 11-14 minutes long and involves you speaking to a native English speaker who is trained to assess your spoken English against IELTS criteria. The test is also recorded. There are three stages to the test:

Phase One
Phase One of the speaking test is around 4-5 minutes. It confirms to conversation that might take when two people meet for the first time – you will be asked to talk about your personal situation (family, job, university study, etc.) and other familiar topics.

Phase Two      
Phase Two of the speaking test requires you to do a presentation on a general topic. The examiner interviewing you will give you a card with a topic on it and you must talk for between one and two minutes. Again, the topics are very general and related to your personal experience. A topic might involve you talking about a teacher who influenced you as a child, or talking about the reading habits of people in your country. Again, you do not need specialist knowledge to talk about the topics you are given.

The examiner will give you a pencil and a piece of paper and allow you one minute to write notes in preparation for your presentation.

Phase Three  
Part Three of the speaking test requires you to take part in a discussion with your examiner. The topics you discuss will be more sophisticated than in the previous parts of the test and you will need to give opinions, speculate on possible events, consider trends as well as possibly suggest how to solve a problem.

Part Three of the speaking test is the most important part because it is in this part of the test the examiner establishes your final speaking score.


The examiner interviewing you during the IELTS Test is trained to assess your spoken English against IELTS criteria. You need not be a fluent speaker of English to get a reasonable IELTS speaking score. The examiner assess basically on your vocabulary and grammar in a way that is clear and understandable.

Keep looking for this space every Wednesday for more IELTS tips.

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