Question Types – Speaking

Question Types – Speaking

What constitutes  IELTS speaking test

IELTS speaking test section is accomplished as a one-to-one interview with an examiner. The examiner examines the candidate while he or she is speaking. Moreover, the speaking section is recorded for supervising and for re-evaluation if the candidate decides to plead against the bands he scored.

Test Tasks

The speaking test is similar for both Academic and General Training IELTS speaking test. There are 3 speaking tasks to be completed by the candidate in both IELTS Academic as well as General Training.

Task 1 – Introduction and Interview (3 to 4 minutes)

IELTS speaking testThe examiner shall introduce himself / herself and ask for the candidate’s introduction. The examiner will also confirm the candidate’s identity. Hence it is a necessity for the candidate to carry his / her identity proof (most of the times, candidate’s passport) at the time of speaking test. The examiner asks familiar questions on common topics from the candidate, for example, house, family members, profession, education and hobbies. The questions asked need to be answered very briefly and to the point by the candidate and should avoid elaborating. But at the same moment, candidate should also refrain from answering the questions in monosyllables. For example, if candidate is asked to tell his or her name, candidate should say it in one complete sentence, i.e. instead of just saying ‘Rahul’, he should say ‘My name is Rahul’.

Skills Tested

This section of the speaking test examines a candidate’s capability to place his opinions and point of view on day-to-day subjects and general experiences or situations by answering a variety of questions.

Task 2 – Lengthy talk by Candidate (3 to 4 minutes)

Task 2 is the individual long turn speaking exercise. The examiner provides the candidate with a task card / cue card that contain a specific topic on which the candidate needs to speak continuously. The card indicates the candidate what points he should include in his talk and also instructs him to explain one feature of the topic. This can be treated as a sort of extempore where the candidate has to speak impromptu. However, the examiner will provide the candidate almost 1 minute to note down the specific points he / she would like to cover in his / her speech. The candidate is provided a pencil and paper to jot down additional points and make notes. The candidate has to talk for 1 to 2 minutes on the topic, till examiner signals him to stop speaking once the time is up. The examiner can further ask the candidate additional one to two questions on that topic. Part 2 lasts for 3 to 4 minutes which also includes the preparation time.

While speaking, a candidate can refer to the points given in the cue card and notes that he made during 1 minute preparation time. By referring to cue card and preparatory notes, a candidate should be able to think of suitable things to say, and have time to structure his talk so that he is able to keep speaking fluently for 2 minutes.

Skills Tested

This part assesses a candidate’s ability to speak on a given subject for long duration, using suitable language. Candidate is also tested for his ability to organise his ideas logically. Candidate should try to co-relate his answer with his own personal experiences and quote examples, wherever possible in order to speak for long duration.

Task 3 – One to one discussion (4 to 5 minutes)

In the third and the last task, the examiner asks additional questions from candidate which are related to the topic of Task 2. These questions provide an opportunity to the candidate to further discuss the conceptual issues and ideas with the examiner.

The candidate and the examiner discuss issues related to the topic in Part 2 in a more general and conceptual way and, where appropriate, in greater detail. Part 3 lasts for 4 to 5 minutes.

Skills Tested

This part examines a candidate’s ability to explain his point of view and opinions. Candidate will also be assessed for his ability to evaluate, converse and contemplate about the issues discussed.


The entire Speaking Test, covering all the tree tasks, takes 10 to 14 minutes to be conducted.


The candidate is assessed for his or her performance on each of the 3 tasks by recognised and certified IELTS speaking testexaminers as per the IELTS speaking test Speaking test assessment criteria (For Example, Lexical Resource, Fluency & Pronunciation, Task Achievement, Coherence and Cohesion, Grammatical Range and Precision). Scores are awarded in whole as well as half bands (For example, 7 & 7.5).

Assessment Criteria

Registered / Certificated IELTS speaking test examiners tests a candidate’s speaking ability throughout the duration of the test. There are following four assessment criteria, which the examiner thinks about while deciding about what score to give:

  1. Fluency and coherence – Fluency and coherence allows an examiner to check how well the candidate can speak at a normal pace without too much hesitation. It also includes checking a candidate’s ability to put his opinions, sentences and ideas in a rational and logical order. Candidate is also tested for his ability to use cohesive devices appropriately, so that what he says is understandable
  2. Lexical resource – Lexical resource examines the variety of vocabulary a candidate uses and assesses how precisely and suitably he uses that vocabulary to express himself. It also includes the ability to express his opinion using alternative vocabulary
  3. Grammatical range and accuracy – Grammatical range and accuracy assesses the variety of grammatical terms a candidate uses and its accuracy in the given context
  4. Pronunciation – Through Pronunciation the examiner tests a candidate’s capability to speak in a way which can be understood easily