What is IELTS Speaking?

IELTS Speaking

This test examines how well students can speak with a native speaker. Students are evaluated through a series of questions that test how clearly they speak, how well they can process questions, and how comprehensive their answers are, as well as their oral grammar and vocabulary skills.

The IELTS speaking test is 11 to 14 minutes long and done with a certified IELTS professional.

What are the sections?

The IELTS speaking test* is comprised of three parts:


Students answer questions about themselves and their family. Example:‘Tell me about your hometown. Is it a town or village? Is it safe?.


The testing professional provides a topic and students give a spoken answer. Example:‘Describe a crime that is common in your country.


Students are asked to speak further about the topic mentioned in the second part of the test. Example: ‘How can these crimes be reduced? Give some reasoning to your solution ideas.

*Please note: the IELTS Academic and General Training speaking tests are identical.

How to practice

Many IELTS testing professionals recommend that students find a partner - such as a qualified teacher -to practice questions with and improve their speaking skills. 
Students cannot bring prepared answers to the exam, so it is best to practice giving natural answers with a partner noting areas for improvement.

Marking and scoring

The test is scored on a bandwidth from 1 to 9, determined by the speaking test professional. Bandwidth scores are ascribed according to the student’s:

  • Grammar and accuracy in speaking
  • Fluency and coherence
  • Use of appropriate diction and lexical resources
  • Pronunciation


Find more IELTS speaking tips on our blog. 

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