When you get to the Speaking section of the IELTS exam, you have no more than 15 minutes to demonstrate your ability to speak English. The Speaking section is made up of 3 sections, each of which involves the examiner asking questions about specific topics. Because it is just you and the examiner, this is the opportunity to shine and show how good you are at speaking in English!
Speaking Part 1
The first part is just like an interview which means you are going to be asked general questions about you, your family, your studies/work, and your hobbies. This part will last from 4 to 5 minutes, so it gives you plenty of time to answer these questions in a detailed way while talking about things that you know a lot about. If you want to do well in this section, make sure you can talk about yourself and the things you do for fun with ease.
Speaking Part 2
The second section will be a little bit shorter, no more than 4 minutes, and this time you are going to have to speak about one thing for 2 minutes! The examiner will give you a piece of paper with a question or a topic on it and you will have 1 minute to prepare what you want to say. If you don’t speak for the entire 2 minutes, the examiner might ask you some questions about the topic to help.
Speaking Part 3
The third part is connected to part 2. The same topic that you were given to speak about will be the focus of a conversation between you and the examiner. This conversation should last between 4 and 5 minutes and the examiner will start asking more complex questions to test your speaking ability, so be prepared to think!
Now that you know what you’ll have to do during each part of the speaking section, it’s time to think about what topics you might have to talk about. There are a lot of possibilities and the topics will change in each part so it’s important to have a general knowledge of each topic and be able to hold a conversation about them so that you are fully prepared.
Here’s a list of topics and questions that you might encounter:
Do you have a big or small family?
Do you spend a lot of time with your family?
Who is your favourite family member?
What activities do you like to do with your family?
Where are you from?
What do you like about your hometown?
How often do you visit your hometown?
What do you study?
What would you like to do when you finish with your studies?
Do you have a favourite subject/class?
What is the most difficult thing about being a student?
What do you do for a living?
Do you enjoy your job?
What would you like to work as in the future?
What do you like to do in your free time?
Who is your favourite person to spend your free time with?
Do you have any special hobbies?
Do you prefer to cook your meals or eat out?
What is a typical meal in your country?
Tell me about your favourite meal.
How often do you cook your own food?
What are some of your goals for the future?
What is your favourite place that you have visited?
Where would you like to travel?
Is there a place you would not like to visit?
Who do you like to travel with?
Do you use technology a lot every day?
How much time do you spend on the internet?
Going on Holiday
Where did you go on your last holiday?
Do you prefer summer holidays or winter holidays?
What activities do you do on holiday?
What is your favourite season?
What do you do on a rainy day?
Do you use public transportation?
Is the public transportation in your city good?
What is your favourite form of transportation?
How often do you play sports?
Do you prefer to watch or participate in sport?
Do you think it is important to play sports?
Do you have any pets?
When did you last go to a zoo?
What is your favourite animal?
Do you think you are a fashionable person?
How often do you go shopping?
What is your favourite genre of book to read?
How often do you read?
Do you prefer to read books or watch films?
What is your favourite type of music to listen to?
When do you listen to music?
Have you been to many live concerts?
Do you play any instruments?
Describe your best friend.
How you met
When you see them
What you like to do together
Describe a family member.
Your relationship with this person
Your favourite memory with this person
Describe a gift that you have given to a friend:
What the gift was
Who received it
Why you chose that gift for that person
Describe the best gift you have ever received:
Who gave it to you
Why you liked it so much
How often you use it
Describe the best holiday you have been on.
Where you went
Why you went there
What made it so special
Describe your favourite childhood memory:
What happened in the memory
How old you were
Why you like this memory
Describe a sport activity that you like to do.
What the activity involves
How often you participate
What you like about it
Describe a sport that you like to watch.
Why you think it is interesting
How often you watch it
If you would like to try it
Music and TV
Describe a live music event you have attended
The type of music you heard
Who you went with
Why you decided to go
Describe a TV show or film that you love
The type of show it is
How many times you have seen it
If it is popular in your country
Describe a place you have visited
Where this place is
If you liked it or not
What you did there
Describe your worst travel experience.
Who you were with
Why it was a bad experience
If you would return to the destination
Describe how you learn about current events
Why you choose this way
How often you learn about current events
What type of current events you like to learn about
Describe a recent piece of news
What the news was about
Where you accessed the news
What you think about it
Describe your daily routine
When you start your routine each day
Your favourite part of your routine
Why you have a daily routine
Education and School System
What are some ways the school system in your country could be improved?
What is your opinion on the importance of higher education?
Do you think that education should be a priority in everyone’s lives?
What do you think about the way your country teaches languages at school?
Food and Eating Habits
What do you think about the food habits people in your country have?
Why do you think that people in different countries have different diets?
Do you think that your own diet is healthy or unhealthy?
Tell me about some of the most traditional foods in your country.
The Impact of Technology
What do you think are some of the biggest problems that technology brings?
Do you think that young people spend too much time with technology?
How has technology changed in the past 5 or 10 years?
Should the government have more control over the use of technology?
Tell me about some of the popular leisure activities in your country.
Do you think it is important for people to have time to do leisure activities?
Do you think that children need to have more leisure time than adults?
How have popular leisure activities changed in the past 5 or 10 years?
What are the most popular sports where you live?
Why do you think it is important to exercise and play sport?
What do you think are some of the greatest benefits of participating in a sports team?
Should children be required to participate in sport in school?
Fashion and Shopping
Do you think that it is important to keep up-to-date with the latest fashion?
Do you think it is better to shop online or in-person?
Do you think young people pay too much attention to the clothes they wear?
How has fashion changed since you were a child?
What are some of the biggest environmental problems today?
Tell me about some ways we can help the environment?
Should children be given more education on the environment in school?
How do you think the government can promote being environmentally friendly in your country?
It seems like there is a lot of information you have to know to be ready for the exam and yes, you do have to prepare well if you want to get a high score. Here are a few tips to keep in mind for the speaking section:
Practise the Speaking section by speaking! The only way to feel comfortable speaking to the examiner is by being comfortable speaking in English, so you must practise speaking out loud, to a friend or to a mirror!
Speak from experience! It is always easier to talk about things when you are talking about a personal experience connected to the topic, so try and use examples from your own life.
Keep it simple! Remember that you are not being tested on your knowledge of an area or your personal ideas – you are being tested on whether or not you can clearly explain yourself. So don’t make it difficult! Keep what you want to say simple so that you can make it clear.
Be confident! Sit up straight, look the examiner in the eye and speak with confidence.
Be yourself! You do have to prepare certain topics, remember vocabulary and phrases, but the best way to be comfortable and confident is by being yourself and having fun discussing the questions in the speaking section.