IELTS speaking test structure

Well, this post may seem interesting and yes it is extremely interesting. As I am writing this post, I’m feeling the excitement of sharing this very useful information.

Probably you all know by now that the speaking test is divided into three parts. The first part is introductory. The second part is cue card topic and the third one is discussion and more involving questions.

Now, here in this post, I am actually telling you how the real IELTS speaking is proceeded.

IELTS speaking test structure

Know the real IELTS speaking test format


First of all, when you enter the speaking test class, it is usual practice that the examiner will always be inviting you and will say politely,

“Please welcome. Take a seat.”

He/She will then make it clear that the speaking test is recorded so that you do not feel worried about your test being recorded.

“I hope that you know that the speaking test is recorded. So, I’m record something first.”

Right after that, she will record something (usually the following introductory message). She will record her identity and the candidate’s identity first.

“Good evening, My name is .(Examiner’s name). On 21st of November, I am taking the IELTS speaking test of Candidate Number .(CANDIDATE NUMBER). Candidate name is …………….

This introduction was recorded in case you want to go for a recheck.

Now, she will start the real IELTS speaking test.

Hello, Good evening. My name is Martha Jones. Could you tell me your full name, please?

This is always the first question in the examination. They want to ensure your name and identity. You will obviously respond with your full name.

The very next question would be like

“What should I call you?

The third question will be

“Can you show me your identification please?”

Following this, the examiner would ask general questions either about your job, study or hometown. This is primary phase of part one.

After this the examiner would move on to two or three general questions which I call as secondary phase of part 1. You will get to know this when the examiner says

“We’re now going to talk about animals


“Ok, Let’s talk about shopping

It is absolutely essential that you listen to each and every sentence carefully because if you already know the topic, your mind will start thinking a bit on that topic. You can get ready for questions like, Which is your favourite animal? Have you ever had any pet?…

They usually ask three topics in secondary part here.

After that, they give you a cue card by saying something like

“Now, I’m going to give you a topic and I’d like you to speak on it for one to two minutes. You’ll have one minute to think about what you’re going to say before you begin talking. You can make some notes if you wish. Here is a pencil and some paper. I’d like you to describe ………”

And your one minute starts right then.

At the end of a minute, again the examiner would say:

“All right. Remember, you have one to two minutes to talk on this topic. Don’t worry if I stop you, I’ll let you know when the time is up”

See, the instruction is clearly saying that the examiner may stop you while you’re speaking. That does not mean that you have spoken badly or anything. It simply means that the examiner is satisfied with your answer or simply, you have spoken enough to satisfy the examiner’s needs.

After you’ve spoken on the cue card, there will be one or two follow-up questions and these questions are directly related to the topic.

Suppose the part two topic is:

“Describe a piece of clothing you like wearing”

then the follow-up question may be like:

“Do you any photograph in that clothing?”

Next, you will be asked 6-8 more involving questions. This is called part-3 or discussion part of IELTS speaking. Here, the questions will be difficult and they will require you to think and answer. However, the positive point in this part is that the examiner will get involved with you in conversation and always motivates you to speak more.

The examiner will guide you to this part by saying:

“We’ve been talking about ………. I’d like to discuss with you some more questions related to this topic. First, let’s consider …………. .”

The questions are usually “Do you think”

Why do you think that is?

About the future

About comparing past and future

At the end of the test, the examiner thanks you.

“Thank you, It’s been nice talking to you.”

I wrote this post simply to familiarise yourself. It is always advisable that you know every bit of IELTS exam before you book a date. This will leave very few surprises and it allows you can prepare yourself for the exam well in advance.

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