IELTS Speaking Topics: Know, Practice & Prepare

IELTS Speaking Topics

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a widely accepted test to assess the English language skills of non-native English speakers. It is usually taken by people planning to live, study or work in an English-speaking country. The test checks if someone is proficient enough to communicate, study and work in an English-speaking country. There are four test sections – writing, speaking, reading, and listening. To prepare well for the speaking test, applicants can quickly go through some of the common IELTS speaking topics and types of questions.

The IELTS Academic test is meant for applicants willing to study abroad. Whereas IELTS General Training is for applicants interested to work or migrate to foreign countries. IELTS speaking is a compulsory section, and it is the same for both IELTS Academic and General Training. It is a face-to-face interview and discussion with a trained IELTS examiner. The speaking section is very challenging for non-native English speakers. But it is important since communication is the foremost factor that helps immigrants integrate, work, and study in an English-speaking environment. The band score of the test ranges from 0-9. 

The test is divided into 3 parts and is designed to test pronunciation, fluency, grammar, and vocabulary. The IELTS speaking section does not test grammar but the way you match the English proficiency of native speakers. The first section will be about you and have questions related to your hobbies, passion, interest, family, and some very predictive questions. The second section has a topic of general interest or academics, where the applicants need to prepare for 2 minutes and then speak. The third one is an abstract section, and it is a discussion related to the topic in the second section. The IELTS speaking test is the shortest test of just 11-15 minutes duration. We have put together some types of questions and some tips to help you get a higher band in speaking.

Different topics and question types for IELTS speaking

IELTS speaking part 1:

IELTS speaking part 1 is a 4-5-minutes-long face-to-face interaction that has approximately 12 questions about yourself, your life, and your country. This section is easy as you can predict some of the questions. Below are some of the very common questions that the examiner may ask in part 1:

  • What work do you do?
  • What do you enjoy most about your work?
  • What are your main duties?
  • Where do you work? 
  • Where are you studying? 
  • What was your first day like? 
  • What are you studying?
  • Why did you choose this particular course?
  • What is your favorite subject?
  • Are you friends with many other students studying the course?
  • Do you live in an apartment or a house?
  • Is it a large apartment/house?
  • Whom do you live with?
  • How many rooms are there? 
  • How is your room wall decorated? 
  • What facilities are there near your room? 
  • Do you enjoy celebrating your birthday? 
  • How do you celebrate birthdays? 
  • What was the best birthday memory you have? 
  • What is your favorite room in your apartment/house?
  • Where is your hometown?
  • What is the oldest place in your hometown? 
  • How often do you visit your hometown? 
  • What was it like growing up there?
  • Has it changed much since you were a child?
  • What do you like most about living there?
  • Do you enjoy cooking? 
  • What type of things can you cook?
  • What kinds of food are popular in your country?
  • Is it an important part of your culture to have dinner parties? 
  • Do you dream a lot at night?
  • Do you often remember your dreams?
  • Do you think we can learn anything from dreams?

IELTS Speaking Part 2:

The second part of the speaking test is called ‘the talk’ and it lasts for 3-4 minutes. A topic card is given to applicants and they have 1 minute to prepare on the topic then start speaking about it. Applicants need to start preparing as soon as they get the topic. The topics can be anything of general interest or from academic modules. Some of the very common topics and questions are :

  • Describe a piece of art you like. 
  • Describe a book that you have recently read.
  • Describe advice that you recently received from someone.
  • Describe an exercise you do every day.
  • Describe the best city in your country.
  • Describe the favorite time of the day.
  • Describe a gift that you have given to someone.
  • Describe a hobby you love.
  • Describe a country that you like.
  • Describe a website.
  • Describe a vacation that you planned but did not go.
  • Describe a song.
  • Describe a language.
  • Describe a song you like.
  • Describe a person you know who is kind.
  • Describe an older person you know.
  • Describe a piece of good news that you got recently.
  • Describe a photograph you like.
  • Describe someone you respect.
  • Describe a sport.
  • Describe a place you recently visited.
  • Describe an unexpected event.
  • Describe a place near water.

IELTS speaking part 3:

Parts 2 and 3 of the speaking test are followed by questions related to the topic in part 2 and a detailed discussion. The examiner can ask anything related to the topic. There can be more than one question. It lasts 4-6 minutes and will be a two-way discussion. Here are some types of questions that are generally asked: 

  • Is family important in your country?
  • How has the size of the family changed in the last few decades in your country?
  • How do you think the family will change in the future?
  • What role do grandparents play in the family in your country?
  • Who do you think should be responsible for the care of the elderly, the family, or the government?
  • Why is the number of joint families decreasing in modern times?
  • Why are some sports fans so passionate?
  • Is there any violence at sporting events in your country?
  • Should athletes be better role models?
  • What benefits do international sporting events bring?
  • What responsibilities do parents have towards their children?
  • What responsibilities do children have towards their parents?
  • What can shops do to make shopping more pleasant for their customers?
  • Do you think that in the future people will do most of their shopping using the Internet? Why/why not?

How to score well in the IELTS speaking test? 

  • Don’t memorize answers, especially in part 1. Memorized language doesn’t give the examiner an accurate idea of your English-language skills. The examiner will tell if you have memorized your answers, which may influence your final band score. 
  • Don’t use long and complicated words just to impress. Keep it short and simple. You could pronounce them wrong and this can lead to a low band.
  • Use a wide range of grammatical structures, with both complex and simple sentences while speaking. The sentences should be grammatically accurate.
  • Be fluent. Fluency is important to get a good speaking band score. Do not hesitate or stammer while speaking. Be fluent and start speaking immediately after getting the questions. Be expressive, do not pause to think, and then answer. Practice well before the test to speak fluently. 
  • Speak confidently and avoid using filler words. Fillers are used when you don’t know what to say. You cannot use connectors and fillers to keep speaking. Whatever you speak should be relevant and must meet the purpose of the question. 
  • Expand your vocabulary so that you can speak some good but less frequently used words. Check the pronunciation as it’s an important part of speaking. A good score will depend upon how well you pronounce your English words. 
  • Practice the common topics and questions of all three parts of IELTS speaking. It will help you speak confidently without any hesitation. 
  • Avoid repetition. Do not repeat words, sentences as well as ideas. The more unique you are with your ideas and words, the better band you will get. Try not to rush and quickly finish off with the test. 

Conclusion

Preparation is the key to success in IELTS. The IELTS examination is conducted to check the ability of non-native English speakers to integrate and communicate in an English-speaking country during their stay. Speaking is an important part of the migration process. Applicants must prepare well for the speaking test to get a good band. For more tips and tricks on the IELTS speaking topics, consult the experts at upGrad Abroad.

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