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IELTS Speaking Test Format: Tips For Speaking Test

Updated on 18 June, 2024

Akansha Semwal

Akansha Semwal

Study Abroad Expert

If you're reading this, chances are you're either preparing for IELTS yourself or supporting someone who is. Whether the goal is to study, work, or live in an English-speaking environment, knowing the IELTS speaking structure is essential.

The IELTS Speaking test format has three parts, each requiring a different strategy. The entire test took 11-14 minutes on average.

  • In Part 1, I was asked to introduce myself, complete an ID check, and answer introductory questions about my life and journey.
  • In Part 2, I had one minute to prepare and speak on a given topic for one to two minutes.
  • Part 3 involved an in-depth conversation based on the topic from Part 2.

Preparing for this test helped me achieve my dreams of studying abroad. Let me cover the three parts and share how I excelled in each.
Recommended Read: IELTS Common Speaking Topics With Questions And Answers

IELTS Speaking Test Format: All Parts Explained

All the test takers have to give the same IELTS speaking test. This implies that the IELTS General Speaking and Academic Speaking formats remain the same.  When I took the test, I found the IELTS Speaking test structure easy to understand. The assessment is based on these parameters:

  • My fluency in English and the ability to talk without hesitating or pausing during the conversation.
  • How I use connectors, pronouns, and conjunctions, among other devices.
  • Whether my language and accent are understandable to the examiner.
  • My vocabulary along with grammatical correctness and sentence formation.
  • My pronunciation and intonation.

The IELTS speaking test pattern comprises three different parts. Understanding this format helped me with the IELTS speaking structure and even perform well. With this, I was able to achieve my goal of pursuing education abroad.

Part 1


  • The examiner and I introduce ourselves.
  • The examiner asked me general questions about my their , profession, personal areas of interest, family, and education.
  • At the beginning, I stated my name, presented my passport/ID, and share the name by which they want to be addressed by the examiner.
  • This part examines my ability to share my views and ideas about daily aspects.

Duration: Part 1 of the test will take around four-five minutes. 

Tips for Part 1 Speaking Test:

  • Arrive before the scheduled time.
  • Smile and relax as you enter the room.
  • Keep your ID handy and avoid being over-formal.
  • Answer two-three questions on topics like your hometown, home, studies, or work. Always use simple language and make a good impression.
  • Answer three-four questions on one topic and three-four further questions on another topic. For these questions, give comparatively shorter answers.
  • Spend roughly 10-20 seconds for every answer, and do not worry if you are interrupted.
  • Most questions will be about your life and experiences. Some questions may require a yes or no. However, expand the answer with a detail or two.

Important Resources to Read About IELTS:

Is Computer-based IELTS Easier

Is Passport Required for IELTS

How to Check IELTS Revaluation Results

IELTS General Training vs Academic

IELTS for Australia

How to Get IELTS Certificate

Vocabulary for IELTS Writing Task 2 Band 8

IELTS Scholarship

IELTS Speaking Band Score

How to Download IELTS Score Card

Study in Europe Without IELTS

How to Improve Reading Skills in IELTS

Download E-Books for IELTS Preparation

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Part 2 


  • I received a Cue Card also known as the Task Card.
  • I had get one minute to prepare my answer on the given topic.
  • Spoke on this topic for one-two minute.
  • This part will analyze my ability to speak confidently on any topic
  • I might get a final question if I don't cover the full two minutes.

Duration: The entire portion covers three to four minutes on average.

Tips for Part 2 Speaking Test:

  • Gather your thoughts and prepare well in the minute given to you.
  • Speak in a relaxed manner without speeding up unnecessarily.
  • Aim to Speak for one and a half minutes at least.
  • Practice speaking for two minutes before the test.

Part 3


  • The examiner asked me questions on the topic given earlier
  • I had to express my  opinions more deeply and subjectively
  • This section evaluated my ability to assess a topic, share and justify my views and organize my ideas
  • I had to provide longer answers to four-five questions
  • The examiner may interrupt sometimes; but do not get hassled if this happens.
  • Questions usually cover aspects of  life but might also cover broader ideas and themes

Duration: Part 3 covers four-five minutes on average.

Tips for Part 3 Speaking Test:

  • Provide in-depth answers in this section.
  • Expand on opinions, explain and justify my stand on something and ultimately evaluate the same.
  • When interrupted by the examiner, pause and relax. It will not impact the total score.

10 Helpful Tips for IELTS Speaking Test

Arrive EarlyArrive 3040 minutes before your appointment to relax and settle in before the examination.
Maintain Eye ContactAlways maintain eye contact with your examiner after entering the testing room.
Speak Clearly and PolitelySpeak clearly and politely without hurrying.
Stay CalmAvoid showing any signs of anger or frowning.
Be ConversationalTalk to your examiner formally, as you would with other people. Ensure your answers are conversational.
Listen CarefullyListen to the questions carefully and ensure you suitably answer each one of them.
Express Disagreement PolitelyYou may not always agree with the examiner's opinion on a topic. If you disagree, express your reasons politely.
Expand Your AnswersTry to expand your answers whenever you give an opinion. Give relevant answers to every question.

These tips helped me navigate the IELTS speaking pattern and perform confidently during the test.

More Resources to Read About IELTS:

How to Prepare for IELTS in One Month

Common Spelling Mistakes in IELTS

Tips to Improve Pronunciation

How to Fill IELTS Answer Sheet

How to Prepare For Computer Based IELTS

How to Improve IELTS Score From 6.5 to 7

IELTS General Training Exam

IELTS Introduction Sample

How to Write Conclusion in Writing Task 2

IELTS Essay on Art and Culture

Global Warming Essay For IELTS

Government and Society IELTS Essay

IELTS Speaking Band Score and Marking Criteria

The IELTS Speaking band score ranges from 0 to 9, with each band representing a specific level of English proficiency. The assessment is based on four key criteria:

  • Fluency and Coherence: The examiner looked at how smoothly I spoke and connected my ideas logically.
  • Lexical Resource: They assessed the range and accuracy of my vocabulary, ensuring I used varied and precise words.
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy: My use of correct grammar and the variety of sentence structures are evaluated.
  • Pronunciation: My speech's clarity, intonation, and overall comprehensibility were also considered.

Each criterion is equally important and contributes 25% to your IELTS speaking structure. Achieving a higher band score requires balanced performance across all four areas of the IELTS speaking format.

What Is Examiner Looking for in Speaking Test

The examiner paid attention to several key criteria during the IELTS speaking test:

  • Observed how naturally and confidently I engaged in the conversation. They want to ensure I can maintain a dialogue and respond promptly to questions.
  • Checked if my answers were relevant to the questions and whether I could elaborate on my points with examples or additional information.
  • Assessed my ability to interact effectively, including how well I handle interruptions and steer the conversation.
  • Listened to how I use intonation and stress to convey meaning and emphasis in my speech.
  • Looked for the use of natural language and idiomatic expressions, indicating my comfort with the language.

They also observed how well I engaged in the conversation and responded to questions. If you follow these points, you’ll be able to perform well and demonstrate proficiency in the IELTS speaking structure.

Download IELTS Preparation Guide For Free

Get to know about the latest updates on the IELTS Exam, Eligibility, Preparation Tips, Test procedure,  Exam Pattern, Syllabus, Registration Process, Important Exam Dates, and much more!! This guide is a one-stop solution for every IELTS Aspirant who aims to crack the exam with an impressive band score.

Download IELTS Sample Papers

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Frequently Asked Questions

How to score band 9 in IELTS speaking?

To score band 9, be confident and conversational. Focus on your language skills rather than your knowledge. Use excellent English, share good ideas, and relate answers to your experiences.

What to wear for the IELTS speaking test?

There is no set dress code, but wear something comfortable. Avoid tight-fitting shoes and excessive perfume. 

Is the IELTS speaking test conducted on the same day?

The listening, reading, and writing sections  are  on the same day. The speaking test might be on the same day, or up to seven days before or after the other sections, depending on the test center.

What is the structure of IELTS speaking?

The IELTS Speaking test has three parts: Part 1 is an introduction and interview, Part 2 is a long turn where you speak on a given topic, and Part 3 involves a two-way discussion related to the topic.

What is the IELTS speaking process?

In the IELTS Speaking test, you first introduce yourself and answer general questions, then talk about a specific topic for 1-2 minutes, and finally, engage in a deeper discussion with the examiner.

How to end a speaking test?

Finish your last response clearly, thank the examiner politely, and leave the room with confidence, ensuring you have answered all questions thoroughly.

How to practice IELTS Speaking at home?

Use IELTS sample questions, record your answers, practice speaking in front of a mirror, and get feedback from friends or tutors to improve your performance.

How to improve your English speaking?

Speak English regularly, watch English movies and TV shows, read aloud, and engage in conversations with native speakers to enhance fluency and pronunciation.

Akansha Semwal

Study Abroad Expert

Akansha Semwal is a content marketer at upGrad and has also worked as a social media marketer & sub-editor. Experienced in creating impressive Statement of Purpose, Essays, and LOR, she knows how to captivate the attention of Admissions Committee. Her research-driven;study-abroad articles helps aspirants to make the prudent decision. She holds a bachelor's & master's degree in Literature from the University of Delhi.

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The above tips are the Author's experiences. upGrad does not guarantee scores or admissions.