The Speaking Test Format Part 1

Duration: 4 - 5 miinutes

The whole speaking test really has four parts including the introduction.

It must go for not less than 11 minutes and cannot exceed 14 minutes in length but the average length of the test is usually around 12 to 12.5 minutes. In this article we will talk about the Introduction and part 1 of the test.

Introduction: (30-40 seconds)

In this part, which typically takes around 30 to 40 seconds, the examiner introduces themself and asks your name, checks your ID, may ask where you are from and will finish off by saying: "Now in this first part, let's talk about ....", the test has now begun.

You can hear examples of candidates taking the test on the "IELTS Specimen Materials" and we will put some examples on this website for you to hear also as the site develops.

Part 1: (Introduction + Part 1 not less than 4 minutes not more than 5 minutes.)

The candidate’s ability to communicate opinions and information on everyday familiar topics and common experiences or situations is being assessed in this part asking the candidate to answer a range of questions about familiar topics such as friends, hobbies or food.

To ensure consistency around the world, questions are taken from a script, which examiners call a frame, and the examiner is not permitted to change the wording in the script.

Here are some example questions from part 1 taken from the www.ielts.org website


Let’s talk about your home town or village.

  • What kind of place is it?
  • What’s the most interesting part of your town/village?
  • What kind of jobs do the people in your town/village do?
  • Would you say it’s a good place to live? (Why?)

Let’s move on to talk about accommodation now

  • Tell me about the kind of accommodation you live in?
  • How long have you lived there?
  • What do you like about living there?
  • What sort of accommodation would you most like to live in?

How to Practice
In this part of the test you should try to talk for 20 to 30 seconds. Back up your answer by giving reasons and examples to illustrate what you want to say. This is just normal, everyday conversation, the sort of thing your friends might talk about with you. Don't get nervous just because it is a test.

Practice by talking about each of the dot points above for 20-30 seconds, no need to talk for longer, in fact you will make your examiner nervous if you do and he will be forced to stop you from speaking. But when you speak, record your voice so you can listen back to how you sound. We will talk more later about the things to listen for but at the moment you listen for just one thing: can you keep going without stopping to much?

This is absolutely critical to getting a good score and the more you practice the better you will get.

How much practice? Fifteen to twenty minutes EVERYDAY! So its boring, but if you do it, you WILL get better. This is as close to a guarrantee as you will get about anything in life.