IELTS speaking test: things you need to know

Well prepared students do best in the IELTS speaking exam and we can help.

This is the first in a series of videos about the different parts of the exam where you’ll find answers to these questions:
How long is the IELTS speaking exam? (11-14 minutes)
How many parts does the IELTS speaking test have? (Three)
What are the three parts?
– a Q&A on familiar topics
– a long turn (talk)
– a Q&A on abstract topics
You’ll see what happens when an IELTS exam starts and learn how IELTS examiners score.
You’ll also see what happens at the very start when the IELTS examiner turns on their recorder.

The IELTS exam tests students at all levels of English and IELTS publish descriptions of the different band levels which you can find here.

We have hundreds of videos on our channel to help you with your listening, speaking, grammar and vocabulary before your exam. Make sure you check them out.

IELTS Speaking Exam

Hello everyone. I’m Keith.
And I’m Vicki and we have lots of tips and tricks for you about the IELTS speaking exam
The IELTS exam tests four skills. When we ask our students which one they feel most nervous about they often say speaking. So if you feel nervous too, you’re not alone.
And we can help. We’re going to show you what happens, and give you tips so you can get a good score. In this first video we’ll tell you some general things about the speaking test. But first, let’s see how much you know already.
We have a quiz for you and here’s the first question: how long does the test last? What do you think?
The answer is 11-14 minutes. It may sound like a long time, but after the exam, most students say it went really quickly.
OK, another question. How many parts does the speaking test have?
There are three parts to the test. Part one is a Q&A, so the examiner will ask you questions that you’ll answer. They’re all questions about you and your life.
In part two the examiner will give you a topic to talk about and you’ll speak for one to two minutes.
And the final part is another Q & A, but this time the examiner will ask questions about more abstract topics.
So every part is different and in this series of videos we’ll go through them one by one. And we’ll show you what to do and what not to do, so you can get your best score.
Another thing you should know is IELTS speaking tests are always recorded.
In some places the examiner will start the recording before you enter the exam room. In other places they will start the recording while you’re there.

Hi, take a seat. This is the speaking test of the International English Language Testing System, taking place on July 20th at 6800 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. Centre number AS555. The candidate is Ksenia Shor and the candidate number is 89352. The examiner is Vicki Hollett, examiner number 968254.
Good morning. My name is Vicki Hollett. Can you please tell me your full name?
Ksenia Shor.
And what should I call you?
You can call me Ksenia, or Kate if you like.
And can I see your identification please, Ksenia?
Of course, here you are.
Thank you.

And that’s how the exam begins. It’s hard not to feel nervous, but most examiners are friendly and they’re on your side. They’ll want you to do well.

Can you tell me your full name, please?
My full name is Jason Arthur Sebastian Robertson the third. I was named after my grandfather …
And what should I call you?
Well, I have several nicknames. Some people call me Morse because I know the international Morse code and some people call me ‘Cuckoo’. I’m not sure why. And some people call me…

Jay shouldn’t give a long answer here. The examiner just wants to check his name on her list. So just state your name briefly.

You can call me Ksenia, or Kate if you like.

The examiners record the exam so they can listen back later if they want to check your score and, also, so that IELTS can make sure that all candidates are graded correctly and in the same way.

How IELTS examiners score

And speaking of grades, here’s one last question. The examiner will grade you on different things. Which of these things are important? Are there any that don’t matter?
These are the four criteria they’ll use to score you. The examiner doesn’t care about your appearance, so don’t worry about wearing a suit or tie. They’re just interested in the quality of your English.
The examiner will give you a score from one to nine for each of these criteria and they’re all equally important for your overall score. So let’s take a look at what they all mean.
Fluency is about speaking easily, without a lot of hesitation. And coherence is about how well you can connect your ideas so they’re easy to understand. So can you explain your thoughts logically and without too much repetition?
Lexical resource is about vocabulary. Do you know enough words to talk about a variety of topics? Do you know common idioms and which words collocate – so which words commonly go together?
The next one’s grammar so how accurate is your English and how many mistakes do you make? But notice the examiner also wants to hear your range. So can you use different tenses and sentences with different clauses? More complex grammar will get you a higher score.
And finally, what’s your pronunciation like? Is it clear and easy to understand? Having an accent is fine, so long as your pronunciation is easy to understand. The examiner will be listening for how well you connect your speech, your word and sentence stress, and your intonation. And, can you maintain good pronunciation across phrases and longer sentences?
So those are the four criteria they’ll use to score you. The exam tests students at all levels of English and IELTS publish descriptions of the different band levels. We’ll put a link to their descriptors below and you should check them out.
Well prepared candidates do best in this exam, so it’s great that you’ve found us. Stay tuned for our next videos where we’ll have lots of tips. And don’t forget. Subscribe to both our channels!
And if you liked this video, why not share it with a friend? See you soon everyone. Bye!

We have hundreds of videos on our channel to help you with your listening, speaking, grammar and vocabulary before your exam. Make sure you check them out.
We’ve made this video in collaboration with our friend Keith from IELTS Speaking Success.

2 thoughts on “IELTS speaking test: things you need to know

  • August 23, 2019 at 3:26 am
    Permalink

    Hi,
    Good post. Although my writing and grammar are good but when I speak I sometimes speak in the wrong grammar. Do you have any suggestion on how do I speak grammatically correct sentence while talking to someone?

    Reply
    • August 23, 2019 at 6:45 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Div. This is a big question. You’re not alone and lots of English learners have this problem – sometimes for different reasons. Very often the solution is practice, practice, practice.

      Reply

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