Practice for the IELTS Speaking part 1

In this part of the IELTS speaking test, you are sitting down and the examiner will introduce him/herself. The examiner will ask you to confirm your identity. Then he/she will ask you some general questions on every day matters.

Keep in mind that examiners are limited to what they can say. They are trained to provide as consistent an environment as possible for the candidates. Don’t expect familiarity, or some individualized statement. This is fine with candidates from more formal cultures with strong institutional forms; however, it can be disconcerting to candidates from more informal cultures with weaker institutional forms.

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What actually happens?

Part 1 of the IELTS Speaking section of the test will last 4-5 minutes. Typically, an examiner will ask three sets of questions in this part. Common topics are home, family, work, studies, and your interests. An examiner cannot skip questions. There will be ten-eleven questions in total. The usual distribution is:

  • 2-3 introduction questions
  • 4 questions on the first topic
  • 4 questions on the second topic

Below is an example of how Part 1 of the IELTS speaking test might proceed.

The steps of the IELTS Speaking test, part 1.

There will be straightforward questions such as:

  • How are you?
  • How did you get here?
  • How was traffic?

Next, will come questions with a single theme. For example, you might have questions such as these:

  • What is your job?
  • How do you feel about your job?
  • Why did you choose this work?
  • Is it a popular job in your country?

Then will come questions with a different theme. For example, you might have questions such as these:

  • Where is your hometown?
  • What’s your hometown like?
  • What is an interesting place in your hometown?
  • What needs improving in your hometown?

Don’t worry about speaking too long. The examiner keeps careful track of the time and will stop you when it is time to move on to Part 2 of the speaking test.

How can I prepare?

There is an abundance of material out there for you to use. Buy a book, take a course online or in person, read tips and advice that you find online. Hire a tutor. Make a schedule for your practice sessions so that you are consistent in your efforts. Set realistic goals for yourself with regards to time and the band score that you want.

For more information on the other exercises of the speaking section:

Basic Strategies

  • Be fluent. That is don’t hesitate or stop while you’re answering. If you make an error, keep talking. Stopping for a prolonged period affects your score.
  • Keep it short and simple. In Part 1, you don’t give long and detailed answers. One or two sentences is good enough.
  • Speak in sentences. One word answers are not good enough. For example, if the examiner asks you: what do you do? Don’t reply: student. Use a full sentence: I’m a university student.
  • Confidence is important. The examiners don’t give a score for your confidence, but your confidence affects your fluency, and what you say. Posture and facial expressions can affect how we speak. Sit up straight, smile, and make eye contact.
  • Get comfortable with the situation. Part 1 is the warmup. It is not where your main score will be determined.

Practicing with GlobalExam

GlobalExam is an online solution dedicated to IELTS preparation, with dozens of sample exercises and answers. The website is very interactive, you can listen to audios and record yourself. You’ll get a detailed correction at the end of each exercise, and you also have a timer keeping track of the time. With GlobalExam, you can train in real exam conditions!

You can check your statistics at any time and follow your progress. If you identify any weaknesses on certain parts, you ca, access our vocabulary and grammar study sheets, that will help you study.

Check out our trial version for free by registering!

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