Facts about the IELTS speaking test

There are lots of websites, forums, blogs and posts on the internet giving advice about the speaking test, but so much of the information available is either incomplete or incorrect! To help, we have assembled some of the most common points below and listed them as true or false.

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Facts about the IELTS speaking testIf you have a question or concern about the IELTS speaking test, then just put it in the comments area at the bottom of the page and we’ll answer it and add it to our list!
1. The speaking test takes between 11 and 14 minutes.

This is true. The test is tightly regulated between these times, so don’t be surprised if the examiner stops you suddenly in your final answer!

2. There are three parts to the speaking test.

This is also true. In Part 1, the examiner will ask you general questions about yourself. In Part 2 you need to speak for 2 minutes on a topic the examiner will give you. In Part 3, the examiner will ask you more in-depth questions relating to the topic card.

3. In Part 2, it’s OK to stop speaking after one minute.

No! This is false. Part of the speaking test is assessing your ability to be fluent and coherent, so you need to speak for the full two minutes. If you do run out of things to say and finish early, you can expect it to impact negatively on your results.

4. In Part 2, the topic card will have 4 points that you MUST talk about.

This is also NOT TRUE – the points on the topic card are there to help you, but you are not required to cover everything on the card. So long as what you are talking about is on the same topic as the card, that’s OK.

5. The examiner will take the topic card back after about a minute, while you are still talking.

Absolutely NOT TRUE – the examiner will ask for the topic card back after you have completed Part 2, but not during your speaking.

6. You should give short answers for Part 1.

NOT TRUE! You should extend your answers throughout the speaking test. If the examiner has heard enough, they will stop you and move to the next question, but you shouldn’t intentionally make your answers short!

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