IELTS speaking test questions and topics

By Edvoy• Last updated: Mar 18, 2024
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The IELTS speaking test is one of the most important parts of the IELTS exam. It's your chance to show off your English-speaking skills.

This guide will discuss the common topics and questions in this section.

Speaking test format

The IELTS speaking test consists of three sections: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

In Part 1, the examiner will ask general questions about yourself and your life, such as where you live, what you do for a living, and any hobbies or interests you have. This section aims to get to know you better and create a conversation with ease.

Part 2 is focused on a particular topic and requires more detailed responses from the candidate. The topic could be related to your home town, education, family, etc. You should provide an in-depth answer to the subject matter and use relevant examples to support your points.

Part 3 is a discussion between you and the examiner based on the previous two sections. The examiner will probe you with further questions to test your ability to think critically and provide detailed responses. This is the most challenging part of the speaking test, and it is important to stay focused on what has been discussed in the previous sections.

Also read: Check the IELTS Exam Pattern and Syllabus

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IELTS speaking test part 1 topics & questions

The IELTS speaking test part 1 assesses your ability to communicate in English on various everyday topics. It consists of a face-to-face interview between the candidate and an examiner. During this part of the test, you are asked basic questions about yourself to help the examiner understand your English language abilities.

Common topics may include work, study, family, free time activities, hometown, interests, and plans for the future. The interviewer will also ask some general questions, such as:

  • What do you do for a living?
  • Where did you grow up?
  • Do you have any hobbies?
  • What sort of music do you like?
  • Have you ever been abroad?
  • What was the last place that you visited?

The focus here is not on testing grammar but on assessing how well you can communicate in English. Your answers should be clear and concise to demonstrate your fluency in the language.

Using complex words or phrases beyond your level will not earn extra points - it might even give the impression that you need help understanding the language. Try to use natural speech rhythm and intonation when responding, as this will demonstrate your ability to communicate clearly.

The important thing is to answer confidently and show that you can communicate in English effectively. Preparing for common topics will help you feel more comfortable during the test, so it's a good idea to practice speaking on them beforehand.

Remember, the examiner looks for fluency, accuracy, and confidence when speaking. It is important to be as natural as possible and not to memorize answers - this will only hinder your performance on the test.

Also read: IELTS Exam Reading Section Tips

IELTS speaking test part 2 topics & questions

Part 2 of the IELTS speaking test is a monologue task where you must complete an uninterrupted 1-2 minute speech on a given topic. The topics are usually predictable and cover common everyday experiences, such as describing a person, an event or activity, or a place you know.

Task 2 consists of general topics and cue cards that may relate to your life experiences. These questions are designed to help the examiner assess your speaking proficiency by testing your ability to think on your feet, provide relevant information and respond fluently in spoken English.

General topics often include: talking about a hobby or interest, talking about what you do to relax, discussing a memorable experience, talking about something you value or believe in, describing your hometown, comparing two places, etc.

The IELTS speaking test part 2 has a range of common questions that may come up.

These include:

  • Describe an interesting animal you have seen and explain why it was interesting
  • Talk about the most valuable thing you own and explain why it is valuable to you
  • Talk about your favourite book or film and explain why it is special to you
  • Describe an unusual hobby or activity that you enjoy doing and explain why it is enjoyable for you
  • Tell us about a memorable experience that made you laugh or smile
  • Discuss the best place to eat in your city, explaining what makes it so special
  • Describe a child-friendly place in your area and explain why it is suitable for children
  • Talk about a hobby or skill you have recently learned, explaining why you wanted to learn it
  • Describe a time when you achieved success in something challenging and explain how that felt
  • Tell us about an event you recently attended and what made it special.

It is important that during Part 2 of the IELTS speaking test, you speak with fluency and provide relevant information relating to the given topic. You should also ensure your answers are structured with clear points and avoid repeating themselves.

You can use this part of the test to demonstrate a wide range of grammar structures, vocabulary words, collocations, idioms, and pronunciation accuracy.

The IELTS speaking test part 2 is an excellent opportunity for you to show off your language skills and demonstrate how well you can communicate in English. As long as you stay focused on the topic, use clear points, and avoid repeating yourself, you will be able to demonstrate that you have what it takes to ace the IELTS speaking test 2.

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IELTS speaking test part 3 topics & questions

Part 3 of the IELTS speaking test is a discussion with the examiner on more abstract topics. It focuses on abstract ideas and opinions about language, culture, environment and education. This section encourages candidates to think critically and give their views on issues.

The topics that may be discussed include opinions, attitudes, and feelings about general issues such as education, technology, health care, and family life. The following are some common types of questions that can appear in Part 3 of the IELTS speaking test:

  • Questions related to current issues

These can involve opinion questions that require specific answers based on personal experience or knowledge about current affairs. Examples of this type of question could include "What do you think about rising levels of unemployment?" or "Do you think governments should invest more money in healthcare?"

  • Questions related to past experiences

These questions may relate to your personal history and can involve recounting a previous experience or giving a general overview of an issue. Examples of this type of question could include "Can you tell me about your last vacation?" or "What do you think are the main challenges facing young people today?"

  • Questions that require comparison

This type of question requires you to compare two different situations and provide examples to illustrate any differences. For example, "How does modern technology differ from traditional methods of communication?" or "How is education in your country different from other countries?"

  • Questions related to personal opinions

This type of question may require you to provide your opinion on a particular topic. Examples could include "What's your opinion about the present state of healthcare in your country?" or "Do you think it is important for children to learn how to cook at an early age?"

You should be able to explain your ideas clearly, provide relevant examples and respond to questions appropriately to score well in Part 3.

By being prepared with answers to these questions, you can give well-structured and detailed answers demonstrating your English ability. Therefore, preparation and practice are essential for success when taking Part 3 of the IELTS speaking test.

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Top 5 tips for acing the IELTS speaking test

Being prepared and knowledgeable about what to expect in the IELTS speaking test is important. Here are the top 5 tips for acing the IELTS speaking test:

  1. Be familiar with the IELTS speaking test format – Knowing how the test works and what topics will be covered can help you prepare better for your exam. In addition, familiarise yourself with the different parts of the test and understand how they fit into a cohesive whole.
  2. Practice speaking English – Practicing speaking English out loud can go a long way in helping you feel more confident when taking your IELTS speaking test. This means speaking without notes or scripts, as you will be expected to do during the test.
  3. Listen carefully and answer thoughtfully – During the IELTS speaking test, it is important to listen carefully to the examiner's questions and answer them thoughtfully. Make sure your answers are clear and concise while also providing sufficient detail.
  4. Speak clearly and confidently – One of the most important things you can do during your IELTS speaking test is speak with clarity and confidence. This means speaking slowly enough so that you can be understood but not too slowly, affecting your flow of conversation or making it appear rehearsed.
  5. Use appropriate grammar and vocabulary – As with any English exam, using proper grammar and vocabulary is key to acing the IELTS speaking test. Review any relevant topics beforehand and use the right words when answering questions.

By following these tips, you will be better prepared for the IELTS speaking test and increase your chances of achieving a high score.

Also read: Tips to score high on IELTS speaking Test


The IELTS speaking test assesses an individual's ability to communicate in English. Good preparation for the IELTS speaking test is essential to maximize your chances of success.

Practising with a native speaker or taking an online preparation course can help develop your speaking skills.

You can successfully ace the IELTS speaking test with enough practice, confidence, and hard work.

Achieve your highest IELTS score!

Signup for your free IELTS masterclass with Edvoy.

Learn from the best of the best teacher with over 17 years of experience.

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