Strategies to Help You Prepare for the IELTS Speaking Test Parts 1 to 3

There are many ways to prepare for the IELTS Speaking Test Parts 1 to 3, but the best way is to make sure that your English is good enough to get the score you want. However, if you’re reading this you are probably looking for suggestions that will help in other ways. So here are my top tips for achieving the band you want in the Speaking Test.

Before we begin, let’s remind ourselves of the individual skills that you are tested on in the IELTS exam. The skills are listening, reading, writing, and speaking. However, as this post is about the IELTS Speaking Test, that’s what we are going to concentrate on here.

What Is the IELTS Speaking Test?

Firstly, let’s look at the different parts of the speaking test. The speaking test is divided into three parts.

  • Part 1: Personal information – questions about your life and experience.
  • Part 2: Long speech – talking about a specific topic for two minutes.
  • Part 3: Conversation questions based on the topic talked about in Part 2.

What Are the IELTS Speaking Test Parts 1 to 3

In Part 1, you need to try and relax as much as possible. The point of Part 1 is that the examiner will ask you questions that are reasonably easy. They’re about your life and experience. You shouldn’t have to spend much time thinking about your answers. In Part 1, just try to relax and enjoy yourself.

Part 2 is where the serious part of the exams starts. You need to make sure that you’re prepared for the preparation part of the exam. You must also make sure you’re able to speak for two minutes. You’ll get given a topic card, which you won’t be able to change. Also, you’ll have to speak for two minutes or more, even if you don’t know anything about the topic.

After Part 2 comes Part 3, obviously. Part 3 is the most difficult part of the speaking test. if you want to get a 7 in speaking you need to get a 7 in Part 1, a 7 in Part 2, and a 7 in Part 3. If you don’t get a 7 in Part 3, then it’s unlikely that you’ll get a 7 overall, which means that if your goal is immigrating to Canada, you’re going to be struggling.

Why Knowing the IELTS Speaking Test Topics Is Important

IELTS does not keep the topics of the Speaking Test secret, and there’s a reason for that – IELTS wants you to do well. For that reason, you should do as much reading and listening on the topics in the IELTS as possible, so that you have something to say.

Here is a list of the topics:

IELTS Speaking Test Topic List

StudyWorkHometown / Living placeHome / AccommodationFamily
FriendsClothesGiftsDaily routineDaily activities
Food / CookingGoing OutHobbiesInternetLeisure time
MusicNeighbours & NeighbourhoodNewspapersPetsReading
MusicShoppingSportTVTransport / Travelling
WeatherCulture / Tradition

For example, while the examiner may have some sympathy for you if you don’t know anything about your country’s history, that doesn’t mean he’ll give you extra marks. If you don’t know anything about the history of your country, and can’t do Part 2 well because of it, you will not get good marks for Part 2, it’s as simple as that.

Is There Another Good Reason for Knowing the Topics?

Another good reason for reading as much as you can is you want to make Part 2 original, interesting, and entertaining. If you are going to talk about the same boring crap that everybody else talks about, you aren’t going to be original, interesting, and entertaining.

By reading about various topics on the internet (I would suggest you use the BBC for your research), you will be able to talk about things that are a lot more interesting than what most of the other candidates will talk about. While this may not guarantee you extra marks, at least the examiner will be more interested in what you’re saying.

Why It’s Important the Examiner Likes What You Say

At the end of your Part 2 long speech, the examiner is able to ask follow-up questions. He doesn’t have to, but he can if he wants.

If you spend two minutes talking in such a boring way that the examiner wants to commit suicide, he is not likely to ask you any follow-up questions. If you’re answer is original, interesting, and entertaining, he hopefully will. Why do you want him to ask follow-up questions? Because these are the easiest questions for you to answer.

The Strategies for the IELTS Speaking Test Parts 1 to 3

Most IELTS teachers spend way too much time making the IELTS Speaking Test sound as difficult as possible. In fact, the test is not nearly as difficult as students and teachers think.

IELTS Speaking Test Part 1

The IELTS examiners want you to speak in a natural way, with your answers being as cohesive and fluent as possible, while at the same time being original, interesting, and entertaining. In Part 1, answer the question directly and then explain what your answer.

The questions in Part 1 will go on for 3 to 4 minutes. you shouldn’t speak for too long but then again you shouldn’t speak that too little time. I would suggest around 30 minutes, so you should be looking to answer around 5 questions.

I have gone into more depth in Part 1 of the IELTS Speaking Test here.

IELTS Speaking Test Part 2

This is where it gets interesting. In Part 2, you need to talk for two minutes on a topic given to you by the examiner.

First of all, the examiner will give you a topic card. Whatever the topic card is, you will have to do it. You can’t ask for a different one just because you don’t know what the topic is. The examiner will then give you one minute to prepare.

You should use this minute wisely. What I recommend is that you spend 15 to 20 seconds writing down the three main points or ideas. You should then spend the next 40 to 45 seconds thinking about what you’re going to say.

Once you have prepared for a minute, the examiner will ask you to start speaking. If the examiner says you have one to two minutes, ignore it. Speak for two minutes or more. If you don’t, the examiner will almost certainly ask you to continue speaking.

As I said above, once you have finished speaking for two minutes, the examiner may ask you some follow-up questions. If he does, use the same format as Part 1 answers i.e.  answer the question and then explain your answer.

I have gone into  more depth in Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking Test here.

IELTS Speaking Test Part 3

Part 3 questions will  be on the same topic as the Part 2 Topic Card you were given by the examiner earlier. This is yet another reason why you need to make sure you can talk about all the topics that might appear in the IELTS Speaking Test. If you get given a topic that you don’t know much about in Part 2, you will have to keep speaking about it in Part 3.

The best way to ounce of pot three questions is to follow the same format as part 1 questions and part 2 follow-up questions, hot add an example at the end. so, the full amount of a part 3 question should be:

  • answer the question directly
  • explain your answer
  • give an example

You want to try and speak for between 45 and 60 Seconds. Remember, this is meant to be a conversation you are having, so try and speak for a reasonable amount of time, but don’t speak for too long.

I have gone into  more depth in Part 3 of the IELTS Speaking Test here.

Wrapping It All Up

And there you have it. IELTS Speaking Test Parts 1 to 3 are not easy, and no one should think they are, but with the right amount of preparation and good strategies to help you answer each part, the problems involved can be overcome.

Of course, this is not nearly as in-depth as you need to actually score good marks in Parts 1 – 3 of the IELTS Speaking Test. To do well in the Speaking Test, you need to have a teacher. Fortunately for you, I am a qualified IELTS teacher, with over 22 years of teaching experience, ready to help you reach your goals.

If you would like a FREE no-obligation consultation to see if I can help you get the band score you need to achieve your dreams, please email me at info(at), and I will get back to you as quickly as possible.

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