IELTS Speaking Test Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some IELTS Speaking Test frequently asked questions to help you prepare for your exam.

How Long Does the Speaking Test Take?

The speaking test is 11 to 14 minutes:

  • Part 1: 4-5 minutes
  • Part 2: 3-4 minutes
  • Part 3: 4-5 minutes

Note: the speaking test may be less than 11 minutes, but it will not be longer than 14 minutes.

Is the Speaking Test with a Person or with a Computer?

Both the paper-based IELTS test and the computer-based IELTS test include a face-to-face speaking test with a qualified IELTS examiner in a private room.

How is the Speaking Test Evaluated?

In short, your speaking is marked based on fluency, lexical resources, grammar, and pronunciation. Use the following links for more detailed information:

Do I Need to Extend My Answers on the Speaking Test?

In order to score 6 or higher, the candidate must be able to speak at length using accurate connectors while producing a natural flow of speech. Providing very brief, short answers indicates to the examiner that you have a limited vocabulary and are not able to speak at length about a given topic. Make an effort to extend your answers when it feels natural.

Can I Choose the Topic for Part 2?

No. You will be given a topic card from the examiner. For more information about the IELTS Speaking Test Part 2, watch the following video: IELTS Speaking Test Tips

What Should I Do if I Don’t Understand the Question?

You can ask the examiner to repeat the question. In part 3, you can also ask for an explanation by saying something such as, “I’m sorry, but I don’t understand. Could you explain that?”

What Should I Wear to the Speaking Test?

This is not a formal interview, so please dress in clothes that are comfortable for you. You are not being assessed based on style or fashion.

Is There a Policy for Perfumes and Fragrances?

We recommend not wearing perfumes, colognes, creams, sprays, or anything else with a fragrance or odor. This is requested as a courtesy to other test takers as some may have a sensitivity.

What if I Have an Accent?

Don’t worry about hiding or changing your accent. The examiner is a qualified, experienced, and highly-trained professional who works with immigrants and international students regularly. It is merely recommended that everyone try to speak clearly on the test.

Can I Use Gestures and Body Language?

There are no extra marks for gestures or body language. It’s common for candidates to use their hands, for example, as a natural expression, which is totally acceptable.

How Can I Prepare for the Speaking Test?

  1. Watch sample videos using the following link:
  2. Record yourself speaking and listen to it for clarity and pace. If you hear words running together, consider slowing down to ensure that the examiner can understand.
  3. Join a conversation club at your local library or immigration group. These are often free and can be very helpful.
  4. Take an IELTS class. Full-time and part-time classes at an official testing centre are very useful because they are typically taught by trained IELTS professionals who can give you specific and personalized feedback. You can find information on IELTS classes here:
  5. Hire a private tutor. You can find tutors easily through a Google search, but be prepared to pay $50 or more per hour for a trained and experienced IELTS instructor.