IELTS Speaking Test Format and Description

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The IELTS Speaking test may make you anxious, but with our instructions on the IELTS speaking test format and description, as well as lots of practice, you will be well on your way to boosting your confidence and obtaining the band score you want.

The face-to-face Speaking test is broken down into three sections for both the IELTS on paper and the IELTS on computer. If you can understand what happens in these three Speaking test portions, you will be more prepared.

Test format – Speaking (11–14 minutes)

The speaking part of the test evaluates your spoken English ability. Each test is documented.

  • Part 1: It consists of broad questions about you and a number of well-known subjects, including your home, family, job, studies, and interests. Between four and five minutes make up this section.
  • Part 2: You will be handed a card that invites you to discuss a certain subject. Following a minute of preparation, you have a maximum of two minutes to speak. The examiner will then ask one or two questions about it after that.
  • Part 3: You will be questioned more about the subject covered in Part 2 in this section. These will allow you to discuss more abstract ideas and issues. This part of the test has a time limit of four to five minutes.

Description of IELTS Speaking Test

Paper Format                                     An oral conversation between test takers and an examiner makes up the Speaking test. All speaking tests are taped.
Time11 to 14 min.
Task TypesThe test is divided into three sections, and each section performs a certain purpose in terms of interaction style, task input, and test-taker output.

Details of IELTS Speaking Test

Part 1: Introduction and interview

Task type and format: The examiner introduces themselves and verifies the test-takers identities in this section. Then, generic questions on well-known subjects including homes, families, jobs, studies, and interests are posed to the test-takers. The questions are drawn from a script to maintain uniformity. 4 to 5 minutes are spent on Part 1.

Task focus: By responding to a variety of questions, this portion of the exam focuses on the candidate’s capacity to convey thoughts and information on common themes and shared experiences or circumstances.

Number of questions: Variable

Part 2: Long turn

Task type and format: The individual lengthy turn is part two. The test takers are given a task card by the examiner that asks them to discuss a certain subject, lists key topics to address in their discussion, and advises them to describe one element of the subject. Test takers get one minute to prepare their lecture, and a pencil and piece of paper are provided so they may take notes. The test takers are given one to two minutes to speak before the examiner interrupts them and asks one or two questions on the same subject.

Making notes throughout the preparation period and using the task card’s points wisely can assist test-takers to come up with relevant talking ideas, organizing their conversations, and maintaining their momentum for the whole two minutes. Part 2 takes around three to four minutes total, not counting setup.

Task focus: The capacity to talk in-depth on a specific subject (without further prompting from the examiner), use proper language, and organize thoughts logically is the focus of this portion of the test. The long turn is likely to require the test-takers to rely on their own prior knowledge.

Number of questions: Variable

Part 3: Discussion

Type of task and format: In Part 3, the test takers and the examiner talk about topics connected to the subject in Part 2 in a more general and abstract style, going into further detail where necessary. 3rd part lasts around 4 minutes.

Task focus: The capacity to articulate and defend viewpoints as well as analyze, argue, and hypothesize on matters is the main focus of this section of the exam.

Number of questions: Variable

How the IELTS Speaking test is evaluated?

IELTS Speaking Test Format
IELTS Speaking Test Evaluation

1. Marking and assessment

IELTS-certified examiners grade speaking performances. All IELTS examiners are employed by the test centers, have the required teaching credentials, and have been authorized by the British Council or IDP: IELTS Australia.

For reporting scores, there are full and partial bands. For each of the nine IELTS bands, specific performance descriptors have been devised to describe spoken performance. These are listed on the page that explains the IELTS scoring system.

2. Coherence and fluency

This is the capacity to speak normally—that is, with consistency, speed, and effort—and to connect concepts and words to produce speech that is both coherent and linked. Speech pace and speech continuity are the main gauges of fluency. The employment of cohesive devices (such as connectors, pronouns, and conjunctions) inside and between sentences, explicit labeling of phases in a debate, narrative, or argument, and logical phrase sequencing are the main markers of coherence.

3. A lexical resource

The variety of language employed and the accuracy with which concepts and attitudes may be communicated are considered in this criterion. The capacity to circumlocution (use other words to fill in a vocabulary gap) with or without obvious reluctance is one of the main markers, as is the range of terms employed, their sufficiency and appropriateness, and their suitability.

4. Grammar range and precision

This is a reference to the test-takers grammatical resource’s range as well as their accurate and proper application. The length and complexity of spoken sentences, the proper use of subordinate clauses, and the variety of sentence structures, particularly when moving pieces around to focus on information, are the main markers of grammatical range. The number of grammatical mistakes in a given length of speech and the impact of errors on communication is the main measures of grammatical accuracy.

5. Pronunciation

This criterion relates to the capacity to make an understandable speech in order to meet the requirements of the Speaking exam. The degree of listener fatigue, the percentage of speech that is incomprehensible, and the prominence of L1 influence will be the primary markers.

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