IELTS Speaking Archives - EngExam.info

IELTS Speaking Topics in 2024

Below is a list of IELTS Speaking topics for 2024 exam with examples of questions for IELTS Speaking Part 1. Additionally, there are 54 question cards with model answers, key vocabulary and collocations for Speaking Part 2 and 3. You can save the cards in PDF or print them online – just click on the topic!

Click on each topic to see Part 2 and 3 sample questions for this IELTS Speaking topic. Each question has a sample answer and useful phrases with explanations!

One important point to keep in mind is that the speaking topics are more or less the same for all Speaking parts. However, the questions themselves have different focus. Part 1 focuses on familiar aspects of the topic. Part 2 expects you to talk about a familiar question in more detail. In Part 3, you expand on the idea from Part 2 and talk about the less familiar, more abstract side of the topic.

The questions below are examples of what you can get in Part 1 and 3 of IELTS Speaking. Questions in italics are sample questions for IELTS Speaking Part 3.

Friends and family, #2, #3

Do you come from a big family?
Could you tell me about one of your friends?
Who are the most important people in your life?
Do you prefer spending time with your friends or your family?
How important is it to have a best friend?
What kind of activities do you enjoy doing with your friends? What about your family?
Do you see your extended family often?
Is it easy for you to make new friends?
Do you have any brothers or sisters?
How often do you meet with your friends?
Have you ever had an argument with a friend? Why?
What person from your family has had the biggest influence on you?
What do you like the most about your best friend?
Do you get along well with your siblings?
How do you keep in touch with friends from other cities or countries?
What are some important qualities you look for in a friend?
When you need help or advice, who do you usually ask for it?
Do you have any friends that are very different from you?
Are you still in touch with your friends from school?
What is your favourite memory with your family or friend?
Tell about the longest friendship you have had.
Have you ever met someone through a mutual friend?
How important is it to stay in touch with your old friends?
How does friendship change people?
Who has more influence on a person – their family or friends?

Job and career, #2, #3

Do you have a job? What do you do? Do you enjoy it?
Why have you chosen this particular job?
Would you like to change your current job? Why or why not?
Have you ever changed jobs? Why?
What skills are needed to be successful in your job?
Do you have any long-term career goals?
At work, do you have a person you look up to?
When you were a child, what did you want to become?
What jobs are in demand in your country?
Are you good friends with any of your colleagues?
What professions are well-paid where you live?
Can you describe your dream job?
How does your work affect your personal life?
Would you rather work from home or at the office?
Have you ever had to do something you did not enjoy at all?
Do you prefer working alone or with someone else? Why?
What jobs might become obsolete with the increasing automation in every sphere?
Do you think you will continue to work in the same field in the future?
What is more important to you – job satisfaction or professional development?
Do you think all people want to do creative work?
Which professional sphere is going to be more popular in the future?
Is it important to have good relationships with your colleagues?
Nowadays, many young people prioritise career over family. Why?
Would you say it is important to have a job that you love?
When you are young, is it more important to work hard or to enjoy life?

Hobbies and free time, #2, #3

How do you usually spend your free time?
Did you have more or less free time when you were younger?
Do you have a hobby or other leisure activity?
How do you prefer spending your free time – alone or with others?
What advice would you give to a person looking for a hobby?
Do you usually plan your leisure time beforehand?
Is there a leisure activity that you no longer enjoy?
Are you into any sports?
Do you prefer indoor or outdoor activities?
What hobbies are popular in your country?
Are there any hobby clubs in your area?
Do you get bored easily?
What does your perfect weekend look like?
Do you enjoy playing videogames?
Have you ever tried any creative hobbies, such as painting or photography?
What did you do for fun when you were younger?
Have your interests changed much since you were a child?
Do you prefer spending your free time alone or with somebody else?
What kind of hobby do your parents have?
Do you plan to take up any new hobbies in the future?
Is it a good idea to turn a hobby into profession?
How has the pandemic affected the way people spend their free time?
Why does a person need to have a hobby?
How much can you tell about a person from their hobbies?
Can having too much free time be bad for a person?
Is it important to spend free time with your family? Why?

Home and hometown, #2, #3

Do you live in a flat or a house?
Who does the housework in your family?
How long have you been living in your current accommodation?
Describe the room you live in.
Do you live alone or with somebody?
What kind of neighbourhood do you live in?
Would you move to a different area if you had a chance?
What do you like most about the place you live at?
Do you prefer to stay at home or spend time outside?
If you could change one thing about your town or city, what would it be?
What kind of work do you have to do around your flat or house?
Do you have any experience living in a different city or country?
In what room of your house do you spend most of your time?
Do you have a favourite place in your town or city?
Is the town or city you live in famous? What for?
What are people like in your hometown?
Do people in your country prefer living in houses or apartments?
What kind of problems does your town face?
Would you rather live in the city centre or in the countryside?
How easy is it to move around your city?
Do you get along well with your neighbours?
What is the fondest memory that you have about your hometown?
What are the pros and cons of living in your own house?
How important is it to feel that you belong to an area you live in?

Transport, #2, #3

How often do you use public transport?
What form of transportation do you like most?
How long was your journey to this exam today?
Is there anything you dislike about public transport?
How much time does it take you to get to work or place of study?
What is the best way to get around your city?
Are you afraid of flying on a plane?
How do you usually commute?
What is your attitude towards carpooling?
Is a taxi a good alternative to having a car?
What is the most used form of transport in your city?
Have you ever taken a ferry or a boat ride?
What is the traffic situation in your city?
What changes has transport system in your city undergone over the past ten years?
How often do you have to use public transport? Do you enjoy it?
Do you prefer travelling alone or with others? Why?
Has the transport you’ve been travelling with ever broke down?
Does your city have cycling lanes or any other cycling infrastructure?
Have you ever had a train or a plane delay that affected you?
Is renting a car better than owning it? Why?
What type of transport do you think is the most environmentally friendly?
How important is having a car where you live?
Which do you like more – travelling by train or by plane? Why?
Have you ever hitchhiked or picked up a hitchhiker?
What was the longest journey you’ve ever had?
Do you think electric cars will replace petrol cars in the future? If so, how soon will this happen?
How could the government encourage people to use public transport?
Do you think that driving is an important skill to have nowadays?
Should public transport be free? Why or why not?

Nature and the environment, #2, #3

Do you have any parks or squares where you live?
What animals can you see in your city?
Have you ever gone hunting or fishing? Did you enjoy it?
When you go to the countryside, what do you usually do there?
What kinds of outdoor activities do you enjoy doing?
Do you recycle? What do you recycle?
Have you ever taken part in environmental activism?
Do you do waste sorting?
Is there a park or a garden in your city that you particularly like? Why?
Would you consider moving to the countryside?
Have you ever visited a national park or nature reserve?
What does the government of your country do to save the environment?
Would you say that people are causing more damage to nature than they did 20 years ago?
Do you think there should be more green spaces in cities?
Have you ever had a negative experience with nature?
Do you prefer urban or rural environments? Why?
Do you try to buy environmentally friendly products?
What is your attitude towards hunting and fishing?
Do you try to protect the environment in some way? If so, how?
How can people be encouraged to reduce their environmental footprint?
Do you think technology can help to protect the environment?
How can children be better taught to be respectful to the environment?
Should people focus on preserving animal species or their own welfare?
Will humanity manage to reduce its own carbon impact in the future? Why/why not?

Studying, #2, #3

Do you currently study anything?
What was your favourite subject at school?
Did you enjoy going to school? Why/why not?
Do you think the school curriculum is too difficult nowadays?
What do you enjoy about learning foreign languages?
Do you remember your first teacher? What were they like?
How do you usually study for exams?
What was your most memorable experience at school?
Would you want to study abroad if you had a chance? Why/why not?
Did you ever have to ask for help with your homework?
Which school subject do you personally find the easiest?
Did the school you went to have a focus on any particular subjects?
Do you plan to continue studying?
What do you find most difficult about learning English?
Have you ever had a tutor for any of your school subjects? Why?
Do you think schools should teach more life skills such as cooking, finances and others?
If you could study something else, what would you study?
Do you prefer online or classroom education?
Are extracurricular activities important for a student’s education?
What strategies do you use to study effectively?
Do you think memorizing information is important for studying?
Should school uniforms be made necessary?
Do you think college or university education is necessary for everyone?
What is your opinion on studying abroad?
Do you think it is important to continue learning new things throughout your life?
How might ways of studying and education change in the future?
Is studying online as good as traditional classroom education?

Art (films, music, the theatre, literature etc.), #2, #3

Do you prefer reading or watching movies? Why?
What kind of art do you like? Why?
How popular is reading in your country? And what about music concerts?
Do you prefer reading physical books or electronic books?
What kind of music do you listen to?
Is there a film or a piece of music that is strongly associated with your country?
Do you enjoy going to museums or galleries?
Which do you like more – watching movies at home or at the cinema? Why?
Do you have any friends who are engaged in the arts in any way?
What is your favourite movie genre?
Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction books?
Is there a classic book you think everyone should read?
Do you have a favourite actor or an artist? If so, who is that?
How often do you go to live concerts?
Is there a genre of music, films or books you like better?
Do you plan to go to a concert or an exhibition in the future?
Do you like drawing or painting?
When was the last time you were at an art exhibition?
Do you like theatre? Why/Why not?
Does your town or city have a theatre? Have you been there?
In your opinion, is reading becoming less or more popular with people? Why?
Violence is a big part of the movie and videogame industries nowadays. How do you think this will change in the future?
In your opinion, does reading books help improve your language skills?
What do you think is the purpose of art?
Should movie classes be a part of the curriculum in schools along with literature and music classes? Why/Why not?
Can something created by a machine be considered art?

Modern problems, #2, #3

What problems does your town or city face nowadays?
Have you ever seen problems associated with addiction in your community?
What impact do you think the meat industry is having on our planet?
What kind of problems might an individual face today that they wouldn’t have twenty years ago?
Some say that the world is becoming increasingly globalised, or similar. What is your opinion on that?
Which do you think technology has created more – problems or solutions?
Unemployment is a big issue nowadays, especially among young people. What could be the solution to this problem?
Is it more important to explore space or to focus on problems of our own planet?
Modern lifestyles are much less healthy. How can people be encouraged to be more active and sporty?
Do you think problems today are easier or more difficult to solve than those in the past? Why?

Travelling, #2, #3

What is your attitude towards travelling?
How often do you travel abroad? And in your own country?
Tell me about the last place you visited.
Do you ever have any difficulties when travelling?
Is there anything stressful about travelling for you?
What was the most exotic place you have ever travelled to?
Do you usually plan your trip or go without planning?
What kinds of places do you like to visit when you travel?
Do you have any friends who are keen on travelling and tourism?
Have you ever had to travel for work or business?
Which do you prefer – travelling alone or with someone else? Why?
When was the last time you travelled somewhere? Where did you go?
What is your preferred mode of transportation when travelling?
When you are on a trip, do you try local cuisine?
Do you have any plans to travel somewhere in the future?
Where would you advise a visitor to your city to go? What kinds of sights should they see?
What do you think is the best way to plan a trip?
Is shopping an important part of travelling for you?
If you could visit any country, where would you go? Why?
What things should a person consider when they travel?
While travelling, have you ever had any difficulties?
Have you ever travelled for work or business purposes?
Is travelling today more affordable than in the past?
How has the approach to travelling changed in comparison to the past?
Is it better to travel when you’re young or later in your life?
Can tourism have negative consequences for the host country?
What kind of benefits might travelling offer?
What environmental impact does travelling have?

City and the country, #2, #3

Where do you live – the city or the countryside?
Do you enjoy living in the city/the country? Why/Why not?
Have you always lived in one place, or did you come from somewhere else?
What is your daily commute like?
Which would you like more – to live in a busy city or a small town? Why?
If you could move, where would you prefer to live and why?
What do you like to do for fun in the city?
What advantages does living in the city offer?
Do you have a place you enjoy visiting where you live?
How could your city be improved?
Are the cities in your country crowded and noisy?
What are the advantages of living in the city centre? Are there any disadvantages?
In general, what are the advantages of living in bigger cities as opposed to smaller towns? What about the disadvantages?
Would you say that life in a city is more stressful compared to the countryside? Why/Why not?
What is the nightlife like in your city?
Do you think people in the countryside are more or less friendly than those in the city?
Is public transport in your city efficient?
Do you have any shops near where you live?
More and more people are moving to bigger cities. Why do you think this is happening?
In the future, do you think more people live in the cities or in the country?

Weather and climate, #2, #3

What kind of climate do you live in? Do you like it?
What is your favourite season and why?
Do you like it when it’s raining?
How often does it snow in your country?
When was the last time you saw a rainbow?
How do you cool down on hot summer days?
Which do you prefer – when it’s cloudy or sunny? Why?
Do you like it when the weather changes frequently, or do you prefer more stability?
What is the typical weather in your country during the summer?
What kind of food do you prefer to eat during different seasons?
In your opinion, how does weather affect people’s productivity?
What is your opinion on air conditioning?
What kind of weather do you like most?
If you could live in a place with a different climate, would you want to?
Has the climate changed in your country over the years? If so, how?
In your opinion, can climate change lead to the extinction of some species?
Do you think global warming is a serious issue?

Holidays and celebrations, #2, #3

What is the biggest holiday in your country?
What are the national holidays celebrated in your country?
How do you usually celebrate your birthday?
Is there a celebration in your country that is unique?
Have you ever celebrated a birthday in a unique way?
What is your favourite holiday?
Do people in your country have a traditional dish for celebrations or holidays?
Have you ever attended a wedding or a funeral? What was it like?
What do children in your country usually do during holidays?
Do you normally celebrate with your friends, your family, or on your own?
What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a great holiday?
Are there any special traditions regarding gift-giving where you live?
What is the most memorable party or celebration you have attended?
Do you feel like holidays and celebrations are becoming too commercialized?

Food and cuisine, #2, #3

What are the typical dishes in your country?
What kind of food do you prefer?
Do you like cooking? Why/Why not?
What is the most unusual dish you have ever tried?
Do you eat out? If so, how often?
Have you ever tried any exotic foods?
Would you say you’re a picky eater?
What is your favourite drink to have with a meal?
Do you prefer spicy food or mild food?
Is there any type of food or dish you don’t eat?
What do you usually eat if you want to treat yourself?
How do you go grocery shopping?
Why do people find fast food so attractive?

Animals and pets, #2, #3

Do you have any pets?
Do you like animals? Why or why not?
What animals are popular as pets in your country?
Do you think people should have pets? Why or why not?
Is your country or culture associated with any particular animal?
Do you think it’s important for children to have pets? Why or why not?
Which animal makes a better pet – a cat or a dog? Why?
Why might a person want to have a pet?
Have you had to take care of someone else’s pet? What was it like?
What benefits do you think having a pet can bring to a person’s life?
Do you think pets should be allowed on public transport? Why/Why not?
Have you ever visited a zoo or an aquarium? Did you enjoy the visit?
Is it true that the pet a person has can tell us something about that person?
Do you think people should be allowed to hunt animals for sport?
What is the most unusual pet you’ve ever heard of someone owning?

Technology and progress, #2, #3

How often do you use your mobile phone?
Do you think technology has made life easier?
Do you use your mobile phone more than you did in the past?
How does technology help you in your everyday life?
Do you spend more money on gadgets than you did before?
What technological discovery has changed our lives most dramatically?
What are the possible negative aspects of technological progress?
To what extent do you think technology has changed the way we live?
Is progress always a good thing? What are the possible negative effects of progress?
Why do you think people spend so much time with their mobile phones nowadays?
What changes in our lives can we expect to happen because of technology in the future?

Health and well-being, #2, #3

How often do you exercise?
Would you say that you have a healthy lifestyle?
Are you into any sports?
Which do  you like more – to play sports or to watch it?
Has anyone you know ever had a serious illness?
How often do you go to see a doctor?
What foods do you avoid eating to stay healthy?
Do you prefer to do sports indoors or outside?
How important do you think it is to have a consistent sleeping schedule?
What can the government do to promote a healthy lifestyle?
How do you deal with daily stress?
Do you think health insurance is important to have?
Are you afraid of visiting any particular doctor?
Do you agree that people nowadays live healthier than the previous generations? Why/Why not?
What are the benefits of taking part in team sports?
Should smoking be banned in public places?

Money and shopping, #2, #3

Would you say that you are good at managing money?
How often do you go shopping?
Do you prefer to shop alone or with somebody else?
When was the last time you bought something expensive? What was it?
Who keeps track of the money in your family?
Did you use to get pocket money when you were a child?
What is more popular in your country – paying by cash or by card?
Do you think it’s better to save money or to spend it?
Which is better – shopping with your friends or on your own?
Do you believe that in the future we will only use electronic money and payments?
Many smaller shops nowadays have to close down because they can’t compete with bigger chain stores. Is this a positive or negative development?
Can too much money be a bad thing? How?

PDF Click to download this IELTS Speaking topics list in PDF

How to get IELTS Speaking Band 7+

IELTS Speaking Band 7 seems to be the score the more ambitious test-takers aim for. Band 7 generally seems to be the highest IELTS requirement for most colleges and universities, therefore it is so desirable among students.

Another reason is Speaking seems to be the aspect where test-takers get consistently higher scores (according to the official data). This helps to bump your average band up.

In order to fully understand the requirements for Band 7+ score, let’s have a look at the official IELTS Speaking assessment sheet. This helps better recognise examiner’s expectations and adjust our answers in a more relevant and constructive way. We will go over the assessment criteria one by one.

Fluency and coherence

One of the points that separates Band 7 from the lower scores is so called “speaking at length“. In short, speaking at length is giving a longer, more detailed answer. Another point that is highlighted in Speaking Band 7 and above is usage of cohesive devices and discourse markers. Both relate to connecting ideas and while they are similar, it is better to have a closer look at each separately.

Speaking at length

To better illustrate this, let’s compare two answers from Part 3:

Examiner: What can be done to reduce harm to the environment?

Sample answer #1: I believe that there are two things that can be done. First, children should be taught about human impact on nature. The government could also implement stricter regulation of various industries as they seem to be the main contributors to pollution.

Sample answer #2: I see two main ways of mitigating environmental damage. One way is to teach young people about human impact on nature. Having learnt about the damage the mankind causes might have a dramatic effect on their view of the situation. Another approach is to impose stricter regulations when it comes to large industries as they seem to be the main contributors to pollution. This could be done by additional taxing that could later be used to alleviate environmental damage.

In this example let’s ignore the paraphrased bits and focus on the underlined parts of the answer. Answer #2 develops the ideas by introducing several points and expanding on the proposals. Unfortunately, there are no cut-and-dried structures that could be used to to make your answer longer and more descriptive. Just keep in mind that examiners appreciate more relevant and more detailed responses, especially in Part 2 and 3.

Cohesive devices

Cohesive devices are word and phrases that help connect ideas in your speech (or writing). Ultimately, they enable you to make your sentences longer which is appreciated by the examiners.

Adding/ElaboratingConsequence/ResultSequence/OrderShowing SimilarityShowing Difference/Contrast
In addition, moreover, as well as, furthermore, tooAs a consequence/result, consequently, so, thus, thereforeFirst (of all), to begin/start with, secondly, next, meanwhile, finallySimilarly to, just like, likewise, as withAs opposed to, whereas, while, however, contrastingly, unlike, on one/other hand, but

Discourse markers

Discourse markers are an attribute of spoken (rather than written) language. Note that terms ‘discourse markers’ and ‘cohesive devices’ tend to be used interchangeably.

Clarifying/RephrasingExamplesHedging/Distancing*Attitude/CertaintyAnswering/Responding
I mean, what I mean is, in other words, to clarify, to put it another wayLike, such as, one example is/being, a case in pointKind of/sort of, apparently, some people say/believe/hold that, perhapsHonestly, clearly, evidently, of course, definitely, probably, I guessI see, of course, great, exactly

There is an interesting entry on Cambridge Dictionary webpage, definitely check it out!

Now let’s have a look at two answers – one of them uses discourse markers and cohesive devices efficiently (underlined):

Examiner: Who do people tend to trust more – their friend or their family?

Sample answer #1: I think it’s their family because they are much closer to them. They spend their whole life around them so they ought to know them better and to understand them. Friends are there for us too, but they aren’t necessarily as familiar with our character and our feelings as family members.

Sample answer #2: I guess its their family – I mean they ought to know and therefore understand them much better since they spend much more time with one another.

Fluency

Fluency refers to absence of long pauses in your speech. Band 7 requirement is to only have ‘hesitation’ that is related to the content, i.e. when you think about what to say. Such hesitation shouldn’t be caused by looking for the right word in English. In order to get Band 7+ you are expected to make almost no such pauses – this can only be achieved by intensive practice, there is no easy way to fluency.

Lexical resource

One of the requirements to get Band 7 in IELTS Speaking is to show, quote, “some awareness of style and collocation”. Style can be formal, informal and neutral – see our article about differences of vocabulary and general rules. Collocations are the way words combine into phrases – more info about that can be found here.

Collocations are the bread and butter of English – they help your language really come alive. The more collocations you know, the more confident you are using them, the better you will sound – which naturally results in higher mark. Learning collocations is not something that can be done overnight – you will be expanding your knowledge of them as long as you use the language. The good news is, to get Band 7 you don’t have to know all of them or use them without mistakes. This Band allows some leeway, some room for mistakes – so don’t be discouraged if you are not perfect with using those collocations.

One cool useful resource I’d like to share is https://www.freecollocation.com/ – it always helps me whenever I’m in doubt. Just put in any word and get an extensive list of nouns, verbs, adjectives etc that collocate with it. It’s especially handy when you’re practicing your IELTS Writing. Now let’s have a look at well-used collocations:

Examiner: What kind of climate does your country have?

Sample answer #1: My country has very soft climate. Springs are nice and warm. Summers can be a bit wet but generally we get too many hot days.

Sample answer #2: The climate of our country is quite mild. Springs are pleasantly warm here. Summers can get humid but generally there aren’t too many hot days.

Grammatical range and accuracy

This criteria judges the variety of your grammar and how appropriately you use it. The amount of mistakes as well as their impact on the meaning is also a factor. Hence, to score high you should show flexibility with your (complex) grammar making as few mistakes as possible.

Band 7 Speaking requirement has of using “a range of complex structures with some flexibility”. Your speech should be predominantly free of any mistakes, and if any mistakes do occur they shouldn’t impede understanding.

Band 7 roughly equals level of C1 (Advanced). Here is a list of grammar aspects that should give you a basic idea what you should be able to use and produce in your spontaneous speech.

Pronunciation

One of the assessment requirements is to use “pronunciation features”. This includes appropriate word and sentence stress, intonation, pauses and linking sounds. This DOES NOT include your accent.

IELTS Speaking

IELTS Speaking is going to be the last part of your IELTS exam. It is 12 to 15 minutes long and consists of three parts. In each part, you will be asked questions related to your personal experiences, opinions, and views on various topics. This part of of IELTS can take place on the same or a different day from the written part. Below are sample questions with answers given in italics.
1. Part 1: General questions and answers
   — 1.1 Part 1 sample questions with answers
2. Part 2:  Task card
   — 2.1 Part 2 cards with answers
   — 2.2 Part 2 tips and useful phrases
3. Part 3: Questions related to topic from Part 2
   — 3.1 Part 3 sample questions with answers
4. IELTS Speaking assessment criteria
5. Afterword; IELTS Speaking tips

Part 1: introductions and general questions (4-5 minutes)

About IELTS Speaking Part 1

In this part, the examiner asks for your name as well as your ID card. The examiner then proceeds with asking a number of general questions on familiar topics. The questions can be about your hometown, your interests, your family, and so on. Make sure to familiarise yourself with the list of IELTS Speaking topics.

The purpose of this part is to assess your ability to talk about topics of general interest: common experiences, regular situations, and everyday life.

Tips for Part 1

  • Keep your answers fairly short — two or three sentences are just enough. Make sure your answer addresses the question.
  • If you mishear or don’t understand the question — ask the examiner to either repeat or rephrase it. This is better than giving an answer unrelated to the question (see previous point)
  • Think of this part as a warm-up. This should take some of the stress and nervousness away

IELTS Speaking Part 1 sample questions and answers

Where are you from?
I am from a small town in Spain, just outside of Barcelona. I have been living there for as long as I can remember.

What is your town (or city) famous for?
It is really small, so we are fairly unknown. A famous Olympic cyclist was born here, Isaac Gálvez. Other than that, we are not really famous for many things.

How long have you been studying English?
I have been studying English for as long as I can remember, probably since I was six or seven. Recently, I have been putting more hours into it so hopefully it has improved.

Do you have any hobbies?
I do not have much free time nowadays, so hobbies are not something I can comfortably have. However, when I was at school, I used to attend swimming classes and play a lot of table tennis!

Part 2: Answering the task card questions (4-5 minutes)

About IELTS Speaking Part 2

This part of IELTS Speaking involves a question card that you get from your examiner. The card has a task question with a number of points you should address in your answer. You will have one minute to read and prepare for your answer, and you are free to make any notes during that time. After the minute of preparation is over, you will have to speak for 1-2 minutes. If your answer takes longer, the examiner will let you know. After the answer, the examiner might ask you a few questions related to the topic.

Tips for Part 2

  • Make notes! This is the most important point I can’t stress enough. Learn how to make efficient notes. This will allow you to structure your answer well and not miss any parts of it.
  • Normally there are four points that you have to cover — three main ones and the conclusion at the bottom. It is highly recommended to include all of them in your answer – even if you don’t have much to say about one of them. This holds especially true about the conclusive point which you absolutely have to include in your response.
  • Use the two minutes you are given to the fullest — use this time to show your good command of English. However, just like in the previous task, make sure to stay on topic.

IELTS Speaking Part 2 sample card and answers

More IELTS Speaking sample questions with answers and useful phrases

Describe the person in your family you admire the most
You should say:

  • How you are related
  • What they have achieved in their life
  • What do they do now

and explain why you admire them so much.

Model answer
I’d like to tell you about my uncle from the father’s side. His name is Ignacio, he’s in his late fifties now. He comes from a rather poor background, we all do, so he had to make his own way in life. When he was twenty, he decided to get into the construction business. He started off as a manual labourer and eventually he worked his way up all the way to the top of the company he worked for. Later in his life he decided to start a company of his own, which exists and prospers to this day.

He is now happily retired, while several members of our extended family are employed in said company. We like to call it a family business.

I admire uncle Ignacio for his perseverance, resilience and his well-spirited nature. He is very friendly and approachable, the kind of person that one enjoys working with.

Part 3: Discussion (4-5 minutes)

The examiner will ask you questions related to the topic from Part 2 of your exam. As more abstract concepts and ideas are discussed, so you have opportunity to use a wider scope of vocabulary. Despite its similarity to IELTS Speaking Part 1, there are two key differences. First, in this part you will be talking about things in general rather than your own experience. Second, your answers will have to be longer — think of them as mini essays with introductions, body paragraphs and conclusions.

Tips for Part 3

  • Give examples. There is no better way to illustrate your point of view than providing examples. However, you should keep in mind that in this part the question (and the answer) are more abstract so avoid basing your examples on personal experience.
  • Expand on your points. Don’t give isolated arguments — develop them, provide more details. Think of your Part 3 answer as a small essay with an introduction, key points and a conclusion.
  • Think about the vocabulary. By the time you finish IELTS Speaking Part 2, you will have a general idea of what topic you are going to get in Part 3. Use this knowledge to recall useful words and collocations of that topic.

IELTS Speaking Part 3 sample questions and answers

More IELTS Speaking sample questions with answers and useful phrases

Importance of family

How important are family ties in your country?
I would say that family ties are very strong here. In our culture, extended families are as close as nuclear ones. It is customarily to have frequent get-togethers with your relatives. We also have great respect for the elderly, we tend to visit them as often as we can. So yes, I believe family ties are one of the crucial social aspects.

Do you believe that people should keep in touch with their families? Why/Why not?
Of course they should! I mean, your family are the closest people you’ll ever have in your life. You should do your best to get along with them, and even if you don’t, they are still your flesh and blood. Getting on well with your dear ones really pays off, it is a very rewarding feeling!

Family and friends

Who are more important to people: their family or their friends? Why?
Well, it really depends on the person now, right? I mean, for most people family should come first. But it might not be true for every person in existence. Some families just do not get on well, they have frequent arguments, others don’t even live together. We don’t get to choose our family, but we can choose who to be friends with. The latter usually have certain common interests with us, and it makes much more sense to value them. After all the saying ‘blood is thicker than water’ exists for a reason.

Do you agree that childhood friends are best? Why/Why not?
To be frank I can’t say I fully agree with this statement. Yes, friendship that has withstood the test of time is something one should respect. But as we age our character and interests develop, they change with time. This all happens at different pace for people, so eventually we might grow apart in terms what we like and what we don’t — that where childhood friendship might not work. You just become too different, you eventually have no common interests and therefore no real grounds for friendship. While not always the case, it seems to be very likely. That’s why I feel childhood friends are not always the best.

Speaking Assessment criteria in IELTS

To help you meet the examiner’s expectations and to address any weaknesses you might have, know the speaking assessment criteria. Aiming high? Check this article on how to get Band 7+ in Speaking.

There are four criteria in IELTS Speaking, each makes up 25% of your final Speaking Band.

1. Fluency and coherence

Your speech should be fluent and without long pauses. It should also be easy to follow — your sentences have to be logically connected so that the listeners don’t get confused — see Coherence and cohesion. Repetition and self-correction should be rare, ideally avoided altogether.

2. Lexical resource

Your should demonstrate your vocabulary, avoiding word repetition by using synonyms or paraphrasing. The words that you use should collocate well with each other. Your speech should be idiomatic.

3. Grammatical range and accuracy

You are expected to show good command of various grammatical structures. Those structures have to be used appropriately. Your speech should not have grammar mistakes, especially those that make it more difficult to understand you. Flexibility in usage of various grammar has to be shown.

4. Pronunciation

You should be easy to understand — which doesn’t mean having perfect British or American accent. It only means that your accent shouldn’t prevent the examiner from getting the meaning of what you’re saying. Your pronunciation has to be consistent (for example, you should stick either to American or British pronunciation). You shouldn’t be mispronouncing the words – that is, using wrong sounds or stresses.

How to improve your IELTS Speaking score

In order to understand how to get higher mark for your IELTS Speaking performance, we have look into how the examiner mark your answer. The assessment is done by checking against a list of requirements the candidate is supposed to fulfil for each level. There, we will be looking at each criteria and what is expected of you. As we have stated previously, there are four criteria and each has its own Band 0 to Band 9 list of requirements. Let’s take a closer look at each of the four.

Fluency and coherence

To be fluent in you speech means to sound natural. Many students find it difficult to keep the natural pace. As students try to speak more fluently they find themselves making more mistakes. There are two ways of dealing with this situation.

The first one is long and laborious — to keep practising. This involves a lot of reading to remember speech patterns, learning new words, memorising various cohesive devices to help you join ideas in your speech.

The second way is easier. Speak a little bit slower than you normally would. That’s it. By slowing the pace down you get yourself more time to think your sentence over. This also eliminates the pauses or at least makes them less noticeable. By making your speech hesitation-free you will certainly make a good impression on your examiners. As you practice more and grow confident of your skills you might want to try increasing the pace. Either way, keep in mind that multiple pauses negatively affect your score.

Coherence is how much sense your speech makes. That includes:

  • Relevance of your answer. You have to address the question, not something you much prefer talking about right now. It is very common for candidates to misunderstand the question which results in a completely irrelevant response. Do not hesitate to ask to rephrase the question if you feel you do not understand it.
  • Discourse markers — words or phrases that signal relationships between different parts of a text or conversation. They are used to connect ideas, organize information, and show the speaker or writer’s attitude towards the content. While not essential to the meaning of a sentence, they play an important role in making a well-flowing, easy to understand answer. Examples of discourse markers include ‘however’, ‘in addition’, ‘nevertheless’, ‘fortunately/unfortunately’ and many others.

Cohesion is how logically and naturally the ideas are connected. How well you connect your closes with various cohesive devices. Some examples include:

  • Conjunctions, or words that link clauses or sentences together, such as ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘or’, and ‘so’.
  • Pronouns. These are words that replace nouns in a sentence, such as ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘it’, and ‘they’. It also helps avoid word repetition.
  • Adverbs. They modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs, such as ‘however’, ‘therefore’, and ‘meanwhile’.
  • Reference. This is when a word or phrase is used to refer to something previously mentioned or to establish a connection, such as ‘The dog, which was barking earlier, ran into the yard’.

Lexical resource

Expanding and developing your vocabulary is a long and tedious process that lasts for as long as you study the language. Our IELTS Speaking sample questions with answers page has highlighted words and phrases with explanations. These will be of big help in enlarging your vocabulary. To help you score even more points for lexical resource use this list of synonyms for words that students overuse in their speech. Repeating words as ‘like’, ‘good’ or ‘very‘ over and over again will not get you a good mark, so getting to know a couple of synonyms is an easy way to get a higher Speaking band.

There are particular lexical elements that examiners want you to use to get certain score. For instance, to get Band 8 and higher for this criteria, you have to use less common words and structures without hesitation. At higher bands examiners expect you to effortlessly produce more complex phrases which indicates wider lexical range and overall better command of English. Collocations, idiomatic expressions and phrasal verbs are all needed to get Band 7 and higher. Attempting to paraphrase a word or idea you don’t remember is needed to get Band 6.

Grammatical range and accuracy

Similarly to vocabulary, English grammar can’t be learned overnight. You will have to make do with what you have at the moment. Do not use more complex aspects of grammar if you don’t know how they work. Simpler structures that are used accurately and appropriately are much better than a sloppy complex clause with several mistakes that is almost impossible to understand. Simple doesn’t mean bad, but simple also shouldn’t slip into primitive.

Pay attention to your tenses — for example use simple tenses for things that are universally true. Don’t use continuous tenses if you don’t know why you’re using them — that is a very common mistakes. Show that you can express sequencing of events by using past simple, present perfect, past perfect. Know your articles! You may want to use this short guide to English tenses for more info.

An important part of assessment is presence of so-called ‘systematic errors’. These are mistakes that occur more than one time over the course of candidate’s  entire response (Part 1, 2 and 3). If this is the case, then the highest they can get for this criteria is Band 7. This is worth noting because occasional inaccuracies that happen only once and do not prevent communication can take you all the way to Band 9. In other words, examiners tolerate occasional ‘slips’ and they do not affect the mark if they are not persistent.

Two basic mistakes that frequently occur among candidates are use of articles and poor subject-verb agreement. These are tolerated all the way to Band 7. Make sure to brush up on both, especially the articles.

Pronunciation

First of all, don’t worry too much about your accent. As long as your pronunciation is clear and easy to understand you will not have points deducted for that part of the aspect. If you have difficulties pronouncing certain sounds (‘th’ is a common example), don’t try to avoid it in your speech. It will be extremely difficult for your to exclude words with that sound. Either find a pronunciation tutor or make sure that the way your pronounce the problematic sound is at least understandable and does not cause confusion (thinking-sinking).

Consistency with AmE, BrE pronunciation like ‘schedule’, ‘either’. Same applies to spelling and vocabulary in writing.

  • Use intonation to your advantage: by raising and lowering your pitch you can emphasize certain parts of your answer. This helps the examiner follow your response better and makes you sound more natural and engaging.
  • Don’t rush, speak clearly: Take your time to form each word carefully, and enunciate each syllable with precision. Avoid running your words together, and respect silent letters and stressed syllables.
  • Pay attention to stress and rhythm: Ensure that you stress the right parts of words and maintain a smooth and regular rhythm. This contributes to a more natural flow and makes it easier for the listener.
  • Practice regularly: Practice speaking regularly with others, and use audio or video recordings to assess your progress. This helps you build confidence and improve your fluency over time.

Afterword. IELTS Speaking tips

  • The best advice I can give you is to practice more. The more you practice speaking, the better your communication skills will be. Practice with your friends, try online services like Chatroulette, join your local conversation clubs.
  • Work on your vocabulary. Expand your vocabulary by reading English books, newspapers and magazines. Watch Youtube videos on relevant topics. Write the new words out and try to use them in your conversations.
  • Improve your pronunciation. Record yourself speaking and pay attention to the way you pronounce words and sounds. Note how the intonation and pace of your speech. Try to mimic native English speakers and practice pronouncing words correctly.
  • Coherence and cohesion are important. Ensure that your ideas are well-organized and logically connected. Isolated ideas with no real development are a great way to ruin your Part 3 performance.
  • Confidence is key in speaking. Try to speak confidently and clearly, even if you make mistakes. Remember that non-systematic mistakes are not punishable.
  • Consider paying for a tutor. They can give educated, well-informed feedback on your speaking performance and help you work on your weaker points.
  • Remember about time limitations in Part 2. Make sure you are aware of how much time you have to answer each question. Keep your answers concise and avoid rambling.
  • Listen carefully to the questions. If you miss some part of the question or fail to understand it, ask to repeat or even rephrase it. Answering the wrong question is heavily penalised.
  • Avoid memorizing answers or sounding robotic. It’s important to be natural and spontaneous in your speaking.