How to prepare for part one of the IELTS speaking test

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The IELTS speaking test is a three part exam, here we look at what to expect and how best to prepare for the simple questions that make up the first part of the speaking exam.

Before the IELTS speaking exam you may feel nervous but remember, the examiner is a lovely friendly human being, just like your teacher!

In fact, they are often teachers themselves and understand how you feel because their students feel exactly the same. They want to make you as relaxed as possible.

What happens in part one of the IELTS speaking test

Part one is designed to encourage you to speak about what you know about – you.

Parts two and three become more academic in nature so think of part one as a warm up to help you relax.

Topics in part one of the IELTS speaking exam include:

  • Your hobbies
  • Places in your country
  • Your family
  • Your studies and work
  • Special food or events in your country
  • Your future plans

You don’t need to speak for very long on each topic as part one is only 5 minutes long.

The examiner has a set of questions. When the examiner asks a question, listen carefully and when you answer, avoid repeating the vocabulary used in the question.

Example IELTS speaking test question

Question: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

 Answer 1: In my spare time I enjoy listening to music.

 Answer 2: I am really into listening to music when I am not busy studying.

Although answer 1 is correct answer 2 is better as it does not simply rephrase the question as an answer.

You should always expand on your answers by giving examples or saying why you do something, for example: 

"I am really into listening to music when I am not busy studying. I particularly like rock music, bands like Pearl Jam, and I love going to concerts with my friends."

Finally, don’t forget to smile. It will not only brighten the examiners day, but it will also make you feel much more relaxed!

IELTS Speaking Test Part 1

Find out more about the IELTS exam and what it can be used for here:

IELTS at International House London

IH London is one of the largest IELTS test centre in the UK, with tests taking place three Saturdays each month throughout the year.

Our language school also offers IELTS preparation courses to help candidates reach the IELTS band they need.

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