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IELTS Speaking Test: Introduction, Overview, and Sample Questions

A. Introduction

When you enter the interview room, the interviewer, who is an English native speaker, will ask you some questions. However, in some cases, the interviewer may not ask questions and instead start the exam right away. The exam officially begins when they inform you that it is being recorded by saying, "This exam is recorded."


Greeting : Hi/Hello. (Don’t say good afternoon because its too formal)

What’s your name? : (Answer with full name) Alex Burd, or It’s Alex Burd.

What should I call you? : Just call me Alex or Call me Alex.

Can I see your passport? : Sure or Here It is (Don’t be chatty)

Where are you from? : I’m from Jakarta ……. (keep a short answer)

Other questions example:

  • How are you?

  • Why do you take the test?

  • What is your future plan?

  • etc

B. Overview

1. Parts

In the IELTS speaking test, there are three distinct parts: the interview, the presentation, and the discussion.

Part 1 (Interview)

In this section, the interviewer will ask you a series of short questions (up to 12 questions) related to three topics that you are likely familiar with. The purpose of this part is to assess your ability to talk about yourself. The interview typically lasts between 4 to 5 minutes.

Part 2 (Presentation)

The presentation section aims to assess your ability to speak at length on a given topic provided by the interviewer. In this part, you will be expected to demonstrate your speaking skills, including grammar, lexical resources, and other criteria. The duration of the second part usually ranges from 3 to 4 minutes. It is important to speak confidently and comfortably, showcasing your proficiency in speaking.

Part 3 (Discussion)

Many test takers find the last part to be the most challenging. In this section, you will be asked a series of questions that require general responses. The content of your answers is not as important as the way you deliver them. The focus is on your ability to effectively communicate and express your thoughts. It is essential to provide coherent and well-structured responses, demonstrating your speaking skills rather than focusing on specific content.

2. Assessment Criteria

The IELTS Speaking test assesses candidates based on four key criteria:

  1. Fluency and Coherence: This criterion evaluates your ability to speak fluently and maintain a smooth flow of speech. It assesses how well you can organize your ideas and connect them logically.

  2. Lexical Resources: This criterion focuses on your vocabulary usage. It examines your range of vocabulary, the accuracy of word choice, and your ability to use idiomatic expressions and collocations appropriately.

  3. Grammatical Range and Accuracy: This criterion measures your understanding and application of English grammar. It assesses your ability to use a variety of grammatical structures correctly and appropriately in different contexts.

  4. Pronunciation: This criterion evaluates your ability to pronounce English words and phrases clearly and accurately. It considers aspects such as intonation, stress, and the ability to produce individual sounds and word stress patterns effectively.

3. Score Calculation

Here are two examples of the calculation for each criterion.

Fluency & Coherence

Lexical Resource




Total Score













C. Sample Questions



  • Do you work or study?

  • What is your job?

  • Why did you choose this job?

  • What do you like about your job?

  • What does your typical day look like?

  • What are your main responsibilities at work?

  • If you had a chance, would you change your job?

  • Do you prefer to work early in the morning or in the evening?

  • Have you ever worked on weekends?


  • Do you work or study?

  • What do you study?

  • Why did you choose this subject?

  • Do you like this subject?

  • What does your typical day look like?

  • If you had a chance, would you change your subject?

  • Would you like to work in the same field once you graduate?

  • Do you prefer to study in the morning or in the evening?

  • Do you often study on weekends?


  • What is your hometown?

  • What is your hometown like?

  • How important is your hometown to you?

  • What do you like about your hometown?

  • What could be improved in it?

  • Has your hometown changed over the years?

  • What is your hometown famous for?

  • Is there good public transport in your hometown?

  • What kind of jobs do people do in your hometown?

  • Would you like to move back to your hometown in the future?

  • Would you like to move to a different place?


  • Do you live in a house or flat?

  • Could you describe your home?

  • Who do you live with?

  • What is your favourite room?

  • What do you like about living there?

  • Is there anything you would like to change about the place you live in?

  • Do you like visitors coming to your home?

  • Do most people live in houses/flats in your country?


  • Do you have a large or small family?

  • Do you have any brothers or sisters?

  • Do you think it’s good to be the only child in the family (OR to have many brothers and sisters)?

  • Could you tell me something about your family?

  • What are your parents like?

  • Do you enjoy spending time with your family?

  • What do you do together with your family?

  • Do you get along well with your family?

  • Who are you close to in your family?

  • Is family important to you?

  • Are people in your country generally close to their families?


  • Do you have many relatives?

  • How often do you visit your relatives? Why?

  • Do most of your relatives live in your hometown?

  • What do you normally do when you visit them?

  • Do you prefer to visit your relatives or friends?


  • Do you have many friends?

  • Do you prefer spending time with your family or friends?

  • Could you describe your best friend?

  • Do you prefer having many friends or several close friends?

  • Do you have a childhood friend with whom you are not as close anymore?

  • What should people do to keep friendships?

  • Do you think you are a good friend? Do you have any virtual friends?


  • What’s the weather like today?

  • What’s the weather like in your hometown?

  • Do you like the weather in your country?

  • What is your favourite kind of weather?

  • Does the weather ever affect how you feel?

  • Does bad weather ever affect public transport in your country?

  • Do you often check weather forecast?


  • Do you like reading?

  • What kind of books do you usually read?

  • What books did you read as a child?

  • Do children like to read books in your country?

  • Is reading important?

  • Do you prefer to buy books or borrow them?

  • What was the last book you read?

  • Have you ever read an e-book?

  • Have you ever listened to an audiobook?

Mobile phones

  • Do you have a mobile phone?

  • What do you use it for?

  • When did you get your first mobile phone?

  • Could you describe it?

  • Would your life change without your phone?


  • Do you often use the internet?

  • What do you use it for?

  • Do you think you use the internet too much?

  • What is your favourite website?

Social networking websites

  • Do you often use social networking websites?

  • What do you use them for?

  • Have you ever had a virtual friend? Why?

  • Do you think it’s a good place to build relationships?

  • What are the disadvantages of social networking websites?

  • Will people use them in the future?


  • Do you like travelling? Why?

  • Do you often travel?

  • Tell me about a beautiful place you have visited in your country. Would you like to do a job that requires you to travel abroad?

  • Do you often go on holiday?

  • What type of holiday do you prefer?

  • Do you prefer to take a long holiday or several short breaks?


  • What kind of music do you like?

  • What is your favourite genre of music?

  • When do you listen to music?

  • Why do you like/dislike listening to music?

  • How does music affect your mood?

Tea and coffee

  • Do you prefer tea or coffee? Why?

  • How often do you drink tea or coffee?

  • Does it ever prevent you from falling asleep?

  • Is it a good habit?

  • What do you offer to your guests, tea or coffee?

  • What is more popular in your country, tea or coffee?


  • What kind of clothes do you usually wear?

  • Are clothes important to you?

  • Do you follow fashion?

  • What is your favourite item of clothing?

  • Are there any traditional clothes in your country?

  • Where do you usually buy your clothes?

  • Have your ever bought clothes online?


  • Do you like sports?

  • Do you often play sports?

  • What is your favourite sport?

  • What kinds of sports did you play as a child?

  • Do you prefer playing sports or watching them on TV?

  • What is the most popular kind of sport in your country?

Health and fitness

  • Do you think it’s important to be fit?

  • Do you often go to the gym?

  • What do you do to stay healthy?

  • Do you have a healthy diet?

  • What can people do to live longer?


  • What is your favourite food?

  • Are there any foods you dislike?

  • What do you usually eat for breakfast?

  • What is food like in your country?

  • Do you like cooking? Why?

  • Do you prefer to eat at home or to go out?

  • Do you like fast food?

  • What do you think is a healthy diet?


  • Do you like shopping?

  • Where you do usually go shopping?

  • Have you ever bought anything online?

  • Do you prefer shopping with friends or alone?

Wild animals

  • What is your favourite wild animal?

  • What do you like about it?

  • Have you seen many wild animals?

  • Do you like going to the zoo?


  • Do you like maths?

  • When did you learn maths?

  • Is it important to learn maths at school?

  • Did you ever use a calculator?


  • Do you like wearing jeans?

  • How often do you wear jeans?

  • Did you wear jeans at school?

  • How much do you spend on jeans?

  • Are there any places where you shouldn’t wear jeans?


  • Do you often smile?

  • Do you think it’s important to smile when you meet someone?

  • Why do you think some people have fake smiles?

  • Do people often smile in your country?


  • Do you like your voice?

  • Has your voice changed since you were a child?

  • Does your voice sound similar to that of any of your family members?

  • Do you like listening to your own voice recordings?


  • Are you a patient person?

  • Are you often late?

  • What do you do when you are waiting for someone?

  • Have you ever lost tempter when someone was late?

  • Is it important to always be on time?


  • Do you use perfume? Why?

  • What type of perfume do you use?

  • Have you ever given a bottle of perfume as a gift?

  • Would you spend a large amount of money to buy perfume?


  • Do you often walk?

  • Do you like walking?

  • Do people in your country often walk?

  • Do you think walking helps you stay fit?

  • Do you think people walk more or less now than in the past?

  • Do you walk as much now as when you were a child?


  • Do you often go to a hairdresser or barber?

  • How long have you had the same haircut for?

  • Do you want to change your hair colour in the future?

  • Have you ever been given a haircut you didn’t like?



Tell me about a person who is good at his/her job.

You should say:

  • what kind of job he/she does

  • what skills this job requires

  • how long he/she has been doing this job

  • and explain why you think he/she is good at this job.


Tell me about a time when you celebrated an important achievement.

You should say:

  • what you achieved when it happened

  • how you celebrated it

  • and explain how this achievement made you feel.


Describe a challenge you have faced recently.

You should say:

  • what the challenge was what you did to overcome it

  • what you learned from this experience

  • and explain how this challenge made you feel.


Describe a gift that you gave to someone that took you a long time to choose.

You should say:

  • who you gave this gift to

  • what occasion you gave this gift on what you chose

  • and explain why it took you a long time to choose this gift.

Describing a place 1

Describe a historic place you visited recently.

You should say:

  • what this place was when you visited it

  • with whom you visited it and explain if you liked this place.

Describing a place 2

Describe the school you attended a child.

You should say:

  • where this school was located how long you went there for how it looked

  • and explain if you liked going to this school.


Tell me about a time when you used the internet to solve a problem.

You should say:

  • what the problem was

  • when you faced this problem

  • how the internet helped you solve it

  • and explain why you used the internet to solve this problem.


Tell me about a time when you didn’t tell the truth to a friend.

You should say:

  • who your friend is when it happened

  • why you didn’t tell the truth and explain how you felt about it.

Difficult situation

Tell me about a time when a friend helped you in a difficult situation.

You should say:

  • who your friend is what the situation was when it happened

  • and explain how you felt about it.


Describe an interesting conversation you had with someone.

You should say:

  • with whom you had this conversation when it happened

  • what it was about

  • and explain why you found this conversation interesting.

Describing a person 1

Tell me about a person you have met who inspires you.

You should say:

  • who this person is what he/she does

  • how you know this person and explain why he/she inspires you.

Describing a person 2

Describe a famous person you would like to meet.

You should say:

  • who this person is what he/she does

  • how you know about this person and explain why you want to meet him/

Describing a person 3

Tell me about a famous sportsperson you admire.

You should say:

  • who this person is what he/she does

  • what he/she is famous for

  • and explain why your admire this person.

Describing a person 4

Describe an old person who is kind.

You should say:

  • who this person is what he/she is like

  • how you know this person

  • and explain why you think this person is kind.


Describe a TV programme you watch.

You should say:

  • what this programme is about how often you watch it

  • with whom you watch it

  • and explain why you like this programme.

Book 1

Tell me about a long book you have read.

You should say:

  • what this book is about when you read it

  • why you chose to read this book

  • and explain if you enjoyed reading this book.

Book 2

Tell me about a book that had a major influence on you.

You should say:

  • what kind of book it is who wrote this book

  • what you learned from this book

  • and explain why this book had a major influence on you.


Tell me about an article on healthy living you have read.

You should say:

  • what this article was about where you read it

  • what you learned from it

  • and explain if you think such articles are useful.


Tell me about a time when a friend invited you for a meal.

You should say:

  • who this friend is when it happened

  • where you had the meal

  • and explain if you enjoyed this meal.


Describe a colourful event you have attended recently.

You should say:

  • what the event was what you did there who you went with

  • and explain if you enjoyed this event.


Describe a performance you have watched recently.

You should say:

  • what the performance was where it took place

  • who you went with

  • and explain what you enjoyed about this performance.

Clothes 1

Describe an item of clothing you enjoy wearing.

You should say:

  • what it is

  • where you bought it how often you wear it

  • and explain how wearing this piece of clothing makes you feel.

Clothes 2

Describe someone you know who dresses well.

You should say:

  • who this person is

  • how you know him/her

  • what kind of clothes this person wears and explain why you like the way he/she dresses.



  • In what way have our reading habits changed in recent years? Do you think people read less today than they used to in the past? Why is it important to read books?

  • Why do you think some people choose to listen to audio books instead of reading real books?

  • Should parents choose what books their children read? Is there any value in reading entertaining books?


  • Do you think education prepares children for adult life?

  • Is having a good education necessary to have a successful career? What are the advantages of online learning?

  • What are the disadvantages of online learning?

  • Do you think technology will replace teachers in the future?

  • How can teachers use technology to make their classes more interesting? Do you think children should be allowed to choose what subjects they study at school?

  • What subjects are more important, maths and science or arts and music?

The internet

  • How has the internet changed the way people communicate with their family and friends?

  • Do you think in the future people will no longer do business face-to-face and only use the internet?

  • In what way has the internet changed our lives? Does the internet affect how much people read? Do you think using the internet is safe?

  • What should the governments do to make the internet a safe place? Do you think there should be more laws to regulate the internet?

Social media

  • Why do you think young people spend so much time on social networking websites?

  • Is it a good thing?

  • What are the benefits of using social networking websites? Are there any dangers

  • What should be done to stop online bullying?


  • How much has technology changed the way we communicate with each other?

  • Do you think people are too dependent on technology? How do people use their smartphones?

  • Why do you think people spend so much money to buy the latest models of smartphones?


  • What kind of programmes are popular on TV?

  • Do you think people watch TV less because of the internet? Should parents allow children to watch adult programmes?

  • What can parents do to discourage children from watching TV too much?

Global issues

  • What are some of the challenges our world faces today?

  • Do you think science can help us overcome those challenges? What should governments do to solve those problems?

  • Do you think individuals can help solve some of those problems?


  • What are the main environmental problems in your country? Are people concerned about the environment in your country? What are the main causes of environmental problems?

  • Do you think people can do anything to solve these problems? What should the government do to solve them?

  • How should we educate children to protect the environment? Do you believe that climate change is a serious problem?

  • Do people use too much plastic?

  • What can be done to reduce the use of plastic?

Health and fitness

  • Do you think people generally follow advice about healthy living that they read?

  • What do people do to stay fit in your country?

  • Do you think today it’s easier to stay healthy than in the past?

  • What is the best way to stay healthy?

  • What is more important, to have a healthy diet or to exercise regularly?


  • What are the benefits of playing sports?

  • Do you think playing sports always helps people improve their health? Why are some kinds of sports more popular than others?

  • Do you think the kinds of sports that are popular will change in the future? Why are some fans so passionate about their sport?

  • Is there any violence at sporting events in your country? What are the benefits of playing sports?

  • What are some of the advantages of hosting international sporting events for a country?

  • Are there any drawbacks?


  • Do you think it’s important to preserve old buildings? Are there many historical sites in your country?

  • Why do people visit historical sites?

  • Do you think tourists visit historical sites more than local people? Why is it so?


  • Why do you think many people like travelling to other countries?

  • Is it better to visit other countries or explore your own country instead? Are there any negative effects of tourism?

  • Should governments encourage more people to visit their countries?


  • Are there many cultural performances in your country? Do you think culture is important for society?

  • Some people think that most countries are influenced by the American culture. Do you agree?

  • Is it a good thing?

  • Should people preserve their culture?


  • Can clothing tell you much about a person?

  • What do you think the clothes we wear say about us? Is it important to follow fashion?

  • Has clothes fashion changed over the last twenty years?

  • What is the difference between clothes that young and old people wear?

  • Is it a good thing if children wear a uniform to school?

  • Why do some companies require their employees to wear uniforms? What should a good uniform be like?

  • What about high-end brands, why do people buy their clothes? Do you think expensive clothes are always good quality?

  • Do you think it’s important to buy expensive clothes?


  • Do all people like shopping?

  • What are some of the benefits of shopping online?

  • Is shopping online more convenient than going to traditional stores? Why? Do you think people will only shop online in the future?

  • Inspiration and encouragement

  • Do you think it’s important to have a mentor?

  • What kind of people inspire you?

  • Is it important for parents to encourage their children to study better? How can companies motivate their staff?

  • Is money the best motivation for people to work hard? What factors can demotivate people?

Public speaking

  • Why do you think many people don’t like speaking in public?

  • What qualities are required to become a good speaker?

  • Do you think it’s possible to learn how to speak in public well?


  • How do people celebrate wedding in your country?

  • Is it a good thing that some people spend a lot of money on their wedding? Is there any difference between how young and old people celebrate their birthdays?

  • Why do some people prefer not to celebrate their birthdays? How are national holidays celebrated in your country?

Playing games

  • Did people play different games in the past?

  • Should parents encourage their children to take part in competitions? Should parents limit how much time children spend playing video games?


  • Is it important to always tell the truth?

  • Are there situation when it’s better not to tell the truth?

  • How can you spot that someone is not telling the truth?


  • Do you think we react differently to various colours? Do you agree that colours impact our mood?

  • How are colours used in advertisement?


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