Getting the result you need in the IELTS speaking test requires a lot of practice, as well as understanding the common pitfalls and mistakes many candidates make. By working through the material on this site, you’ll be fully prepared with no surprises on test day!
Think you need more support? Our complete online course includes a Skype discussion for Platinum Plan members, where we can give you direct feedback on your speaking!
*Note that the Speaking test is the same for the General Training and Academic Module test.
There are three parts to the IELTS Speaking test, with the whole test taking between 11 and 14 minutes. The test is recorded. At the beginning of the test (before the official test has begun) the examiner will read some details into the recorder (date, name of test centre, candidates name etc). Then the real test begins. Note, however, that it is human nature for the examiner to begin the assessment from the time you meet, so a brief ‘Hello’ or ‘Are you having a busy day?’ as you are walking to the test room will give a good first impression.
Now it is time for you to try a complete IELTS speaking test. Ideally, we recommend speaking aloud when answering the questions and recording yourself, so you can play it back later and listen to your pronunciation, grammar and content.
IELTS Speaking Test 2
“Do you often go shopping for clothes?”
“Well, I like to dress well but I don’t really enjoy going out to buy clothes. It can take such a long time to find something that I like, and then I have to go to the changing rooms to try it on and make sure it’s a good fit, and even then sometimes when I get home I find that they are not as comfortable as I thought. I much prefer to go shopping for electronic goods – I can spend hours looking at things like laptop computers or iPods.”
“Do you think it’s important to dress well?”
“I think that really depends on what you intend to do that day. As I mentioned, I like to look smart, but if it’s a weekend or in the evening, it’s much more important to dress comfortably. I wear smart clothes to work, of course, and many of my colleagues wear ties or dark business dresses. Our company has a policy that on Fridays it’s OK to wear more casual clothes, so I might go into work wearing jeans but I would always wear a clean, ironed shirt – never just a t-shirt.”
“Do you have particular national dress in your country?”
“Well, yes, we do. On certain days of the year, then men would wear black trousers and a white shirt, often with a thin red scarf. The women wear a black dress and a white shirt, but have a scarf that is more orange in colour. The clothing is a lot more elaborate that normal though, with a lot of embroidery and designs. Many people also have the shirts or blouses made of silk too, so they can look very striking.”
“I’d like to talk about the news now. Do you often read newspapers?”
“Well, not very often. There is a free local newspaper that gets delivered every week and I have a quick look through that, but I rarely buy a newspaper. If I do, it would be one of the national papers. I sometime read The Tribune when I’m at work, in my coffee breaks, but mostly just the headlines. I don’t really have a lot of free time to sit and relax with a paper. If I do have time, I prefer to listen to music or watch television.”
“Where do you go to get news?”
“Hmmm… a lot of the time I would just find that out when I’m surfing the internet, or sometimes I watch the news on the television. I’m more interested in local news, so I can get some information from the free local paper. I think that sometimes newspapers and the television will sometimes sensationalise the pieces that they present and very often have a bias when they are reporting events, especially if they are political. A lot of what I know about the news actually comes from talking with my colleagues at work – they seem much more informed about events than me!”
“Do you listen to news broadcasts on the radio?”
“No, not really. Sometimes when I’m driving I might listen to the short news broadcasts that comes on every hour, but only because the radio is on. I wouldn’t make a special effort to tune in just for the news. The problem with the news on the radio is that it is much less informative because it doesn’t have any images to show what is happening. For instance, the recent tsunami was being described on the radio just a few days ago, and they were discussing the amount of damage caused, but it was only when I saw the images on the television that I really got a feel for the amount of destruction that had been caused.”
“Let’s move on to talk about holidays. Did you often go on holiday when you were a child?”
“I wouldn’t say often, as both my parents worked, but I do remember some family holidays we took together. They were always fun, even if the weather wasn’t so good. We would go to the beach with a little caravan and spend about a week there – we always went to the same place. Sometimes it would be warm enough to go swimming in the sea, but if not, we would play games as a family, or go into the town to the cinema and somewhere nice to eat. The thing I remember most is that it was when we all got to spend the most time together, and everyone had fun.”
“Would you prefer to travel overseas for a holiday?”
“No, not particularly. Of course, it’s always interesting to see other places and experience other cultures, but I think you can have a perfectly good holiday in your country. I guess it also depends on whether or not you have children to think about. Taking a family of four to another country, especially if that means flying, can be very expensive and can take a day or two off your holiday just travelling. Having said that, though, I think it’s always good to be in warm country when you’re on holiday and sometimes that does mean travelling abroad.”
“Do you have plans for a holiday in the future?”
“Yes, definitely! As soon as I have taken my IELTS test and got the results I need, I am going to France to visit by brother and his family. They moved over there a few years ago and I haven’t been yet so I am going to treat myself to a 10 day break. I’m really looking forward to it, and it’ll be nice to get away after having studied for this test for the last few months. After that holiday, though, I will be looking for a new job so probably won’t have much time off for a while, so I’m going to make the most of my trip to Paris.”
“Have you ever been on a long journey?”
“Err…yes, I have. I suppose my longest journey would be travelling to England to visit relatives last year. It’s a 14 hour flight from here, and it was the longest I have ever been on an aeroplane. The journey out was fine – I thought it would be quite boring, but it was one of the newer aircraft with a movies, television and computer games available, so there was lots to do. The return trip wasn’t so good though – there was a young child sitting in the row in front of me, and for most of the flight he was crying and screaming. I don’t suppose he was much older than three. So that wasn’t so good for me, although I did feel sorry for the parents – they look so tired by the time we landed!”
“Do you prefer to travel alone or with other people?”
“Well, there are benefits to both travelling with others and travelling solo. With other people around, the trip can be more fun, and you get to share experiences and talk about them with people that have seen and done what you have. On the other hand, I like the independence of travelling by myself. I choose when I stop, where I eat, where I go – and this is often better than having to get your travel companions to agree before you do anything. I guess the ideal way to travel would be with someone else who also likes to be independent sometimes, so you can travel together but also spend some time alone.”
Describe a place you’d like to live in the future. You should say:
– where it would be
– what it would be like
– who you would live with
– and why you would like to live there.
“Well, I’d really like to live somewhere that has a comfortable temperature, not too hot or too cold. I think New Zealand has the perfect climate for me – although there are 4 different seasons, it can still reach temperatures of over 25 degrees in the summer, and in some places it doesn’t freeze in the winter, even overnight, so that would be good for me. I have heard that it’s also a beautiful country – I’ve seen some photographs of the national parks and they look amazing. I think they have even used the landscapes in a lot of movies like Lord of the Rings.
Of course I would take my family with me, which is another reason to think New Zealand would be a good place to live – it has a reputation of being such a safe country, so would be perfect as I have two young children who are about to start school. My wife is a nurse, and like most countries, New Zealand is also in desperate need of more people with a medical background in the workforce, so I think it would be easier for her to get a job in a hospital. In addition to everything I have already mentioned, I have also heard that New Zealand has a relatively small population – I think there are about 5 million people – and they are a very welcoming and friendly nation. In my country, most people live in the city and it is often overcrowded, so moving to a country that has some open spaces would be perfect.
I would like to live somewhere near one of the larger cities. Maybe not right in the middle of the city, but close so that it’s accessible if I need to go. But regardless of all of these positive aspects of living in New Zealand, I don’t think we would every actually move there. We have a wide circle of friends here, and our parents both live nearby, so we see them quite often. I think perhaps the ideal situation would be to live somewhere for a few months of the year, but not permanently. That wouldn’t really work for the children though, as that would interrupt their school schedule a little too much.”
“What are the advantages and disadvantages of living in a rural area?”
“Hmmm…. There are a number of clear advantages when considering health implications. City life tends to be much more hurried, leading to greater degrees of stress and tension, so a clear advantage of living in the countryside is that people tend to live much more stress-free lives. They don’t have to contend with traffic jams, queues and the sheer number of people. There is also the environmental factor. The air quality in the city I live in is particularly bad – a combination of exhaust fumes, industrial pollution and a number of other factors. In the countryside, the environment is cleaner and this has obvious health benefits. However, there are issues about living in the countryside that I would find a problem. Shopping, for example – I like the fact that I can get almost anything I need without travelling too far, but living in more rural areas you wouldn’t have access to the array of shops you have in the city.”
“Has the standard of living changed much in your country over the last ten years?”
“Well, there are still significant differences between rich and poor people, with some people continuing to live well below the poverty line, but in general I think there has been a significant change. There has been an increase in tourism over recent years which has brought money into the country, and that has improved most people living conditions. There has also been a much greater focus on education, with an increasing number of children attending school, which of course will have a significantly positive effect on the standard of living here in the future. However, there has been only minimal progress with regards healthcare, so I would say the standards there haven’t really improved very much.”
“Do you think more people will choose to leave their native country and live abroad in the future?”
“Well, I think that a greater number of people may choose to travel to other countries, and may find a location they would prefer to live in than their home country. However, many people are not emigrating permanently, and may choose to return to their country of birth. In the future, I think that this migration is probably going to continue, but the main difference will be that travel becomes more affordable so even lower income families will have the option to relocate overseas, so the numbers will increase. Of course, it’s likely that some of the countries that are currently so heavily favoured, such as the USA or the UK, will be less popular destinations in the future, so an increasing number of people may choose to live in countries that at the moment we don’t really think about for immigration.”
“Do you think students should be encouraged to study overseas?”
“That would very much depend on their course of study. I would say that the benefits of studying science related subjects overseas are limited. Although you may get to see how other countries conduct research or experimentation, the basic rules and operating procedures in science will not vary between countries. However, I would say that there would be substantial advantages for students on courses involving people or language. For example, if studying the English language, it can be extremely beneficial to spend some time living in an English speaking country. Also, for a student studying design related subjects, it could be extremely advantageous to see other countries to absorb other perspectives and influences. Having said that, however, studying overseas should only be encouraged if it could be offered equally to all students, not just to those whose families could afford the costs.”
“Do you think that increased mobility has had a negative effect on communities?”
“Hmmm…that’s not something I’ve ever really thought about, but…I suppose there are changes to local communities when people leave and new people arrive, but I wouldn’t agree that they were necessarily negative. New arrivals into a community may be able to offer new things that would definitely benefit the local people, but then there is also the lack of long term bonds that can often be a significant part of smaller communities. Living in a city, there is less of a community feeling and that does have an effect on social behaviour, I think. We have problems with vandalism and graffiti that I imagine would be much less common in a community where everyone knows each other and people are easily recognised. However, I would say that on the whole an increase in people’s ability to move to other communities is a positive thing.”
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This test originally appeared on https://ieltsforfree.com/free-ielts-practice-tests/