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IELTS Speaking Part 1: Tips

IELTS Speaking Part 1 is about you and your life: your interests and ideas and habits.

The examiner is simply assessing your ability to talk about everyday things.

So, here are some basic tips, for doing well in Speaking Part 1:


Try and relax. The examiner is not a mean, horrible person. They actually want you to do well and be successful. You've prepared and you are ready. You can do this! You can answer these questions, so breath, smile, look at the examiner and listen to the first question.

Extend your answers

A problem some students have, especially when they are nervous is that they simply answer the question the examiner asks. Often this is not enough, for example:

  • Q: Do you work or do you study?

  • A: I'm a student.

This is a correct answer but it doesn't show the examiner that you can actually use English, so ‘I’m a student.’ is not long enough. You need to add some more information:

  • A: I'm a student. I'm studying computer science, I'm in my second year at Yangon University.

This is a better answer. Not too short and not too long.

Also, something you need to do, when it is relevant, is add a reason to your answer. For example:

  • Q: Do you like to spend your freetime inside or outside?

  • A: Inside. I love reading, so when I have freetime, I spend most of my time with my head in a book.

Don’t just answer 'Yes' or 'No'

This is similar to the tip above. Remember that you want to show the examiner how well you can use English. If you just say 'yes' or 'no' to an answer then the examiner can not assess your grammar, vocabulary or pronunciation. For example:

  • Q: Do you think it is important for children to read?

  • A: Yes. Definitely. Reading helps children to understand the world and they can learn about other cultures and things, such as science and history.

Stay on topic

This is very important.

Listen carefully to the question and then answer it in 2 or maybe 3 sentences. No more. This is Part 1 of the exam. You do not need to give long answers and talk for a long time.

Speak carefully and clearly

Before the examiner can assess your use of grammar and vocabulary, they must be able to understand you. So, it is very important that you speak clearly and carefully. Speak a little louder and a little slower than usual.

Don’t worry

Be confident. It will not help to be worried now. You are doing the exam so just do the best you can. Do not worry about your grammar or your vocabulary. Speak carefully with clear pronunciation and just use the grammar and vocabulary you know to answer the question.

Practice, practice, practice

Perhaps the most common problem is that students do not practice enough. You will be more relaxed, more confident and speak more clearly and fluently, the more your practice.

The best way to practice is regularly meet (2 or three times a week) and chat with a friend on the typical Part 1 topics.

For some examples of IELTS Speaking Part 1 topics go to Speaking Topics


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