IELTS Speaking icon

IELTS General Training format: Speaking

Every detail you need for the Speaking part of your IELTS General Training test

What’s in the IELTS Speaking paper?

The Speaking test is a face-to-face interview between the test taker and an examiner. The Speaking test is recorded.

There are three parts to the test, and each part follows a specific pattern of tasks in order to test your speaking ability in different ways.


Certificated IELTS examiners assess your speaking performance throughout the test. There are four assessment criteria (things which the examiner thinks about when deciding what score to give you):

  • Fluency and coherence
  • Lexical resource
  • Grammatical range and accuracy
  • Pronunciation.

Fluency and coherence assesses how well you can speak at a normal speed without too much hesitation. It also includes putting your sentences and ideas in a logical order and using cohesive devices (including linking words, pronouns and conjunctions, etc.) appropriately so that what you say is not difficult to follow.

Lexical resource assesses the range of vocabulary you use and how accurately and appropriately you use vocabulary to express meaning. It also includes the ability to express yourself using alternative vocabulary when you don’t know a particular word.

Grammatical range and accuracy assesses the range of grammar you use and how accurately and appropriately you use it.

Pronunciation assesses your ability to speak in a way which can be understood without too much effort.


Time allowed: 11–14 minutes

Number of parts: 3

Speaking parts 1–3

Part 1 – Introduction and interview

What's involved?

In this part, the examiner introduces him/herself and checks your identity. Then the examiner asks you general questions on some familiar topics, such as home, family, work, studies or interests.

Part 1 is 4–5 minutes long.

What skills are tested?

This part tests your ability to give opinions and information on everyday topics and common experiences or situations by answering a range of questions.

Part 2 – Long turn

What's involved?

Part 2 is the individual long turn. The examiner gives you a task card which asks you to talk about a particular topic. The card tells you what points you should include in your talk and instructs you to explain one aspect of the topic. You have one minute to prepare your talk, and the examiner will give you a pencil and paper to make notes.

By using the points on the task card and making notes during the preparation time, you should be able to think of appropriate things to say, and have time to structure your talk so that you keep talking for 2 minutes.

The examiner will then ask you to begin talking and will stop you when the time is up. They may then ask you one or two questions on the same topic.

Part 2 lasts 3–4 minutes, including the preparation time.

What skills are tested?

This part tests your ability to speak at length on a given topic, using appropriate language and organising your ideas logically. You will need to think about your own experiences to complete the long turn.

Part 3 – Discussion

What's involved?

In Part 3, you and the examiner discuss issues related to the topic in Part 2 in a more general and abstract way and, where appropriate, in greater depth.

Part 3 lasts 4–5 minutes.

What skills are tested?

This part tests your ability to explain your opinions and to analyse, discuss and speculate about issues.

Learn about the other sections of the test

IELTS Listening icon


Time allowed: Approximately 30 minutes (plus 10 minutes to transfer your answers to an answer sheet)

IELTS Reading icon


Time allowed: 60 minutes (including transfer time)

IELTS Writing icon


Time allowed: 60 minutes