IELTS Speaking Part 1 Guide and Tips

The IELTS Speaking Task 1 is called The Interviewand takes about 4 to 5 minutes. You will be asked around 9 to 11 questions about at least three different topics. Usually, the questions in this part of the test include topics about your studies if you are a student and your profession if you are working. 

Part 1 or Task 1 of the IELTS Speaking test is the beginning of an 11-to-14 minute ordeal of impressing the examiner to get the band score you aim for. This is the part where you should make that first good impression, which for most candidates is not an easy thing to do. 

Aside from your work and studies, the most common topics in IELTS Speaking Task 1 include home, family, and your interests and hobbies. This part of the test is in the form of an informal interview so speak naturally. The main point is for you to speak without hesitation. 

Examiners are keen on the mistakes that you will be making. After all, their job is to assess how proficient you are in using the English language. With this article, we will be providing you the tips and tricks on how you will succeed in performing your best in the IELTS Speaking Task 1. 

What are the Steps in IELTS Speaking Section Part 1?

Here are the steps of the IELTS Speaking Test Task 1:

  1. The examiner will introduce themselves and inform you that the test will be recorded. 
  2. You will be requested to confirm your identity. You have to present your ID, the same one you used when registering for the test. 
  3. You will be asked a series of basic questions about your background, home, work, studies, family, interests, and hobbies. 
  4. You will have to speak continuously for roughly 4 to 5 minutes on a particular topic.
  5. You will be asked a few personal questions that you have to answer honestly and casually. 

What is the Evaluation Criteria for IELTS Speaking Task 1?

In Task 1 of the IELTS Speaking test, you will be asked basic questions about your:

  • Work
  • Studies
  • Hometown
  • Hobbies
  • Interests

Just like the other two tasks of the IELTS Speaking test, Task 1 or Part 1 will also have the following criteria:

  • Pronunciation:
    • Weightage: 25 %
    • What is being evaluated? They are evaluating how natural you sound when you speak.
  • Lexical Resource:
    • Weightage: 25%
    • What is being evalated? They want to find out how excellent and appropriate your vocabulary is.
  • Fluency and Coherence:
    • Weightage: 25%
    • What is being evalutaed? They want to find out how organized and clear your speech is.
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy:
    • Weightage: 25%
    • What is being evaluated? They are trying to determine how good and accurate your grammar is. 
Evaluation CriteriaWeightageEvaluation of
Pronunciation25%How natural do you sound when you speak?
Lexical Resource25%How excellent and appropriate is your vocabulary?
Fluency and Coherence25%How organized and clear is your speech?
Grammatical Range and Accuracy25%How good and accurate is your grammar? 

How to Ace IELTS Speaking Part 1?

Acing the IELTS Speaking Task 1 and getting an IELTS band score of 8 to 9 is attainable if you study and learn every detail and format of the test. From the different phrases and techniques that you can use in this part of the test, it is strongly advised that you take time and exert effort to familiarize yourself with them.

Here are a few tools that you can use to provide an exceptional response to the IELTS Speaking test Task 1 Question:

  • Opening phrases
  • Adaptable phrases
  • Transition words

1. Opening Phrases 

How you begin your statements is your first chance to impress the examiner. Making a good first impression will boost your chance of getting a high band score. 

Examples of opening phrases:

  • I want to talk about…
  • Today, I would like to discuss…
  • In this talk, I’m going to tell you how…
  • Today, I would like to share with you about…

2. Adaptable Phrases 

Although it is not advised to have a prepared and memorized speech before your IELTS Speaking Task 1, creating and practicing a few adaptable phrases can help you start your statements about a wide variety of topics. 

Examples of adaptable phrases:

  •  Let me tell you about…
  • Personally, I would have to say…
  • I have to say, my favorite was… because…
  • The one who/that stands out is… because…

3. Transition Words 

Cohesive features or transition words should be used if you want your speech to sound coherent, ordered, and connected. These will help you organize your response and demonstrate clear connections between your thoughts.

Examples of transition words:

  • However…
  • Similarly, in the same way…
  • So that, so, for this reason… 
  • For example, for instance…

How to Structure Your Speech or Response?

How you formulate and structure your sentences also plays a vital role in the IELTS Speaking Task 1. Do not answer the questions of the examiner in one simple sentence only. As much as possible, respond in compound and complex sentences. 

Question: 

Do you know how to play any musical instrument?

Wrong Answer:

I know how to play the piano.

Correct Answer:

As a matter of fact, I do play the piano. I have been playing it since I was 9 when one of my uncles gifted me a piano on one of my birthdays.


Question: 

How do you get to work?

Wrong Answer:

I take the cab.

Correct Answer:

I usually take a cab to go to work, but on days where I know traffic would be heavy, I take the subway to avoid being late.


Question: 

What kind of movies do you watch? 

Wrong Answer:

I am not fond of watching movies

Correct Answer:

I am not so much into movies as I prefer reading more because it allows me to explore my imagination. However, there have been movies that I have really liked, and one of them would be ‘The Green Mile’.


Question: 

Do you prefer eating at home or at a restaurant?

Wrong Answer:

I like eating at home better.

Correct Answer:

From my perspective, I prefer eating at home to eating at a restaurant. But that is not to say that I don’t go to restaurants to eat, because I do. It’s just that I like home-prepared meals better as I think that they are cheaper and nowadays, because of the pandemic, I think it is safer to eat at home.



Tips and Tricks for IELTS Speaking Task 1

The best way to crack IELTS is to follow the proven and practical tips and tricks that have given many candidates a high band score. 

These tips and tricks will surely help you succeed in the IELTS Speaking Task 1 with flying colors. 

  • Employ a variety of tones in your voice: Avoid using only a flat, monotone sound with little variety when speaking. This will make it difficult for you to be understood by the examiner. This will also hinder you from pointing out which part of your speech is essential. Make your discussion with the IELTS examiner more appealing by emphasizing specific words and pausing at key points in your speech. To emphasize an idea, change your stress and intonation. Make hand gestures to assist the dialogue flow.
  • Pause and think from time to time: It is okay to pause for a while to consider what to say. It is something we all do when we are trying to figure out how to answer a question. During the IELTS Speaking Task 1, allow yourself time to ponder and reflect before answering the examiner. Your marks will not be deducted for doing so. 
  • Ask and clarify questions if you do not understand them: Just like pausing and thinking during some parts of the IELTS Speaking Task 1, there is no harm in asking the examiner to repeat and rephrase the questions if you do not understand them. This is better than giving wrong answers and responses to the questions. 
  1. Answer all the questions: The IELTS Speaking Task 1 includes all personal and connected questions you already have prior knowledge of. You should strive to answer each and every question honestly and confidently. Keep in mind; they are looking at your language abilities, not your knowledge on the topics.

Pro Tips for Answering Task 1 questions:

  • Answer the questions directly in your first sentence.
  • Stick to the point and do not include unrelated topics. 
  • Use transition words and adaptable phrases. 
  • Answer in compound and complex sentences. 
  • Cite examples and personal experiences. 

What are Some Common Topics in IELTS Speaking Part 1?

Part of knowing what to expect in the test is familiarizing yourself with the different topics that might be covered in the IELTS Speaking Task 1.

We have scoured some of the possible topics that have appeared in the IELTS Speaking Task 1 recently. 

Work

  • What kind of work do you do?
  • Do you like the work that you currently have?
  • Would you want to have another profession in the future? 

Studies

  • Why did you choose to take up …?
  • Do you find your course interesting?
  • What do you hope to do after graduating? 

Food 

  • What kind of food do you eat? 
  • What is the staple food in your country? 
  • Do you prefer eating at home or at a restaurant? 

Home 

  • Can you describe to me the house you live in?
  • What is your favorite spot in your house? 
  • Would you move to a different house in the future?  

Pets

  • Did you have a pet when you were young? 
  • What pet would you like to have? 
  • Why do you think people keep pets at home?

Clothes 

  • What sort of clothes do you have in your wardrobe? 
  • Do you like wearing fashionable clothes? 
  • How has fashion evolved in the last few decades? 

Travels

  • How often do you travel?
  • Do you like traveling alone?
  • Is there any place you want to visit? 

Friends

  • Do you have a lot of friends?
  • What kind of activities do you and your friends like doing together?
  • What kind of people do you like as friends? 

Reading

  • Do you read for leisure or work/studies?
  • What kinds of books do you enjoy reading? 
  • What was your favorite book as a kid? 

Hometown

  • What do you like most about your hometown? 
  • Is there a specific place in your hometown that you frequent? 
  • Is there something about your hometown that you do not like? 

Transport

  • How do you go to work? 
  • What kinds of public transport are there where you live?
  • What transport would you suggest tourists in your place use?

Internet 

  • How often do you use the internet?
  • How do you think the internet has changed the way people live? 
  • Do you think things would have been the same had the internet never existed? 

Weather 

  • Can you describe to me the weather in your country?
  • Does the weather affect your mood? 
  • What do you like to do on sunny days?

Shopping

  • How often do you go shopping?
  • What sort of things do you like shopping for? 
  • Do you like online shopping? 

Celebrities 

  • Who is your favorite celebrity?
  • Have you ever met a celebrity in person?
  • How do people in your country feel about celebrities? 

Lifestyle 

  • Do you lead an active life?
  • How has your life changed in the last two years? 
  • Is there something about your lifestyle that you need to change? 

Education 

  • What’s your college/university like?
  • How important is education to you?
  • Do you think education determines our future? 

Sports and Games 

  • Are you into sports?
  • What kinds of games did you play as a child?
  • What sports are popular in your country? 

Music and Movies 

  • What kind of music do you listen to? 
  • Do you know how to play any musical instrument?
  • Do you prefer watching movies at home or the cinema? 

Tourist Attractions  

  • Are there any tourist attractions in your hometown?
  • What souvenirs do people usually buy when they visit tourist attractions?
  • How does tourism contribute to the economy of the country? 

Likes and Dislikes

  • What sort of things do you like doing? 
  • Why do you enjoy doing these things?
  • Do you have any specific food you do not like? 

Culture and Tradition 

  • How important is it to learn about other people’s cultures?
  • Are there any traditional festivals in your hometown?
  • What is the difference between festivals then and now? 

Hobbies and Interests

  • What do you like doing in your leisure time? 
  • Is there any hobby you would like to develop?
  • How has the way people spend their leisure time changed over the years? 

Gifts and Celebrations

  • Do you enjoy giving gifts?
  • When do people in your country usually give gifts?
  • How has the idea of gift-giving changed over the past few decades? 

Family and Neighborhood 

  • What sort of things do you and your family enjoy doing together? 
  • Do you keep a good relationship with your neighbors? 
  • Where do you think it is better to live, in the country or the city? 

How to Improve Your Performance in IELTS Speaking Part 1?

The Dos

  • Be confident: Being confident when you do not know the questions that will be asked is not easy. Moreover, you will be talking to someone who will be analyzing every word you say. Nevertheless, you are strongly advised not to be nervous and anxious. This will significantly affect your state of mind, and you will not be able to give your best performance. 
  • Get to the point: Examiners do not like it when you go off-topic. This will make them think that you are unsure of your answers and that you cannot form coherent and cohesive responses. Respond to the questions directly and stick to the point. 
  • Expand your answers: You will only be asked about personal matters, so avoid delivering one-liners or short replies. Try to expand on each question asked of you by commenting on the issue. Long and detailed responses demonstrate that you are confident and at ease in English conversations.
  • Speak clearly and loudly:  No matter how good in English you are, if the examiner cannot hear you or does not understand what you are saying, you will not be able to receive a high mark on the test. Remember that the interview will be recorded, so your voice should be loud enough for the recording device to pick up your voice. 

The DON’Ts

  • Don’t overthink your answers: The IELTS Speaking Task 1 is not intended to measure how smart or intelligent you are. The examiner needs to hear you speak, s,o speak and answer the questions with tyourknowledge. 
  • Don’t panic if you get strange questions: Some candidates got thrown off when being asked questions that were out of nowhere. Questions like ‘What do you think of robots?’ will most likely be asked, but then again, you are not being asked such questions to determine your IQ. Answer the questions and express what you feel and think fluently and cohesively. 
  • Don’t give very short or too long answers: Giving concise answers will not let the examiner assess your English-speaking skills and give you any marks. On the other hand, rambling on and on about a specific topic might be why you will not be able to answer the other questions in the IELTS Speaking Task 1.
  • Don’t come with a prepared and memorized speech: Memorizing answers to questions you do not know is a complete waste of time. Also, having a ‘scripted’ speech is something the examiners have been trained in, and when they notice that your answers are memorized, they will change the questions and the topics right away. 

How to Prepare for the IELTS Speaking Test Task 1?

‘Be prepared.’ A sentence with only two words but will dictate the outcome of your IELTS test. While preparing for the test, you should follow the different ways to make yourself ready for the test. These strategies and techniques will help you give your best performance in the IELTS Speaking test Part 1. 

  • Practice, practice, practice: Like any other test, there is no better way to ace it than for you to practice. The IELTS Speaking Task 1 is no exception. Practice and prepare yourself as early as you can, as often as you can. 
  • Know what to expect: You might undoubtedly be nervous, and you do not want any unexpected events to add to your anxiety. Hence, you need to know exactly what will happen when you step into the testing room. Know and study the test format and the kinds of questions asked in this part of the test. 
  • Learn to use collocations: Collocations are 2 to 3 words that go together and sit just right to a native speaker. To get a high band score in the IELTS Speaking test, you must not only utilize some less common terms like collocations, but you must also show that you understand what other words these less common words are generally used with. 
  • Know that ‘spoken English’ is different than ‘written English’: The IELTS Speaking test aims to assess how well you speak English and form an informal interview. Do not be too formal. Do not use vocabulary that makes you sound like an expert or an academic. Learn words that are suitable and appropriate for spoken English and practice how to use them. However, avoid using slang

For a thorough and comprehensive guide on how to prepare for the entire IELTS test, check out our comprehensive IELTS preparation guide.


Sample IELTS Speaking Part 1 Questions and Model Answers

Part of preparing for the IELTS Speaking Task 1 is researching and studying the possible questions that may appear in the test. They will help you familiarize yourself with how to best answer the questions that will be thrown at you.

Below are some sample IELTS Speaking Task 1 questions and model answers to help you prepare for the test.  Here are some examples:

Topic: Work

Sample Question 1:

What kind of work do you do?

Sample Answer:

“I am a registered nurse. I passed the licensure exam three years ago, and I have been working at a government hospital since then. I am assigned to the emergency section, and I am in charge of assisting patients or their relatives in filling-up hospital forms.”


Sample Question 2:

Do you like the work that you currently have?

Sample Answer:

“As a matter of fact, yes, I do. This has been something I have wanted since I was around 8 years old. Both my parents are registered nurses, too, and I am proud to follow in their footsteps. I learned a lot from them, and whenever I have questions about something work-related, they are always there to help me. I also enjoy being able to help people who are sick.” 


Sample Question 3:

Would you want to have another profession in the future?

Sample Answer: 

“Actually, yes, if given a chance, I would like to be a doctor. I have worked with many doctors by now, and seeing how dedicated they are to their work has inspired me to fulfill that dream. I am fortunate that my profession is a pre-med course, and when I finally decide to take that path, it won’t be that difficult. I love kids, and if I ever would become a doctor, I would probably be a pediatrician.”


Topic: Home

Sample Question 1: 

Can you describe to me the house you live in?

Sample Answer:

“My family and I live in a house owned by my grandparents. It is not a big house, but it is also not small. For a family of five, I think it is just enough. We have three bedrooms, and I share a room with my younger sister. It is in the country, so we are surrounded by many trees and plants, which my mom cultivates. 


Sample Question 2:

What is your favorite spot in your house? 

Sample Answer:

“I would have to say, the kitchen. I love to cook, and my family and friends tell me I am good at it. It is something I think I got from my mom. She used to run a small restaurant back when we still lived in the city. As a child, I remember watching her every time she prepares a meal, especially on special occasions, in our kitchen.


Sample Question 3:

Would you move to a different house in the future?

Sample Answer:

“I would love to stay in the house that I am currently living in and be with my family. Chances are, I would be moving out and living on my own after I finish my studies and find a job. I am in my fourth year at the university, and it won’t be long before I finally find a place of my own. One thing is for sure, though. Even if I am already working, I will still find time to visit my family and our house now and then.


Topic: Shopping

Sample Question 1:

How often do you go shopping?

Sample Answer:

“I don’t go shopping too often, and as much as possible, I shop only when I really have to. Sometimes I go shopping once every two weeks, but there are also times when I don’t need to shop for two months. It actually depends on whatever it is that I need to buy. 


Sample Question 2:

What sort of things do you like shopping for?

Sample Answer:

“Just like most of the people I know, I like shopping for clothes and house accessories. I like everything that will make my room look nice, so from time to time, I go with friends, and we scout for house decorations at Home Depot. Similarly, I also enjoy shopping for different kinds of clothes. 


Sample Question 3:

Do you like online shopping? 

Sample Answer:

“To be honest, I have a love-hate relationship with online shopping. Because of the current situation, I buy almost everything I need online – from wardrobe to groceries and even stationery items. And I have been lucky to have received items that meet my expectations. However, sometimes I’m not that lucky and have to return the items that I bought to the seller, which is a hassle for me. I do like online shopping, but I find it disappointing at times. 


Topic: Travelling

Sample Question 1:

How often do you travel?

Sample Answer:

“I love to travel, and I make it a point to travel at least twice a year. It is something I look forward to every year. I have been to several places locally and internationally, and the best one that stands out to me is Bali, Indonesia. I went there last year, and I can’t wait to go back.” 


Sample Question 2:

Do you like traveling alone? 

Sample Answer:

“Absolutely! I was alone on my most recent travels. I think traveling alone is an excellent opportunity for everyone to know what they’re capable of because it makes us go beyond our comfort zone. One time, I got lost, and I was terrified. However, I was able to find my way back to the hotel, all thanks to my smartphone. Given the chance, I would definitely travel solo again.”


Sample Question 3:

Is there any place you want to visit?

Sample Answer:

“Oh yes! There are still a lot of places I would like to visit if given the opportunity. On top of my list would be Bhutan. I think it’s a very interesting country with a very rich history. I am a bit of a history geek, so I would like to visit Egypt and India as well and learn more about their tradition and culture. On top of that, I also would like to try the different and savory food they offer.” 

Pro Tips for Answering Task 1 questions:

  • Answer the questions directly in your first sentence.
  • Stick to the point and do not include unrelated topics. 
  • Use transition words and adaptable phrases. 
  • Answer in compound and complex sentences. 
  • Cite examples and personal experiences. 

Additional FAQs on IELTS Speaking Test

How Can I Prepare for IELTS speaking Task 1?

Practicing is the best way to prepare for IELTS Speaking Task 1. The moment you register for the IELTS test, practice right away. Search the web for every practice test available and record yourself while answering these practice tests. This way, you will be able to evaluate the areas that you need to improve on. You can also practice conversing with your family and friends in English. This will only not help you improve your speaking skills but will develop your confidence as well. 

How Can I Get 8.5 in IELTS speaking?

Yes, it’s possible a band score of 8.50 in IELTS Speaking. Understand the test format and learn about all the topics that might be discussed during the interview. Focus on improving your grammar, vocabulary, fluency, and pronunciation. These are the criteria for how you will be marked during the test. Moreover, do a lot of mock tests. You can do this with a private tutor or a friend. 

What Questions are Asked in the IELTS Speaking Test?

You will be asked different types of questions in the IELTS Speaking test. For the first part, you will be asked basic questions about your work, studies, hometown, family and hobbies and interests, and a lot more. 

For the second part, you will be asked questions about a given topic. This will require you to describe and explain in detail what that topic is. Lastly, for the third part, you will be asked questions that will require you to express your opinions, evaluate your judgments, compare and contrast ideas, and explain the causes and effects of a specific topic. There is also a chance that you will be asked hypothetical questions in the IELTS Speaking test. 

How Do You Answer Questions in IELTS Speaking?

You should answer the questions in the IELTS Speaking test confidently while speaking clearly and loudly. Make sure that the examiner understands every word you say. Answer the questions directly in your first sentence. As much as possible, avoid answering in simple sentences. Remember also not to give too short nor too long answers. Lastly, ask the examiner to repeat and clarify the questions in case you miss the questions. This will help you answer the questions correctly and, in turn, get you a high band score.

Leave a Comment