What is the format of the IELTS Speaking Section?

The IELTS is one of the most universally recognized standardized tests of English proficiency.

With more than one million test-takers every year, the IELTS measures the candidate’s command over the English language in order to judge whether he/she would be able to study or seek employment in an English-speaking country.

The test is administered in four components—Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. The first three tasks are paper-based, while the fourth one is conducted in the form of an interview between the candidate and an IELTS professional.

Each of the four sections is scored on a scale of 1 (poor user) to 9 (expert user), with marks awarded for various parameters such as grammar, vocabulary, syntax etc.

Want to know more about the IELTS Test Format in detail?

Unsurprisingly, the Speaking component is also one which test-takers find the most daunting. They worry about their weak vocabulary, fluency and inability to speak confidently.

The first step towards overcoming that fear is to understand the test format in detail.

What exactly does the IELTS Speaking Section entail?

The IELTS Speaking test lasts anywhere between 11-14 minutes and is conducted in the form of an interview between you and an IELTS official. It consists of three main tasks, namely:

  • Task 1: Introduction & Interview

The first part is an introduction where you will be asked general questions about you, your family, friends, school, occupation, hobbies, etc.  This usually lasts between 4-5 minutes.

  • Task 2: Long Turn

In the second part, you will be given a TASK CARD with a specific topic on it.  Based on the Task Card, you will be asked to speak for 2 minutes or so. You will be given 1 minute to prepare on that topic before you start speaking.  This section usually lasts 3-4 minutes. After speaking, the interviewer will ask you a couple of questions on your topic.

  • Task 3: Discussion

In the third part, you and the interviewer will have an extended discussion on the topic you spoke about in the previous task, based on the task card, exchanging views, opinions, and ideas.

Example of an IELTS Speaking Section

Here’s an example of the IELTS speaking section as conducted by an AdmitEDGE IELTS SFA and an AdmitEDGE student.

What are the benefits of a high IELTS Speaking score?

Of course, having a good test score is always an advantage, but does having a high IELTS Speaking score have a specific advantage?


Having a high IELTS score helps you in many ways, beyond securing a top admit in USA, Canada, Australia etc:

  • Opens up new academic and professional avenues: Potential employers and universities are convinced about your ability to fluently converse in English.
  • Ease of immigration: In countries like Canada or Australia that follow a point-based immigration system, having a high IELTS score increases the number of points you have, thereby increasing your visa chances.
  • Tutoring opportunities: In addition to boosting your employability, a high IELTS Speaking score will also allow you to be an English tutor for those aspiring to take the IELTS themselves.
  • Scholarships and funding opportunities increase.
  • TA/RA opportunities: The unicorn of the academic world, graduate teaching/research assistantship jobs are highly sought after because they both add to your experience and help you out financially. Because the positions are so much in demand, it always helps to have a high IELTS score, since it proves your ability to speak English fluently and handle a diverse group of students.

Sounds great, right?

If you’re thinking about preparing for IELTS, read our blog post on 6 Tips To Speak Confidently & Score High!

If you have any questions regarding the IELTS Speaking Section, feel free to shoot us a comment below and we’ll get back to you!

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4 Responses

  1. ash says:

    The article is really Good and I am going to take an exam in December.

  2. Vineetha Vasudev says:

    Thank you for the information. Got a clear idea about what i was searching for.

  3. Dakshit says:

    Many people who wish to prepare for IELTS so that they can try for immigration to different countries do not know how to commence their studies and preparation. This post is sure to help them understand better. Keep sharing such useful posts here. Looking forward to more elaborate and informative posts.

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