IELTS Speaking Tips: Introduction & Interview

This is the first of three articles about the IELTS speaking Exam. You can find tips here for IELTS Part 1: The Interview. Look out for more posts coming soon about Parts 2 & 3 of the Speaking section.  Firstly, there are some basic things to consider whenever you are thinking about IELTS speaking practice.

  • Speak as much as possible – You’ve got 12 minutes to show how good your speaking is.
  • Don’t pre-learn your answers – These sound rehearsed and examiners will notice this and move on to a different topic.
  • Avoid yes/no answersAlways include details to fill out your answer.
  • Correct yourself if you make a mistake – This is what native speakers do and you won't lose marks for it.
  • Make sure your intonation is not flat – English speakers have melody in their intonation. If the way you speak sounds flat, you will sound bored – the examiner might think that you are not interested or don’t care!

IELTS Speaking Exam Summary – PART 1: Introduction & Interview

Time: About 4 minutes Possible Subjects: ‘Getting-to-know-you’, family, where you come from and interests  

Example Questions and Answers:

1) Where do you come from?

Originally, I come from a really small village in southern Spain called, Benalup. Most people there work on the surrounding farms or in the construction industry and there’s a good sense of community – everybody knows everbody else. But, anyway, now I live in Cadiz, which is the nearest big city. I live there because I’m studying Law at university and it’s perfect because it’s far away enough from home, but also close enough to go back home if I want a good meal or some clothes washing done!

2) What do you like doing in your free-time?

I wouldn’t say that I’ve got any specific hobbies, but I like meeting my friends, of course and gossiping about things going on at Uni. We usually go out for a coffee or something small to eat after lectures, but at the weekend we meet up at someone’s flat and get ready to go out and then spend the whole night drinking and dancing and all that kind of stuff. It’s really good to stay out until the sun comes up and then go and have hot churros for breakfast together.

3) Why are you studying IELTS?

Well, as part of of my Law course there is the possibility to go on an exchange program with UCL in London for 6 months. So, I really want to use that opportunity to broaden my horizons. But, it means that I need to get a 6.5 IELTS score. So, I’ve really been studying hard to try and secure my place, because I definitely want to experience London, as it’s obviously one of the best cities in the world.  


1) If you didn’t hear properly:

SAY: Sorry, I didn’t catch that. Could you repeat the question, please?


2) If you don’t understand a word/expression:


SAY: Sorry, I haven’t come across that expression/word before. Could you explain what it means, please?


3) If you’re not sure about the nature of the question, and you want to clarify what you THINK the examiner asked:


SAY: Do you mean….?                          When you say…. are you asking about….?

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