IELTS Speaking Part 1: Overview, Topics, IELTS Part 1 Questions & Answers


The IELTS speaking test involves face to face conversation with the examiner. This test is separate from the listening, reading and writing test. If opted for a paper-based test, then this test will be taken on a separate date, but for a computer-based test, this test might be taken on the same day.

Here, a candidate will have informal communication with the interviewer for about 11 to 14 minutes. Additionally, this is test is divided into 3 primary sections –

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Read more: Ielts part 1 questions and answers

  • IELTS speaking part 1

This is the personal interview part. Here a candidate has to introduce themselves and will have a small talk about themselves with the interviewer. The topics might be related to everyday things or the candidate themselves. This part will last for about 4 to 5 minutes.

  • IELTS speaking part 2

In speaking part 2, the examinee has to give a speech on a particular topic provided in a ‘topic card.’ The goal is to speak for about 2 minutes straight, but they will get 1 minute of preparation time beforehand. This section might contain a variety of topics such as books, travel, advice, experience and numerous other genres.

  • IELTS speaking part 3

Much like the first section, part 3 will also have some discussions with the examiner. But, the questions will demand some kind of an analysis or illustration from a candidate. Also, the questions might be related to the topic mentioned in part 2.

Common topics for Part 1

In this article, we will take you through a range of topics related to a candidate’s life and their experiences that form the basis of the first section. Some general IELTS speaking topics part 1 include –

  • Information about you
  • Work
  • Study
  • Free time
  • Hometown
  • Shopping
  • Holidays
  • Transport
  • Sports
  • Neighbourhood
  • Reading
  • Favourite places to visit in your free time. And others.

Applicants must also remember that these topics are for general conversation and there are no right or wrong answers for these questions.

Commonly asked questions in part 1

For IELTS speaking questions part 1, mostly the interviewers ask questions about the above mentioned topics. Some possible questions can be –

About you

  • What is your name?
  • Can I have your full name, please?
  • What shall I call you?
  • What is the meaning of your name?
  • How can I address you?
  • How important is your name to you?
  • Have you ever changed your name? Why? Or why not?
  • Why do people change their names?
  • Do you currently work or study?


  • Can you describe your job for me?
  • How long are you doing this job?
  • Why did you choose that job?
  • Can you describe one of your typical workdays?
  • What is your ideal job?
  • What are the things you enjoy about the job? And why?
  • What do you think is the main attraction of your job?
  • Are you willing to do this job permanently?
  • Do you want to switch your job?
  • What are your plans?


  • Are you currently studying?
  • What is your major?
  • Why did you choose this subject?
  • What is the most interesting part about your subject?
  • What is the most interesting part about your course?
  • Do you dislike anything about the course or the subject?
  • What are your plans?
  • How long does it take to complete this course?

Free time

  • What do you usually do during your free time?
  • Why are you doing these things?
  • How much time do you get every week for this?
  • Do you have some other hobby or interest?
  • Do you want to try some other activities in your free time?
  • How has spending time in leisure changed over the years?

Home town

  • How would you describe your village or town to me?
  • Tell me something about your hometown.
  • Where is your hometown located?
  • What do you like the most about your hometown?
  • How is the weather there?
  • What do you like the most about that place?
  • Is there anything your town is famous for?
  • Are there any famous buildings in your hometown?
  • What jobs do people usually do there?
  • How has your town changed over the years?
  • Do you prefer to live in a town or a village?

Learn More: IELTS Speaking Topics Part 1



  • How much time do you spend in a week shopping?
  • Do you enjoy shopping? If not, why?
  • Where do you usually go shopping?
  • Why do you like that shop?
  • Is there any problem related to shopping in your area?


  • What do you do on holidays?
  • With who, you usually spend your holiday?
  • How will you describe a typical holiday?
  • Are holidays important to you? Why?
  • If you could anywhere in the world for a holiday, where would you go?
  • How do you feel travelling during holidays has changed over the years?


  • How is the public transport service in your hometown?
  • How did you come here today?
  • How do you think public transport can be improved?
  • Do you think people should use public transport more often? Why or why not?


  • Which sport is most popular in your country?
  • Which sport do you enjoy the most?
  • How has people’s outlook changed on sports over the years?


  • Can you describe your neighbourhood to me?
  • What are activities that you can do in your area?
  • What do you like the most about your area?
  • How do you think your neighbourhood can be improved and why?
  • Do you prefer to live in the centre of your town or the outskirts?


  • Do you enjoy reading books?
  • What book have you recently read?
  • What did you like about the book?
  • Is there anything you disliked about it?
  • What are the advantages of reading a book?

Favourite places to go in free time

  • What do people do in your town during their free time?
  • What are the places to visit in your free time in your hometown?
  • Do you prefer eating out in your free time? If yes, why so?
  • What are your favourite places to eat out?

Time management in IELTS speaking part 1

As IELTS part 1 primarily focuses on the candidate themselves, it is important to keep answers short and to the point. An examiner continuously monitors the time taken by the candidate per question for evaluation. So, it is important to have fluency in speaking, show grammatical versatility, use a range of sentences to portray the central idea and also use correct vocabulary. Thus, a candidate has to keep their answers to the point.

How to practice IELTS speaking questions

As the speaking test involves face to face conversation with the interviewer, it is important to practice beforehand. Candidates need to follow three steps –

  • Record
  • Listen
  • Evaluate

Also, understanding the test format and points of evaluation will make a candidate scrutinize their mistakes.

Apart from this other particularly good practices to boost the IELTS band score are –

  • Avoid using unfamiliar and long words

Using these types of words disrupts the natural flow of a speaker, and also there is a risk of mispronouncing those words. Additionally, using these words in the wrong context can affect the band score negatively.

  • Candidates can pause

While speaking, a test-taker might need some time to think before answering a thoughtful question. To pause before speaking is normal and candidates can use certain phrases like ‘that’s a good point’ or ‘let me think’ and others.

  • Don’t memorize answers to IELTS questions

Candidates might be tempted to memorise some common IELTS questions. This will hamper the natural speaking flow of a candidate and the examiner can easily recognize these answers. So, rather than memorising, it is better to practise speaking beforehand.

  • Use a range of grammar and don’t use fillers

Watch more: IELTS Speaking Topics January to April 2021

Xem Thêm : Speaking Cue Cards

Candidates that show a range of grammatical use to express their words are more likely to score a higher band than others. Also, using correct and proper grammar is important.

Additionally, most non-native speakers use fillers like ‘umm’, ‘like’ and others while speaking. A candidate should particularly keep in mind to avoid these fillers to score high. Using fillers makes it difficult for an examiner to understand the ideas.

  • Avoid monotony and extend answers

Speaking at length might make a test taker sound flat. So, to avoid sounding monotonous, candidates are advised to emphasize on certain words and use punctuations. This will make the conversation more engaging for the examiner.

Extending answers is also important during the IELTS speaking test. As a candidate is marked on fluency in English, speaking short answers will make it difficult for the examiner to judge appropriately, and also they have to ask questions to make them speak, which negatively impacts the score.

  • Smile while speaking

It is normal to feel anxious for the candidates before the exam. So, smiling while speaking can relax the nerves and help them to speak clearly and fluently. Smiling will also make the conversation more engaging and friendly for the examiner.

Undoubtedly, IELTS speaking part 1, is one of the easiest sections of this section. Candidates just need to focus on a few pointers and they can score a higher band. It is important to remember to practice beforehand and not to memorise answers during speaking tests.

Higher competition in foreign universities makes candidates aim for a higher IELTS band score every year. Thus, to compete with the most meritorious students, they need to have a band score from the higher end. Moreover, the fee structure of foreign universities has increased over the years and will possibly grow in the upcoming years. This makes most students give up on their dream to study at exotic destinations. We here at Leap Scholar, assist students monetarily to study at the most renowned universities worldwide.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much time is allotted for IELTS speaking part 1?

Part 1 of IELTS can last around 4 to 5 minutes.

2. What should I bring during the IELTS speaking test?

For the IELTS speaking test, candidates have to bring the passport or national identity proof that is used during exam registration.

3. Will the examiner record the IELTS speaking test?

Yes. The whole speaking test will be recorded.

Manisha Angre

Experienced IELTS prep trainer and education management industry veteran. Specializes in public speaking, international education, market research, mentoring, and management.

Learn More: IELTS Speaking Part 1: Cooking

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