The IELTS Speaking module assesses a test taker’s ability to communicate orally in English. It is one of the four sections of the IELTS exam, alongside Listening, Reading, and Writing. The Speaking module is designed to evaluate a candidate’s spoken English proficiency in various real-life situations.
The Speaking module consists of a face-to-face interview with an examiner and is divided into three parts:
Part 1 – Introduction and Interview: The examiner introduces themselves and asks the candidate to provide some basic personal information, such as their name, where they are from their interests, and hobbies. This part is designed to put the candidate at ease and establish a rapport.
Part 2 – Long Turn (Cue Card): The candidate is given a cue card with a topic and a specific task to talk about. They have one minute to prepare and make notes before speaking for about 1-2 minutes on the topic. The topic usually requires the candidate to describe an experience, discuss their opinions, or provide information about a given subject.
Part 3 – Discussion: The examiner and candidate engage in a more in-depth discussion related to the topic from Part 2. The questions in this part encourage the candidate to express their opinions, provide reasons and examples, and engage in a broader conversation about the topic.
The Speaking module aims to assess a candidate’s ability to:
Communicate Fluently: Express themselves coherently and spontaneously, using appropriate vocabulary and sentence structures.
Provide Detailed Responses: Elaborate on their ideas, giving examples and explanations where necessary.
Express Opinions and Ideas: Share and defend their opinions, as well as discuss abstract and complex topics.
Engage in Interaction: Respond to questions and engage in a dynamic conversation with the examiner.
Use a Range of Language: Demonstrate a variety of vocabulary and grammatical structures.
The Speaking interview typically lasts around 11-14 minutes. The examiner assesses the candidate’s performance based on criteria such as fluency and coherence, lexical resource (vocabulary), grammatical range and accuracy, and pronunciation.
Scores for the Speaking module are reported on a band scale from 0 to 9, with half-band increments. The Speaking band score contributes to the overall IELTS band score, which has significance for academic admissions, employment opportunities, professional recognition, and immigration purposes in English-speaking countries.