Top Tips for IELTS

IELTS speaking part 1

You’ll also get two more sets of questions on everyday life topics such as leisure and travel and you can see examples of these questions here.

IELTS speaking part 1 tips

Extend your answer – say a bit more

Even if you can answer the question in a few words – think if you can say a bit more. Remember that this is a  test of your speaking and you need to speak more.  There are lots of ways you can learn to do this including:



comparisons with the past/future

qualifying what you say with “but”

Don’t try and say too much – relax into the test

These are supposed to be quite easy questions and you don’t want to say lots and lots. if you do, the examiner will just interrupt you. You don’t want that. Also if you try and say lots you put yourself under pressure. Relax a bit. Just give clear and concise answers and feel good. There are harder questions to come where you can show off all your English skills.

If you don’t have much to say – don’t say much!

Not all the questions are equal. For some questions it’s enough to give a short answer and wait for another question where you can say more. You have lots of questions in this part of the test. A fairly good general rule is to make your answers slightly longer as you go. The idea is that you gradually relax and become more confident.

Don’t worry if the examiner doesn’t smile or respond

Examiners are trained to be entirely neutral to what you say. They’re not supposed to smile or encourage you in any way. It can help you to make eye contact with them so that you know when you have said enough, but some will not even make eye contact. Don’t worry.

Remember that this is a test of English – use different words and structures 

There is a danger in part 1 that you become too relaxed and “just speak”. The examiner will be listening for what different words and structures (grammar) you use. Don’t become obsessed by this but think about using different words and structures.

Part 1 common questions

The examiner has a number of possible questions to ask you. These sample IELTS speaking part 1 questions will almost certainly not be asked in exactly this format, so you need to listen carefully to the exact question.


You should note:

  1. these questions are personal questions: try to give personal answers
  2. it is a mistake to give very short answers even though the questions are simple: try to give examples or explain your opinions


Note the first question will be “Do you work are you a student?” see my advice on how to deal with this question.

Your job in general

  • What job do you do?
  • Have you always done this job?
  • What do you do in a typical day at work?
  • What responsibilities do you have?

How you feel about work

  • Do you like your job?
  • Would you say it’s an easy job?
  • Is there anything that makes your job difficult?
  • How important is your job to you?
  • What types of jobs are most popular among young people in your country?

Education and work

  • Did you prefer your life as a student or your life now?
  • Did your education prepare you well for the work you are doing now?

Teamwork and colleagues

  • Do you need to work with other people at work?
  • Do you prefer working alone or with others
  • How well do you get on with your colleagues?
  • Do you do anything with your colleagues after work?

The future

  • What are your plans for the future?
  • Are you planning to change your job?
  • Would you ever consider changing your job?
  • How might your industry change in the future?
  • Why are you taking the IELTS test?


Your education in general

  • What subject are you studying?
  • Why did you choose to study that?
  • Do you like your subject? (Why)
  • Is it a difficult subject to study?

Your schooldays (the past)

  • What kind of school did you go to?
  • What was your favourite subject at school?
  • Who was your favourite teacher?

Place of study

  • Where do you study?
  • Why did you choose that school/university?
  • What do you think of your school/university?
  • What is the best thing about your university/school?

Your course and method of study

  • When did you start this course and when will you finish it?
  • Which part of the course do you enjoy most?
  • What is the most difficult/easiest part of the course?
  • How do you study this subject?
  • What skills have you learned in your studies?/What skills are needed to study your subject?

Student life

  • Do you like life at school/university?
  • What part of university life do you like best?
  • How have you benefited from being at school/university apart from gaining knowledge?
  • What facilities are there at your school/university to help you in your studies?

Educational system

  • What is the educational system like in your country?
  • How do you think the system might change in the future?

The future

  • What are your future study plans?
  • How do you think your studies in school/university will prepare you for your job in the future?
  • What is your career plan after you graduate?
  • Do you think you will prefer having a job to being a student?
  • Why are you taking the IELTS test?


Your home

Your home in general

  • Do you live in a house or a flat?
  • How long have you lived there?
  • Where did you live before [if you have only lived there a short time]
  • Who do you live with?
  • Can you describe your home a little.
  • Do you like your flat/house?

Houses and flats

  • Do you prefer living in a house or a flat?
  • What are the advantages of living in a flat/house?


The rooms

  • What’s your favourite room in your home?
  • How is this room decorated?
  • What do you do in this room?


The area you live in

  • What can you see through the windows of your home?
  • What is the environment like around your home?
  • What facilities are there near your home?
  • Is it easy to travel to and from your home?
  • Do you think it’s a good area to live in?
  • Would you recommend that as a good place to live?



  • Would you consider moving to live somewhere else?
  • Is there anything about your home you would like to improve?

Your hometown




For vocabulary to help you with this task try Home town vocabulary and ideas


  • Where do you live?
  • Have you always lived there?
  • How long have you been living there?
  • Where do you come from?

The place

  • Do you live in the city or the countryside?
  • What kind of a place is it?
  • Is it a large city or a small town?
  • Has it changed much in the past few years?

Feeling about hometown

  • Do you like living there?
  • Is there anything you dislike about living there?
  • Would you recommend it as somewhere to live?

Places and people

  • What’s your favourite place in your hometown?
  • What do people do in your hometown?
  • Is it easy to travel around in your hometown?

The future

  • Do you plan to stay there all your life?
  • Would you ever consider living somewhere else?
  • How long do you think you will continue to live there?
  • How do you think it might change in the future?
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