Top Tips for IELTS

Speaking videos

This is a selection of videos from Youtube to show you what you can expect in the IELTS speaking exam. In each case the candidates perform well – without being brilliant! They understand the format of the exam and provide good models. You will find a brief commentary about their performance and what you can learn from it.

Part 1

Watch this video to understand what happens in part 1 of the exam. Note how many questions you can expect to be asked and the approximate length of your answers:

Helia from Iran

Overall assessment

Overall this is a very strong performance. She responds fluently and with some coherence to all the questions. She does make some fairly minor grammar and vocabulary mistakes but these do not interfere with her communication.

Points to note – positive

She keeps her answers short and to the point. She doesn’t try and say too much.

She listens to the questions and uses grammar and language from the questions in her answers:

“How long have you done this job?’

“I’ve been doing this job for almost one year”

Her pronunciation is quite strong. What she does well is to use short forms naturally and consistently:

“I don’t really like the job”

I’ve been doing”

I’d like to”

She uses good communication strategies and language to help answer the questions:

“And what job do you hope to be doing in 10 year’s time?”

“In 10 year’s time… erm… I’d like to”

“How much free time do you have?”

“As I told you, I work part-time”

Points to note – negative

She has fairly consistent problems with articles and basic vocabulary to describe jobs:

“I work in a hairdressing”

“I like internal designer”

She also repeats the word “like” too often and does not have enough variety for describing her preferences.

Part 2

Watch this video to see what you need to do in part 2 of the speaking exam. Note that you are given a cue card and asked to speak for between 1-2 minutes


Overall assessment

This is a reasonably strong performance as he keeps going well and answers the question. He should score well for fluency and coherence and task achievement.

Points to note – positive

The topic is in the past tense and he generally remembers to use the past tense in his talk.

He correctly identifies and answers the question in the first 20 seconds or so

When he can he corrects himself quickly.

“People thinks, people think”

He has a reasonable range of spoken expressions:

“treat people well”

“inspire confidence”

He pauses quite a lot but he maintains the flow and fluency of his talk

He has an accent but his pronunciation doesn’t cause communication problems

Points to note – negative

He has consistent problems with grammar and with plurals and subject/verb agreement in particular, eg


She still give me

He repeats the word “advice” too much and doesn’t use enough variations such as “should” “ought to”

He uses the connector “so” too often and incorrectly

Part 3

Watch this video to see what happens in part 3 of the exam. Note how the examiner will ask you a series of “thinking” questions which relate to the topic you spoke about in part 2. A good candidate will give slightly longer answers in this part than in part 1.

Mai from Japan

Overall assessment

This is a strong performance and she manages to give coherent answers to all the questions. Even if has problems with the correct grammar, she shows that she has an excellent range of vocabulary.

Points to note – positive

She provides clear answers to all the questions and does not attempt to say too much. In each case, she uses between 2-4 sentences.

She does not always directly answer the question but gives herself time to think:

“What responsibility do governments have in preventing climate change?”

“I believe people can do something to stop the climate change by themselves but if the government”

She uses simple spoken language well, eg:

“We can do lots of things”

“Thinking about when I was younger”

She has an excellent range of vocabulary, eg:

“eco-friendly products”

“food chain”

“hurrricanes and typhoons”

She shows that she has good control over basic grammatical stuctures by moving between past and present tenses with no problem

Points to note – negative

She has problems with more complex grammatical structures such as the passive, eg:

“the agriculture will affect”

While her pronunciation is quite good and speaks with a nice rhythm, some words are hard to understand

You might also be interested in:

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10 top speaking tips

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