IELTS Speaking SIMPLIFIED with Girish Pillai

GP - Speaking
IELTS Speaking SIMPLIFIED with Girish Pillai


Speaking is the shortest and could be the easiest of the four tasks of IELTS. Confidence is the key, and the ability to process the question and answer without any hesitation could boost your score. Today let’s focus on the first part of the speaking task.

Part 1

This test is a warm up round for the examiner to assess your skills in spoken English, it typically consist of 3 to 5 questions of general nature. The first question would be on the lines of an introduction that would set the tone of the test the questions could be something like

“Tell me something about yourself?” – (open ended*)


“What is your name” – (close ended#)

Your answer should be given with a warm smile- avoid the frozen look, as you want to radiate confidence.

As a open ended questions demands at least 4 to 5 sentences; prepare

  1. My name is__________(Avoid Myself Mitesh Modi)
  2. Your education _________ area of Interest________
  3. Work Experience if any- (school/ collage details if you are a student)
  4. Future plans_______________________
  5. Hobbies- Family-

It’s important that pause between each point, which would give the examiner a chance to ask the next question if he is satisfied with your response.

A closed ended questions response should ideally be given and a subsequent question asked to maintain the flow of conversation E.g. Examiner “What is your name”

You “My name is __________. How may I address you Ma’am/Sir?”

The second and third question would be asked about a topic that would be a normal experience for any one for E.g.

  1. How do you spend your leisure time?
  2. Describe a concert you have attended?
  3. Describe an event in your life that was memorable?

*open ended questions are questions that give you the chance to answer at length or in brief.

#close ended questions don’t give you that flexibility as you would be forced to answer in a word or two.

These questions subtly test your vocabulary skills. By asking “How do you spend your leisure time?” instead if “How do you spend your free time?”Which is easier to understand; the examiner test understands that words like “concert” and “memorable” are within the understanding of the candidate. The answers must be given in the right tense, the sample questions given above must be answered in the past tense.

The last question invariably focuses on an event that would occur in the future or seeks your opinion on some issue.

  1. Where do you plan to spend your next vacation?
  2. Do you think that live concerts would lose its popularity in the era of the internet? Why/ why not?
  3. Do you feel that past events effect our decisions we take in the future? Why?

The first part of the speaking test seems simple but it sets the tone for the test, as mentioned speaking and writing tasks of IELTS are subjective; i.e. the perception of the examiner decides the outcome. A smiling confident participant would invariably score more bands than a candidate who has a wooden look in his face and answers in programmed manner.

Take a moment and think from the examiner’s point of view, he has to ask the same questions to different candidates and listen to their responses. It’s important that you make a positive impression on the examiner. Smiling and eye contact are as important as the words you speak, remember.

  • Looking down and answering exhibits low confidence.
  • Looking up and answering is appropriate in the court room, not in IELTS test for speaking.
  • Looking left or right and answering is a natural phenomenon; we look to the left when we refer to the right side of the brain which houses the creativity part. The left part of the brain contains the memories which when we access, makes us look to the right.*

Part 1 is the easiest of the speaking task and one should strive to get the maximum scores and develop a rapport with the examiner. Remember confidence is the key, keep the sentences short and simple, and avoid inserting words just because you know them; would insure your success.

*The reason police in interrogation rooms shine the light on the suspect- to check which side the eyes dart when answering the questions. Creativity- lies. Memories – truth.

Practice on the following questions with your friend or a mirror. Keep the following aspects in mind

  • You should answer each open ended question with 5 sentences.
  • Closed ended questions should be answered and ideally a question should be asked if required
  • Insure that there are no long pauses or “Hmmm” in your answers
  • Smile

Part One – Introduction of self

  1. Could you tell me your full name, please?
  2. Could you tell me about your family?
  3. Describe the house you live in?
  4. Do you prefer apartments or an individual house? Why?

Part One – Introduction of your city/town

  1. Which city/town do you come from?
  2. Describe the locality you live in?
  3. Can you describe something about your hometown that is unique?
  4. Can you tell me some history of your hometown?

Part One – Introduction of profession

  1. Let’s talk about what you do. Do you work or are you a student?
  2. What’s your job/ degree course? Why did you choose field?
  3. How long have you been doing it?
  4. What is a typical day like at your work/school/ collage?
  5. Are there things you don’t like about it? What are they?

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