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A Complete Guide on IELTS Speaking Part 1

On this page we will be talking about the following issues:

  • Introductory session before your IELTS Speaking test starts

  • Creating a good first impression

  • Question patterns and common topics for speaking part 1

  • Magic tricks to develop your answers

  • Mistakes that you must avoid

  • IELTS Speaking Part 1 Actual test questions 

Introduction before the test starts

Before the formal IELTS Speaking test begins, you will have a brief conversation with the examiner. The conversation may go like this:

The examiner will introduce himself/herself to you, and ask your name.

You can say "my name's (contraction form name's rather than 'name is') ..............

Pronounce your name correctly. If you have an English name, say it as well with your best pronunciation.

The examiner may ask about home location. You should say "I'm from............."

Then the examiner will ask for you identification card. Show your id.


Mostly, this is all you can expect before the actual test begins. Once all these pre-test formalities done, the examiner will tell you that the actual test is going to start. And you will be marked on your speaking from now.  

First impression is important in IELTS Speaking

  • Try to stay calm and composed. Don't panic about the exam. Tell yourself silently "I'm fine, it's just a conversation"👍.

  • Try to keep your face smiley😊, it will show that you are confident.

  • Maintain eye contact with the examiner. If you cannot look at the examiner's eyes, at least look at his/her face. It will help you become communicative.

  • If you keep looking around or keep your eyes on the floor rather than looking at the examiner, it will multiply your nervousness, and lead your confidence to the lowest point.

  • Paraphrase the words. Don't just repeat the examiner's sentence and then start speaking. For example, the examiner might ask you "what is your home town?" Rather than just answering "My home town is....", you should say "I'm from.......". This paraphrased response will convey an impressive message to the examiner how good you are in speaking.

These are the basic things that you need to do before the formal IELTS Speaking exam starts. It will give a good first impression to the examiner. And you know the first impression is always powerful.

IELTS Speaking Part 1: Common Topics

 Normally, these are the most common topics that you might be asked in IELTS speaking part 1:

  • Your home

  • Your home town

  • Your family

  • Your hobby

  • Your work

  • Your study

  • Your likes or dislikes

This part will not be long. You will be asked around 12 questions from your daily living topics as we have listed above.

7 magic tricks to develop your answer for IELTS Speaking Part 1

One very important thing that you must remember is do not stop speaking unless the examiner stops you. You will need to keep speaking. It will convey a good impression to the examiner about your fluency. Otherwise, if you stop without being interrupted, it might convey a signal to the examiner that you have memorized the answer. The examiner will get the sense that you might have finished saying everything that you memorized.

Now, may be you are thinking how to keep speaking if you've already provided the answer that you have been asked for. Okay, you have every reason to ask this, that's why here we are to help you.


As you will need to keep speaking to show that you are a confident speaker. There are some very effective strategies that we suggest you use to extend your answer. Take a look at the powerful strategies discussed below:

Trick 1: Contrast

Contrasting is a good technique to expand your answer in IELTS Speaking Part 1. To do this, you need to use the words like:

IELTS Speaking Part 1 Contrast

Extended answer:

I tried to contact you the other day, but you did not pick up the phone. That's why I couldn't invite you to join the party. However, we're going to arrange another event next week, you must join us this time.

Trick 2: Join sentences

Combining sentences is another very popular strategy to extend an answer in IELTS Speaking. You can do it using different conjunctions like: 

  • also             

  • as well as         

  • in addition to         

  • moreover                     

  • as a result   

  • because           

  • anyway                   

  • besides   

Extended answer:

I never go for my work during the school hours, I only go when I've no school, and of course I work during the weekends as well.                 

Trick 3: Explain your response

Explaining something in a little more detail is the easiest way to extend your answer in IELTS Speaking. You can use connective words to do this. For example:

  • because         

  • on account of

  • by reason of

These are the ideal words if you want to explain your answer.

Extended answer:

Whatever it takes, I always try to take a good sleep at night, because I know if I pass a night without a good sleep, the next day is hell for me.

Trick 4: Focus on frequency

Expressing frequency is another common strategy that you can use to extend your speaking. In fact, it is a very natural and smart way. The following words we generally use to mean frequency:

IELTS Speaking Part 1 Frequency

Extended answer:

usually go to bed at about 10 pm, but on the weekends, sometimes it gets too late to go to bed.

Trick 5: Give some examples

In IELTS, you can always add examples to extend your answer. I said "always", because you don't have to be worried about whether your example is true or made up. As long as the example is relevant, it's fine. Because you know IELTS is a language test, not a knowledge test. Therefore, the examiner is not going to verify your example whether it is true or false.


Extended answer:

I usually see my parents each weekend. for example, tomorrow is Saturday, and we're going to have a family dinner tomorrow night.

Trick 6: State how was in the past

You can always compare any present situation relating with the past. All you need is just make it somehow related. You can commonly use the word 'used to' to apply this strategy in IELTS Speaking. 

Extended answer:

I'm very busy with my business, can't see my friends each week. Previously, when I had a plenty of free time, I used to meet them almost everyday.

Trick 7: Say what you expect

At the end you can make a comparison what is happening now and what is going to happen in the future, or what you expect that might happen in the future.

Extended answer:

People are very poor in my home town. They just somehow can manage their livings. But they are very hardworking and honest. I'm sure they are going to change the scenario of the town and their lifestyle soon.

These 7 strategies are simply magnets. If you can bear these in your mind and  practice accordingly, speaking part 1 will be the easiest part in your life. In fact you will start loving to keep speaking confidently.

5 Common mistakes that you must avoid

There are 5 common mistakes that you must avoid in IELTS Speaking Part 1. These mistakes can damage your performances in other areas. Lets see what are these

1. Don't just give a short answer

Giving a very short or no answer will definitely convey a message to the examiner that you cannot communicate in English. For example, let's say your name is James.

Now, suppose the examiner is asking you "What is your name?" If you just answer "James". Or if the examiner is asking you "What is your favorite sport?" If you simply answer "football". Or it might be that you are not giving any answer only because you don't like any sport. These approaches are never going to help you to get a good score in this part of IELTS Speaking. 

2. Don't leave any question unanswered

You know IELTS Speaking is a speaking test, not a knowledge test. Whatever the question you are asked, make sure you are not leaving unanswered. If you don't understand the question, definitely you can ask the examiner multiple times in a very humble way like: "Would you please repeat the question? I couldn't get it." Or you can say " sorry, I just missed the main part, would you please say it again?" You can always ask the examiner to repeat the question. Look, the way you are asking is also conveying a message to the examiner that you can ask a question in English so nicely😎.

3. Don't go too long or off topic

Taking for too long time for an answer is a problem. Remember, the examiner is ready to ask you around 12 questions. If you take too long time for an answer, examiner may not be able to ask you the question he/she wanted to ask. As a result, he/she might find it difficult to score you. Moreover, there is always risk of going off the track if you speak for too long time for one answer. 

4. Don't speak too quietly or too loudly

Speaking either too quietly or too loudly, both need to be avoided. If you speak too quietly, examiner might struggle to hear your voice and eventually misunderstand your sentences as well. Likewise, if you speak too loudly, it can create unusual sound effect that the examiner might not like.


In fact, both too loud and too quiet tone convey your nervousness to the examiner, and you know people sees nervousness as a signal for lack of confidence. A confident speaking will neither be too loud nor be too quite, it will an ear soothing natural flow of speaking, and this is what IELTS examiners expect from you.

5. Don't try to be a perfectionist

Don't think too much about grammar, pronunciation, accent etc. Keep speaking, keep the momentum going. You are a non native speaker, and that's why you are taking this language test. The examiner doesn't expect a perfect accent or pronunciation from you. Because the examiner knows that English is not your first language, and that's why you are attending the language test IELTS.


Even some grammar mistakes, a few wrong vocabulary choices etc. are also okay. Don't keep thinking about the mistakes that you have just made in the previous sentence. If you keep thinking on those past mistakes, it will create impact on your current sentences, and eventually it will mess up with everything coming up. Therefore, whatever has just happened, let it go. Stay present, keep going👍.

IELTS Speaking Part 1: Actual Test Questions 

Take a look at an actual test question set of IELTS Speaking Part 1:

Do you have a garden? 

Is there any park near your house?

Do you want to change anything about the park?

Do you have a pet?

What kinds of pets are common in Vietnam? Why?

If you have children in the future, will you allow them to raise a pet?

Source: Cambridge English IELTS Past Papers

Don't forget to check the following resources:

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