Lesson 3: answering IELTS Speaking part 1 questions

In this lesson you will learn what you can expect from IELTS Speaking test part 1 and how to succeed in this part.

As you know from lesson 1, part 1 of IELTS Speaking test lasts about 4-5 minutes and includes introduction and interview.

The purpose of this part of the Speaking test is to:


At the start of the Speaking test you will be greeted by the examiner and invited to sit down. At this point, the examiner will begin recording the interview. Don't worry - this is to ensure that the interview is conducted fairly for all candidates.

Then, you will be asked to show some identification and the examiner will also ask you your name and what you prefer to be called (i.e. your first name or nick name).

Let's listen to a recording of the introduction of IELTS Speaking test.

Examiner: Good morning. How are you today?
Candidate: I'm fine, thanks.
Examiner: My name's Brenda. What's your full name, please?
Candidate: My name's Regina Elma.
Examiner: What do you prefer to be called?
Candidate: Regina's fine.
Examiner: Ok, Regina. Good. Where do you come from?
Candidate: I come from Hamburg, Germany.
Examiner: Ok. Could you show me your identification, please? ... That's fine. Thank you. Now I'd like to ask you some questions about yourself, is that okay? ...


  1. Introduce yourself in a relaxed and friendly way.
  2. Make a good impression by smiling and being confident.
  3. Be aware of your body language – sit up straight and always look at the examiner (eye contact is considered in Western cultures).
  4. Do not tell the examiner that you feel nervous – the examiner already knows this :)


During this part of the Speaking test you will be asked some general questions about yourself. These questions relate to your personal background. To answer these questions well, see the recommended strategies below.

Here some very common topic areas that you might be asked questions about:


  1. Learn some topic vocabulary and see IELTS Speaking sample questions to be more familiar with IELTS Speaking part 1
  2. Don't give too short answers - answer with 2-4 sentences
  3. Be natural and spontaneous, don't learn whole answers by heart
  4. If you feel you got stuck, you may ask yourself a "leading question" (like why? or how?) to help yourself to continue. Example:

    Examiner: Do you like fruit?
    Candidate: Umm, yes... [Why?] I like fruits because they are good for our health and because I like their fresh taste.

  5. If you feel you need some time to think about your answer, you can say the following phrases: "Oh, that's an interesting question...", "I have actually never thought about that... " or "It's a tricky question!". This way, you will get extra 3-5 seconds to think of your answer.
  6. Use linking words

Now listen to some examples of IELTS Speaking interview questions:

Examiner: Ah, Regina, let's talk about the Internet now. What do most people use the Internet for in your country?
Candidate: Um, well I'm not sure what most people in my country would use the Internet for, but I know I have a lot of friends who are students and I know that they use the Internet a lot for research and to gain information they need to do assignments. They also use it a lot to listen to songs and get information about movies and things they can do in their free time.
Examiner: Is shopping on-line popular in your country?
Candidate: I think it's becoming more popular these days. A lot of people are still worried about whether it's safe but I know that a lot of my friends shop online now.
Examiner: What are some of the advantages of shopping on-line?
Candidate: Well, I think, the advantages um... It's quick. I think you can view the products very easily on the Internet. And you don't actually have to go out looking for the product. You can sit there and choose it on the screen. So I think it's very convenient in that way.
Examiner: Thank you.

Examiner: Let's talk about people. Do you enjoy being in large groups of people?
Candidate: Um, well actually, I don't. I prefer just being with a small group of close friends.
Examiner: Why?
Candidate: I think it's nicer. You can talk about things a lot more, things that are important to you. I just don't like crowds of people.
Examiner: What type of person do you get on with most?
Candidate: That's an interesting question. Um, I like people who are active, who go out and do things. I don't like people who are inside all day, who do nothing with their time. Yeah, I like people who like to get outside and do something each day.
Examiner: What kind of behaviour do you dislike most in a person?
Candidate: I think I really dislike it when people are dishonest, either dishonest in the way they behave or even with small things, if they tell lies about small things. I don't like that.
Examiner: Ok, thank you.


  1. Show that you are interested in the questions the examiner asks you
  2. Show that you are willing to communicate

Positive communication leaves a good impression on the examiner.