Commentary on the Example Speaking Recordings for the
General Training Practice Tests

Below you will find the report by an IELTS speaking examiner on the recording of example IELTS test interviews. The questions asked in the recordings are the questions in the Speaking Test sections of General Training Tests 1, 2, 3. While listening to the recordings, it would be helpful for you to have the question sheets with you to refer to.

The recordings are not real IELTS test recordings but the interviewer is a real IELTS examiner and  the recordings are conducted in the exact way that an IELTS Speaking Test is done. The students interviewed were IELTS students who were doing an IELTS preparation course in the UK. The reports on each interview were written by the IELTS examiner who conducted the interviews. The examiner has tried to analyse the strong and weak parts of each of the students and this will give
you a better understanding into how give a better performance in the IELTS Speaking Test.

To further help you, if you have not done so already, please look at the right hand side of the Home Page where you will find a series of free General Training Test Tutorials including Speaking. Here you will find advice on how to do and prepare for the IELTS Speaking Test.

Speaking Practice Test 2

Section 1

* Tell me about the part of the country where you live.

* What are the main ways of earning money in this area?

* What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of living in this area?

Topic 1 Studying English

* Where have you studied English?

* What do you find most difficult about studying English?

* Whats the best way for you to study English?

* How can speaking English well help you in your life?

Topic 2 Transport

* What is the best way to get around the place where you live?

* How would you improve transport in your town or area?

* How does transport cause pollution?

* Do people prefer using public or private transport in your country?

Section 2

Describe what you think would be the perfect holiday.

You should say:

where it would be

what activities you would do

how long it would last

and explain why this holiday would be perfect for you.

Section 3

Topic 1 Tourism

* What are some of the best places in your country for a tourist to visit?

* What are some of the advantages and disadvantages that tourism brings to an area?

* Could you compare the tourism industry in your country today with that of 50 years ago?

* What factors do you think could limit the expansion of tourism in the future?

Topic 2 Holidays

* Why do you think people need holidays?

* How much holiday a year do you think a person needs?

* How have peoples expectations about holidays changed over the last 50 years?

* How do you think holidays will change in the next 50 years?


Examiners Commentary

The student interviewed was Sandra, a Colombian female. The Speaking Test is in three sections. First of all lets look at each of these sections in turn to identify the strong and weak parts of the  interview.

Section 1

Sandra was a little bit nervous and not very confident in her speech. She answered all the questions but some of the questions, particularly in Topic 2, could have been longer and better developed. Most people find that Section 1 of the IELTS Speaking Test is the easiest section and therefore students should take the opportunity to talk as long and as fully as they can while the questions are at their simplest. For example, the examiner asks Sandra about the advantages and disadvantages of living in her area. She talks about the climate as an advantage, which is good, and then mentions that her area is near other good places but she does not talk more about
this. She could talk about other good things regarding her area and she did not even mention one disadvantage. This was wasting an opportunity. On the other hand she answered most of the questions quite well and this was certainly no disaster.

Section 2

In Section 2 Sandra managed to get over the one minute mark without any problems but it appeared as though it would have been hard for her to go any longer than she did. Like Ilaria in the recording for the Academic Speaking Test 1, Sandra did not make use of the one minute preparation time. It sounds as though the examiner got her started early but it was Sandra who indicated that she was ready to begin. By not taking the time to make notes on each part of the question, Sandras talk was a bit disjointed and lost coherence at times. Here is an example where using the one minute preparation time would have had great benefit. On the other hand Sandra
did manage to answer most parts of the question. Looking at her actual speaking, Sandra often had long hesitations as she searched for things to say and to connect her ideas. The connections were not always clear and she shifted subject a couple of times in one sentence. If she could have finished each of the sentences by developing the subjects of each sentence and then change the subject coherently, it would have been a much better talk. Again, preparation would have benefited her. She did not lose marks for not preparing but the lack of coherence in her talk that the lack of preparation caused affected her score.

Section 3

Section 3 started very well with Sandra giving long and full answers to the questions in Topic 1. In Topic 2 however the answers were not as long and could have been better developed, speaking about the subjects in more depth. For example the last question was not really answered properly at all with Sandra only saying that holidays would change by having more amenities. If Topic 2 could have been answered as fully as Topic 1 then she would have made a much better impression.


The Marking of the IELTS Speaking Test is done in 4 parts. Below is how the examiner evaluates this student.


Sandras pronunciation was not that clear. There were areas where there were no problems but there were also times when her strong accent, intonation and stress problems caused difficulties for the listener.

Grammatical Range and Accuracy

Sandras grammar was often faulty. Sandras basic sentences were controlled fairly well but more complex grammar often broke down. There were lots of mistakes scattered throughout her speech as well, some of them quite basic.

Lexical Resource

Sandras vocabulary was good enough to discuss familiar and unfamiliar topics but she had limited flexibility. There were quite a few pauses where she had to stop to search for the right word and not always with success.

Fluency and Coherence

Sandras fluency and coherence was sometimes quite good and she showed the ability to talk independently and at some length to questions. On areas that she was not so sure about though her fluency and coherence sometimes broke down and this led to quite a lot of hesitation and a bit of repetition.

Estimated IELTS Speaking Band: 5

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