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.

Section 1

* Tell me about your family.

* Where do they live?

* What do you like doing when you are with your family?

Topic 1 Health and Exercise

* What sorts of things do you do to keep healthy?

* What other sorts of things are popular in your country to keep healthy?

* What sorts of exercise do you not like doing?

* How can we get young people to do more exercise?

Topic 2 Music

* What is your favourite type of music and why?

* Do you think that a country’s traditional music is important for its culture? (Why?)

* Why do people’s tastes in music often change as they get older?

* What are some of the different uses of music in your country?

Section 2

Describe your favourite film or television programme.

You should say:

when you watch it

who is in it

what happens in it

and explain why you particularly like it

Section 3

Topic 1 TV and Radio

* Why do you think television has become so popular over the last 50 years?

* Do you think that there is still a future for radio with television being so popular?

* Which is better for presenting the news: television or radio? (Why?)

* How can we stop young people today watching too much television?

Topic 2 Films and Cinema

* Can you compare television and cinema as forms of entertainment?

* Do people in your country prefer American films or films from their part of the World?

* How do you think World cinema will develop over the next 50 years?

* Do you feel that “film stars” are overpaid for what they do?


Examiner’s Commentary

The student interviewed was Ilaria, an Italian female. The Speaking Test is in three sections. Let’s first look at the each of these sections in turn to identify the strong points as well as the weaknesses.

Section 1

Ilaria was very confident and gave full answers to all the questions. It started well when Ilaria gave a very full answer to the first question about her family and, without being prompted, went on to talk about where her family lived as well. This kind of full answer going further than the question asks is a good sign that the student is comfortable in English and can talk with easy fluency. The rest of Section 1 went equally well. Ilaria was not sporty so the questions from Topic 1 on Health and Exercise could not have suited her that well. In spite of this Ilaria gave full answers to all the questions. This is important as Ilaria showed that she could speak capably on a subject about which she knew little and had little interest in. On the other hand in Topic 2 Ilaria showed the examiner that she could answer the questions at length in English. Because of this Ilaria only needed 2 questions to be asked in Topic 2. Also in reply to the second question in Topic 2, Ilaria answers Yes, absolutely and then goes on to explain her answer without the need for the examiner to have to ask Why. This is often a good sign of a good, fluent candidate. Section 1 was very well answered by Ilaria and I do not feel that there were any bad points.

Section 2

Ilaria continued with the same fluency as Section 1. The examiner allowed Ilaria to talk for the full 2 minutes and she had no problem doing this. Not all IELTS interviews are this long but it is always up to the examiner to decide the length of the interview and not the candidate. Ilaria hardly took any of the one available minute for preparation. This is absolutely no problem. It is wholly up to the candidate to decide to take all or part of the minute. It does not affect the marking of the test in any way. However, the longer that a student has to prepare the talk, then the easier it will probably be for the student to speak well. Therefore I would always advise candidates to take advantage of the full minute. Ilaria does not talk that fast, says erm quite a lot and has frequent, short hesitations. None of these is a problem. It is not a mistake to speak slowly. Indeed, if candidates talk slowly, then they are less likely to make any fluency, grammatical or vocabulary errors and subsequently are more confident and comfortable. The hesitations and erms are only normal features of someone who has to talk for 2 minutes on a quickly prepared subject. Ilaria talked with some fluency on the subject in the question and covered the areas that the question asked to be talked about with detail and relevant examples. Finally the examiner asked a question to finish off Section 2. Ilaria gave a short answer to this and that is all that is required. This Section 2 is shorter than a lot of others but this is because Ilaria did not use the minute available for preparation. Again there are no bad parts in this section.

Section 3

In Topic 1 Ilaria’s answers were not as full as earlier. She does say though often that she didn’t know much about the subject. Despite this she still managed full answers to all the questions. However, as long as a student answers each question to some extent, the student can then wait for the question(s) that they can really take advantage of and speak longer about. Then in Topic 2 she had more to say and spoke at greater length in reply to the questions. So, although some answers were shorter than others, there are no bad parts to Section 3.


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


Ilaria’s pronunciation of English is excellent which allows her to be easily understood at all times. There is a trace of an accent in her English but this does not interfere with intelligibility at any time.

Grammatical Range and Accuracy

Ilaria accurately and appropriately uses a wide range of grammatical structures.

Lexical Resource

There is the occasional slightly inappropriate word choice but this does not happen very often and it does not affect the listener’s understanding.

Fluency and Coherence

Ilaria’s fluency and coherence is very good. Ilaria’s language is appropriate and the joining language is all correctly used. Ilaria’s answers to questions are logically developed and there is little repetition or self-correction.

Estimated IELTS Speaking Band: 9