IELTS Speaking: Should I use Sir or Madam

Hi guys,

Here are some tips about how to address the examiner. I asked you if you should use Sir or Madam when speaking to the examiner in your IELTS speaking test. You all had very different opinions about that. Let me explain.

Using Sir or Madam Tips


The IELTS speaking test is informal. This means you speak to the examiner in a friendly manner as through you were chatting to a friend. Yes, you should be polite, but you do not use Sir or Madam.

Referring to the Examiner

The only questions you might ask in the test are:

  • Could you repeat that please?
  • Could you explain what you mean please? (only in part 3)

When you ask these questions you do NOT use Sir or Madam. It is actually incorrect to do so. The word “please” is the polite way of asking, no titles are needed.

When is Sir or Madam Used?

Sir and Madam are mainly used:

  1. in the hospitality industry when you are working in a hotel, for example, and you speak to a customer
  2. in formal letter writing when you do not know the name of the person you are writing to.

You do not refer to people in the street or doctors or teachers or anyone else as Sir or Madam. You should not refer to me as Madam.

Using the Examiner’s Name

The examiner will introduce their name. You can use it or not use it – it’s up to you. It is certainly not necessary to use their name. If you use their name, then you will use their first name. For example, if the examiner’s name is Sarah Biggins, you will call the examiner Sarah.


You should NOT use Sir or Madam in the IELTS speaking test. Your politeness to the examiner is by smiling, looking them in the eye when they are talking to you and when you talk to them, and saying “please” when you ask a question.


I wish to make it clear again.  I DO NOT OFFER A QUESTION/ANSWER SERVICE.

Always remember when you post a comment that I do not offer an answer service. I am sorry that many students will not receive a reply to their comments, but I work alone and cannot possibly reply to everyone. Always read comments written to other students in the past – you might find your answer there. This is not a conspiracy on my part, this is life – I can’t answer 2500 comments every month. Please do not get upset if your comment is not answered.

IELTS Liz website is to give you access to over 300 pages of lessons, tips, model answers and free video lessons. The materials on this site are extensive and you can learn a lot from them – this is the sole purpose of my site – to provide you access to my lessons. It is not my aim to provide an answer service.

Please enjoy the using and learning from my lessons and tips.

All the best




  1. Lucky mahi says

    Thanks for your consultant

  2. Very helpful ! Thanks sharing

  3. Oluwasola Akanmu says

    Thanks Liz

  4. Appreciate for your contribution… Thanks

  5. Muhammad Hamza says

    Looking for speaking partner…..
    If any one interested,can call
    +92-3154047552 whatsapp

  6. Looking for speaking partner.
    Ping me +91-9566261511

  7. Sunnatillo says

    Thank you so much Liz!!

  8. Rim El Badaoui says

    Thank you very much Liz.

  9. Tdyke Daniel says

    Thanks a million Liz
    You are a darling

  10. Thnkuu very much mam 😝😝😝😝

  11. Thank you very much for your great comment for it !!!

  12. Dina Musefuka says

    Thanks Luz

  13. Pankaj Prakash says

    Thanks Liz

  14. thanks Liz

  15. Ketan Bhagat says

    Thanks Liz,

    You have given useful things for IELTS speaking test.


  16. Thank you Liz

  17. Thank u Liz, your tips are wonderful. Now I know (sir or madam) off the way.

  18. Thank you , Liz.

  19. Pabitra K Bhattacharjee says

    thanks Liz for your nice explanatory message

  20. The help you give is much appreciated. Thank you Liz

  21. Ogbagha glory says

    Thanks so much Liz, I really appreciate this lesson.

  22. Thank you so much dear Liz

  23. Thanks a lot Liz to clarify this question.

  24. Dear Liz,
    I want to thank you for your efforts which helped me to improve my scores, because your website and YouTube videos were very useful. I really appreciate that.

  25. Saumen Barua says

    Thanks a lot Liz.I can’t express how much I am grateful to you.

  26. Thanks Alot Liz🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸14th of This month I am going to Take an Exam, I hope I can get a good Mark, Your website 8s wonderful,🌹🌹🌹🌹

  27. Thanks Liz.
    so nice explanation.

  28. Thank you so much for your dedicated work aiming to help IELTS takers.

  29. Anunkor Chisom says

    Tnk u Liz, we appreciate ur effort towards oyr success

  30. Thank you Liz for the clarification on the use of “sir and madam”

    Please can I great the examiners on entry into the exam room by saying “good morning” or “good afternoon” ??

  31. Ameet Lohano says

    This is really interesting information you shared. Mostly, during any kind of examination candidates use these words (Sir or Madam) very oftentimes. Now I get it crystals clear to use or not during speaking. Thanks for being informative.

  32. Thank you

  33. Thank you so.. much Mam for your support <3 <3

  34. Gangadhari Sowmya says

    I want some tips in listening especially in sentance completing plz help me mam

  35. Thank you Liz to clarify this question, so now I learned how to refer or call the examiner.

    Thank you

  36. Rawia Obida says

    Thank you so much Liz
    appreciate it.

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