IELTS Speaking: Using Sir or Madam

Hi guys,

I have had many students asking me how to address the examiner during the speaking test. Let me check what you think and what you understand.


  • Do you think it is ok to call the examiner “Sir” or “Madam” in the speaking test?


Post your answer below.

I’ll post my answer on tomorrow.

All the best


Notice: Please remember that I am actually on holiday until May for health reasons – I might extent that holiday if I am not well enough at that point. But this month I will post a couple of lessons for you. Also remember that I do NOT offer a question/answer service on this website. There are over 10,000 comments waiting approval – I can’t answer all questions.


  1. laveen thakurwani says

    Test date:-21-05-2018
    Venue-Jaipur India
    Topics:-Topics were
    Your full name
    Work or study
    Why u choose this field
    How was your first day at university
    Then topic was travel
    Have u travel recently
    What are the factors u think before travelling
    Where u would like to go in future
    Do u use maps
    U use online or paper map
    Do u ask any direction from the other people
    Cue card define a magazine
    People prefer reading magazine or newspaper
    Which is common
    What skills journalist should have
    Are there jobs interesting
    The news what they publish always correct
    Do they modify the news

  2. If the examiner introduces himself/herself at the beginning, we should address by the first name. However, in case we didn’t get a chance to learn the examiner’s name, need to address as Sir/mam

  3. Name a partner for speaking

  4. Looking for speaking partner. anyone interested ?
    Do get in touch +91-9566261511

  5. Hello Liz, I hope you will get back soon & relief all the Best in your leave.

  6. I think Sir is little good as you can’t call him normally as well as friendly, in my test time I called him as Sir as it’s formal way to call some one whom consider as teacher .
    Best regards.

  7. Hello, thank you very much for kind assistance in providing very useful information and lessons about IELTS exam.

    wish you a pleasant holiday and good health.



  8. Magdy Youssef says


  9. Get well soon ma..

  10. Diego Gonzalez says

    No, I think it´s not necessary because address the examiner with sir or madam is very formal, in my opinion is better address the examiner by your name

  11. usman farooq says

    Dear Liz,
    it’s not necessary to call some as sit/madam but these titles show politness for someone who is unknown for you..

  12. Ganiyu Azeez says

    In Africa we appreciate respecting others and it is considered being rude and abusive calling adult by name. Therefore, based on my own background I feel calling examiner by “sir” or “madame” is appropriate.

  13. Mostly we use sir/madam if the gender is not known especially when we are sending emails cause we don’t know who is going to read our paper and to give respect but in this case we do know them so, we can call their name if applicable if not better to call sir/madam to show respect for the examiner.


  14. No , we cant use sir or madam. ‘Sir ‘is a knighthood and we cant call someone by saying that. The best way is call by first name.

  15. I think it is better to call by name rather than address by Sir or madam.

  16. Frank Kofi says

    I think you can refer to the examiner as Sir/Madam during the introduction. After the examiner mentions his or her name, then you can refer to them by their name. This would make the conversation more relax and boost your confidence.

  17. P S Karnik says

    I think the candidate should address the examiner by Sir/ Madam ( not Mam)

  18. olu isaac says

    You can address the examiner by using sir/madame but it’s not necessary or compulsory. My opinion

  19. Dear Liz,
    I hope you get better soon.
    I think that I should avoid using “Sir” or “Madam” in emails, informal letters, especially if I know her/his name. These words are usable during the exam but I prefer “Dear”, “Ms./Mr.”

  20. KP Singh says

    Get Well Soon, Dear Liz…….
    Really You are Best Tutor.

  21. Nirav Raval says

    Yes, we can use sir or madam for Thanking them or answering the questions.
    It is the way to show our politeness which will help you to get good bands.

  22. Yes , I think you can use Sir or Madam

  23. No, I think we should not call the examiner Sir or Madam. We can call the examiner by name.

  24. blessings says

    Most of the times it is the examiner that asks questions to the candidate, therefore it’s very rare to find a chance of addressing
    the examiner as sir/ madam. If you need clarification, then you just say, ” I beg your pardon, would you please repeat what you have just said ” if you still need to address them by name Don’t use the words ‘ sir/madam’ but rather their first name or last name ( but avoid titles such as Mr or miss/ mrs)

  25. Thank you madam

  26. Karma Cheki says

    Its better to get option from examiner , how to address them.

  27. No, i think they can called by their names

  28. Ramkrishna says

    i think it is ok but not requisite …

  29. I think it’s wotd which shows respect towrds examiner so we should give respect

  30. The examiner will introduce himself so I would consider to call him by his name.
    It will also depend on what he calls me, Mrs.M or by first name.

  31. Ali Jawad says

    i didn’t mention madam in my ielts speaking test and i got 7 bands in speaking. I think instead of focusing on this minor issue we must overcome our other mistakes.

  32. Sir or Madam is so colonial that people from the subcontinent who were colonized still stick to it. There is no need to refer to anyone as Sir or Madam. There will not be an opportunity where you would need to address them by their name. If you want to show respect to the examiner then let them complete their question and confidently look in their eyes while answering. Sir/ Madam are not required

  33. I think it’s best to ask the examiner how one should address him/her when the introductions are being done (Part 0).

  34. Yes we can call examiner Sir or Madam

  35. Dear Liz,
    I had listened and watched many samples of speaking tests, none of them urged the test takers to direct their speech towards the examiner. firstly, the examiner is right in front of you so you’ll probably not need to address him by his name. Secondly, the speaking test is one-way question test where the examiner is the only person who asks questions and you just answer in general unless you need him to explain or repeat something and this, however, doesn’t need his name. For instance:
    Excuse me, would you please repeat the question again?
    Excuse me, do you mean …..?

  36. zeeshan safdar says

    yes its good to say sir/madame

  37. Hi ,I think we can call them madam or sir according to their gender..

  38. No i don’t think

  39. Aswin Bhonsle says

    Liz, I hope God gives more strength and courage get well soon.

  40. I think you don’t need to use sir or madam because the examiner will introduce himself or herself by mentioning their names while I presume that to be so just with the same format in Task 1, however, the examiner did call your own name so why not.
    In conclusion, you use sir or madam when you don’t know the person’s name because is formal

  41. You don’t need to use sir or madam because the examiner will introduce himself or herself by mentioning their names while I presume that to be so just with the same format in Task 1, however, the examiner did call your own name so why not.
    In conclusion, you use sir or madam when you don’t know the person’s name because is formal

  42. Would the need to use such salutation ever arise? to me, I don’t think it necessary. go straight to the point,
    Can you please repeat the question, sir?
    Can you please repeat the question?

    Sir or Madam will not add more points.

  43. would the need to use such salutation ever arise? to me, I don’t think it necessary. go straight to the point,
    Can you please repeat the question, sir?
    Can you please repeat the question?

    Sir or wont add more points.

  44. Dear liz
    This is to state that I Sibghatullah am from Afghanistan and I found your website on YouTube.
    There are many people are getting benefit from your website including me.
    For the reason that I am not able to pay the fee of your IELTS learning course.
    To clarify this more on the one side we are suffering from war day by day while on the other side I’m a hard worker as well an honest person trying so hard to pass this exam.
    Concluding that your help may reach us to our our goals.

  45. Daudi Marwa says

    Yes. I think it’s okay.

  46. Shittu Afeez says

    You do not address the examiner as sir or madam. U can him by his name if you are OK by that or you keep silent. That’s my opinion.

  47. Yes you can address him or her as sir or madam

  48. I think by addressing the examiner by any Sir name we can show the respect . So I think it is necessary to call them madam or sir

  49. Yeaa from my perspective it’s not mandatory to call our examiner by SIR/MAM but if we use these kinda words then it would also be absolutely fine..

  50. Michelle says

    Wishing you quick recovery and thanks for being there for us. For the question, I think is polite to address them as sir/madam especially, when the interviewer is older.

  51. Yes it is common etiquette,to use Sir/Madam,
    They are certainly respectable ,so we have to give speak with them respectfully.

  52. I think its okay to addressed them by their tag names since they are examiners and your are bonafide candidate

  53. Yes, we can but calling by their name would be better.

  54. speaking test is one kind of tests and the examiner is taking the test.
    we can call him/her by addressing “sir/madam”.

    but if he/she mention his/her name, we can call examiner with his/her name.

  55. Hi Liz,

    Hope you are recoreving well and thank you for posting lesson.
    I think you can adress the examiner as Sir/Madam but if they introduce themself you should call they by his/her name.
    Thank you!

  56. It’s better not to use sir or madam. We can just call then by their name

  57. While “Sir” seems relatively neutral and is used in a variety of places as a polite way to address a man, “Madam” seems a tad exaggerated because you’re either going to use it in a letter “Dear Sir/Madam” or in a French restaurant in an English speaking country or some over the top snobby place. For a woman, if I didn’t want to use her last name (even if she/he says his/her first name, it seems odd to be that familiar with them), I’d use “Ma’am” which is a friendly, common form of courtesy (at least in the US).

  58. Hi Liz,
    I think addressing them to their first name is much more appropriate. Some of my co workers feel offended when we call them Sir or Madam. Get well soon!

  59. Get well soon. I think it is OK to use Sir / Ma except if the examiner tells you otherwise.

  60. Hello everyone.
    I think it is better to start with Sir / Madam when you introduce yourself.
    Good afternoon, Sir. My full name is ….. .
    later on, it is ok to use the examiner first name.
    As you might know, David, ……….. .

  61. Vandana mankotia says

    We should not address by sir or madam rather we should address them by their first name

  62. Padmavathi says

    Hi Liz,
    I would definitely call them as Sir or Madam as they are complete strangers in respectable positions.

    Get well soon Liz!

  63. I think it will be better to address the examiner using their first name, as western cultures prefer to be called that way rather than using mam or sir.

  64. Dear Liz,

    Many thanks four your help with IELTS, hopefully you will recover very soon……in my prayers will you.

    In response to your question, I think say Sir/Madam in the speaking introduction is correct but after him/her say his/her name I could treat them by his/her own name.

  65. It’s better to call them by their name.. it will make us more confident like as chating with friends

  66. Yes I can use it.

  67. I think,sir for a male
    Madam for a female

  68. Sanya Oluyede says

    To me , i think it okay to Sir or Madam , i if need arises for it . It is a sign of respect especially if the examiner is older than you

    • Sanya Oluyede says

      To me , i think it is okay to say Sir or Madam depends on the gender, if need arises for it. It is a sign of respect especially if the examiner is older than you.

  69. Rawia Obida says

    I think no need, we can just use the pronoun ” you” if necessary as normal conversation

  70. Yes because l think it shows respect

  71. I think there is no need to address the examiner in any way. You are getting questions, just answer to that questions, noting more…

  72. Ofcoarse, we should definitely call her/him by Sir/Madam
    As they were there to evaluate us

    So it is apparent that we should respect them by calling them Sir/Madam

    In addition to this, it plays a pivotal part to exihibit your etiquettes

  73. you dont need to tell them Sir/madam
    just say … Hi how are you .. good to see you
    have a great time .. it was nice to talk with you … that is it

  74. Mohamed El.Nawasra says

    No, it’s not preferred to call the examiner Sir or Madam.
    But it’s better to call him/her with the first name.

  75. Gurii randhawa says

    Yes sir or madam is the formal and much appropriate word for interacting….

  76. I believe we will address them by their last name.

  77. No, it is not ok to call the examiner “Sir” or “Madam” you mentioned that before in one of yours videos (IELTS speaking). We should eventually call him /her by his/her name .

  78. HINA AFROZ says

    No it’s not needed. Because questions asked there are not dialogue based.
    Rest ur expert opinion is awaited.

  79. No, speaking test is a informal/casual conversation. Addressing examier with Sir/Madam is formal. Student can refer him/her with name or “you”.

  80. It is all depends, if the examiner looks very formal then better call them Sir or Madam. otherwise, after introduction, you can call name directly.

  81. nasser M says

    no the examiner will introduce him self, before you start your speaking so you can use his name by saying: Hi JOHN or good afternoon peter..

  82. I think yes to say sir or madam

  83. No ,we can not use

    • Ruth Tinka Nabawanuka says

      If The examiner introduced her or his name in the beginning I would not hesitate calling him his name. Simple. E.g good afternoon Liz. Excuse me Liz I beg your pardon.

  84. Rahima Binta Bashar says

    In my last ielts exam in November 2017, I did not address my examiner with sir or madam,but I scored band 7 in speaking, so in my point of view , addressing the examiner either sir or madam in speaking is not important, important is grammar, fluency, vocabulary etc that one can find in speaking marking criteria.

  85. it is an optional, candidates could call the examiner either sir/madam or their names. both way it is fine.

  86. jessy ashok says

    Get well soon mam

  87. Bamidele says

    I believe one can use Sir or Madam but should not be abused by using now and then.
    And Lizzy May you be healed and respond to treatment IJN.

  88. Hi Liz. Good afternoon. I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary to use sir/madam. However I feel it’s impolite to just say for example, “Yes.” instead of “Yes madam/sir.” when asked a question. I think it depends on the individual and so Yes Madam, I believe it’s alright.
    Btw…I pray you feel better than ever at the end of May, you’ve been such a great help to me and I’m grateful. Thank you so much for all your help with IELTS practice.

  89. Grace Iheji says

    I think its not necessary to call them sir or madam.

  90. Mirjalol says

    No, I think it is false

  91. Yes we can call Sir or Madam.

  92. Only once or twice but not repeat in every answer

  93. Yes we can call sir or madam

  94. I think every student called to the examiner by his /her name. Because of they aspect respect from us that’s why

    • which part exam you want to call their names ?!!! cause it is not 2 way conversation … it is one way …. he or she ask and you have to answer it …. not sir madam .. not her or his…. just use for example …. you asked my every interesting q .. just this

  95. Felicia Enechi says


  96. Take care of your health. will keep you in my prayers. wishing you a steady recovery

  97. It is more appropriate to use their first name. In a situation, when one is not able to recall the name then it may be used occasionally.

  98. Joy Umanah says

    Get well soon Ma
    You are the best IELTS teacher.

  99. I don’t think we need to address the examiner as Sir/Madam. They will tell their name at the beginning of the exam. So, we can simply address them by their name.

  100. Hi Liz,

    With regard to your question, I prefer to call the examiner by his / her name directly without any title.
    Calling the male examiner as sir, I believe would be fine but not sure if calling the female examiner Madam would be ok.

  101. Vaisakh G says

    Its not necessary. I think we can call her by name by adding Ms.

  102. I would imagine it would be OK as it is a mark of respect for the other person. If they introduce themself it would be better to use their name.

  103. Abhishek says

    I think we might ask him for example
    If u don’t mind can I call u sir / madam or the name when he introduced him/ or her ?

  104. Khalid Elkarsani says

    I think no need to use titles during the speaking exam,

  105. Dumesh Chanaka says

    I think its not good to address in “Sir” or “Madam”.
    Its better to tell their name.

  106. Isra ilyas says

    I think it is fine to use Sir or Madam.But it will be more impressive if we refer to them by there names as they to tell us while introducing themselves.

  107. Diwintan says

    I think we should not adress examiner as sir or madam we may be familer with examiner , what my experience was I addressed as her name I think I felt really comfortable ?

  108. Fadi Abdelhak says

    Dear Liz,

    Please, accept my heartfelt wishes for a speedy recovery. Take good care of yourself, and thank you for your contribution.



  109. No, it’s not necessary!

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Content is protected !!