Common Questions for IELTS Speaking Part 1

There are over 15 types of questions which frequently come in IELTS speaking part 1. Even though the topics change, the common questions are often repeat so you should develop techniques for each type of question. Watch this video tutorial to learn what types of questions the examiner usually asks in IELTS speaking part 1 and also learn useful tips to help you identify the aim of each question.  Transcript

Hello my name is Liz. In this lesson I want to look at a different types of questions that the examiner might ask you and IELTS speaking part 1. Now as you know you need to prepare lots of different topics so for example family hobbies going out birthdays but you also need to prepare the different types of questions. So even though the examiner will ask you about different topics the questions are often the same. Let’s have a look at some common questions for IELTS speaking part 1.

So let take a look at a common topic and that’s the topic of cooking. It’s a common topic to get in speaking part 1. Now you can see a list of  questions here so let’s take a look at these questions more closely. What you can see is that each question begins with a different question word and this is very important to understand about speaking part 1 because every topic that you get in speaking part 1 can have questions that start with these question words. So for example, Read more….  

IELTS Speaking Part 1: Common Questions


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  1. Hello mam
    how was your health?Today, I had a speaking test. I was seen examiner notes my score like this in Part 1 at 4:45, Part 2 at 8, and in Part 3, I believe around 8. I made a mistake in Part 3 when the examiner asked me about young people. I initially thought she was asking about children, but then she corrected me. I said sorry and proceeded to talk about youth. Is there any negative impact from this mistake?I believe I did well in Part 1, and I feel confident about Part 2. I spoke for about 1 minute and 20 seconds and then examiner stopped me, but I noticed that she marked it as 8. I am worried about my overall score. Can you provide a rough estimation based on this information. she is in hurry.

    • There is nothing in your test that is unusual. The numbers the examiner notes on paper is the timing of the test, not your score. When the examiner guides you on a question, it doesn’t impact your score because understanding the question isn’t part of the marking system. The examiner will always stop you at the appropriate time in part 2. Relax. Your test was normal and your score will be based on the level of English you produced in the test from start to finish.

  2. Hi Liz, I just want to ask if I made a joke, may it affect my score.
    for example, the last question “did you ever cook when you were a child? ”
    and my answer is
    yes if making cereal counts,
    actually no I don’t remember that I have ever cooked in my childhood

    • Sure, it’s fine. “… if making cereal counts” is idiomatic and great for the band score. But as a rule, joking won’t help your score and also probably won’t damage it either. It just isn’t something that is worth doing unless it pops out accidentally. Remember, be strategic in your approach to the test.

      • I totally agree with you
        I asked because it came to my mind spontaneously when i read the question and made me wondering if it is okay to say something like that.
        Thank you 🥰

  3. Afeez Atunshe says

    Hi Liz,

    I’m having my speaking test tomorrow, I hope it will be as easy as the ones you published here.

    Wish me luck😊

    • Don’t forget that the examiner isn’t interested in your knowledge. So, be friendly, open, honest and chatty. Try to enjoy it. Good luck 🙂

  4. Hey Liz, I’ve had my IELTS exam today and I thought I’d list the questions that I can remember from the speaking part of the exam. Hope that this can be of help.

    Part 1
    1- what’s your name?
    2- do you work or study?
    2- where do you work?
    3- what do you do at work?
    4- who helps you at work?
    5- how do you schedule your time at work?
    6- talk about something lost that you’ve found?
    7- how did you handle the situation?
    8- talk about something that you have lost
    9- what do you think about the usage of social media in finding lost items?

    Part 2:
    Talk about a time when you received something for free
    -who gave it to you
    -what did you do
    -cant remember the third point

    Part 3:
    1- What kind of social services should a government provide?
    2- do you think everyone should be treated equally when receiving these services?
    3- what do you think about the public transport system?
    3- what do you think about the value of money?
    4- do you think people value things that they’ve received for free more than the items they paid for?
    5- do you think people can give value to something invaluable?
    6- what do you think about branding?
    7- do you think branding could give value to something of no real value?

    • Anazor Onyinye F says

      What a tricky question you have in no 5. If one doesn’t know the meaning of invaluable, he or she is bound to fail. NB Invaluable means vauable beyond estimation, extremely useful, indispensable.

  5. Prince says

    Hi Liz, My speaking exam is tomorrow as well as my LWR. Thank you for your astonishing Tutorials for almost a month that I have been following on here. I am really grateful for this. wish me well. Thanks a lot

  6. Hi Liz,
    Thank you so much for the immense wealth of knowledge sharing. Every article is worth reading and is indeed insightful. Taken a lot from the tips.

    I have my speaking test tomorrow and LRW day after.

    Wish me luck.


  7. Yash Patel says

    In speaking, can we use ‘ ya’ or ‘yep’? or we need to give an answer by saying ‘Yes’?

  8. Hi Liz, the content is really helpful.

    I have one question. I don’t use my last name if official documents. So if examiner asks for my full name , should I stick to the name mention in my docs (without last name) or mention my complete name.

    Thank you

    • I don’t actually understand your position because I can’t imagine not using your family name in documents. I suggest you talk to your test centre directly about this.

  9. Thank you Liz. Your IELTS tutorials are insightful and absolutely best. Keep up the good work.

  10. Amit Verma says

    Hi Liz,
    I am preparing for GT and planning for appear on 23rd March.
    I have one question that is speaking test happen on same same day of other exam (LRW) or on some other day?

    • The speaking test could happen on the same day, up to 7 days before or up to 7 days after. You will get a date for the speaking test. Contact your test centre.

  11. Hello Liz mam,
    My Speaking exam was 07.02.2019 . I was really astonished at that time because my examiner was interrupting me in part-1 and part-3 too. I could not tell a second line too 🙁 . I was attempting to say in elaborate at least 2 lines but she was asking me next question overlapping my answer 🙁 Later I could not answer properly in part-3 and she ended my speaking in 7-8 minutes 🙁 🙁 why ? I am afraid. result will be given at 22/23 feb,2019
    Cue card :
    *** Describe Something you started that is good for your health
    – What is it ?
    – when you started ?
    – whether you enjoyed it or not ?

    • Thank for sharing 🙂 It is 100% normal for the examiner to interrupt your answers in part 1 and part 3. It is a normal part of the IELTS speaking test and you should know this before you enter the test room. No speaking test can last under 11 mins. The rules state it MUST be between 11 and 14 mins.

      • Archan says

        But here he says that the exam ends in 7-8 mins is it possible.?

        • Speaking tests are between 11 and 14 mins long. Not more and not less. The examiner will be aware of the correct time, whereas candidates usually estimate. That is the reason many candidates estimate incorrectly.

    • Mr N P says

      Many times examiners interrupt because candidates are talking off-topic or obviously repeating memorized answers.

      A lot of candidates think if they just keep saying anything, it’s helpful, but the opposite is true.

      It’s also very common in part 3, that you will asked asked a general question like “how do people celebrate in your country?”, but candidates answer describing their experience: “I dont know about others, but in my family we celebrate by …”. This should be interrupted and the examiner should bring you back on topic.

      Part 1 and 2 is talking about your experiences, part 3 is describing a wider experience that may not be personal to you.

  12. Esma Gumberidze says

    Hi Liz! I have just returned from my speaking interview. Thanks for thee videos. I wish, I had seen them earlier. I intuitively knew some of the things, you have been mentioning, but still. It’s always good to be reassured. I’m wondering, though, if I’ll be penalized for prodominantly American and or plain axent in the speaking part.

    • Glad my videos have been useful. IELTS is an international test and, in the speaking test, mixed accents are fine.

      • Esma Gumberidze says

        Thanks! Am glad to hear that! I asked about this, because I’ve seen some tips suggesting to practice and be aware of the vocab and grammar more common and used in Brittish and even Australian axents.

  13. Hlo mam I wanted to know that from where I can get answers for speaking part 1 questions so that I can develop ideas

      • Thanks a lot mam ,You are awesome if there were rating out of 10 I would have give u 11 ,one for your smile 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏

    • Tejal jani says

      Hi Liz
      I wrote my ielts lwr on 10th general module listening was good so was reading. Task 1 in writing was letter to your manager about organizing party for your kalliuge
      1. Why and for whom you want to arrange party
      2. What are your ideas for party
      3. What do you want your manager to help you with

      Task 2 was
      It’s a concern for many countries about the increase of rubbish
      1. Why is it happening
      2. What can be done to reduce it also give an example to it

      I m going to appear for speaking tomorrow

  14. Krishanthan S says

    Good day Liz. I have a query in the Letter writing section. Do we necessarily need to add the ‘Subject: ‘ before the body, for official/formal letters? Since I have the habit of writing the subject for formal letters.

  15. Abhijeet says

    Hi Liz, today was my speaking test.
    Though I think i performed well, I think I messed up at one question. The examiner asked me “When was the last time you visited a city?” Since I am already staying in a city I was confused and said “I’d say today, since I am already staying in Mumbai which is a city.” But she absolutely didn’t consider that answer and asked me the same question again to which I had to say “Probably two months back, like in April I had visited a city ..”. Am I going to lose marks here?

    • You will certainly not lose marks. The examiner should have accepted your answer. Your answer was completely fine – it showed good grammar (Id say…) and an ability to handle the situation in English. If your score isn’t as you wanted, think of a remark – but really, don’t worry and wait for your results 🙂

  16. nitin says

    Speaking test
    9/3/18, Delhi,India

    Part 1
    what is your full name?
    where do you live?How far from the test centre?
    Is it a good place to live?
    How long have you lived here?
    Do you like to listen music?
    Do you read newspaper often?which part do you like to read first?
    How do you like to get news now?

    Part 2: Cue card
    A tv show you like to watch
    Part 3:
    Are there any other programs that you watch besides the one you told ?
    Do you have to tell others about it too?
    Do you like to watch it alone ?
    Do yo prefer CDs or online for listening songs/movies?why?
    are game shows and chat shows presented on TV useful?why or why not?
    tv or laptop for watching movies,etc?
    Can tv reporters show news objectively .how?

    I stammer when i speak somtimes.i did it in the speaking test also.would it affect my score? 🙁

  17. Chandra says

    Hii Liz,
    Tomorrow is my speaking test but still now I can’t well prepared in task2.. Please tell me some tips to expressing the essay

  18. I scored overall 7.5 but only 6.5 8in speaking test i was asked about teenager and in part 2 person with good parenting skill and in part 3 he was out of track and ask me about hobbies,and he rarely had eye contact with me as he was busy flipping pages of file he was asking me question from? So shall I go for EOR?

    • Your speaking score is based on fluency, grammar, vocab and pron – think about how well you demonstrated each of those criteria. If you feel your performance was worth more than band 6.5, it is possible to consider a remark.

  19. Sushanth says

    Mam!i havw watched almost all your videos..Any final tips for the exam because i have the LRW tom and speaking the day after!thanks in advance

  20. SKYCLONE says

    Hello there,
    I need a speaking partner. My exam will be on December. Please don’t hesitate to provide your skype ID and I’ll be in touch.
    Thanks Liz for this fantastic video tutorial.

  21. Prince patel says

    Can I use ‘and’ frequently in my part -2 of
    Speaking test if I want think about next sentence

  22. hayzed says

    My test is tomorrow and I am really nervous.

  23. Simar says

    Hi mam…ur tips r really working thnkyou..
    Tomorrow I m having my speaking test nd I m not well.. M caught by extreme cold nd fever.. M sneezing almost after 2-3 mins..will dis trouble my score???

    • The examiner cannot give you more time because you sneeze for 2 or 3 minutes. This means you will lose opportunities. However, don’t worry. Just make sure that you answer all questions directly and show a good range of grammar tenses and expand your answers whenever you can.

  24. Margaret says

    My speaking exam is tomorrow. I have been practising. I pray I pass

    • Be chatty and friendly. Remember the examiner wants to hear your English !! Good luck!

  25. Sanjoe dela cruz says

    Hi liz, is the speaking test formal or informal?thanks in advance.

    • Liz says

      It is an informal chat with the examiner. It is not a formal interview.

      • Hi Liz,
        If the examiner asks me about studying and Im a recent graduate, should I answer with past simple tense or present simple tense?

        • If you are no longer a student, you will use the past simple and present perfect: I have just finished … / I studied …

  26. Hi Liz
    Thanku so much for posting a vast range of valuable lessons. I have learned a lot from ur videos. I just got a question in my mind that we describe both sides in discussion essay or advantages/ disadvantages essay.
    Do we need to write about both sides in opinion essay too ?

  27. Hello Liz, I had my speaking test on the 16th of feb,in the part 3 after answering about four questions fluently, I was asked another question by the examiner and I couldn’t hear what she was saying, so I said pls come again three times and she said that’s the end of the speaking test.Pls will that affect my score?

    • It shouldn’t affect your score. You are not tested on comprehension or ideas. You are only marked on the language you produced and the quality / range of it. Also if that was time up, then there is nothing you can do anyway. As long as you produced a good range of language and showcased your skills, you will be ok. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you 🙂

  28. Alekhya Reddy says

    Hi Liz,

    In speaking if I’m asked of a topic which I’m not familiar with, is there a possibility that I can request for a change? as I will not have much to talk about.


  29. Simran says

    Hello mam,
    Your posts helping me alot for my prepration for IELTS GT.

  30. Mubashir says

    Tomorrow is my Speaking Test 13 Dec, Hyderabad INDIA.

    Please pray for me i hope i’ll get good band score..

  31. Dear Liz,

    Thank you for your resources here. They are so helpful. I had my speaking test today and it was a wonderful experience. I had so much to talk about in my Part 2 that I didn’t realize that my two minutes was up and the examiner had to stop me. Hope I won’t loose mark for that?
    Am looking forward to my listening, reading and writing on Saturday. I will post out my result here once available.

    Thank you.

    • It’s great that you had so much to talk about in part 2. And it’s no problem that you were still talking at the end of 2 minutes. In fact, that’s a good thing – it will help your score in fluency. Good luck on Saturday. See this page for useful tips before your test: 🙂

      • Thanks. I will keep you posted.

      • Hello Liz,

        Trust you are doing great? Once again, thank you for your great resources. I have recommended your site to all my friends. My listening and writing test on September 24th went well. However, the reading didn’t go has planned as I discovered that my glasses was not in my glass case when I got to the center. My reading is slow without my glasses. I was able to complete 30 questions and just had to guess the remaining answers because time wasn’t on my side. I am just hoping on God for a miracle now as I have put everything into the exam. My result will be out on Friday the 7th and I will update you on the outcome. Once again, thanks a lot. You are much appreciated.

        • That is such a terrible shame. I’m really sorry to hear about your bad luck. Miracles can happen and. even so, with 30 questions answered and other guessed, there is hope. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you 🙂

  32. marymaritha says

    thank you so much, really find your lessons interesting and is helpful.
    I think I really have a lot of work to do on my writing part 2

  33. Shinas Safiq says

    Dear Mrs liz,
    you are really doing a wonderful job in helping people like us excel in the ielts exam.
    My speaking test is tomorrow and I have gone through most of your videos here.i hope to do well in my test.

  34. Ismi says

    Hi Liz,

    I would say I like your speaking pace. Not too fast neither too slow. It really helps me to give an idea of how fast do I need to speak. One more thing, I should speak with clarity, i.e. word by word.


  35. Hi Liz,
    First of all, I want to thank you for your generosity on sharing your knowledge and helping many students seeking for higher IELTS band scores. Secondly, your lessons as well as your website are both informative and easy to follow. So kind of you 🙂 Finally, I want to share the scores I got during my exam, S, R, W = 6.5 and 6.0 in listening. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to reach a score of 7 in speaking which is the required score by the CGFNS, can you please suggest for any tips on how i can possibly improve to increase my score in speaking.

    Thank you very much.

    • Watch the lessons called: How to improve your IELTS speaking at home. It’s on the speaking page.

  36. Hi mam,
    I don’t know how to introduce myself properly if the question is INTRODUCE YOURSELF..
    please help,my exam is on 31th Oct

    • There is no such question. Please watch and read all lessons about IELTS speaking and also watch the practice speaking tests.

  37. Dinesh says

    Dear Liz ,
    could you please guide me what are the topic mostly asking from male
    Ex: if they ask about cooking I am blank about this topic

    Thank you

    • The examiner will ask any topic and you can’t ask to change it. Even if you don’t like cooking or you don’t cook, you can still talk about. “Do you enjoy cooking? No, I don’t. The cooking in my family is mostly done by my wife.” or “Did you learn to cook at school? Yes, I did but I don’t remember much. We mainly just made simple dishes like soup.” You see, it is still easy to answer questions.
      All the best

      • raymund says

        Hi teacher Liz. Can I ask you how can I tell my name to the examiner like Raymund Guevara, my first name is a letter U not O and my last name have only one letter R not double? because people often have trouble spelling my name. Thanks

        • In the speaking test, you will be asked your name during the ID check. The only reason the examiner asks is to make sure it is the same name that is on the examiner’s paper. Just say your name clearly so he can match it. If the examiner isn’t sure, he or she will ask you to spell it (but that’s not common). See this video here about the ID check:

          • raymund says

            Thank you very much teacher Liz, I hope I can overcome the tension especially in speaking part 0.

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