Speaking Test: Advice for Part 1

IELTS Speaking Advice

Part 1 – Warm-up interview

Part 2 – Solo-talk

Part 3 – More difficult questions

The very first questions you will be asked on your IELTS Speaking Test are about yourself, and your life and interests. Pretty simple, right?

Today I want to give you some information and advice about Part 1 of the Speaking Test, so that you can feel more prepared and relaxed on the day of your test.

First we'll talk about Part 1 of the test, then I'll give you some advice, and finally, we'll watch a short video to get some practice! (it's at the bottom).


IELTS Speaking Part 1 – Warm-up (5 minutes)


Part 1 of the IELTS Speaking Test is a five minute warm-up interview, where the examiner asks you pretty easy questions.

There’s a huge variety of possible topics in Part 1. Your questions could be about anything from travel, to family, to physical activities and hobbies, to flowers.

You can find plenty of example speaking tests in the Cambridge English IELTS with answers books [link]. The tests in this book are exactly like the real test.


Speaking Part 1 Example Questions:

  • Note: your questions in Part 1 will stick to only one or two overall topics.
  • Note: the examiner will sometimes ask you follow-up questions like “How often” or “why do you say that?” if they want you to say more. 

“How well do you know the people who live next door to you?”

“How often do you see them?”

“What problems do people sometimes have with their neighbours?” (why/why not?)

“How do you think neighbours can help each other?”

“Which newspapers and magazines do you read?” (why?)

“What kinds of articles are you most interested in?” (why?)

“Do you think reading a newspaper or magazine in a foreign language is a good way to learn the language?” (why/why not?)

“Do you like to have flowers in your home?” (why/why not?)

“Where would you go to buy flowers?” (why?)

“On what occasions would you give someone flowers?” (why?)

“Are flowers important in your culture?” (why/why not?)

“How often do you watch television?” (why/why not?)

“Which television channel do you usually watch?” (why?)

“Do you enjoy the advertisements on television?” (why/why not?)

“Do you think most programs on television are good?” (why/why not?)


Some Advice for Speaking Part 1 questions:


  • Arrive early for your test. This seems obvious, but it definitely will help you feel more prepared.
  • Start strong. Part 1 is easy, but it’s also a great opportunity for you to start strong and get over any nervousness quickly! The best way to do this is to start off giving good eye-contact to the examiner (this will help you relax), and to give a few longer answers right away. Let’s look at an example:

Examiner: “So, how well do you know the people next door to you?”


“I know them pretty well.”


“I know them pretty well. I’ve lived next door to them for about a year now, and we have a really good relationship. They’re very friendly.”

With the so-so answer, the examiner really has no idea whether you are a band 7 or a band 3! With the GREAT answer, the examiner has a really good first impression, and they are already bumping up your score. Also, with the GREAT answer you have already overcome any nervousness… you jumped right in.

Just make sure you stick to the topic and don’t blab forever.

  • …That’s it! Actually, Part 1 is not that important if you’re trying to get above a 6 band score. The examiner will make most of their decisions based on Part 2 and Part 3 of the test. So use Part 1 to warm up and get comfortable!


Let’s Watch a Video and Get Some Practice.


Good job! Now you know how it feels to give a great answer in Part 1 of the speaking test.

On your test day, try to get to your examination centre early on the test date so you can look around and relax a little bit.

Ok. Good luck with your practice, and have a great day.