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The speaking exam – the first part.

The first part of the IELTS speaking exam only takes between 4 and 5 minutes. That’s not a lot of time – unless you have nothing to say. Read this post to find out how to give yourself time to think of what to say.
One thing that you can do before the exam is learn vocabulary and expressions relating to the different subjects that you might be asked about in this part of the exam. Make lists of the vocabulary and expressions you learn and try to use them in conversation with other English speakers. Don’t do this the night before your IELTS exam : it will be too late then.

Here’s an example:
What kind of work would you like to do in the future?

Make sure that you have thought about your future employment before the exam. Make sure that you have thought about what you want to do. Don’t just say “I want to be an clothes designer.” Give lots of detail so that you can show off your English and create a good impression in the first part of the IELTS speaking exam.The IELTS examiner will usually expect answers of more than one word.

“I want to be a clothes designer so that I can help people to look good. In my opinion, wearing clothes that make you look your best gives you confidence in yourself. Working as a clothes designer isn’t that well paid at first but I see myself doing a job that I love rather than being a wage slave.”

Look at the vocabulary and expressions used in the answer above. Can you spot any words or phrases that you could write down and use again? What about these – so that (to give a reason,) in my opinion (used before expressing an opinion,) see myself doing (a reference to the future,) rather than (to express a preference) and wage slave (someone who only works for money.)

Before the exam, make sure that you have thought about the subject of jobs and employment. Think about the following things:

1 What do you want to do?
2 What jobs have you done?
3 Are there any important items of vocabulary you can learn relating to the jobs above?
4 Which tenses can you use to talk about these jobs? (e.g. the future, the past etc.)

Now you need to identify as many different IELTS Speaking Test Part 1 topic areas that you might be asked about and do the same thing as above. Make sure you have thought about vocabulary and expressions relating to this topic area and you know how you feel about the topic.

Here are some example topic areas with example things to think about:

Education – your school, education in your country, your future study plans.
Family – who’s in it? What are family sizes in your country?
Your city or country – where is it? How big is it? Do you like it? Why? Why not?
Hobbies and leisure time – what do you do? Expensive? Popular in your country?
Culture and traditions – how do you celebrate birthdays? Describe a festival in your country.
Entertainment – your favourite films, books, television in your country.
Sport – what do you do? In your country?

The list could continue with other topics such as transport, homes, money, food etc. Make sure that you know what to expect in the first part of the IELTS speaking exam. Think of possible IELTS type questions for yourself to answer and practise answering them. Record your voice if you can and listen to yourself. Is there anything you don’t like? Can you change it? Let a friend or a teacher listen to you.

Here are some example questions:

1 How do people celebrate the birth of a child in your country?
2 What is the best place you have been to in your country?
3 Who makes the decisions in your family?
4 What do you do in your leisure time?
5 How do you spend Saturdays?
6 What ambitions do you have?
7 Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
8 Tell me about your family.
9 What’s the best holiday you have ever had?
10 Do you agree with private education?

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