50 sample test videos.

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Exam Criteria

  1. Fluency and coherence: The ability to speak without pausing or hesitating too much to correct mistakes. It is of course good to pause sometimes to consider responses, but too much of a delay can break up the flow of speech. Coherence relates to the ability to link ideas together and therefore structure responses.

  2. Lexical resource: This basically refers to a candidate’s range and accuracy when using and selecting appropriate vocabulary.

  3. Grammatical accuracy and range: This relates to a candidate’s ability to use a variety of sentence structures, ranging from simple to complex, in an appropriate way.

  4. Pronunciation: Candidates must be able to be clearly understood and be able to pronounce individual words as well as using natural patterns of stress. Students should also have a rising and falling intonation, so as to not sound monotone and disinterested.

The speaking test is divided into 3 parts which place different demands on the candidate. The examiner will conduct each part in a one-to-one format. The test lasts from 11-14 minutes in total.



The IELTS Speaking Tests

IELTS - Part 1

In the first part, the examiner will ask a series of questions. These relate to the candidate’s life and from a range of topic areas which can include work or studies, future plans, family, hobbies or customs and lifestyles in their country.

There is an emphasis on the use everyday English although formal vocabulary can be used when talking about a subject like work or education. To score highly a candidate must respond at length instead of answering briefly in just a few words.

IELTS - Part 2

In the second part, the examiner will give the candidate a topic card asking them to describe a place, object, building, memory etc. There will be a list of points which must be covered. The candidate will be expected to talk about the topic for 1-2 minutes and then may be asked one or two follow-up questions.

After receiving and reading the topic card, you will be given one minute to prepare what you are going to say. You will be given a pencil and paper to make notes. It’s a good idea to aim to talk for at least a minute and a half and even more ideally to talk until the examiner stops you. You should be able to demonstrate a range of expressions and vocabulary as well as a variety of sentence structures.

IELTS - Part 3

The third part continues on from the second and the topic remains the same. However, the major difference is that the examiner will engage the candidate in a discussion and the subject matter will become more difficult, challenging the student’s ability to convey ideas. The main difference from the two previous parts is that here, the examiner will ask questions based on the candidate’s answers to generate a more fluid discussion.

Candidates will be expected to compare and contrast (often between the past/present/future), speculate about the future as well as talk about social problems and possible solutions. Some questions might also use ‘second conditional’ questions to discuss unreal or unlikely situations.


Topic: Free Time and Leisure Activities

Part 3 Question: What do you think would happen if TVs were banned?

Part three is where the examiner try to find the limits of the student’s ability, so it is usually considered to be the most difficult part of the speaking test.

IELTS Sample Speaking Tests

Interview 1

Examiner Analysis

Speaking Part 1: Where you live, Family, Learning English

Band 6

This candidate is not prepared to give extended responses and most of her answers are short in length. Nevertheless, she does answer the examiner’s directly showing a clear understanding of the questions. She does hesitate somewhat and some markers are used effectively

e.g.      “Well….”
            “As I said before....”

However, sometimes there is occasional loss of coherence.

e.g.  “loud … because … annoying sometimes”.

Correction: It’s annoying sometimes because they are so loud

She uses fairly basic vocabulary here, but utilizes it to talk about a variety of topics. There are some inaccuracies

e.g. “they’re trying us to speak”

Correction: They try to get us to speak.

However, she does also use appropriate noun modification

e.g. “younger brother, nearly everyone”

In addition, she uses some useful expressions

e.g. “I’ve got my own; once in a while; really unclear; it’s always good to”

In all, she uses basic sentence structures very accurately. There is some evidence of a wider range, but not really many examples of more advanced forms. In addition, some of her sentences are incomplete.

Her pronunciation is clear and understandable with just some minor mispronunciation of phonemes.


Interview 2

Examiner Analysis

Speaking Part 2: A well-known person

Band 7

This candidate can talk at length in a coherent manner. He does hesitate occasionally to reword statements, although is careful to avoid too much repetition. He uses sequencing (e.g. first, Second, finally) to structure his talk information links ideas effectively using a variety of discourse markers.

He also uses a variety of vocabulary:

e.g. legend; background; inspired; creativity; style

He also uses some relevant and common collocations (words that often go together)

e.g. a pop icon; fight for their rights.

He also uses a variety of quite complex structures. His tense usage is not always correct, but errors are not common.

This candidate has a strong accent and often pronounces ‘f’ instead of ‘th’. Nevertheless, we can see that is pronunciation is only incorrect for certain words.

e.g. leegend; founds instead of funds),

Sometimes fillers (ehm) are not used within a natural pattern of intonation and break up the flow of speech.

Note: Fillers are words or expressions that are used to give the speaker time to think.

Common examples include terms like ‘actually’ and ‘you know.’


Interview 3

Examiner Analysis

Speaking Part 3: Hobbies

Band 5

The candidate does hesitate somewhat but keeps the flow of speech in general. However he doesn’t really use the extended responses that we are looking for. He uses a variety of connectives and markers,

e.g.      “In my case”

“As I was saying”

“I tend to think”

Other examples- conversely, similarly)

However, these do tend to be used in rather formulaic ways and are mostly used at the beginning of sentences. He does hesitate somewhat, and reword what he’s trying to say. In addition, sometimes he does lose coherence, but in general he makes use of simple sentence structures with a fairly good degree of fluency.

He tries to personalize his replies and does repeat vocabulary repetitively. This does show a lack of confidence in his range of vocabulary. Nonetheless, he uses a sufficient variety of words to express his view on more general social trends.

He uses a set range of sentence structures repeatedly, such as ‘if’ clauses, without demonstrating the use of other complex structures. He can make use of basic structures to a good degree, but we can often see errors. His pronunciation is clear in general, though he occasionally mispronounces certain words (deflation), r
This doesn’t really inhibit his ability to convey meaning since he only has difficulty with particular words.

Stress and intonation does tend to follow fixed patterns, while marked but could not be considered monotone and doesn’t prevent the listener’s comprehension. In all, his performance is a good example of Band 5.


Interview 4

Examiner Analysis

Speaking Part 3: Hobbies

Band 6

He is able to talk at length and is willing to give long responses. However, he doesn’t always directly answer the examiner’s question. He does hesitate somewhat and he does repeat himself sometimes which reduces his fluency. He uses a variety of discourse markers, although not always in an appropriate way or accurately.

e.g. but on the other side; in nearest future

Correction: but on the other hand, in the near future

His vocabulary is good enough to talk about the topics at some length, and in spite of some uncertainty and inaccuracy (how to say?) and some inaccurate word selection (This is not very well for family or health), He generally expresses his ideas and opinions well. However, there are some examples of some uncertainty and inaccuracy

“How to say?”

Correction:      How do I say?
                       How should I say?

There are also some erroneous word choices:

“This is not very well for family or health”

Correction: This is not very good for our family life and our health.

He tries to use a mixture of simple and more complex sentence structures. However, his level of correct grammar use does vary. In particular, he sometimes omits verbs. Other minor errors become more noticeable towards the end. This is his weak point..

His pronunciation is mostly clear with some words being difficult to catch (gardening), because of mispronunciation of individual sounds or erroneous word stress (casino). For part 3, this candidate is a good example of Band 6.

Interview 5

Examiner Analysis

Speaking Part 3: Hobbies

Band 7

This candidate can keep the flow of conversation comfortably, although the speed of his speech is a little slow and he does hesitate somewhat. He uses a variety of reference markers with fluency and naturally, so this helps him to be more coherent.

e.g. “It’s likely that they will; so that helps”

.However, in general the way he expands on the topic is fairly limited and he doesn’t really extend his responses enough to reach Band 8. His vocabulary matches the topic, but he does not use a broad range. Examples of good collocation and idioms (the job ladder) are not used frequently enough as would be the case at a higher band, and are sometimes not well placed in the discussion or used awkwardly in a not entirely appropriate context.

e.g. everything in excess is not good; to provide themselves; want to go higher, higher on the job ladder.

A variety of structures are used, but they are complex enough to reach a level higher than Band 7. The accuracy level is high, with only a few minor mistakes, but the candidate still uses fairly simple language whilst indicating that he has the ability to use more advanced vocabulary. This candidate has a slight accent that doesn’t really impede his English pronunciation. He is able to use a wide variety of phonological features to express meaning effectively

e.g. it’s not that difficult to play

He also makes make clear distinctions with the word stress, whilst using the correct comparative and superlative forms respectively.

e.g.  more popular vs most popular

This is a high level candidate who could perhaps score higher if he extended his range of vocabulary.

Interview 6

Examiner Analysis

Speaking Part 3: Hobbies

Band 8

This candidate speaks extremely fluently and is able to give extended, complex and very accurate responses whilst still remaining coherent. She doesn’t repeat herself and spend time searching for the right word choice. She uses a wide variety of discourse markers in a natural way and very precisely. Her extensive vocabulary gives her a high level of precision. She uses a lot of vocabulary that is very specific to the topic in the correct context. There are some minor inaccuracies which do prevent her from reaching the next band.

e.g. have your focal point on

She uses an extensive variety of complex sentence structures, most of which are without errors. However, some examples of inappropriate choice of tense are evident. This candidate can be easily understood and her accent doesn’t affect the clarity of expression even though she does sometimes mispronounce individual phonemes. This doesn’t realty affect her ability to communicate and convey meaning. She is able to use a wide variety of features, such as intonation and contrastive stress, to express ideas.


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