How to prepare properly for part 1 of the speaking test

Part 1 of the speaking test is by far the easiest part of the speaking test in which you can gain high band scores relatively easily. Why is this the case? Simply because there is very little variation in the IELTS Examiner’s questions for part 1 of the IELTS speaking test.

Let’s take a closer look at how  part 1 is structured:

  • Part 1 lasts for 4-5 minutes
  • The Examiner’s questions are divided into four separate topics (frames)
  • Frame one is always the introductory frame
  • Frame two is always either about where you live (home town or living accommodation), or about what you do (are you a student or do you work)
  • Frames, 3 and 4 can be any of the remaining  8 possible  different topic frames for that day’s test, and are selected by the Examiner
  • Each frame has 1-3 questions for the candidate to answer
  • As the part 1 section must last for a minimum of 4 minutes and a maximum of 5 minutes, you can therefore put yourself in a position to answer each available question by planning to speak for 15 seconds answering each part 1 question

So to  summarize the above findings: You can preprepare  high band scoring answers for 40% of part 1 of the IELTS speaking test. Why is this? Because the introductory frame questions are always the same, and there are only 3 possible options for the second frame questions. (questions about your home town, questions about your living quarters, or questions about your occupation.

 As for the rest of the question frames for part 1 of the speaking test, they all follow a very predicatable pattern and so even if you have not actually prepared for the specific question topic, you can answer convincingly by merely changing the subject.  So a preprepared answer on bicycles can be used to answer questions about public transport for example.

 To find out more about the structure and format of the part 1 question frames, click on the following link to see the question transcript for an IELTS speaking test.

Explore posts in the same categories: ielts speaking tips, Ielts Tips

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