How to do IELTS speaking part 1

In one of our previous articles we looked at how part 1 of the IELTS speaking test is conducted and what the examiner will say during the test. In this article we are going to show you how to do IELTS speaking part 1. In particular we will show you a great way to answer part 1 questions that is easy to practice.

Before you learn how to do IELTS speaking part 1 or begin practicing let’s have a look at what is being tested.

What is being tested in part 1

It is always important to know what the examiner is looking for and what they are testing in each section of the IELTS test.

PART 1 of the IELTS speaking test is mainly testing for two things

  • Every day vocabulary
  • Basic grammar

How to answer part 1 questions

Firstly it is very important to listen to the question carefully so that you do not have to ask the examiner to repeat questions and you can answer straight away.

The way we advise you to answer part 1 questions is very simple.

We recommend initially that you give a direct answer and that you answer the question.
But if you want to improve your score you need to offer more details or information.

Here is an example of this in practice. If the examiner asks you – Where is your house located?

You need to provide an answer to the question such as – Currently I live in district 3 in Ho Chi Minh City

This is our direct answer, but this is just the first step. Now you need to give some more information to take a very basic answer and make it a great part 1 answer.

For example If the examiner asks you – Where is your house located?

You can give your direct answer and answer the question, but now it is time to add more details

For example – District 3 is close to the centre of the city so it is easy to access many different amenities and important public places in the city. Our house is located in a small alley away from the main roads, so fortunately we don’t get disturbed by the noise from local traffic.

You need to be willing to give the examiner a lot of information. Feel free to speak personally and be willing to speak about your feelings as well as your likes and dislikes. If you do then it is also great to include the reason why you have that opinion or feel a certain way about something.

How long should my answers be?

Now let’s look at how long your PART 1 answers should be.

When answering PART 1 questions you always want your answers to sound as NATURAL as possible.

Our recommendation on answer length is between 15–25 seconds.

This means any answer that is about 20 seconds long is a good answer length for  speaking PART 1.

Remember that you are aiming for a natural sounding answer, so some of your answers will be shorter (perhaps 10 seconds) and some of your answers will be longer (perhaps 30 seconds) Especially when you are giving more details or adding more information.

If you were to write out an answer for PART 1 the answer would be approximately 2 – 3 sentences long.

It is not necessary to give longer answers than this because you will be tested on your ability to speak at length in PART 2 of the speaking test.

What you are aiming for is a good balance of answer length. Some shorter and some longer which will also make your answers sound much more NATURAL.

We covered how to do IELTS speaking part 1 in this article. In our next article we will focus on how to do part 2 of the IELTS speaking test, which is known as the long turn. 

if you would like to see video lessons for the speaking test or get some free practice questions, check out our website by clicking on the button below.

IELTS Speaking Lessons


To get lessons on all the different task types you could encounter during the IELTS test make sure you check out our online course.

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Damon Bailey
Damon Bailey

As one of the co-founders at IELTS Whiz I really love helping students to achieve their education goals and improve their opportunities for the future. I find it really rewarding to have a positive impact on the lives of students and enjoy assisting them on the path towards reaching their dreams.

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