SmallTalk Team

DOs and DON’Ts for IELTS Speaking Exam Part 1

These tips will help boost your score in Part 1 of the IELTS Speaking exam.

Speaking Part 1 DOs

  1. Listen carefully to the examiner’s questions as you won’t see them in a written form.
  2. Ask questions to the examiner if you’ve missed the question or you don’t understand something.
  3. Examples: “Sorry, could you repeat the question, please?” or “What does the word _______ mean?”
  4. Give extended answers to the examiner’s questions to demonstrate the range of your vocabulary. Every answer should be a small story with details and examples where they’re relevant.
  5. You’ll have up to 1 min to answer each question, so use this time wisely to demonstrate your topic-specific and advanced vocabulary.
  6. Use a variety of grammar structures to boost your grammar score. You can include different tenses, the Passive voice, relative clauses, comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs, modal verbs and so on.
  7. Give yourself time to think using fillers “well…”, “let me think…”.
  8. Be coherent and use linking devices such as moreover, however, although, etc.
  9. Speak clearly at your natural pace and loudly enough.
  10. Be friendly and polite.
  11. Examples: “Sorry, I’ve missed that. Could you repeat the question, please?”, “Let me think…”.

Speaking Part 1 DON’Ts

  1. Don’t repeat the words from the examiner’s questions if possible, try to paraphrase them so that you demonstrate the range of your vocabulary.
  2. Don’t use the words and grammar that you aren’t sure about, use what you know well.
  3. Don’t pause for too long if you can’t find the right word. Paraphrase or change the topic.
  4. Don’t panic if you’ve made a mistake. Correct yourself or just keep speaking.
  5. Don’t use very informal words and expressions at the exam.
  6. Examples: “wanna”, “kinda”, “stuff”.
  7. Don’t get upset if the examiner stops you in the middle of your speech. It just means that the examiner wants to move on to the next question and it won’t affect your grade.

Read our tips on Part 2 and Part 3 in the following articles

Speaking Part 2 DOs and DON’Ts
Speaking Part 3 DOs and DON’Ts

Remember to use the SmallTalk platform to practice for the IELTS speaking section. Practice answering authentic exam questions, and SmallTalk will track your time, performance, and define your IELTS band.