The Speaking Module

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The Speaking Module of the IELTS consists of a 60 minute module with three parts.

Part 1

You will need to answer general questions about yourself, your homes/families, your jobs/studies, your interests, and a range of familiar topic areas in four to five minutes.

Part 2

You will be given a verbal prompt on a card and asked to speak about a particular topic (listed on the card).  You will have one minute to prepare before speaking at length, and will need to speak between one and two minutes.  Then the examiner will ask you one or two follow up questions.

Part 3

You and the examiner will engage in a discussion of more abstract concepts and issues which will be linked to the topic you discussed in Part 2.  The discussion will last between four and five minutes.

You will be scored on how well you are able to communicate effectively in English.

Of all the test modules on IELTS, this is the easiest to prepare for.  This is the test module that you can practice anywhere, in your car, in your room, on the phone, by yourself or with someone else. After you successfully pass IELTS, you will be speaking English a lot, so you might as well prepare by speaking it at every opportunity beforehand.

Exhausting the Possibilities

Part 1 will ask basic questions. There are only so many possible basic questions that can be asked about someone.  You can easily be prepared for every possibility. Go through and write down all the possibilities and a good answer for each. When you’re asked about your family, don’t have to struggle to come up with descriptions for your family members.  Practice ahead of time and know what you’re going to say.  Right now as you’re reading this, stop and take a minute to answer each of these following questions.  If you were asked these in an interview, what would you say?

1.  Please describe yourself.

2.  Please describe your family.

3.  Please describe your home.

4.  Please describe some of your interests.

5.  Please describe your job.

6.  Please describe your studies

This is important practice. Make sure that you can spend a minute or so answering each of these questions without having to take time to think of a good response. These are basic questions and you should have your basic answers ready.

Tell a Story

Movie making is a multi-billion dollar industry. Why? It’s because everyone likes to hear a good story, and the best movies contain great stories.  The Speaking Module interview can be a big aggravation for both sides.  Usually, it is tense, uncomfortable, and boring for both the interviewer and the test taker.

Think about your favorite relatives.  In many cases, they are your favorite because they are such raconteurs, or good storytellers. These are your aunts and uncles that can turn a simple trip to the grocery store into high adventure and will keep you captivated and entertained.  Even if you’re not a natural storyteller, with a little thought and practice, even you can turn your dull past experiences into exciting exploits.

Stories are your strongest weapon for captivating the interviewer and demonstrating your mastery of speaking English.   The questions in Part 2 of the Speaking Module literally beg for stories to be told.  These need to be compelling stories, real time drama, and you’re the hero. You want the interviewer begging for more, asking follow-up questions, eager to hear how it ends. Once you begin a quick exciting story, you set the tone of the interview, and you will determine what will be the follow-up questions.

The easiest way to prepare for these Part 2 questions is to scour your memory for any exciting instance in your past. Perhaps where you played a leadership role or accomplished a goal.  These can be from any part of your past, during your education, at home with your family, projects at work, or anything that you might have had a part in.  Identify the main characteristics of the story, you want to have things straight.  Make sure you know the basics of what happened, who was involved, why it occurred, and how the events unfolded sequentially.

 You certainly don’t want to stumble over the facts and repeat yourself during the interview.

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