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Understanding IELTS Speaking Test Topics


Hello, this is Chris from IELTS Advantage, and today we’ll talk about IELTS Speaking topics. Many students ask about common topics for IELTS Speaking, so in this post, we’ll cover the common Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 topics. Also, we’ll discuss a better strategy than focusing on topics – one that will help you achieve higher band scores.

Part 1: Familiar Topics

In Part 1, you’ll get questions on familiar topics, related to your everyday life. This section of the exam is to help you relax and become familiar with the test format.

Some common topics you might get include:

  • Your family
  • Your job (if you’re employed)
  • Your studies (if you’re a student)
  • Your hometown

While these questions are predictable, it’s important not to prepare scripted answers. Memorised answers can make you sound unnatural. They also negatively impact your fluency, pronunciation, and coherence.

Moreover, examiners can tell when candidates give memorised answers. They can give you a Band 0 if they think you’ve memorised the whole thing.

Part 2: One-Topic Presentation

In Part 2, you’ll be given a topic on a card and asked to speak about it for one to two minutes. Some topics that have appeared on past exams include:

  • Sports
  • Electronics
  • School
  • Childhood
  • Cooking

It’s important to note that there are no common topics for Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking test. You cannot predict what topic will come up on your exam, and attempting to prepare for a list of topics is a waste of time.

Instead of memorizing specific topics, focus on developing your functional language skills.

Part 3: Functional Language

In Part 3, you’ll be asked more abstract and complex questions related to the topic in Part 2. This is where functional language skills are essential. Functional language refers to the grammar and vocabulary used to do specific communicative tasks, such as:

  • speculating about the future,
  • giving opinions,
  • evaluating others’ opinions,
  • discussing causes and effects,
  • comparing and contrasting, and
  • talking about the past.

Rather than focusing on topics, you should focus on mastering these functional language skills. These skills are critical to performing well on the IELTS Speaking test and you can use them beyond the exam.

Conclusion: Functional Language Over Topics

The key to success is to focus on developing your functional language skills rather than preparing specific topics. While it’s essential to be comfortable talking about familiar topics, scripted answers can do more harm than good. Instead, work on your fluency, pronunciation, and functional language skills to improve your score.

If you need help improving your Speaking why not try our free Speaking Challenge?



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