IELTS Speaking Part 1: Questions and Interview (with video)

Two people shaking hands showing IELTS speaking part 1 interview

In this article, we’re going to explore IELTS Speaking Part 1 questions and answers. Read on to learn all about IELTS Speaking topics Part 1! (And feel free to use this as supplemental reading if you follow one of the Magoosh IELTS study plans; this post is an especially good quick reference for our one week IELTS study schedule.)

What’s in IELTS Speaking Part 1?

Anxious about stating your IELTS interview? Rest easy. Preparing for IELTS Speaking questions Part 1 should be a breeze as you just so happen to be an expert on the topic: you.

As described in a previous article on the IELTS speaking test topics, the first four to five minutes of the interview gives you and the interviewer a chance to get to know one another. You can expect him or her to tell you a little bit about who they are, followed by a question that will invite you to confirm your identity and to say a little bit about yourself.

The interview is highly organized, so don’t worry about having to come up with anything to say. You’ll be guided with prompts and specific questions about your life. The point of this portion is merely to give you the opportunity to demonstrate your ability to talk about everyday things. The interviewer needs to confirm that you can talk about your life with others in English, answering general questions, sharing some personal details and experiences, and giving your opinion about things that are relevant to you.

Sample IELTS Speaking Questions Part 1 with Answers

As you can see in the IELTS Speaking Part 1 question below, you won’t have to worry about not knowing what to say after the initial greeting. For example, after having introduced him or herself, the interviewer might ask about your home, either in terms of your hometown, or the housing you live in. For a typical example of this, check out this official set of IELTS Speaking Part 1 questions.

To help you practice exploring these kinds of IELTS Speaking Part 1 topics out loud (or in writing if a conversational partner is not available), here are a few warmup sample topics and questions, with example answers:

Family Questions with Sample Answers

  • In what ways is your family typical or unique?

EXAMPLE ANSWER: My family is really typical in size; we are just my mother, my father, my sister, and me. We are not so typical in work and education. All of us work in health care, even me!

  • How would you describe your relationship with your family?

EXAMPLE ANSWER: Right now, I guess I’m kind of distant from my family. I recently moved abroad. I still talk to them on webcam once a week, but it’s different than when I lived with them before I left.

  • What kinds of things do you do with your family?

EXAMPLE ANSWER: When I lived with them, we liked to play board games together. Sometimes, now that I’m further away, we do online video games together. And of course, during holidays, we get together and talk on Zoom, or sometimes travel to meet each other and celebrate for big holidays, like Christmas.

Work and Study Questions with Sample Responses

  • Are you a student or do you work?

EXAMPLE ANSWER: Actually, I’m just a student right now. I quit my job to focus on my English studies, so I can pass the IELTS and get into university. My hope is to start a real degree next term.

  • What are you studying in school, and why did you choose it?

EXAMPLE ANSWER: Well, as I said, right now, I’ve chosen to study English, so I can get into a university here in Canada, but, I, um, would like to study pre-medicine after that. This is kind of an influence from both parents since my mom and dad are doctors. But also, I really like the idea of helping the sick.

  • How do you prepare for a test at your school?

EXAMPLE ANSWER: My study habits for the tests? Hmm… I like to look at my notes from class and then rewrite them. Actually, I rewrite my notes about five times before the test. Then I try to get good rest the night before I take it!

As you can see, answers can be relatively short. Your responses will also be very conversational. When you answer the next question, you can reference the responses you gave to earlier questions. This will help you come up with things to say and speak with confidence.

IELTS Speaking Questions Part 1: Common Topics

Just so you know, though, family and work/school are just two possible topics out of many. Now that you’ve looked a little at those common topics, let me show you some additional topics with sample questions. For these categories, I’ve included follow-up questions to some of the questions. Your interviewer will sometimes ask you these follow-up questions, but may also wait to see if you can give follow-up information on your own rather than giving a really short answer. (These topics come from our IELTS Speaking Topics PDF, which contains even more example Speaking questions!)

Free Time

  • Describe one of your hobbies.
  • What do you like to do during your free time?
  • What did you do last weekend?
  • What is something you do to relax?
  • If you had more spare time, what would you do?
  • Do you think you have enough spare time? Why or why not?

Travel

  • Where did you go on your most recent holiday?
  • What kinds of activities do you like to do on holiday?
  • Where in the world would you most like to travel? Why?
  • Do you prefer air travel or road travel? Why?
  • Do you like to travel alone? Why or why not?

Work

  • What is your job?
  • What do you like about your job?
  • What do you do on a normal day at work?
  • How long have you been working at your job?
  • What is the hardest part of your job and why?

Hometown

  • Where did you grow up? Describe the place you grew up in.
  • Is there a place that is very special to you in your hometown?
  • What do you like most about your hometown?
  • How has your hometown changed since you were a child?

Friends

  • Do you stay in contact with your childhood friends? How do you stay in touch with your friends?
  • Have you made a new friend recently? How did you get to know him or her?
  • Tell me about something you often do with your friends.
  • Where do you usually meet new friends?

Family

  • What kind of work do your parents do?
  • What are some special memories you have of your family from your childhood?
  • How often do you see your extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.), and what do
    you do when you get together with them?
  • Do you think it’s better to be an only child, or to have brothers or sisters? Why?
  • Does your family influence you a lot? Why or why not?

School

  • What is your favorite subject in school? Why do you like it?
  • What subject is most difficult for you in school? Why is it hard for you?
  • Who is the best teacher you’ve had? What made that teacher so good?
  • Did you go to a large or small secondary school? Did you like the size of your school or
    do you wish it had been smaller or larger? Why?
  • Are there any school subjects that you’ve really improved in?

Work

  • How did you find the job that you have now?
  • Describe your boss to me. What is he or she like?
  • Tell me about your co-workers.
  • Would you like to change to a different job? Why or why not?

Weather/Climate

  • How would you describe the weather today?
  • What is your favorite season? Why?
  • What is your favorite thing to do on a sunny day?
  • What do you do when it rains?
  • What kind of climate would you prefer to live in? Why?

Recreation, Exercise, Sports

  • Do you exercise regularly? If so, how do you exercise?
  • Do you like to play any sports? Why or why not?
  • Do you enjoy competition? Why or why not?
  • Do you enjoy watching sports?
  • What is an outdoor activity you would enjoy doing?

Food

  • What kinds of food do you like to eat?
  • Do you like to cook? Why or why not?
  • Who does the grocery shopping in your family?
  • Do you enjoy eating out at restaurants? Why or why not?
  • Is a healthy diet important to you? Why or why not?
  • Which foods do you eat the most often?
  • Which foods do you want to eat more often?

On a typical day…

  • What is your normal morning routine?
  • When do you get up in the morning and go to bed in the evening?
  • Do you ever take a nap during the day?
  • Do you usually get enough sleep?
  • Do you have to commute to work or school? How do you get there? How long does it
    take?

Household

  • Describe the place where you live.
  • Do you like your current home? Why or why not?
  • What kinds of places are near your home?
  • Who are your neighbors? Do you know them very well?

Music, Movies, Books, Television

  • Have you seen a movie recently? What happened in the movie?
  • What is your favorite movie? Why do you like it?
  • What kind of music do you like? What do you like about this kind of music?
  • How much time do you spend watching TV each day? Is that too little or too much?
  • What kinds of TV shows do you like to watch? Why do you like these kinds of TV
    shows?
  • How much reading do you do?

Traditions and Celebrations

  • Is there a traditional holiday that is especially important to you?
  • Does your family have any special traditions? Describe one.
  • Tell me about a holiday activity that you enjoy.
  • Are there any holidays you dislike? Why or why not?

News and Current Events

  • Where do you usually get your news?
  • Do you pay much attention to the news? Why or why not?
  • What is a recent news story that you found interesting?
  • Do you follow current events in other countries? Why or why not?
  • Do you prefer to read about news or watch news videos? Why?
  • When do you usually watch or read the news?

Technology, Internet, etc…

  • Do you use social media? What do you like/not like about social media?
  • How much time do you spend on a computer each day?
  • Is the Internet a source of entertainment for you? Describe what you do for
    entertainment on the web.
  • Do you sometimes try to avoid using technology? Why or why not? (For example, you
    might turn your phone off at dinner time or at a social event.)
  • Do you think technology can make life more complicated? Why or why not?
  • What technologies are difficult for you to use?

Shopping

  • Do you like to go shopping? Why or why not?
  • What kinds of things do you like to buy?
  • Where do you go when you shop?
  • Do you make many online purchases? If so, what do you buy online? If not, why not?

Other

  • Do you like to keep pets? If not, why not? If so, do you have any pets right now?
  • Do you like to garden? Why or why not?
  • Do you take many photos of yourself and people you know? Why or why not?
  • Do you prefer to communicate with people by email, by phone, or in-person? Why?

 
When you feel ready, get real-world practice with this speaking interview from our IELTS expert Eliot!
 

 

Final Tips for IELTS Speaking Part 1 Questions

Clearly, you won’t have to do any research to learn about the possible topics covered in IELTS Speaking questions Part 1. In order to prepare, try chatting with friends about topics such as family, your interests, values, and beliefs, what you do for work, or perhaps your studies. Remember that the interviewer needs to get you talking, so it’s unlikely that you’ll be asked yes or no questions without the need to also explain why.

Also remember that Part 1 is followed by a very different Speaking task: the “long turn” speech you give in IELTS Speaking Part 2. From there, Speaking Part 3 brings you back to a more conversational speaking style. For topics that may appear across all three sections, and more info on the differences between the sections, see our Common IELTS Speaking Topics article.

It will be helpful to exercise having to do so. Review speaking skills and grammar essentials with your Magoosh IELTS prep.

By the way, improve your IELTS score with Magoosh!

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