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IELTS Speaking Template

ielts speaking template

On the IELTS Speaking section, the questions can vary from test to test. But it’s possible to use the following IELTS Speaking template on any exam.

Understanding the IELTS Speaking Pattern

Before we look at the template, you should know that the IELTS Speaking section has a predictable pattern.

Your Speaking interview will always have three parts. In Part 1, you’ll answer a series of short questions about yourself and your personal life. In Part 2, you’ll give a short speech about a topic related to your personal experiences. In Part 3, you’ll answer follow-up questions related to the topic you spoke about in Part 2. (For more details, see Trisha’s post on what to expect in IELTS Speaking.)

In short, the IELTS Speaking section is all about you. So this template will focus on important phrases that help you talk about yourself and your personal opinions.
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IELTS Speaking Template for Part 1

Yes and No Questions

In Part 1, you answer a lot of yes/no questions. The tricky thing here is that you don’t want to just respond with a “yes,” or a “no.” If you give a short answer like that, you’re bound to lose points. The IELTS examiners want to see that you can take an yes/no question and turn it into a richer, more complex question that has an in-depth answer.

So any response with “yes” or “no” should be immediately followed by additional words of clarification. Here are some good template phrases you can use as you start to respond to the yes/no questions in Part 1:

“Yes, absolutely, because (give reason)…”
“Yes, definitely. In fact (give example)…”
“No, I’d say not. Actually (give clarification)…”
“No, I haven’t. I really don’t (give extra details…)”

Here are some examples of how those phrases can be used to respond to an actual IELTS question:

QUESTION: Is there enough to do in your hometown?

POSSIBLE ANSWERS:
“Yes, absolutely. Because my hometown is full of interesting things to do. For example…”
“Yes, definitely. In fact, my hometown has many organized events, and a lot of night life. For instance…”
“No, I’d say not. Actually, there’s very little to do in my hometown. For one thing…”
“No, I haven’t found many things to do in my hometown, honestly. I really don’t have access to…”

You get the idea. Use “yes” and “no” to launch into more descriptive answers. There are other variations on the four possible response templates above. Study these templates and add to them if you can. The more you practice you practice these templates and build on them, the more spontaneous and confident your answers will sound.

“Open” Questions

In Part 1 of the IELTS Speaking Exam, you’ll always get a few questions that are “open.” This means these questions can’t be answered by a simple yes or no. Actually, open questions have a near-infinite amount of possible answers.

These kinds of open questions are sometimes called “WH-questions.” This is because the questions start with who, what, when, where, why, or how. (OK, “how” doesn’t start with “wh.” But it does have both a “w” and an “h” in it.)

For these questions, it’s actually a good idea to repeat part of the question back the interviewer. By doing this, you demonstrate that you understood the words in the question. And again, you have a simple phrase from which you can build a more complex answer.

For instance, you could be asked something like “What do you do for fun with your friends?” Here, it can help to repeat the keywords “fun” and “friends” in your answer, like so:

“When I’m with my friends, we have fun by (describe activity).”

So the template for open questions (which are less common but still important in Part 1 IELTS Speaking) is:

  • Make a statement that repeats the keywords.
  • Give a detailed response related to the keywords.

IELTS Speaking Template for Part 2

In IELTS Speaking Section Part 2, you’ll be given an IELTS “topic card” that contains a detailed, multi-part question about your personal life. You will have one minute to prepare a short speech in response to the topic card. Then you’ll have 1-2 minutes to give your speech.

This is the longest that you will continuously speak on the IELTS Speaking test. Because of this, Part 2 of IELTS Speaking is sometimes called the IELTS Speaking “Long Turn.”

While the “long turn” question is more complex than other questions in IELTS Speaking, it also has a very simple structure. You’ll be asked to do the following:

1) Identify a specific thing that is significant in your life.
2) Give three details about that thing.
3) Explain the personal impact the thing has had on you.

So, it takes just three steps to give a complete answer. Simple enough, eh?

Kuangyan has made a short but valuable list of IELTS Speaking topic cards from previous tests. You can see that list in her post on past IELTS Speaking questions.

Below, I’ll give you another typical topic for IELTS Speaking Part 2. Then we’ll look at how you can use the three-step template above, along with some key phrases, to give a good answer.

    Describe a place that is important to you. You should say:

  • where the place is
  • how often you go to that place
  • what you do in that place
  • and explain why the place is so special to you.

In that question, you can clearly see the three parts. Describing the important place is part 1) of your answer (identifying a thing in your life). The “where,” “how” and “what” questions are part 2) of your answer (giving three details about that thing). Then, the “explain” part of the topic is part 3) of your response (explaining the personal impact the thing has had on you).

Now, let’s look at a more detailed template for your response to an IELTS topic card. The template below includes key phrases.

1) Identify a specific thing that is significant in your life.
Restate the first part of the question, then identify the thing.

  • EX: An important place in my life is the park near my house… (give additional details about the park, as needed

2) Give three details about that thing.
Answer each of the three detail questions fully and directly.

    EX:

  • The park is two blocks away from my house… (give additional location details as needed)
  • I go to this park almost every day… (give further details of exactly how often you go, as needed)
  • When I’m at the park, I… (describe the things you do there)

3) Explain the personal impact the thing has had on you.
Give details on your personal experiences and feelings about the thing.

    EX:

  • This park has really helped me… (explain how it’s helped you)
  • OR

  • The park is an important part of my daily routine, because… (explain)
  • OR

  • When I go to the park, it’s a really special and wonderful experience because… (more details)
  • Etc…

You get the idea. The name of the game is to stay focused on every aspect of the topic, so that you answer all three parts of the question clearly and fully. The template above should help you with that. And this template will work for any IELTS Speaking topic card.

Once you’ve taken your long turn, you’ll be asked some follow-up questions related to the topic card. So let’s look at the template for that.

IELTS Speaking Template for Part 3

In IELTS Speaking, Part 3, the interview comes “full circle.” By this, I mean that the interviewer returns to the kinds of questions he or she asked in Part 1: A combination of yes/no questions and open questions.

This time, however, there’s a slight change. Part 1 was mostly yes/no questions, with just a few open questions. In contrast, Part 3 has a balance of yes/no and open questions. Usually you’ll get a two part question: a yes/no question that has a related open question attached to it. For example:

  • Do you think it’s important to have a lot of different places to go? What kinds of places should people go to?

Actually, in Part 3 there are slightly more open questions than there are yes/no questions. This is because some of the two part questions are really a statement followed by an open question, rather than a yes/no question followed by an open one. Take this question:

  • Some people prefer to just stay at home when they finish work, rather than going someplace. Why do you think that is?

Although the grammar of the Part 3 questions can differ, the purpose of the question is always the same. Every question asks you to really analyze an idea and give a thoughtful personal opinion in response. Although some of the Part 3 questions have a yes/no component, you should not treat these like yes/no questions.

Instead, you should remember that each question asks you to express your thoughts, and support those thoughts with details.

So your answer should follow this pattern:

State your thought, opinion or belief. >>> Give details about your thought, opinion, or belief.

Now, here are some phrases you can plug into that pattern:

I think…. >>> For example….
In my opinion…. >>> This is because….
I definitely agree that…. >>> After all (give details on why you agree)….
If you ask me…. >>> For instance….
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Using these Templates Together

Together, all three of these templates give you a clear path to success in IELTS speaking. With just a few guiding key words and phrases, you can master your responses to all three parts of the interview. Practice this template with various sets of IELTS Speaking questions that you find on the web. (The four official IELTS websites are a great place to start looking for Speaking practice.)

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