Common IELTS Speaking Topics

Interviewee speaking to interviewer

Speaking off the cuff in front of people you don’t know in a high-stakes situation sounds a lot like the beginning of a sweat-inducing nightmare. It certainly can be for me! Luckily, you can avoid this nightmare (at least for IELTS Speaking questions) by preparing for the common IELTS Speaking topics that examiners may ask. Let’s go over some useful resources in preparing for the speaking tasks. This will hopefully make the IELTS Speaking tests less nightmarish!

Click the button below to download the free IELTS Speaking Topics PDF!

Download the Magoosh IELTS Speaking Topics PDF

Common IELTS Speaking Topics for Parts 1, 2, and 3

Let’s discuss some common categories for IELTS speaking topics as well as the context in which these questions will be posed to you.

Topics for IELTS Speaking Parts 1 and 3

In Speaking parts 1 & 3, you won’t have any time to prep your response. Each part will take between 4-5 minutes.

The speaking topics and questions will be about yourself and things related to you. These questions will range from topics and questions like:

  • Friends: Do you stay in contact with your childhood friends, and how?
  • Food: Do you enjoy eating out at restaurants? Why or why not?
  • Hometown: What do you most like about your hometown?
  • Daily routine: What does your morning routine look like?
  • Weather: What do you like to do when it rains?
  • Travel: Do you prefer to fly or drive, and why?

While the two parts are very similar, there are two important differences. Part 3’s topic will relate to part 2’s topic. So, if part 2 talks about travel, the part 3 topic will relate to travel as well.

Part 3 questions will also be more detailed and abstract than part 1. Here’s an example. Let’s say the Speaking test’s topic is travel. A part 1 Speaking question will ask something like this: “Where did you visit on your most recent holiday?” Pretty straightforward stuff.

A part 3 Speaking question might be something like this: “Do you think governments should invest more in mass transit or should governments just focus on building roads?”

If you’d like to see more resources for Speaking part 1 and part 3 topics, check out these posts:

IELTS Speaking Questions for Part 2

In part 2, you’ll be given a cue card that includes a detailed, multi-part question. You have one minute to prepare for a 1-2 minute response. (Heads up: The examiner could ask some follow-up IELTS Speaking questions, so be ready to elaborate on your response!)

Here’s an example of the sort of cue card you might be given in this part:

  • Describe a time you travelled with someone that was very memorable
    • You should say:
      • who did you travel with and why
      • how did you travel with them and to where
      • what were some memorable moments
    • and explain why this trip was so memorable

Beyond this example, there are many more IELTS Speaking questions and test topics and that the examiner can ask. But hopefully this list gave you a sense of the sort of topic and question you’ll most likely encounter on your test day. If you’d like to review more IELTS Speaking part 2 topics, check these posts out:

A Free Three-Part IELTS Speaking Test From Magoosh

Now, if you’d like to apply your newfound knowledge of Parts 1, 2, and 3, you can take this simulated full IELTS Speaking test. In this video practice test, your interviewer will be Eliot, our lead IELTS instructor.

Final Thoughts and Tips for IELTS Speaking Topics

We’ve covered what some of the common speaking topics are, where to find IELTS Speaking test topics, and how to include these topics into your daily studies. But, beyond knowing the common topics for the IELTS speaking test and the contexts in which they’ll need to be discussed, is there anything else you can do to improve your study sessions? Well, one thing you can do is check out our Complete Guide to IELTS Speaking. And beyond that, here are some additional ideas:

  • Record some of your practices: Listen to see if you’ve answered the question and enunciated clearly. Notice any unnatural pauses or mannerisms that could confuse someone.
  • Ask a friend to listen to some of your responses to the IELTS Speaking questions: If they’re even a little confused about your response, use that moment of confusion to see where the disconnect might be.

If you’d like someone to grade your Speaking responses, Magoosh offers several options for getting your Speaking responses graded:

Using common IELTS speaking topics in this way will help develop your speaking skills. Happy studying!

By the way, improve your IELTS score with Magoosh!

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  • David Recine

    David is a Test Prep Expert for Magoosh TOEFL and IELTS. Additionally, he's helped students with TOEIC, PET, FCE, BULATS, Eiken, SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. David has a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. His work at Magoosh has been cited in many scholarly articles, his Master's Thesis is featured on the Reading with Pictures website, and he's presented at the WITESOL (link to PDF) and NAFSA conferences. David has taught K-12 ESL in South Korea as well as undergraduate English and MBA-level business English at American universities. He has also trained English teachers in America, Italy, and Peru. Come join David and the Magoosh team on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram, or connect with him via LinkedIn!

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