Part 1 of the IELTS Speaking Test: Introduction and Interview

IELTS Speaking -magoosh

Part 1 of the IELTS Speaking Test
What’s it all about?

Rest easy. Preparing for this portion of the oral interview 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.

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Sample Conversation Topics for Part 1

Thankfully, the helpful folks at IELTS have provided sample materials that’ll give you a good idea of what part 1 of the IELTS speaking test actually looks like. As you’ll see, you won’t have to worry about getting nervous and not knowing what to say – it’s not a mere, “So tell me about yourself.” For example, after having introduced him or herself, the interviewer might ask about your home.

Sample Questions for Part 1 of the IELTS Speaking Test -magoosh

Sample Questions for Part 1 of the IELTS Speaking Test


Important Things to Remember When Preparing for Part 1 of the IELTS Speaking Test

Clearly, you won’t have to do any research to learn about the possible topics in this section. Even if you’ve studied with the best IELTS prep out there for the other sections, this one is going to be more personal and won’t require those same skills. Consider the example provided above: you know all about your own home. However, even if you didn’t, the point isn’t about what you do or do not know, but your ability to complete the simple communicative task of talking about everyday things.

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

To help you practice exploring these topics out loud (or in writing if a conversational partner is not available), here are some questions to consider that might naturally occur in a conversation about such topics:


  • In what ways is your family typical or unique?
  • How would you describe your relationship with your family?
  • In your opinion, is family more important than friendships? Why or why not?
  • How would you define what a family is? For example, do friends or extended family members come to mind when you think of family?


  • Tell me about your work/studies (e.g. Why did you choose it? Why or why don’t you enjoy it?)
  • What would you consider the ideal job? Why?
  • To you, which is more important: a high salary or enjoyable work?
  • In your opinion, is it easy to be too focused on one’s work or studies? Why or why not?


  • How would you spend your time during an ideal day?
  • What is one thing you think that more people your age should experience? Why?
  • In your opinion, is it important to have personal hobbies that aren’t work or family related? Why or why not?
  • What was your favorite subject in school? Was this in anyway predictive of the kind of work or studies that you pursued later?

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

Need more inspiration to get you talking? Check out these Magoosh articles intended to prepare TOEFL test takers for speaking tasks:

TOEFL Speaking Topics
TOEFL Speaking Task 1- Independent
TOEFL Speaking Task 2 – Independent

By the way, improve your IELTS score with Magoosh!

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