Part 1


Task Description

In Part 1, the examiner will introduce him/herself and ask to check your I.D. You should bring your I.D card.

Watch the video to see an example from Part 1 of the speaking test. Note down what happens and read the comments that are provided in the video.

The examiner will first ask you to talk about where you live, your studies or, if working, your job. You may be asked further questions such as how long you have been living there/studying etc, or what your future plans are.


The examiner will then move on to two other topics of general interest, for example your interests, family life or lifestyle, food, festivals or public transport; or activities such as sport, films or shopping. They will ask 3-4 further questions per topic, to elicit more information from you. You cannot choose these topics, but the examiner will ask general questions and interact with you to encourage you to speak. The tone is one of an informal, if slightly one-sided, conversation.


To summarise, Part 1 consists of a discussion on:
1. The area you live in OR your studies OR your work.
2. PLUS another 2 topics of a general nature.


Skills Tested

  1. Responding appropriately and fully to general questions about yourself.
  2. Giving information, describing, explaining or expanding on general topics.
  3. Fluency, clarity, pronunciation and intonation.
  4. Accuracy and range of grammatical structures and vocabulary.


  • Go into the test well prepared. This is not difficult, as the topics are relatively predictable. The exercises below will enable you to prepare and practise until you are confident.
  • Being well prepared does not mean memorising a set speech, as this sounds artificial and may not answer a question exactly. The examiner will be able to tell you have memorised it and will penalise you for this.
  • 'What is it like?'
    This question means you should describe the subject (e.g. the area where you live) more fully, NOT say whether you enjoy living there.
    For example: 'I live in Sham Shui Po'
    'What's it like?'
    'It's an interesting area but the buildings are quite old. It's convenient for public transport and shopping and there's a fascinating outdoor market, but it's very crowded.'
  • Pronunciation: Pay particular attention to consonant word endings, as not pronouncing them is a common problem for Cantonese speakers. Make sure the 't' in “don't” and the 'd' in “I'd like” are clearly audible.
  • Think about the kind of questions that someone who was trying to get to know you would ask. These are the kind of questions the examiner will ask at this point, about your interests, family life or lifestyle, popular activities such as sport, films or shopping or common areas such as food, festivals, public transport and holidays.
  • Work on expanding your vocabulary so that you can give full and interesting answers to questions on the above kind of topics. Make full use of the resources in CILL to do this! Brainstorm vocabulary with a group of friends.

Practice Tasks

  1. Watch the example video of Part 1 of the IELTS speaking test. Note down the questions that are asked. Then, use the online voice recorder to record your own answers.

  2. With a partner, practise the interview, with one of you taking the examiner's role of asking questions and the other replying. Swap roles so you both get practice.