IELTS Speaking part 1: Topics and questions

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What Happens in IELTS Speaking Part 1?

This is what happens in Part 1 of IELTS Speaking;

  • When you enter the speaking test room, the examiner greets you.
  • The examiner will start to record the interview (audio)
  • The examiner asks for your ID
  • They (he or she) asks your full name
  • They ask you two or three introduction or ‘warm up’ questions about either 
    • Your home
    • Your hometown
    • Your work 
    • Your study 

Common Introduction or ‘warm up’ Questions

Part 1 of the test begins with some ‘getting to know you’ questions. The kind of questions you ask someone when you meet them for the first time. So, you may get questions similar to these below. Note, these are not official IELTS questions.


  • Do you like your hometown?
  • What’s a popular part of your hometown?
  • Are there many shops in your hometown?


Talking about your home

  • Do you live in a house or a flat?
  • What’s your favourite room?
  • Is there anything you want to change about your home?

Talking about your accommodation:

  • Tell me about the kind of accommodation you live in?
  • How long have you lived there?
  • What do you like about living there?


  • Do you work or are you a student?
  • What do you do everyday?
  • Do you enjoy your job?


  • What do you study?
  • What do you like most about your study?
  • Why did you choose to study that?

IELTS Speaking Part 1 Topics

The ‘warm up’ is important, but the real evaluation begins after the warm up.

You will get around 3 to 4 questions on 2 different topics.

Below, you will see the kind of topics that are common in IELTS Speaking Part 1

Remember you need to learn to speak flexibly on a “wide range or topics”, so don’t just limit yourself to studying these topics below. Study as many topics as you can.  

For each topic, you will see some sub-topics. The sub-topics are useful areas to study that I suggest to broaden you vocabulary and flexibility to talk confidently on that topic.

  • Animals

Keeping pets, wild animals, advantages and disadvantages of zoos

  • Art

Visual and performing arts, types of paintings, art galleries and exhibitions, art in the past and present, art in your home, digital art

  • Books

Genres of books, digital and audio books, books you have read 

  • Cities

Hometown, location, livelihood and local industry, tourism, activities to do, likes and dislikes 

  • Clothes 

Fashion, likes and dislikes, shopping for clothes, clothes at work / for leisure

  • Family 

Members, jobs, hobbies, personalities, relationships 

  • Food 

Picnics, cooking, eating habits, healthy eating, favourite dishes 

  • Mobile Phones 

Uses of a mobile phone, apps, texting, social media 

  • Sport 

Different kinds, habits, doing sport, watching sport, being a fan 

  • Transport 

Means of transport, public and private transportation, sea, land and air transport. 

There are a lot of topics.

The most important thing to remember is these questions are about YOU.

They are specific, not abstract, not general. 

Save the abstract and general ideas for Part 3. 

Part 1 is about you and your life.

Imagine you are speaking to a new friend at a party. What would you say?

Well, that is how you should speak in this part of the test.

Top Tips for Answering Part 1 Questions

In Part 1 you can use the following strategies  

  • Get to the point!
  • Remember – you don’t have to tell the truth! The examiner marks your English, not your ideas or content.
  • Learn to use collocations
  • Use adjectives to add colour and interest
  • Know the common question types
  • Prepare by practicing different types of answer using a variety of structures, for example,

Yes….if not…