Section one of the interview / speaking test is an introduction in which the interviewer will ask you some general questions about yourself. The questions are often, but not always, based on the Form/CV that you filled out before the test. This section of the interview aims to be like a friendly conversation in which the interviewer asks questions that are not too difficult, to try to get to know you and relax you.
- Prior to the test, you will be asked to fill in a CV (Curriculum Vitae) which will ask for general information about topics such as the following:
- Your country of origin
- Where you learned English
- How long you have been learning English
- Level of education achieved
- Interests and future plans
The first section of the test will go something like this:
- The interviewer greets the candidate and introduces himself or herself.
- The interviewer asks the candidate to state his or her name clearly for the cassette.
- The interviewer asks to see the candidate’s passport and CV form.
Typical questions for this stage of the test might be:
- It says on your CV that you are interested in …
- Could you tell me why do you like it?
- How often do you … ?
- With whom? Where?
- Why are you taking the IELTS test?
- Is this your hometown?
Tell me about the place you come from.
Would you rather live here or there?
Tell me how the public transport system in your hometown compares with here.
What do you like about living here?
Are there any bad points about this place?
Strategies for approaching the task:
Firstly, you should be very careful what you write on your CV as this could be the basis for the discussion in this part of the test and may influence the interviewer’s choice of topics for the second part of the test as well. Remember that one of the aims of this section is to get you talking freely so that the interviewer can assess your level of English. The interviewer wants you to talk about something you are interested in so that you will perform your best. It is for this reason that you are asked to write down some information about yourself that the interviewer can use as a basis for the questions.
One question on the CV asks you to write down your interests. Make sure that you are prepared to talk about the interests you write down here. For example, if one of your interests is scuba diving, make sure that you learn the vocabulary you need to discuss this topic in English before the test. And check the pronunciation with a native speaker of English if possible. One candidate wrote down that she was interested in the environment, though, in fact, she knew nothing about environmental issues. The interviewer, thinking that this would be a good topic to get the candidate talking freely, began to ask question after questions about the candidate’s views on various issues related to the environment. The candidate didn’t have the language to cope with the questions and also didn’t have any ideas to express about the issues. So instead of the candidate feeling relaxed from the beginning of the interview talking about a familiar topic, she felt very uncomfortable and may not have performed as well as she could as a result.
So choose carefully what you write down on the CV and prepare the language you will need to discuss these topics before the test. This does not mean that you should memorise a speech as the interviewer will immediately change the topic if s/he thinks that what you are saying is rehearsed. It would be more useful to find people with whom you can practice speaking about the topics.
You should also be prepared to use the past, present and present perfect tenses to describe your current situation. For example, ‘I have been studying English for two years since I moved to the city’.
In this section, the interviewer will move onto one or more topics of general interest. You may need to speak longer (take longer turns) than in the first section and you may need to describe or explain.
- It is not possible to predict what topics may be discussed at this point in the interview; however, some standard topics are:
- Traditional or modern buildings in your country
- Tourism and tourist sites
- Celebrations and cultural activities
- Family and family relationships
- Schooling and the education system in your country
- City and country living
- Modern and traditional lifestyles
If the interview does not take place in your country of origin, you may be asked to compare your country’s architecture, levels of tourism, cultures etc. with those of the country you are living in.
What is being tested is your ability to:
- Take longer turns in a conversation
- Give information involving description and explanation
Strategies for approaching the task
Carefully consider what you know about each of the topics above. Try to think of all the questions that someone who was trying to get to know you might ask, and make sure that you have all the vocabulary you need to discuss the topics in depth. Check and practice the pronunciation of any new vocabulary. Where there are contentious issues, try to develop an opinion.
You will perform better in the IELTS interview if your speech is fluent. And you’re likely to be more fluent if you have already thought about the topic and have some ideas to express. This doesn’t mean memorising or rehearsing a speech because you can never be sure exactly what the questions will be, and also the examiner will immediately ask a different question if s/he suspects that your answer is memorised.
Let’s now discuss entertainment in your country
Are there a lot of places in your country for young people to go out?
No, Australia would have to be one of the world’s most boring countries because there is not much variety nightlife. The only choice is to go get drunk in the pub really.
Yes, compared to other countries around the world Australia is a surprisingly lively place with lots of choices for indoor and outdoor entertainment.
What kinds of live entertainment are popular in your country?
-You can always see people like street performers, buskers and artists, especially in the big cities.
- Young people enjoy going to rock concerts
- Older people like to see the performances at the Sydney Opera house such as the symphony orchestra
What places would you recommend a tourist go to, for entertainment, in your country?
- I would recommend going to King’s Cross in Sydney because it is the biggest nightclub scene in all of Australia.
- They should also go to places that most tourists don’t go to like Barossa valley in Adelaide to visit the amazing wineries there.
Let’s now talk about technology and entertainment
What forms of online entertainment have become popular these days?
- Things like online shopping, online dating and gaming have become very popular.
- These days new kinds of social games have become popular like Pokemon Go.
- Most people these days spend their time on sites like Facebook and Twitter.
What are the dangers of spending too much time on online entertainment?
- No doubt things like addiction and social withdrawal are some of the most common dangers.
- There are no real dangers. It’s just the media beating up another story.
- The biggest danger is befriending the wrong people online.
Is entertainment these days better than in the past because of technology?
- No, life was great back then. You didn’t need an app to meet people. You just went out and met them. Simple.
-Yes, we have a plethora of choices today on the internet that brightens our lives. [Plethora = huge number]