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The IELTS Examiner’s Job

The first thing to remember about IELTS Speaking is that the examiner is there to do their job, not be your friend for 15 minutes.

IELTS examiners are required to carry out the test in exactly the same way every, single time.

And there are lots of rules to follow regarding the time and what they can say.

For example in part 1:

-They can’t make natural responses to show they are listening – they must be silent when you are speaking.  

-They can only say ‘Why?’ or ‘why not?’ to reply to your answer.

-They can’t answer any questions you ask.

-They can’t change the question – they must read it exactly from the book.

-They can only repeat each question once.

-They can’t help you if you have misunderstood the question.

-They are not allowed to explain whole questions.

-They must follow the 4-5 minute time limit.

So as well as asking the questions in the correct way and making sure they follow all the rules, they have to assess your speaking score.

This is difficult as the examiner is not allowed to make notes during your test so they have to listen carefully, and think about your scores carefully (or carelessly).


Therefore it’s not surprising that examiners, especially in part 1, are unnaturally cold and formal.

Don’t be surprised if you say something funny or sad and they don’t respond at all.


In fact it might help to think of the examiner like an IELTS robot, not a person.

The most important thing to remember is that they are there to do their job, and you are there to do yours.

If you want to both improve your English and feel comfortable, I now offer online lessons complete with feedback, videos, workbooks and more – you can learn more here!



Your Job

And what is your job?

To show off your English skills by answering every question as well as you can.

Top Tips:

1. Don’t be bothered by the robotic nature of the examiner. Just try to be as natural, relaxed and talkative as possible.

2. Try to pretend that the examiner is friendly and encouraging, even if they are not.

3. Don’t ask the examiner any questions.

For example, in part 1:

Examiner: “What are you plans for next weekend?”

Candidate: ”I’m going to Queen’s Park. Do you know it?”

You can learn more about your IELTS Speaking test day here: howtodoielts.com/what-will-really-happen-in-your-speaking-test/

Here are some other speaking model answers: friends, phones, school, and history.

Here is an example speaking topic from Nick that you can find on our YouTube channel:


Now it’s your turn! Put your answers in the comments.

Here is a sample question from part 1 of the test

What do teenagers in your country enjoy doing in their free time?


Dont miss your chance to learn the facts about IELTS and improve your English with my online courses, guaranteed!

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