Can you Tell Lies in IELTS Speaking? Advice & Tips

Is it ok to lie in IELTS speaking? Is it ok to make up a story and tell the examiner? 

Many students ask me if they can tell lies in their IELTS test and if they will get a lower band score if they are found lying in their IELTS speaking test.

Is it possible to lie in IELTS Speaking?


Yes, you can lie. It won’t affect your score.

But it isn’t necessary. It’s better to tell the truth.

Telling the truth has advantages.

Why lying isn’t necessary in IELTS Speaking

  1. There is no reason to lie. Lying will not increase your score.
  2. If you don’t have a clear answer – just say so. You are marked on your ability to communicate in English, not on your knowledge or ideas for IELTS speaking. Below are some examples:
    • Q) What is your favourite museum?  
    • A) I don’t have one. I don’t have much interest in history or culture and I think the last time I went to one is when I was a child.
      • Comments: The above answer is excellent. It answers directly and explains more. I also uses both present simple and past simple grammar tenses.
    • Q) Do you like cooking?
    • A) No, actually I don’t. My mother has always cooked for me. To be honest, I find it incredibly tedious and a waste of my time, and anyway I’d rather use my time more productively.
      • Comments: This is a full answer which offers different grammar tenses and a range of language features.
  3. Lying requires imagination – it is better just to focus on your language rather than trying to be creative at the same time.
  4. When you say the truth, you usually have better intonation which will help your pronunciation score. Matching your meaning with your tone of voice is very important for your pronunciation score.
  5. It’s hard to add extra details when you lie. It requires too much effort to add all the extra details to a lie.
  6. Under exam pressure, it is hard to lie and create an answer at the same time. Sticking with the truth is easier. 

Adapting the Truth

Adapting the truth is easier than a huge creative lie.

If you are asked to talk about a book you recently read, instead you can talk about a book you read one year ago but say it was recent. It is a “white lie” but all details you will give will be truthful – this will make it easier for you to talk about. However, even in this situation, you can still tell the truth – see below:

  • I’d like to talk about a novel I read about a year ago. To be honest, I’ve been so busy during this last year with work that I haven’t had time to read any books. So, I’m going to tell you about one I remember very well from about one year ago. …..
    • Comments: This is a great start to your talk. There are quite a few different grammar tenses used already at the start of the talk. The answer also show that you can communicate clearly and easily in English by giving precise meaning to what you want to say. As long as you stick to the main topic “A book”, you can adapt it as you like. By explaining your choices for the topic, the examiner will be satisfied. It doesn’t affect your score to do this.

ID Check & Facts

Before the recording device is switched on, the examiner will ask you four questions to check your ID. Do NOT lie at this point. The information you provide must match the information given on your ID card.

Useful Links for IELTS Speaking

Click below to open:

Should I speak fast or slow?

Correcting yourself in IELTS Speaking

Tips about the ID check & Greeting

Speaking Topics from May-Aug 2020

All FREE Speaking Tips, Lessons & Model Answers


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  1. Maureen Anyiam says

    Thanks Liz,
    This is useful and i quite agree with you that it is best to go with true events in your life as it will enable one to flow better.
    I also want seize this opportunity to clarify a few things;
    1) Can we write months as : Jan, Feb, Dec, Oct, Nov, Apr, Sept etc
    2)True=T, False= F, Notgiven= NG, Yes= Y, No= N
    3)DOB when instruction says ‘three words only’
    eg 29th Feb 1980. How do we write this
    4)Email like ‘ (when three word only is required)

    • 1) yes
      2) yes
      3) if a date is involved the instructions will always have a number of numbers.
      4) emails are one word because there is no gap

  2. Mohamed Kamal Ali says

    Great Pieces of advice. Thanks a bunch, Liz.

  3. Bappu Deb says

    these tips are really helpful. thank you Liz.

  4. Thank you Liz, you are great

    Please give me some information for improving my vocabulary and grammar? I want to write my exam in July and I have a lot of problems with reading, Please recommend me some English grammar book or vocabulary book that would be free.

  5. Hii Liz..
    You are a very good teacher, and I love the way you discuss and share everything so beautifully.
    My question to you is that during my speaking test I get a topic, for which I don’t have any idea, so what should I do, in that case?
    For example, I don’t have much knowledge about Cricket and I never played that game too, what I am supposed to answer this?
    Thank You

    • IELTS speaking examiners do not ask questions about things people do not know about. IELTS speaking only ask about aspects of daily life. Cricket has never ever been a topic in IELTS. They never ask about specific sports, only about sports in general. It is not a test of knowledge and speaking topics do not test your knowledge.

  6. Jenny ann Vergara Laputan says

    Thanks Liz! I want to ask, in regards with books , can i answer about the bible? Thank you! Godbless

    • You can talk about any book. However, the choice should not be about something you love. It should be about something that is easy to talk about that allows you to showcase your language skills. Think strategically.

  7. Thank you so Much Liz you helped me to solve problems that I had for a long time . Thank you

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