Common Topics for IELTS Speaking Part 1

The key for success in speaking is to prepare the common topics which the examiner can ask you about in IELTS speaking part 1. You will be asked a total of 3 topic for IELTS speaking part 1. The examiner has a list of subjects to take the questions from so you need to prepare ideas for a range of different topics.

This video tutorial will explain what the common topics are for part 1 and which ones you should focus on for your preparation.

IELTS Speaking Part 1: Common Topics

Hello my name is Liz
in this lesson I’m going to look
at the types of topics
that the examiner could ask you
in IELTS speaking part 1
and at the end of this lesson
I’ll give you a link so that you can
take a look at the topics and questions
for yourself
the examiner will probably ask you
about 12 different questions
in speaking part 1
and these questions come from usually
3 different subjects these are all
familiar and they are topics that
are common to everybody
throughout the world
now the first IELTS speaking part 1 topic of these three
usually come from one of these
work study home and hometown
you will probably get
one of them for your first topic
work or study now if the examiner
decides to ask you about work or study
the first question that
the examiner will ask
is “do you work or do you study”
now the examiner is asking
this question
only because he or she needs
to know which
topic to choose to ask
the questions so with this question
you do not need to expand your answer
you can just say very clearly
“I work” or “I study”
now if you’re a students and
you’ve finished university
but you aren’t not working either
then you need to tell the examiner that
and you need to say “I’ve just finished
university but I don’t have a job yet”
and the examiner will then continue
and ask you about the topic of study. Now with
these topics the common questions
which the examiner could ask you is
where do you study or work
why did you choose that subject or job
the examiner might ask you about
your first day
about the people you that
you work or study with
and other things about your work
or your study
Now for the topic of home
this topic is all about where you live
so it could be about your house
or your apartment
and in that topic
the examiner can ask you
about the rooms in your house
how they are decorated
so what you can see on the walls
or what you kind of views you have
from the windows
the examiner might also ask you
about the people you live with
or the area and street that you live in
And the last topic hometown
now if you get the topic of hometown
this is about the place
where you were born or where you
spent your childhood
and for this topic
the examiner often asks you
about places in your hometown
for example buildings or
old buildings in your hometown
the examiner might ask you
about the weather
or transportation
in your hometown
or if you plan to still live
there in the future
so those are To read more, click here


List of Topics and Questions for Speaking Part 1, click here
IELTS Video Tutorial for speaking part 1 1: What’s your favourite…?, click here


  1. Hi Ms Liz,
    For the speaking test, if the question is “Do you work or study?’, and I answered that ‘I do not work or study at this moment, as I am currently waiting to be accepted from a college, but I had a part-time job a couple of months ago.’ In this case, would the examiner ask me on the topic of work or study? And, is my answer alright or a bit too lengthy?

    Thank you and a reply would highly be appreciated.


    • You are over thinking. It is the examiners choice what to do. The examiner might ask you about your previous work or about your future studies. Or the examiner might switch to the topic of HOME or HOMETOWN. The examiner will interrupt answers anyway, so always aim to keep talking rather than being worried your answer is too long.

  2. Hi Liz,

    I did my speaking test and I got the following questions:
    1. about my work
    2. about weather
    3. where did I play when I was a child (indoors or outdoors)
    4. did my friends used to visit me home?
    5. about daylight change
    6. sleeping early benefits and disadvantages
    7.working late at night
    8. talk for two minutes about something like an event that made me wake up early, what was it and what time did you wake up and what did you do?

    I wasn’t ready at all for the speaking test, but it was a nice experience and I have no fear to re-attempt it
    one of the bad things I done was that I stopped on the talk section and was really nervous

    anyway I’m glad I can share the questions I got and hope it is useful for someone.

  3. Can I say I do business? Cos i dont work nor study either.

  4. Dear Liza,

    I am Chamu, your website is really helpful …Thank you so much for the effort you made for us .

  5. Dear Liza,

    I have given speaking exam unfortunately I couldnt do well in cue card question for more than 1min .
    Your website was very useful to me, am really grateful for that . Thank you so much .
    I would like to share speaking topics which questionnaire was asked me .
    1.Where I do live?
    2. Who is my favourite actor?
    3. Did you ever meet any film actor in real life?
    4.what is your favourite food and why?
    5.Cue card question was …Describe the food you like and what they serve on occasions .
    why do like that food ?
    what made you to like that food?
    How was it made ?
    6. In your country do people grow their own food?
    If so why they grow their own food?
    7. Do you think in future people like to grow their own food?

    These were the questions I got for speaking …Hope it helps others who wanted to take IELTS exam .

  6. Dear Ms. Liz,
    I’m studying English translation at university and I”m also an English teacher.
    would it affect the examiner in speaking test to ask me hard subjects?

    • The examiner is trained to ask questions at the level of students. The examiner is also trained to challenge students with better English – the reason is so that they can demonstrate higher level of English to get a higher score. So, don’t worry. Just relax and enjoy the test. It is an informal speaking test, so you need to be chatty, friendly and open.


  8. Hi Liz,
    I didnt know where to ask this question, so I will just raise it here:
    Since reading, listening and writing test are all combined, I wanted to know if there is the possibility to go to the toilet during the test. Is it also possible to take several kinds of drinks with me? I think I need caffeine… 😀
    Also, in which order are the three sections arranged?
    Thanks in advance and for your lovely website!

  9. Hi Liz

    I am a stutter, will it adversely affect my IELTS speaking score? What should I do?


  10. Hi Liz,
    thanks for your sophisticated lectures.
    I have a question concerning art topics: Do I have to talk about fine arts, i.e. paintings, drawings, sculptures, etc…? Or can I also talk about music or literature??

    • In part 1, if the topic is art, it is about paintings, drawings etc. In part 2, you can take your talk in any direction you want and adapt the topic. Try to pay attention to the difference between “art” and “the arts”.

  11. Hi Liz, How can I answer this questions as you said We should give good length answer. Thank you. Is my answer enough?
    When did you learn to cook? When I was in senior high school I learn to cook simple recipes which I find more easy to prepare especially when I am in a hurry.

    • Great. You used past tense (although be careful you use it correctly – I learned to cook), present tense and also a clause. To expand your answer further, you can add “For example, scrambled eggs or a simple vegetable curry, such as aubergine and coconut …” Just keep talking until the examiner moves on to the next question. Examples are a good way to add vocabulary to your answer.

  12. Hello Liz, what if at the moment i’m not working or studying. what would be my response.

    • Then you say precisely that. The IELTS speaking test doesn’t have tricky questions and there are no right or wrong answers. Just speak normally and like you are speaking to a friend “I don’t work or study at the moment. I finished my degree a few months ago”. That is one example.

  13. Dear Sir,

    I understand my hometown to be my village, but from your video, you explained it to be where I was born or where I spent my childhood days. Could you please clarify because I was born and bred in a major city of my country but my hometown (where I hail from) is rural.

    Thanks in anticipation of your prompt response.


    • Your hometown is any place you want. This is part 1 question and the examiner doesn’t care if it is the truth or not. So, choose which place you consider your hometown.

  14. Hello madam,
    How would we answer these questions in speaking part one .
    What is your job?
    Where is your hometown?
    What is your hometown like?
    As you say that we have to give good length answer rather than short.kindly explain.

    • A good length in part 1 means one complex sentence or two. For example:
      What’s your job?
      Answer: I’m a secretary. = This is too short
      Answer: I’m a secretary for a large international company and work in the marketing department. = This is fine. You’ve added extra information.

      You must judge the question and decide how much to add. If the examiner interrupts your answer, it’s normal and won’t affect your score.

  15. Hello Liz

    I am appearing for the IELTS on 17th December

    Please let me know how to wish the People in Interview panel during Speaking Test of IELTS


  16. Ameer Sultan says

    Dear Liz,

    what if a person did work along his studies during his graduation ?
    How we can tell to examiner ?

  17. Shokhrukh Erkinov says

    Hello, again! Can I take a voice recorder with me in speaking ? If not, why?

    • No. You can only take your ID into the test. No exam papers or questions can be removed from the exam room as this is a strictly controlled test.
      All the best

  18. Babandeep kaur says

    hello mam,
    I m babandeep kaur . I recently given IELTS exam and I got overall 6 band (L-6.5, R-5.5, W-6, S-5) . but I want to improve my bands specially in speaking . Please help me how I score better .

  19. Ms. Liz,

    I have analyzed my mistakes and weaknesses and I have noticed that many of my listening test practice Section 3 MCQ choosing letters wrong. What I have felt is that I am unable to choose the letter while listening, by the time I choose letter for above question, I miss some infos for the next. Also, I don’t have time to paraphrase all those 3 options, but I did paraphrase the questions as you have given that as TIPS.

    Do I need to listen fully ( end of conversation), then choose the letter? or Could you please give some TIPS?

    My exam on 1st Aug, your lessons are guiding me so well. When I do practice test I just follow your tips like a parrot. Its helps me a lot.

    Thanks & regards,


    • Unfortunately, much of the skill of multiple choice is based on your level of English. People will higher level English can hear paraphrases quicker and can choose the answers quicker which is why they get a better score. I can only suggest you continue practicing and make sure you move on to the next question quickly without getting lost in detail. Identifying the key words in options and being able to see the differences between options is also key to being successful in MC.

  20. Dear Ms. Liz,

    I have bought IELTS 10 and I did the listening test 1. I have written the answer 22nd Oct, but in the book, has mentioned 22 October. Would I loose one point? Kindly clarify my doubt.

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