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British Council

Understanding IELTS: Speaking

British Council via FutureLearn


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Prepare for success in your IELTS Speaking test

The four courses in the British Council’s Understanding IELTS ExpertTrack give you a complete guide to everything you need to know as you prepare for the IELTS test.

This 3-week course focuses on the speaking test. You’ll look in detail at the three parts of the test and learn about the four criteria that will be used to assess your spoken English.

Build your confidence in English speaking

The course will begin with an introduction to the team, where you can find out how they can help you succeed in the IELTS speaking test. We’ll take a look at some examples of questions in part 1 of the test and think about how best to answer them.

In order to build your confidence, we’ll look at ways of improving the fluency and coherence of your answers and come up with effective strategies.

Understand each part of the IELTS speaking exam

In the second part of the test, you’ll get the chance to shine and give a successful talk. We’ll discuss the characteristics of an effective talk and explore how to prepare.

We’ll evaluate the band descriptors and see what you need to do to impress regarding English grammar and pronunciation. Finally, we’ll delve into part 3 of the speaking test and you’ll get to do a practice interview.

Through our tips, techniques and practice activities, you’ll build confidence and feel fully prepared on test day.

This IELTS preparation course is aimed at anyone who wants to improve their English speaking skills in preparation for the IELTS Speaking test. It might also be useful for IELTS teachers. There are no formal entry requirements.


  • Building confidence: fluency and coherence
    • Making connections
    • Introductions
    • Giving better answers
    • The language you need
    • Review of the week
  • The long turn: your chance to shine
    • Giving a talk
    • Planning a successful talk
    • Assessment criteria: grammar
    • Assessment criteria: pronunciation
    • Review of the week
  • Saying what you think: extended discussion
    • The conversation
    • Understanding the task
    • Assessment criteria: lexical resource
    • Putting it into practice
    • Review of the course

Taught by

Chris Cavey


4.8 rating, based on 589 Class Central reviews

4.9 rating at FutureLearn based on 434 ratings

Start your review of Understanding IELTS: Speaking

  • Here's a quick recap and hope this list could help you prepare for the IELTS test. This 3-week IELTS course provided the British Council is helpful in: (1) Offering practical tips of dos and don'ts for each part of the test. Part 1: https://www.fu…
  • It's great to learn this course and along with the opportunities to practise our speaking skills. I feel it very helpful for provding tips and needed information about the course. But one thing that I want to say is planning for live discussion in each sub topic of the course that might be more effective and motivating all learners.
  • Actually, the course is really amazing .I have learnt a lot of things. It tells every single detail to get a high score. Besides, there are plenty of demonstrating videos. The educators and mentors answer questions and give feedback always.
  • Anonymous
    I appreciate this course, though I still haven't finished it. I find I have learned a lot from this course. The educators always reply the answers very patiently and then help us improve English speaking step by step.They also offer very good resou…
  • Anonymous
    This course has shown a great desire of tutors to share the precious information and help people who are willing to get a good band score in IELTS Speaking Test. I am now during the 3rd week of learning, and I can firmly say that my knowledge is inc…
  • I am really grateful for coming across this website, I don't know how that happened but I'm glad that I found my way here. The educators have been really helpful, my speaking skills have greatly improved, I now know what words to say and not to say. I'm convinced that if I practice more, and use the tips provided, I'll make my required band score. I would also like to appreciate the educators for the links to some useful resources shared, they were really helpful. Lastly, I'll like to implore anyone interested in improving their English or preparing to take the test to subscribe for this course. Thank you
  • Anonymous
    The IELTS understanding speaking test course is a very good platform to learn and prepare for the test.They give us lot of easy technique that we can gain our expected band score.There are some virtual test that we can make ourselves and get more confidence for the exam.everyone can share their opinion and problem and educator will try to solve their problem or give some valuable suggestion .In addition to they do in every section. Educators are trying to give us something that we can learn from here.I just thanks to British Council for giving us such opportunity and specially thanks to our educator who are always right behind us as a true friend.
  • Anonymous
    I have had a wonderful time on this course. One of the many pleasant surprises that Ive had during this course was its very interactive nature. Listening to other people and gettibg feedback on our performances has been really insightful and helpful. The tips and information provided by our Lead Educators as well as fellow students have helped me in finding my flaws and correcting them. Overall it has boosted my confidence for the speaking test as well as speaking in English in general. The website is also easy to work with. Overall I had a lot of fun and learned quite a lot. I would definitely recommend this course to my friends and family! :)
  • Anonymous
    Firstly, I would like to thank all educators for this amazing course.

    I was so nervous at the beginning but as I progressed I started to feel more relaxed.
    Moreover, I have learned how importance is to consider our English range. That is why I have been practicing with the advices given in the articles. And also, a good strategy that I would like mention is the use of the Skypipe as a tool for our recording audios practice.

    To summarize, I am so glad for have been participated in this course in which I have learned so much.

  • Anonymous
    I apprecitate this course very much. At first I don't think it's useful to learn speaking skill through online course because speaking needs face to face directly. Then passing step by step, I learn more lots of good tips, valuable links, wonderful knowledge and experience from educators and commentors. I have improved my learning regularly. Finally I can be feel confident to take part in the test in few days.
    I thank you all of you who helps me to enlarge my ability.
    I think I can join other course like this so far
  • Anonymous
    This course is amazing! Although it's a free course, it's well-designed to support self-learners. For instance, all the materials like videos, audios, pictures, articles and etc were well prepared. I could feel how committing the crew contributing to this course was. Also, many pieces of advice presented were really useful to me. Last but not least, the community of this course helped me so many times as the co-learners gave me feedback of my comments or audios and the educators proposed a lot of constructive replies.
  • Maria Bukhari
    This test really gave me track to work hard. otherwise its so difficult to keep up with for modules, grammer, vocabulary, specially writing methods, then you get lost in middle somewhere and never get to know clearly where to start again. but for me now only preparation is following the course. so many resources are provided to improve level and practice as well for listening, reading, and best of all is I'm 100% sure that i won't be misguided.
  • Anonymous
    BC is the best !! I liked your accent, teachers and tutors have a relaxed attitude, speak very clearly and make the course enjoyable. Honestly, I had never taken an online English course, but this experience gives me a lot of confidence that I can improve and have a conversation in English without hesitating or feeling awkward.

    The material is also very good, they make you want to continue learning. Thanks to Alister, Neil and so many others who accompanied us these 3 weeks
  • Anonymous
    Dear educators,
    I would like to thank you all for the time you spend on managing the online speaking course. I found this course very informative and useful. I believe it provides critical key points for a foreign language learner to pass the IELTS speaking test with a higher score. Besides that, many amazing sites have been introduced over the course that, undoubtedly, will help students improve their understanding of the English language.
    Best of all,
  • Anonymous
    This test really gave me track to work hard. otherwise its so difficult to keep up with four modules, grammer, vocabulary, specially writing methods, then you get lost in the middle somewhere and never get to know clearly where to go again. but for me now only preparation is following the course. So many resources are provided to improve level and practice as well for listening, reading, writting, speaking, and best of all is, I'm 100% sure that i won't be misguided.
  • Anonymous
    It is my pleasure to learn in futurelearn
    Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Be confident. People can only correct your mistakes when they hear you make them.
    Surround yourself in English. Put yourself in an all English speaking environment where you can learn passively. The best way to learn is through speaking.
    Practise every day. Make yourself a study plan. Decide how much time a week you are going to spend studying and stick to it. Establish a routine.
  • Anonymous
    I have no doubt in my heart that when I walk in for my IELTS test come 2020 its going to be flawless for me. Why is because, the educators have done so well to put their brilliant ideas together. Also, I'm not leaving out all participants who have contributed and shared their ideas in one way or the order according to their capacity and knowledge. So far so good I'm smiling :-). Great job guys!
  • Anonymous
    This FutureLearn : understanding IELTS speaking course really helped me a lot, i was able to understand and comprehend what the speaking part of the test is about, and know exactly what i should expect while undergoing the test, this course helped me tremendously, and the educators were a very big help.
  • Rathin Bhattacharjee
    Right now I feel sad. When I joined the Speaking Course in mid-November, I started off in right earnest, completed a few of the activities and left, thinking that I would get back in time and complete the rest of the course. Just a few days back, I…
  • Profile image for Abena Asante
    Abena Asante
    The course teaches all there is to know about IELTS speaking exams.I'm honoured to be a part of this class.Although i'm halfway through,the information i have received from the educators has boosted my confidence level and i know i will pass the exams this time around.Thanks for the course.

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