IELTS Speaking: Part 0, the very important preliminary stage [the best way to face it]

IELTS Speaking: Part 0, an important preliminary stage & the best way to face it

This post deals with one of the most important sections of IELTS Speaking Exam. Known as Part 0, this section is quite unfamiliar by name to many of us, especially new IELTS candidates. This is the preliminary stage of IELTS Speaking Exam where you are asked some personal questions. This post will dissect this part and inform you about some critical issues regarding the speaking module. It will also guide you to the best way on how to do well in this section and make a much better impression even before the start of the exam.

IELTS Speaking: Part 0, the very important preliminary stage [the best way to face it]

In the IELTS Speaking exam, at the very beginning of the test and before you begin your interview for 11-15 minutes, the examiner asks you some common, very easy, personal questions about yourself, about IELTS, about your identification documents, etc. Many IELTS experts call this PART 0. It sounds funny, yet it is as important as the other three parts.

I think most of you know that IELTS Speaking Exam is a face-to-face interview and it focuses mainly on your confidence in facing English-speaking people and how better you can speak on different difficulty levels.  There are three parts to this exam:

  • Part 1: Introduction (You are asked some personal questions on some very common topics)
  • Part 2: Individual long turn or Cue card or Topic card (You are given a topic with some clues or questions and you need to talk about it for at least 1-2 minutes)
  • Part 3: Two-way discussion (You are asked further questions of higher levels on the part 2 topic)

What is Part 0?

Your exam actually doesn’t begin immediately when you enter the interview room. You are requested by the examiner to sit and he/she engages you in a very short conversation before the exam starts. The questions he/she asks you are not very complex or confusing. They are very short and precise and the answers to these questions are always very simple. So, why do they ask these easy (some might say ‘silly’) questions before they start the exam? There are a few issues here to consider:

  • This short conversation makes you feel comfortable and help you relax.
  • The examiner or IELTS authority does not want you to get nervous at the very beginning of the test.
  • This also gives the examiner a good idea about you, your English level, your confidence, and so forth.
  • It becomes easier for them to give you marks.
  • It also becomes easier for you to continue with the exam.

What are the questions in Part 0?

What do they generally ask you in this Part 0 section?

Well, here is a sample conversation between a candidate and the examiner:

Candidate: May I come in?
Examiner: Yes, please have a seat and feel comfortable.
Candidate: Thank you.

Examiner: What’s your name?
Candidate: It’s Eesha Farhan.

Examiner: And where are you from?
Candidate: I’m from Turkey.

Examiner: Thank you. Can I call you Eesha?
Candidate: Yes, you can.

Examiner: May I see your ID, please?
Candidate: Sure. Here you are. (here, the candidate shows his/her passport, which is generally the ID for the test)

Examiner: That’s fine. (Gives the candidate the ID back.)

What to remember?

Remember, it may sound like your examiner has already started the exam; but actually, he/she has prepared you for the test. The real Part 1 section of the IELTS Speaking Exam starts after checking your ID. So, in Part 0 you need to remember the following points:

  • Your answers should not be long.
  • It has to be precise or exact.
  • It must not contain any grammatical errors or mistakes. Or, it may give the examiner a very bad impression of your English Level.
  • Don’t feel nervous at all. The exam hasn’t yet started.
  • Breathe with your nose and release air with the mouth, but don’t open your mouth too much.
  • Try to smile gently. This makes the examiner feel that you are confident enough. But don’t laugh too much. You may look awkward.
  • When you give the answer, keep eye contact with the examiner.

How to Practice Part 0 at your home?

If possible, take a partner (anyone with a secondary level of English) and tell him/her to ask you your name, age, location, and ID. Try to answer differently and guess which ones suit you the most. Then you can decide what to answer in the final exam. And remember to answer with clear and gentle eye contact, be precise and answer with confidence.

Why is Part 0 important?

Many IELTS candidates will score poorly because they are quite nervous and they make mistakes when they start speaking. Without good practice, even good and potential candidates may score poorly. So, starting comfortably is very important here. This is why you need to practice even though you can answer all these easy questions. A good start in anything leads to success.

Happy IELTS !

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