Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

How can lies help you on the Speaking exam?

You will need to come up with quick answers to many different questions.

Don’t be afraid to stretch the truth!

If you can’t think of a quick answer that is completely accurate, say something close or anything that makes sense!

Today we’ll explain a game that you can use to practice for Speaking Part 1.

Jessica and I play the game so you can see how it works!

Why to avoid pauses in Speaking Part 1

Your fluency score is negatively affected if you pause or there are long breaks while you’re thinking.

If you can’t think of an answer right away, you must not make the Examiner wait.

It is difficult to think on the fly in a test environment, so you have to practice!

What can you do if you don’t know or can’t remember?

  • Example question: Tell me about the last gift you received.

What if you haven’t received a gift in quite awhile?

What if you can’t remember the last present you were given?

Don’t say, “I don’t know,” or “I can’t remember.”

  • The solution: Stretch the truth!

Talk about any gift you’ve ever received, or talk about a gift you’d like to receive as if someone gave it to you.

The Examiner doesn’t know or care if you’re telling the truth.

They just need an answer right away!

Make up something fun!

  • Sample answer: Funny you should ask that, because a very good friend of mine just gave me a BMW the other day!

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What are additional benefits of lying during Speaking Part 1?

Not only will you be able to answer the question more quickly, but there are other perks.

It will help your intonation!

You can keep it fun and interesting when you stretch the truth.

This will make it easier to smile and show humor and emotion in your voice.

Showing emotion and having proper intonation boost your pronunciation score!

This will also help you relax!

What is a game you can play to practice this very important skill?

We will describe an activity based on the board game White Lies.

This will help you practice thinking “on the fly” with no preparation.

Materials needed:

  • a little piece of black paper and a little piece of white paper for each player
  • a list of prepared questions

Step #1: Find a speaking partner

  • friend
  • family members
  • coworker

If you don’t know anyone who speaks English, you can find a Speaking partner in our 3 Keys IELTS Facebook group.

Our students are posting in there all the time asking for Speaking partners, and within minutes they have several comments from others to speak with!

Step #2: Determine if you will lie or tell the truth

If you are in the same room with your Speaking partner, cut up black and white papers and put them in a cup.

Draw one and hide it so no one sees if yours is black or white.

If you are speaking over Skype, you will each have your own cup to choose a black or white paper from.

If you have chosen a black paper, you must lie.

If you have chosen a white paper, you must tell the truth.

Step #3: Choose the first question and answer it

You can come up with questions on the fly, or use a list you have prepared ahead of time.

Sample question: What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

If you have a black paper, you must lie!

If your favorite flavor is chocolate, say vanilla or strawberry and make up details about why that one is your favorite!

If you have a white paper and your favorite ice cream flavor is pistachio, say that and give details about why.

Just like on the IELTS exam, you can’t give answers that are just a few words.

Give interesting details and tell a story!

Step #4: Answer two more questions

Choose another question from your list.

You will both answer with either the truth or a lie depending on the color of your paper.

Repeat the process until you have answered three questions total.

Step #5: Guess if your Speaking partner is lying or not!

Based on the answers they have given, you may have a good idea if they are telling the truth.

You will each guess if the other is telling the truth.

You can then draw new papers and play again!

This game is fun one-on-one or for large groups!

What other areas of the test can this activity help with?

This is a great activity to practice for Writing Task 1 on the General IELTS exam.

You will have to make up information, details and experiences in the letter you write.

This game will help you think of these things on the fly much faster!

This can also be useful for Speaking Part 2.

Check out Jessica’s Part 2 sample answer where the question was about someone else and she answered about herself.

List of questions

  • How many speeding tickets have you received in your life?
  • What is the most you have ever spent on an article of clothing?
  • How many pairs of shoes do you own?
  • How often do you wash your towel?
  • On average, how much time do you spend on screen each day?
  • What is your least favorite household chore?
  • What color is your toothbrush?
  • If you saw someone yelling at a child, what would you do?
  • If you had to give up something you love, what would you choose?
  • If you could only eat one type of candy the rest of your life, what would it be?
  • What is your favorite hobby?
  • If you could only play one sport the rest of your life, what would you choose?
  • What did you do the last time you volunteered your time?
  • What is a job you would love?
  • Have you ever broken any bones?
  • What is something that would embarrass you?
  • Name something you are good at.
  • If money weren’t a consideration, where would you go on your next vacation?
  • What is your biggest pet peeve?
  • What is one of your personal goals?
  • What is your favorite ______? (color, ice cream, movie, book, band, holiday, celebrity, etc.)


There are many fun games and activities that can help you practice for IELTS.

This one is good practice for several parts of the test.

You need to be able to think on the fly, and stretch the truth!

This is the best way to be able to answer quickly and avoid pauses.

Play this game with a Speaking partner to get used to making up details without advanced planning.

If you don’t have a Speaking partner, sign up for the 3 Keys IELTS Success System to find one in our Facebook group!

Post an answer to one of these questions in the comments below!

We would love to guess if it’s true or a lie.

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