IELTS Speaking Tips

When taking the IELTS speaking test you may be nervous, but there are many tips that will make it easier, build your confidence, and get you the score you need. The Language Gallery has put some key tips here for you:

The Parts

There are three parts to the IELTS speaking test:

  • Part 1 when you talk about yourself
  • Part 2 where you speak about a topic
  • Part 3 when you have a conversation with the examiner about the topic in Part 2.

Don’t prepare!

You need to be ready for the test but don’t memorise answers, this is really important for Part 1.Iif you answer from memory you won’t be natural and your examiner will not be able to mark you properly. Instead have conversations with as many people as possible about life, family, work, and personal interests. Ask and answer questions and this part will become more real, personal and fluent, giving you a higher score.

Don’t show off!

This is not the place to try to experiment with new or big words. You may lose marks if you use words incorrectly or mispronounce them. You need to build your vocabulary before the IELTS speaking test with lists, mind maps and memorisation. Using them frequently when speaking before the test will help you use them properly and with accuracy with the examiner.

Know what the examiner is looking for 

The examiner is looking for fluency and coherence – is your language fluid and understandable? Lexical resources – can you show that you have a good vocabulary? Grammatical range and accuracy – can you show that you know what grammar is needed and can you do that accurately? Pronunciation – are you clear and with the stress in the correct places? Practice speaking to others about the past the present and the future. Record yourself and use pronunciation apps. And remember – we pronounce better when we smile – so be friendly and smile at the examiner.

Don’t speak!

Sometimes you need to pause to think about what you need to say. This is OK and something we all do. Learn some phrases to use when you need time to think: That’s an interesting question… That’s a good point….. Let me see…. Your teacher can help you practise a range of these. But be careful of words like umm…. ehh….. ok…… yeah…. These do not show your speaking skills as the phrases above do.

Get speaking

Get into any scenario where you can speak with English speakers, language clubs, courses, meetings, nights out, on the internet…. even speak to yourself in front of a mirror! Practising as much as possible will build your confidence and improve your score.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Maybe the speaking invigilator mumbled a question and you didn’t hear them. Perhaps they used diction that is unfamiliar to you. If these or other communication problems happen during your IELTS speaking test, don’t panic. Just ask for clarification. You’re allowed to do this, and your invigilator will give you additional information to assist you on how to answer questions correctly. You can also ask them to repeat or rephrase questions if you need.

Build your vocabulary

Part 2 of the IELTS speaking test requires you to speak on a topic – and these are common and everyday. It is important that you develop your vocabulary in these are and practise speaking about them. Topics that are common include: education, transport, crime, the internet, sport and recreation, tourism and travel, the environment, and advertising and retail.

It goes without saying that students wishing to take the IELTS speaking exam will benefit from an IELTS preparation class where they can work with a teacher and classmates to improve speaking skills. The Language Gallery’s IELTS Preparation course, available online where ever you are or as a face-to-face class in our UK centres, will will prepare you to get ready for the IELTS speaking exam.

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