Top Tips for the IELTS Speaking Exam

24 January, 2020 Tips and Vocabulary Yvonne Fraser

It might be tempting, but don’t learn a speech.

The examiner will know immediately if you’ve prepared something beforehand. You risk not answering the question properly and therefore getting low marks. When I was an examiner, some of the strongest candidates seemed to visualise what they were talking about and used lots of adjectives to describe the scene and how they felt.


Have you ever tried recording yourself?

I have and it can be quite interesting! I’d never realised that I say ‘so’ quite so much, especially at the beginning of sentences. After listening to myself (in horror!) I’ve made an effort to stop doing this. Everyone has funny habits and most of the time we’re completely unaware of them.


In part 1,

the questions are about you so you will hopefully find them a bit easier. Try to give some more extended answers and show off a bit with your language. This should also make you feel more relaxed and confident for the rest of the test.


For part 2,

make the most of the 1 minute you have to prepare. I would spend the time writing down some more complex vocabulary you would like to use. You get marked for this and it’s easy to forget the more difficult words when you’ve started speaking.

It might sound silly, but spend some time thinking of all your favourite things. In part 2 you will be asked to describe things, for example, your favourite place, an interesting journey, a gift you received, an inspirational teacher. If some of your favourite things are fresh in your mind, it should help you to visualise and get started.


Part 3 can also be tricky.

Some of the questions are hard and require more complex answers. Lots of students struggle to find ideas and can’t get going. Learn some phrases to give yourself some thinking time, for example, ‘That’s an interesting question…’, ‘Let me think about that…’ or ‘Well, let me see…’.

It sounds simple but try your best to relax. A few deep breaths before the test can really lower your stress levels.

Good luck with the test! I hope you get the score you need.

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