In this guest post, online course provider, Swoosh English share their IELTS speaking tips for acheiving a band 7 or above in the exam.
Beign able to converse in everday English is one thing, but acheiving a band 7 or above in the IELTS exam is no mean feat! To help you achieve success, we've laid out the top 7 IELTS speaking tips:
1. Understand the Exam Structure
The first thing you need to know is the structure of the exam. This is best done by knowing how the test is scored: Fluency is 25% of the IELTS exam, vocabulary accounts for 25%, accuracy is 25% of the score and finally, pronunciation makes up the last 25%.
Each element is important, so you must focus on all four areas equally as you prepare for the test. At this stage, you may be asking: how can I improve my pronunciation? How can I widen my vocabulary? How can I improve my fluency? How about my accuracy?
Although there are no quick fixes for these, there are a few actionable tips that you can apply when answering the examiner during your IELTS Speaking examination.
2. Get Straight to the Point
In part 1, you will be asked 5 or 6 questions that you need to answer directly and straight to the point. I would suggest giving 3 to 4 sentence answers for each question. Why? There are many different topics that could come up here including things like your hometown, your friends, family or what you enjoy doing.
However, in preparation, you should go through as many different topics as possible and review those that are likely to come up in the exam. The number of topics that can come up will range between 8 to 15 but when preparing before the exam, you should go through all of them. The main thing in part 1 is to keep it direct and straight to the point. And don't forget to actually answer the question!
3. Speak Naturally
You need to speak naturally in the speaking exam, so make sure you do not put on an accent that is not your own. There are many examples of students trying to copy someone else’s accent in their exam. In the end, it did not help or relax the students at all.
You need to relax during the speaking exam. If not, you might miss out and end up not telling the examiner about yourself or you might not demonstrate your speaking skills to the examiner.
Fluency is also the key here. You should concentrate on the fluency of your own accent and the natural way that you speak in English.
4. Ask When You Are Not Sure
It is very important that you UNDERSTAND the question. Make sure you don’t answer a question if you don’t understand it because you may also be asked to provide your opinion on a topic.
You can be asked whether you agree or disagree with something. Some questions could ask you to put in both sides of the argument. Clearly, cases like this make thorough understanding of the question really important!
Therefore, make sure you ask the examiner when you are not sure about a question (or anything else in the exam, for that matter). You will not be able to answer anything correctly if you do not understand the question so please don’t be worried about asking for clarifications.
Just make sure it is clear in your head that, one, you know the question being asked you and two, that you know how to answer it.
5. Talk About Opinions
It’s very likely that you will be asked in one form or another to agree or disagree with something. You could also be asked what you like or dislike to do. It is good to use connecting words, with examples such as "I like" or "I don’t like". Also, you can use linking words such as "I think" and "I agree" and "I disagree". Although effective, make sure that you don’t overuse those words.
6. Use Descriptive Words
You will be asked to describe something during the exam and normally you would use some good adjectives to impress the examiner with your vocabulary skills.
If you were to describe a person, they could be: short, fat, thin or tall. They may have blonde hair or brunette hair. It’s possible that if you were describing a place it might be "good", but it could also be "fantastic", "beautiful" or even "captivating". Remember, using uncommon words can give you an advantage when it comes to targeting a band 7 or 8 score.
7. Stay On Topic
And last but definitely not the least of Swoosh English's Top 7 IELTS Speaking tips is to stay on topic. You can actually lose marks if you go off-topic or if you provide an incomplete answer. If you do not understand the topic then, as we said before, simply ask the examiner to repeat the question again.
For some added inspiration, check out these IELTS speaking tips from IELTS teacher, Liz Ferguson :
Scott (Swoosh English)
Scott is an ESL/PTE teacher from Portrush. He has a Bachelor’s degree in History and a Master’s degree in Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies. He has been teaching English for the past three years and has extensive experience teaching many nationalities as an English teacher with Swoosh English online.