IELTS Speaking – Mock Exam With Model Answers
British IELTS Speaking
In this tutorial you can listen to a British accent asking typical IELTS speaking questions.
In the recording you can practise your timing, answering and check if you understand the examiner’s questions.
One of the best solutions is to work both sides of the issue, the exam specific issues and the confidence issues.
IELTS Speaking Exam skills can be gained by getting complete familiarity with the format, but not just reading about it, but also experiencing it.
For example, there is a big difference between reading that the presentation has to last 2 minutes and actually DOING A PRESENTATION for 2 minutes.
So getting completely familiar with the exam format is one area that needs to be taken care of.
The IELTS Speaking Confidence course deals with all of the exam issues, so you can pass with a score that truly reflects your ability.
The second part of the equation is general speaking confidence.
Why is confidence important?
Well with confidence you can easily improve your score. Why?
Because you doubt what you are saying a lot less so you sound more fluent. You probably speak a little louder making it easier for you to be understood. You may be more expressive with your body language again making it easier to understand you.
How do you improve your confidence?
In the podcast there are more techniques but here is a brief outline:
Visualise yourself having a fantastic exam experience. In the past visualisation techniques were considered “woo woo” and soft, but nowadays almost all the professional athletes use them. You need to visualise a strong confident performance in front of the examiner, imagine yourself sitting confidently, smiling, and answering everything with ease. Imagine yourself walking out the exam room knowing you have impressed the examiner and did your best. Most experts recommend visualising upon wakening and before sleeping, for around 10 minutes, for at least 21 days before any changes can be noticed.
One technique to change the conversation is to use affirmations, these can help you because they help to replace the negative self talk. To get rid of the negative self talks first identify it this is the chatterbox in your head giving you negative criticism, probably 24/7. Recognise when that voice starts to criticise and try to silence it or at least use the affirmations to change the conversation to a more positive one.
Think of someone you know who is extremely confident and write down what makes that person confident. Is it their tone of voice? Their body language? Write down these characteristics and try and implement them into your daily interactions.
There are a few more methods in the podcast, so have a listen and let me know which ones you find the most useful. Also remember to have a look at the Speaking Confidence if you want to get the exam skills under complete control and pass IELTS.
Achieve Fluency & Style
Every examiner is listening for answers that sound as natural as possible. Listen below to learn when it is appropriate to use contractions or the conditional tenses to sound like you’ve been speaking English your entire life. For those students who need more help with delivering high-quality and complex language, his can be achieved for every aspect of the exam in our online IELTS course.
Memorise Appropriate Vocabulary
We have put together questions and answers from a wide range of topics so that you can prepare lots of topic-specific vocabulary. It is essential to use words or phrases that are appropriate, as inaccurate language will seriously hurt your score.
Provide Enough Detail
The answers to these questions don’t need to be super long, but they should definitely be more than a couple of words. For instance, if you are asked “Have you travelled overseas?” and the answer is “No.”, instead try to say something like “No, I’ve never left my home country.”. Giving answers in this way makes it seem more like a relaxed and natural conversation. Have a look at this post for more information on expanding your responses.
Be More Confident
Practise not only makes perfect, it also makes you more relaxed. If you’ve said something several times before it will roll off the tongue much easier. I always recommend that students imagine they are at dinner with a friend instead of sitting with an examiner, and to answer the questions as if they were speaking to a familiar face. Make it into a laid back chat instead of an exam!
Being relaxed and confident will help you to concentrate more on your pronunciation, pace and intonation which are all massively important on the day of the exam. If you think you need some additional help in these areas, we provide a specialist speaking confidence course that could be exactly what you’re looking for.
Even More Help
If this still isn’t enough, here is a selection of TED talks that provide a fantastic range of vocabulary as well as great pronunciation guidance that will prove to be immensely useful on the day of your test. Consuming good sources of English is essential if you want to score more than a band 7, you don’t want to be studying from a clumsy speaker!
IELTS Speaking Practice
Improve your pronunciation in the IELTS speaking exam
Pronunciation in the IELTS Speaking Exam
Three Components of Pronunciation
Your pronunciation is very important when your speaking skills are being checked in the SPEAKING part of the exam.
There are three aspects of pronunciation that are taken into account.
There is stress (or emphasis) on a certain syllable of a word. For example: ‘Lon/don. The word has two stresses. The main one is on the first syllable.
Sentence stress corresponds with rhythm. As a rule, we emphasize (or put stress on) those words we want to highlight. They are verbs, adverbs, adjectives and nouns. You decide what exactly you want to attract the listener’s attention to in a sentence with the help of stress. For example, in the following sentence: There isn’t anyone here ‘today. (By stressing the word “today” we attract the listener’s attention to the fact that there is no one here exactly today)
How to understand the examiner
Focus on the keywords he/she emphasizes. You’ll be able to understand the general idea by paying attention to the keywords in the sentence.
For example, if during the Speaking part of the exam the examiner asks you the following question: “What qualities do you find important in a friend?”
Your possible answer: Well, some of the characteristics of a good ‘friend are .. (Do not forget to slightly stress the word “friend”. This way the examiner will understand that you’re answering the right question).
English is like music in terms of it having a certain beat. In other words, you put stress on words in equal periods of time.
There is a tendency to stress stronger bits in a sentence. For example, nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs.
Remember that speech is music – it changes pitch. Intonation is a means of sending a message. You express your emotions and mood through it.
Actually, in the majority of cases, all you can do to master these aspects of your speech is listening to English speech as often as possible. If you’re aware of the fact that you have some serious problems with any of the mentioned above, you can focus on those specific parts. For example, if you find understanding questions difficult, listen to some interviews, whereas if you find giving complete answers hard, then you may want to listen to some mock speaking exams.
You also may record yourself reading a text and then compare it with the way a native speaker reads it. It will help you find out if there are any differences. Transcribing is another great idea in regard to the improvement of your listening abilities. You mark the letters where the stress falls. There are plenty of these exercises online.
Factors Affecting Your Pronunciation
Now, let’s get straight to the factors that may have an impact on your pronunciation. Many students are worried about accent and that it will decrease their chances to score high. Some students don’t even want to talk because they have an accent. The main thing you need to keep in mind is that accent is not a serious problem if your listener is able to understand you perfectly well, because the main goal is to be UNDERSTOOD.
We are talking here about the number of years you’ve been learning English or living in an English speaking country. There is a common opinion that if a person speaks like a native, it means that he/she started to learn English as a child. Unfortunately, this factor is probably out of your control.
The key is being integrated, and to what level? This implies how often you use English in your daily life or listen to it. That’s why this factor is often connected with the exposure to the language.
Exposure to the language
This one is totally under your control. An amazing fact is that you may have an accent even though you’ve been living in an English speaking country for many years. The reason for it is that you may not be exposed to it very often or you may not use it much. For example, you may use your mother tongue at work and at home. In other words, it’s about how you respond to the opportunities to use English. On the contrary, you may be living in your own country and be exposed to the language everyday. For example, you may listen to podcasts and watch films in English.
Your mother tongue can be quite similar to English. For example, if your mother tongue is Dutch or German, they are very similar to English in terms of grammar. There may be some words from your language used in English. However, this is just a slight advantage. Do not give up if your language is absolutely different. Do not start comparing yourself with people who have this advantage, it’s a way to fail.
This is your ability to distinguish between sounds. For example: boss / bus.
The fact is that you already have this ability. without it, you wouldn’t be able to communicate in your own language. The main thing here is to be able to adapt to the peculiarities of English through intensive training. Remember that different people improve their skills through different tasks. Everyone is quite individual. Try to be as exposed to the language as possible.
Your goal for English pronunciation and your motivation.
Striving for speaking like a native is a bit difficult since native speakers come from a number of English speaking countries. Your main aim to achieve should be to be understood. It’s more intelligent. Being understood is also your main goal in IELTS Writing. You want to accomplish the task and present your ideas clearly so that there is no strain on the part of the examiner.
The thing is that even if you use the best grammar structures and vocabulary, you won’t benefit from them if you are not understood. If the examiner didn’t manage to understand your idea and the main question is not answered, you won’t get any points at all.
In summary, although the above points are important, your motivation is the single biggest factor here. So however you practice, make sure it is enjoyable or you will quickly ditch it. One last note, awareness of your mistakes will usually create a strong desire to improve, therefore getting feedback is another factor often overlooked.
How to be Understood by the Examiner
The issues mentioned below may make it more challenging for a listener to understand the idea that you’re trying to convey.
- Stress – where do you put it. You may put unnecessary stress on connectors or less important fragments of a sentence.
- You may bring some aspects of your language in the target one. For example, a certain way of pronunciation. A funny (but rude) example of it is the video “An Italian Man Who Went to Malta”.
- Substitution. For example, you may substitute some sounds of the English language with the sounds of your mother tongue. This is due to the fact that your native language may be missing some sounds that are present in English. In order to improve, record yourself reading an article. Then, compare it with the way a native speaker reads it. This way you’ll be aware of the differences and you’ll be able to change it by practicing a lot.
- You may delete some necessary sounds. This often happens with the “Simple Past” Tense. Students often swallow the ed-ending of the verbs that is incredibly important since it dictates the tense.
Cost Effective Method for IELTS Speaking Prep:
Recording yourself and then comparing it with the way a native speaker reads or says something is a useful way to identify any differences. Look for incorrect stresses and try to find cases of substitution.
3 Practical Tips to Help Prepare Yourself for the IELTS Speaking Test
1. Practise in Private
List down some questions that you think may be asked during the test. You can start with some basic questions about yourself like where do you live, how many are you in the family or what is your favorite food? Then in a quiet secluded room, stand up and begin answering those questions. As you answer the questions, you need to check yourself for the following:
As you say each word, check if you are pronouncing the words correctly. If you are not sure how some words are pronounced, go check it out using a dictionary (online or otherwise) first. Say the words over and over again until you get used to the correct way of pronouncing them.
b. Stress and Intonation
Saying the words together in a sentence may seem simple enough, but you need to make sure that you are following the correct intonation and putting stress on the right words or syllables, otherwise your sentence might deliver the wrong message. To improve your intonation, watch as many tv programs, movies or videos with native English speakers on them. Listen to how they say the words and sentences, and observe their stresses and intonation. Then say those words and sentences in the same manner. Do this several times, preferably for days and weeks, and even more if possible, (the longer, the better). When you practice answering the questions alone, try to check if you are following the pronunciation and intonation of the words and syllables in the same way as you have been hearing on those videos and movies (Note: You need to note what message the characters were intending to deliver when they were saying the lines in a specific manner).
Among the reasons you will be taking the IELTS is the fact that English is not your native language. Because of this, expressing yourself in English becomes a challenge. It leads you to think about how to express what you want to say in English first, before you actually say it. So this results in dead silence or an “uhmm,” in between your sentences and words. You need to try to eliminate these and there are two ways to do this. The first will require you to speak in English more often, if possible for the next weeks and months, speak only in English. This will exercise your brain and mouth to express yourself in English, until it becomes second nature to you. Second, you can use fillers. When answering a question and you are still searching for answers, your brain will need time to process the question, seek the answers, and translate it to English. To help you make a more fluent delivery you can use fillers like “That’s a good question…,” “Well, to be honest…,” “Now let me see…,” or “With regard to that….” Use fillers to help you buy time while you process and translate your answers in English.
2. Practise with a Mirror
When you speak, you may make strange or unsightly expressions or mannerisms which you may not be aware of, so practising in front of a mirror will enable you to see yourself from the interviewer’s point of view.
Always ensure that you have a good posture. Many people have a tendency to slouch, and this does not only affect how confident you look but also how well your voice comes out. To appear more confident and better ensure that you are able to bring more volume and clarity to your words, check the mirror as you say your answers, to see if you are maintaining a good posture all throughout.
b. Facial Expressions
Many people react with their faces. Whether it’s to an external or internal stimulant, people would often have involuntary or automatic facial responses. This is what you need to guard against as you see yourself in the mirror while talking. If you see that you squint too much when you are thinking of an answer, or even frown, then you know that you need to address this, as the interviewer might take offense or mark you down for lack of confidence, when you do so during the Speaking Test.
In an effort to better express ourselves, we often use gestures in addition to what we deliver in speech. This is found to be effective most of the time, unless, the gestures become a distraction instead of an aid for understanding your speech.
When you speak in front of a mirror, check if there are gestures that you use too frequently or inappropriately. Check also if you have mannerisms that may be disturbing to your audience. Check too if you do not use any gesture at all throughout your speech, which may render your delivery dull. Again gestures have been found to be useful so try to adopt a few that would fit your answers nicely. Once you’ve spotted your weak points address each one of them and practise it often in front of the mirror.
3. Practise with an audience
It is important to practise with an audience (the audience maybe a family member or a friend) because of two reasons. First, you need to get used to giving answers to a real person and not just to the wall or mirror, in order to train yourself on keeping eye contact to better establish a connection with your audience. Second, you also need to get not just yours but also another person’s viewpoint on your delivery.
Similar to practising with a mirror, you’ll need to check on your posture, facial expressions and gestures, but this time from the eyes of your audience. Ask them for their comments and work on improving the details they may have pointed out.
b. Speech principles
As you practise in private, you’ll need to check on pronunciation, stress & intonation, and fluency once more, though this time from the viewpoint of your audience. They may spot things that you may have missed.
c. Speech delivery
Now that you have an audience, it is the best to check on how effective your message comes across to them. This can be done by taking a look at the following points:
Your answer maybe perfect but if it is too loud or worse, too soft, your message won’t be delivered to your audience effectively. They may either mishear your answer or not hear it at all. Ask your audience for feedback to adjust the volume of your voice for your delivery.
You may have just the right volume for your speech, however, if your delivery is too fast or too slow, this will also impact how much your audience will appreciate or understand your answer. Too fast may make them miss important points. Too slow may make them bored and not receptive to your answers. You must strike a balance, ask your audience for feedback to see if you have reached the ideal pace.
Your volume may be fine, your pacing ideal but if you eat your words, the interviewer would be left guessing what you were trying to say. Your audience can tell you if your words are coming out clear enough to be understood or blurred or faint. If you need to work on clarity, open your mouth wider when you speak. During practices, exaggerate the way you open your mouth as you speak. This will allow your muscles to loosen and enable them to better form and give the distinct sounds needed for your words to come out clear.
The IELTS Speaking Test is indeed quite a challenge. However, if you devote enough time and effort, and put the above mentioned tips into practice, no doubt you will have a better chance of securing a better score than if you don’t. Just remember, believe that you can do it and, the more you practise… the better you become.
Also remember that the speaking confidence course now includes an online Practice Speaking exam so you can get feedback on how to improve. I tell my students to complete the course first, then try all their new techniques and strategies in the online exam.
-Understand that proficiency (advanced ability) consists of both accuracy and fluency.
-Be prepared to separate them, i.e. concentrate on fluency practise for one session, then accuracy in the second session.
Being fluent takes time because it consists of having the knowledge of the language, learnt so well it flows, without thinking (those horrible unwanted pauses).
Tips to gain fluency.
-If you suffer from pauses a little trick is to use fillers: uhmm let me think, that’s a good question.
-Paraphrasing, if you don’t know the word in English just describe it: Lawnmower = something that cuts the grass. This helps you keep speaking without having to worry about finding the correct word.
-Allow yourself to make mistakes.
-Talk to yourself, decide on a specific area e.g. accuracy using the past tense.
-Focus on when to use the pauses correctly: at the end of sentences, at the end of clauses, etc.
How can an IELTS student structure their talk.
-Use the question, use the four parts as prompts, this makes it easy for the examiner to follow.
-If possible use anecdotes, set the scene, where and who you were with, what happened and why it’s significant to your topic.
-Although it’s a semi-formal situation, remember it is spontaneous.
-Consider it as a job interview.
How can a student make their talk more interesting?
-Be prepared to talk about yourself and to share.
-Possibly relate your story to topical events in the news at the time (only if it all connects; your topic, your story and the event).
Keys to using and understanding idiomatic expressions -like the palm of your hand.
-The receptive skill, understanding their meaning, for this you can use a dictionary
-Using them appropriately, not using them just because you know them.
-The best way to understand them is to personalise them, associate someone in your life to the idiomatic phrase, now the phrase has a feeling, this can also be done with phrasal verbs.
Peter’s recordings range from: Using an Anecdote to make a point, Making a Spontaneous talk, and Expressing and Justifying Opinions.
Why a student may have problems speaking fluently
-Students may sacrifice fluency to obtain accuracy and not take risks, however this isn’t a balanced approach.
1. Record yourself speaking about your country (use Audacity, or your phone). -There is some great info on Podcast 003 on how to do this.
2. Count how many times you say uhmm and arrrr.
3. Monitor and count, then try doing it again.
Send me an email after you have done this, I want to know how it turned it out:)
Stage 2 –Follow this simple 3-step formula:
Step 1: Record yourself talking about these Sample Cue Cards from Dominic.
Remember the Rule of Three and how to use Pauses.
Step 2: Listen and Analyse
Become aware of the ummms and arhhhhs.
My first Podcasts were FULL of uhhmmms and arhhhs so don’t be hard on yourself, just take note.
Do it again, remember the advice given, pauses etc. GET CONSCIOUS OF IT.
Step 3: Email me the progress you made, or leave a comment.
Five Speaking Points You Need to Improve
The IELTS speaking test can be quite nerve-racking.
This is because it not only tests our mastery of English grammar rules, but also tests how fast we can comprehend the questions, recall the relevant knowledge, formulate the answers and deliver the answer in a fluent way with correct pronunciation -and all in very short span of time!
It provides hardly any time to think, to consolidate your thoughts into a logical answer and ensure that the delivery is smooth and in accordance with all the rules of grammar and enunciation.
This is why many believe this to be one of the most challenging parts of the IELTS exam.
Being prepared, however, will help you feel more capable and confident about acing the test.
To prepare it is useful to note the criteria for assessment used in IELTS.
This post covers the criteria used and includes tips to boost your score.
Fluency consists of speaking in a fluid or flowing manner. It means speaking without any unnecessary stops or pauses caused by hesitation, stuttering or thinking of the next thing to say for a relatively prolonged period.
Here are some tips to help develop fluency. Prolong the last syllable of the last word in your sentence while completing the thought for the next sentence. Also use fillers to help you have more time to think of your next point. And practice talking about different things and giving each a longer and more extensive definition, description or explanation.
Pronunciation deals with the proper way of saying words producing the appropriate sound for each letter and/or syllable of the words used. As well as, putting the stress properly in a word or in phrase or sentence.
To improve pronunciation, study the proper position of the tongue with the palate, gum, teeth, etc. when producing the sounds for each letter for each word that we use as part of our answers. Study, also, where the proper stress on each word, phrase or sentence should be. The dictionary is a good source to find the correct way of saying words. For phrases and sentences, listen to where the stresses and pauses are placed in reliable recordings from the BBC / CNN etc.
Coherence involves putting ideas together in an organised manner that show ideas are related to each other and it is arranged in a logical way.
A helpful exercise to develop coherence is dissecting a sample paragraph, itemising them and indicating a main point for each, and analyzing why they were positioned in that order in the given paragraph. A useful tool for coherence is the use of conjunctions like “first,” “next,” “in addition,” and more.
4. Grammatical accuracy and range
Grammatical accuracy deals with how much we adhere to the rules of English grammar which include verb tenses, antecedents, parallelism and more. Grammatical range deals with the structures of phrases, sentences and the different parts of speech as applied in the text which can either be simple or complex.
To further develop grammatical accuracy and range, review all the rules of grammar and read many materials with excellent grammatical formats and study their structures. Compose your own written text using different structures making sure all the grammar rules are followed. Then later compose directly as you speak.
5. Lexical resource
Lexical resource constitutes our vocabulary. It is involved in the type of words that we use, its level of use (whether it is common or not), its frequency of use and its appropriateness in its use.
The best way to improve on lexical resource is to read a lot, learn new words, their meanings and how they are properly used. Once an unfamiliar word crosses our sight, list it down, find its meaning from a dictionary, study how it is used in context, and use it in your own sentence.
Now that we have some knowledge on what the points or criteria are with which the assessment of the IELTS Speaking Test will be based on, we have a better insight into what points to work on. Begin improving your skills. From the five given principles, work on one principle at a time. Start with what you find most difficult especially when you only have a limited time to prepare before your scheduled IELTS exam. As the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect,” so the more you practice the closer you get to perfecting your skills. There is no such thing as “something being too hard or impossible,” it only really just takes one step at a time, with that step done continuously, consistently, and with commitment.
IELTS Speaking – Student questions answered
In this podcast I talk with a student who is about to take the IELTS for a sixth time and is quite fed up, frustrated and confused over what needs to be done to PASS IELTS!
Her questions are below in bold font, followed by a summary of my answer.
Q1 What speaking strategy should I use to improve my score?
1. I’ve taken the test 5 times, getting 6,5 in the last 4 tests (6 in the first one). Every time I try a different strategy without any improvement. I don’t know what my weak points are. Some teachers have recommended me to use high level vocabulary, but I’ve lost fluency when I’ve done that. Others had recommended speaking as in the daily way, and maybe it has been too simple. Others say that I should improve my pronunciation, but I find it really hard, because I can improve with some words but I can’t do it with all of them. It would take me years.
I was surprised Gabriela was at a 6 because she spoke well, no gaps, confidently and with great vocabulary. So I asked twice whether she was nervous or confident in the exam, and both times I didn’t get an exact answer, I got a story or some information related to her situation. The problem was that she didn’t listen 100% to the question. I suggested she does more practice tests and pays TOTAL attention to the question, this way she will be able to score higher.
Q2 In the exam, how can I speak with the same confidence I speak with my friends?
2. I feel I speak well can I talk with friends, but in the test I tend to speak different. I usually speak very fast in Spanish and I tend to do the same during the test, even after trying to speak slowly (maybe it’s because I’m nervous). This is taking me back because when I speak fast I don’t have so much time to think and organize my answer. What advice can you give me to speak as I do with my friends?
Three strategies, firstly breathe more, use pauses while speaking to slow yourself down. Secondly, if the nerves are causing you to speed up, perhaps a structure to follow would help you relax. I the speaking confidence course, there is a whole chapter about using examples and stories, this will provide you with opportunities to use more unique vocabulary in a natural high scoring fashion. Thirdly, you could use a strategy professional athletes use called visualizations, whereby you envisage / imagine yourself talking slower to the examiner. You do mental rehearsals of the exam and how you want the exam to happen. This technique is very powerful and hardly ever used, especially by students. Here is some info about it.
Q3 Is there an easy and fast way to improve pronunciation?
Talk a little louder, a little slower and it will be easier for people to understand you. You could also ring English speaking companies and talk with them, ask them about products, etc and if they don’t understand, you will have to change your pronunciation until they do!
Another strategy could be to download podcasts of material that interests you, such as a podcast about technology, from a Native English speaker. Then try and mimic their style, repeat entire sentences as you hear them, copy the speed, style and pronunciation. Then try and incorporate it in your way of speaking so you sound more like a native English speaker.
Q4 Transition words?
Is it necessary to use transition words in the test to get extra points? In Spanish, I barely use them. I’ve thought this might be taking me some points.
Gabriela referred to an earlier podcast in which an interviewee suggested structuring the talk using transition words such as “Firstly…. Secondly…. Thirdly…. ”. I think the message here was to use a structure for your answer, not exactly those specific words. In the IELTS Speaking Confidence course, there is an entire module dedicated to giving answers in a structured style that increases your score.
Q5 Sequence the answer for Part 2?
Should I follow a sequence in part 2? I have a friend who answered his questions in a very structured way, by saying: in the past I used to… nowadays I… I think that in the future. For me it didn’t sound natural but he got an 8 in the speaking.
It’s difficult to say whether the structure helped the student get the Band 8, or if it were other components such as his vocabulary, or pronunciation. However, as said before, having a structure for Task 2 will help considerably because you won’t have to worry whether you are going to get maximum points. The above structure sounds like a good strategy, but it must sound natural otherwise the examiner may spot the “sequence” and not award the points.
Q6 Do I have to answer all the questions of the cue card in part 2?
YES work through them all, each bullet point, and for each point try and say a few sentences, sharing details and personal stories to show the examiner your vocab. By sharing examples and telling personal anecdotes you give yourself the opportunity to use more unique vocabulary in a natural style -which the examiners love.
Q7 Should we try to avoid repetition of words and expressions?
For example, if I already said “I think it is important…”, I shouldn’t say the same in the test.
Try to avoid it but don’t worry because this will probably make you more conscious of the word. For example, if I say “don’t think of a pink elephant” you will most likely think of a pink elephant just because it’s now present in your mind.
In the course Gabriela has, an IELTS Speaking practice test is included, so I suggested she recorded it and after listening identify words that are repeated. Then look for synonyms so as to increase her vocabulary and reduce the chances of repetition next time.
IELTS Speaking Vocabulary
Technique #1: How to find precise vocabulary (to score high).
For Part 2 just practise speaking for 2 minutes, it isn’t a presentation.
Think about describing picture, think of a picture when you are talking.
In the one minute preparation time, close your eyes and VISUALISE the topic you will speak about.
You will see what you want to say. All the vocabulary will be there.
The precise vocabulary (PERFECT FOR SCORING HIGH).
Helpful phrases and vocabulary for your IELTS Speaking Exam
These are set phrases that can be used as a rough guide to help you prepare for your IELTS Speaking Exam.
Learn to use them in context, adapt them, master them and they will help you – but only if used correctly.
If the examiner asks you your opinion about your home, studies, job, or country, you can add one of these ‘generalising’ phrases to show a more relaxed aspect of your language ability.
This is perfect for the introduction part of your IELTS Speaking Exam.
|To some extent||To some extent the weather is poor but I do love the city centre when it rains.|
|On the whole||On the whole, I do enjoy living in Manchester.|
|By and large||By and large, Manchester United was a wonderful club.|
Phrases to enrich a normal answer
It is more than likely that the examiner will ask you some questions regarding your opinion or yourself. In this situation you could enrich a normal answer by beginning with one of these phrases:
- I’m pretty sure that…
- In my case…
- I personally believe/think that…
- It’s my opinion that…
Phrases to restate
If you see a funny expression on the examiner’s face and you feel they aren’t following you, first slow down and then use one of these:
What I meant was…
- To put it in other words…
- Let me explain it to you…
- What I’m saying is…
- Let me put it another way…
Phrases to correct a mistake
If you make a mistake and you’re aware of it, you can either ignore it or acknowledge it with a perfect sentence like:
Sorry, what I would have liked to say was…
- Let me rephrase what I just said…
- Don’t misunderstand me, what I wanted to say was…
Phrases to get you back on topic
If you find yourself off topic, which can happen when you’re nervous, get back on track with one of these phrases:
Where was I?
- In any case…
- To get back to what I was saying…
Phrases to use when giving examples
These phrases, when adapted, are perfect when giving examples:
- Take McKinsley for example…
- To illustrate this…
- A case in point is…
- To show you what I mean…
In Part 3 of your IELTS Speaking Exam you will find yourself in a discussion with the examiner. This is the perfect time to use your Similarity Phrases.
Just make sure you are using them correctly, as these are more advanced and can be a little confusing.
|In the same way||In the same way as Manchester industrialised, so did Liverpool.|
|Just as||Just as United used to win trophies, so did Inter Milan.|
|Similarly||Similarly, we also studied via the internet.|
Phrases to expand and develop
If you want to further develop reasons or explanations, use these phrases:
- What is more…
- In any case…
- As well as that…
- In addition…
- Furthermore… (formal)
- Moreover… (very formal)
Phrases to explain a logical consequence
These phrases are good to use when coming to a conclusion about the topic you are talking about:
- As a result…
- Consequently… (quite formal)
Final advice for your IELTS Speaking Exam
The examiner will very likely be from an Anglo-Saxon country. In these countries manners are paramount, sometimes it is even excessive.
So start with a big warm smile and remember to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ at all the appropriate times.
Manners can get you a long way!
Techniques for IELTS Speaking Part 3
Technique #1 Reflective Listening
If you are less confident with your speaking abilities, you can listen carefully for the tense used by the examiner and reply in that exact tense.
Can you describe your favourite holiday destination?
Yes I can, my favourite place to go on holiday is….
Will you be going there next year?
Yes, we will, because there are ….
Following this rule you can not answer in the incorrect tense.
Learn this as a natural skill.
Technique #2 Exam pacing
Learn how to pace yourself for the exam.
For part one, don’t try too hard, save your energy for part 2 and 3.
More difficult questions are asked in the later stages, you need to answer these well.
Make eye contact with the examiner, treat them as a friend.
Also learn words and phrases you personally like, and use them often so they become yours.
Here are 3 quick tips to get started:
1. Slow down. -This improves pronunciation, accuracy, and coherence.
2. Volume. -Try to speak a little bit louder, you will help the examiner understand what you are communicating.
3. Mouth position. -Look at a good speaker and try to copy them, become aware of your own problems by looking in the mirror.
IELTS Speaking Test Videos
IELTS Speaking Tips (do’s and don’ts)
IELTS Speaking Exam: Tips and Band 9 Practice
21 Tips to Score Better on Your IELTS Speaking Exam
Before the Exam
Mindset of success
1. Learning any language is a gradual process. But you can become more successful just by simply changing your mindset!
Don’t think about yourself as an IELTS student who’s trying to learn English. See yourself as a successful English speaker in general, and you will notice your confidence grow.
Accept your mistakes
2. If you think your English is awful – stop.
Understand that you are learning. Accept the fact that mistakes are fine when you are a student. Instead, write them down and start improving.
“While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.”
Henry C. Link
Practice for your exams in the right way
3. Listening to IELTS Speaking Practice Exams is great, but it can also get really boring.
If you feel your mind wondering simply turn something else on! Just type in your hobby followed by podcast into Google, and see what comes up.
Once you find an interesting podcast, listen to it constantly. Try to copy the native speaker by paying attention to their intonation, pronunciation and sentence structure. Soon you will see yourself improving!
Think in English
4. Translate your daily thoughts into English. Soon you will it will begin to feel natural!
5. Watch other students doing IELTS Speaking Exams on YouTube to become familiar with the exam.
6. Follow the cue cards carefully and read them well – misunderstanding these in your own exam will cost you points!
Practise fluency and accuracy separately
7. Keep in mind that speaking comprises of two components: accuracy and fluency. Choose one and practise it until you feel confident. Concentrating on one at a time will help you put in 100% of your effort on each one separately, rather than sharing it out.
If you feel like you are having a really hard time with fluency, you can also check out my post.
Practise speaking with native and non-native speakers
8. Remember that you can practice speaking with both native and non-native English speakers. Both will help you in different ways.
Memory by association
9. When you learn a new collocation or a phrasal verb, associate it to someone you know. This will make it easier to remember.
10. To learn more idioms go to ‘The Teacher idioms‘.
11. If possible use anecdotes during your IELTS Speaking Exam.
12. When giving examples try to avoid hypothetical situations.
Hypothetical situations require you to invent, translate and then communicate. But if you use your own memories, you will only need to translate and communicate.
Quick tips to keep in mind
Escape from tough situations
13. Memorise this sentence to help you get out of sticky situations “I’m not quite sure if that is what you are talking about but I think…”
Learn to paraphrase
14. If the word has disappeared from your mind just describe it. Example: Keyboard = the object used to type on computers.
This will help you keep speaking without having to worry about finding the right word.
15. Learn word combinations/ collocations, such bear in mind; take into account; etc.
Using collocations makes you sounds more like a native speaker, hence improving the overall sound and fluency of your English.
Prepare some topics
16. Think about some topics before your IELTS Speaking Exam, such as your history, your job, your culture and your favourite food. Prepare your unique vocabulary and use it in Task One of your IELTS Speaking Exam.
During your exam
17. Warm up a few hours before your exam by speaking with someone in English. Don’t go in cold!
18. If you’re feeling nervous start speaking slowly and simply, the fluency will follow.
Procedure / Plan
19. Use the points on the cue card as your structure.
20. Although this exam is a semi-formal situation, remember to be spontaneous. Consider it similar to a job interview.
21. Remember: this is your chance to show the examiner how well you can speak English. Do not hold yourself back – GO FOR IT!
“You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi