In this tutorial you will learn:
- How to understand the way you are assessed in the IELTS Speaking exam in two criteria: Fluency and Coherence, and Pronunciation
This will help you in your IELTS Speaking exam because:
- You will find out how exactly to improve the quality of your speaking.
- You will discover what is more important and what is not worth your attention in the Speaking exam.
In the IELTS Speaking exam the assessor listens to you – the candidate – as you answer the questions in the test, and then evaluates your level by comparing your performance to descriptions for each band.
Candidates are evaluated on their entire performance, not separately for each of the 3 parts of the Speaking exam.
There are FOUR criteria that will be used to give you a mark on how you speak. Here we will discuss the first 1.
- Fluency and Coherence
- Lexical Resource
- Grammatical Range and Accuracy
These criteria are used to determine what a candidate can can do in these four areas. Band levels go from 1 – 9.
You will learn what they mean and get useful strategies how to perform better in each of them.
Each criterion comprises several areas. Have a look at what this one includes.
- Fluency and Coherence
- Fluency -This determines how good the candidate is at keeping talking at the right speed and whether you repeat yourself, hesitate, and/or self-correct.
- Coherence/cohesion – how good you are at connecting your ideas together using linking words and transitions.
- This is related to how naturally you sound during your exam.
- To make sure that you get a good score for pronunciation, make sure that you pronunce your words clearly and use the correct intonations during your exam
3. Lexical Resource
- This section refers to how good your vocabulary is.
- Try to learn and use a wide range of vocabulary for your exam. Make sure that you use idiomatic language and choose your words accurately
4. Grammatical Range and Accuracy
- This refers to how good your grammar is. It is important to use some advanced grammatical structures and try to make as few mistakes as possible
Common Mistakes Made by IELTS Candidates
- Candidates’ answers are either too long or too short, or they sometimes speak too slowly or too fast because of the stress.
- Don’t try to go back and correct every mistake you make
- Don’t use Like. is NOT a good linking word! Any overuse of highly conversational linkers like you know, and then he goes, etc. is not a good idea.
- Speak good English as much as possible before the test. You can do that with a friend or a teacher.
- For Part 2 you can prepare by playing ‘Just a minute’. Write tasks for each other, and then speak in turns for ONE minute without stopping. You should also focus on structuring answers by writing them rather than speaking.
- If you made a mistake: just GO ON. Or correct yourself quickly and go on. But don’t correct every single mistake; this won’t improve your score.
- Should you say less or more? MORE is better, of course, but it will depend on the part of the exam.
3. Make sure that your answers are developed
- In Part 1 make sure your answers are as long as one or two developed sentences. –the examiner is assessing where you are in this section, band 6 or 7?
4. Structure Your Answer
- In Part 2 a long answer is needed but this is followed by another quick question, which needs a very short response. Take notes, structure your answer clearly and stay on topic.
5. Develop Your Answer With an explanation
- In Part 3, give a developed answer. Support it with good explanation and examples. This section is more like an open dialogue with the examiner interjecting impromptu questions. You should though, do most of the talking.
- Think of Part 3 as an oral essay with a structure. Make sure you have good linking words. Support your ideas with examples, if necessary. Make a conclusion to what you said.
Be careful of over using like as a recurrent linking word. Choose a more precise connector! Range is also important here.
Answer the questions directly, long introductions are fine, and a great way to extend your presentation. Add relevant detail to explain or illustrate your answers.
Some hesitation is natural but fill your “eeeeh” and “errrrm” thinking pauses with appropriate fillers (“Well, I’ve never thought about that…”. etc.) or make NO sound at all. Also aim to use the same fillers native English speakers would use (we also hesitate!).
Make your language sound natural – connect your sentences by using appropriate tenses and connectors.
Yes, it’s ok not to tell the truth, as no one is going to check that. When you don’t remember something, just make it up! Do not stress over your lie though, and make sure you can keep it going (perhaps it’s another person’s story…).
If you don’t understand the question, ask for a repeat or a brief explanation. If you don’t understand anyway, improvise as you can. Don’t EVER say “I don’t know” followed by no answer. Here is a useful tip, if the examiner asks you about something you have no idea about, then you can say:
“Well I don’t know a lot about XYZ, but I can tell you about ABC, which is similar.”
EXAMINERS ARE NOT TESTING YOUR KNOWLEDGE BUT YOUR ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE
If you don’t know what else to say in Part 3, give examples, personal opinions, or present real-life cases.
You can download or listen to the audio version here:
Have a look at some IELTS Speaking tutorials to help with your preparation