This tutorial will give you 21 tips to help you score better on your IELTS Speaking Exam, and a detailed list of phrases to improve your spoken English.
Pay attention to everything written here – every tip is tried and tested. If you let it all settle in your mind, you will do great when your time comes!
IELTS Speaking Exam: Tips and Band 9 Practice
21 Tips to Score Better on Your IELTS Speaking Exam
Before the Exam
1.Mindset of success
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.
2.Accept your mistakes
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
3.Practice for your exams in the right way
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!
4. Think in English
Translate your daily thoughts into English. Soon you will it will begin to feel natural!
Watch other students doing IELTS Speaking Exams on YouTube to become familiar with the exam.
Follow the cue cards carefully and read them well – misunderstanding these in your own exam will cost you points!
6. Practise fluency and accuracy separately
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.
7.Practise speaking with native and non-native speakers
Remember that you can pratise speaking with both native and non-native English speakers. Both will help you in different ways.
9. Memory by association
When you learn a new collocation or a phrasal verb, associate it to someone you know. This will make it easier to remember.
To learn more idioms go to ‘The Teacher idioms‘.
If possible use anecdotes during your IELTS Speaking Exam.
12.Examples-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
13.Escape from tough situations
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…”
14.Learn to paraphrase
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.
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.
16.Prepare some topics
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.Nerves –If you’re feeling nervous start speaking slowly and simply, the fluency will follow.
19.Procedure / Plan – 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
Helpful phrases 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!
Have a look at some of our latest tutorials to help you prepare for your exam:
- Full Guide to IELTS Speaking Part 1
- Understanding IELTS Speaking Band descriptors
- How to improve your IELTS Speaking performance
Remember, if you have any questions or doubts regarding the speaking, you can send me an email or have a look at the Speaking Confidence Course.