8 Crucial Tips for IELTS Speaking
- Know your weaknesses! Depending on your language background, you will have specific challenges when it comes to pronouncing English. The best thing is to identify what your difficulties are and focus on improving them. The best course of action: practice with native speakers, get feedback and even get training from specialised teachers. At English Key, we offer 1-to-1 sessions with our highly-trained native speaking teachers who can help you improve your pronunciation for your IELTS speaking test.
2. Talk a lot!
- Don’t give one-word answers. The point of the speaking test is to speak! And your examiner won’t push you. Make sure to give answers that:
1. Answer the question
2. Explain why/how
Q. What is your favourite thing about your job?
A. Being outdoors.
Clearly, this answer is too short!
A. Well, I really like that I get to work outdoors. I am often getting quite restless or sleepy if I am cooped up inside too long, like in an office. My job requires me to go to different places in the city during the day, so I really like that.
Great answer! Answers the question and explains why. Not too long, not too short.
3. Don’t repeat yourself
- It is important to talk a lot, as we’ve just said, but it is important not to make your answers go on forever! Mostly as this often means you are repeating yourself. Make sure you do as the previous tip suggests - answer the question and explain how/why - and leave it at that.
4. Use spoken language English
- It is vital to use a variety of language when you speak. That is, it’s important to show off the fancy vocabulary you know (and use in your essays), but it is also important to show that you know spoken English is different. In spoken language, people use lot’s of discourse markers like um, er, right, well, okay, anyway (amongst many others!). You would never use these kinds of discourse markers in an essay, but they are used in spoken English all the time! Not only do they help you organise what you are going to say but they also help you buy time in the exam while you are thinking of what to say next!
5. Practice, practice, practice!
- It is important to practise the IELTS speaking section many times before you take your test. There are so many different topics that can come up - especially in Part 3! One of the best things you can do is take an IELTS preparation course at English Key and use our resources to practice using topics that come up in the test.
6. Don’t sound too rehearsed
- Yes, practice and preparation are important, but don’t be too prepared! That is, don’t have an answer prepared for every single question - you don’t want to sound like a robot! Know what you are going to say, but don’t pre-plan every single word. You still need to sound natural.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
- If you don’t understand a question ask for clarification. That is,if the examiner asks you a question and you didn’t hear what they said don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat it. Don’t just stand there in silence! Say to them politely: I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that, can you please repeat the question? They will understand (and also be very impressed by your politeness).
This also works if they have used a word that you do not know. It is possible that an examiner will ask about a topic you don’t know anything about. This is OK - just be honest! Again, don’t just stand there in silence! If they ask you about something you don’t know, for example: “What do you think of UFC?”, you can say to them: I’m sorry, I’m not familiar with that. Can you explain what it is? OR I’m sorry, I haven’t heard of that before. Can you explain what it is? You are not expected to know everything in the world, but you can certainly show off your English by asking!
- Relax, take your time, don’t rush. Remember, you have 14 minutes to fill! You will also be nervous and full of adrenaline, which will make you speak faster. This can cause you to fall over your words, mispronounce, and make mistakes, so take a deep breath before speaking, and try and stay relaxed. The more relaxed you sound, the more confident you will appear, and the more easily your English will flow.
A final note
To really improve your Speaking skills and ace the Speaking section of IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training, join an IELTS coaching course at English Key today! We have expert training courses available in Adelaide, Melbourne and online, with experienced, native teachers that help you get the best out of your test. Call, email or drop by one of our centres and chat to one of our lovely staff who will help you find the best course for you.