IELTS Speaking Tips to achieve a high band score.
Before moving to the main topic, I think it is important to share some basic knowledge about the IELTS test. Many of you have heard about the IELTS exam but do not have a clear concept about the entire exam. IELTS basically stands for International English Language Testing System. This is a great way to assess the capability of the applicants in the English language. In fact, IELTS is primarily important for non-native English speakers who want to migrate or work in another country where English is the key language for communication. At present, IELTS is considered as a major language test in line with the other similar tests are TOEFL, TOEIC etc.
Whatsoever the purpose is, IELTS is required in some countries and the applicants need to have a certain band score on this test to be approved by the migration or education authority. Without a standard IELTS score, the embassies are reluctant to provide a visa to applicants. Hence, having a good IELTS band is important indeed. Though there are no strict standards to achieve but with a higher score, the chance of securing a visa increases. The IELTS score is ranged between 1 to 9. And the score varies based on institutions regarding academic admission or other purposes. Annually, a large number of IELTS test takers are found across the world but not everyone can secure the desired score.
There are some tips and tricks available to get a good band score in IELTS exam. As the number of people participating in IELTS exam is on the rise, the test has gained the position as the most popular English language test in the world. Hence, this is really important to take the test seriously and get some necessary preparations beforehand. It will help the applicants to know their exams and make a good band score. This write-up will inform the readers how to make their speaking section perfect. Let’s start.
There are four parts of IELTS exam and speaking is one of them. This is, in fact, a vital part and helps greatly assessing a candidate. Speaking is also considered as the key to communication. People use language to express their emotions and thoughts. And the perfect use of the language is necessary to be successful in every case of life. Therefore, the candidates need to take the matter seriously and get the right preparation.
The entire IELTS exam lasts for around 2 hours and 55 minutes. The speaking part may take place few days before or after the other tests depending on your exam centre and venue. Three sections of a speaking test comprise the speaking – Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. Each of the parts has their distinctive functions and the candidate needs to answer the questions properly in every part. They will get around 11- 14 minutes to complete the speaking sections. The examiner is an experienced and trained person who would assess your speaking skill and score accordingly. The entire conversation would be recorded and another examiner would hear the conversation and assign a band score. Both band scores would be averaged before scoring your final band score.
Speaking – Part 1: General discussion/ Introduction.
Part 1 of the Speaking section will last around 5 minutes and you might expect 4-6 question in this section. In this part, the applicant will be asked few very generic questions. Majority of the questions are asked about the applicant like the name, name spelling, identity check, occupation/ profession, family, hometown etc. The applicant needs to answer the questions politely and to the point. Unnecessary overstatement is unwelcomed here. However, a very short answer like Yes, No should be avoided by all means. Give full sentences like Yes, I have a hobby and it is stamp collecting. In fact, I am a passionate stamp collector and have more than five thousand stamps in my collection.
Sample Question for Speaking Part 1:
Q. My name is Christopher Alan. Could you tell me your name, please?
Q. Can I see your ID/passport?
Q. Where are you from? Is it a good place to live in?
Q. Tell me something about your family.
Q. What do you do in your spare time?
Speaking – Part 2: Candidate Task Card/ Cue Card.
The Part 2 of this section is interesting indeed. The applicant is allowed one to two minutes to think about a topic and its answer. A topic or candidate task card is given to the applicant, and the applicant is allowed to think for one to two minutes or take notes on what he/she is going to say about this topic. Spending more than two minutes to take notes is not recommended.
The applicant should take notes in this section if necessary. The examiner may provide a pen/ pencil and a piece of paper for this purpose. When the topic is given, the applicant takes the time and then starts answering. There might be 2-3 short follow-up questions as well at the end of this section. Do not stop talking about the topic unless the examiner interrupts you. However, you should not talk too much on a single issue and there are four accompanying questions on the cue card topic and you are expected to answer all of them.
Sample Cue card question:
Describe something you own which is very important to you.
You should say:
– what it is
– how long you have it
– how you use it
and explain why this is so important to you.
Speaking – Part 3: Two-way discussion/ Details discussion.
Part 3 of Speaking test allows the applicants for about 4 to 5 minutes. This is a bit longer than the former parts. Some questions are asked here to know about the speaking competency of the applicant. A wised range of questions are asked and the applicant is supposed to answer them smoothly. However, these questions are always related to the topic you were given in part 2. You can expect to be asked 6-7 questions in this section.
Sample Part 3 questions:
Rounding off questions:
Q. Is it valuable in terms of money?
Q. Would it be easy to replace?
Part 3 – Two-way discussion:
Let’s consider first of all how people’s values have changed.
Q. What kind of things give status to people in your country?
Q. Have things changed since your parents’ time?
Q. Wha changes do you predict to take place in the next 20 years?
Finally, let’s talk about the role of advertising.
Q. Do you think advertising influences what people buy?
Q. Why it is important to ban some advertisements?
Q. What one product you were influenced to purchase because of an advertisement you saw on TV?
Tips to enhance your speaking band score:
The score is made based on the speaking skill of the applicant and the following tips will help them to plan for a better score. Please be noted that the tips here are all sections of speaking test. You can use them for any of the sections you want.
Honestly, there are various types of people available in the world. Not everyone is the same. Diversified nature has made some sort of classification among people. Some love to talk much while some other love silence. But IELTS is a competitive exam. Your silence might be your biggest enemy to get a good band score. If you remain silent during the speaking part, you are supposed to get a poor score. It does not matter either you are talkative or shy in your private life. You have to express yourself before the examiner with perfect emotion.
For instance, someone shy is planning to attend the speaking part and expresses the emotions in the right manner, s/ he is supposed to get a good score in speaking. On the other side, when an extrovert becomes uncomfortable with the questions and cannot answer them rightly, obviously the examiner will assign a poor mark in this case. But it was not supposed to be so. An introvert is scoring higher while an extrovert is ditched. This is all about expression. The more you can express yourself in the test, the more will be the chance of success. Therefore, the lesson from this point is to express clearly and elaborately so that the examiner can judge your worth.
Don’t take it as an exam you fear:
The IELTS test takers become nervous for many reasons while participating in the speaking test. A notable number of reasons could be made liable for this issue. In fact, people in their academic studies are afraid of getting poor marks. They feel sad when they get such scores. And the fear starts working before the exam. Even, I also had the similar trouble when I was a student. I had some idiotic thoughts in mind like – “How will I cross exam barriers this time?” I also had some other issues regarding the exam. Sometimes, I did not have the suggestions to prepare lessons. Or even did not have the idea when to appear at exams and so forth. And all such matters intensified the fear of exam. This is universal to all.
Now, please be advised about this particular issue. If someone takes IELTS tests as a serious exam, particularly the speaking section, I think the course of thoughts should be changed immediately. If you take the speaking test as a chat with the examiner, it would appear easier. And this time you would go all the way comfortably. Your mind and thoughts will be free of worries. And now there will be fewer chances of failure.
Show that you are confident:
Being confident is one of the key tasks before attending the speaking test for IELTS. Many of the applicants lose their confidence level. They start believing that IELTS is something different than their usual academic activities. They grow a sense of fear for the course. They cannot consider it a daily meeting and feel huge pressures on them. But in reality, this is completely a different test and just asses the capacity of the participants. If someone cannot achieve the desired score, they have options for appearing in the test again. Moreover, the applicants need not get worried too much about the questions.
Unluckily, a notable section of the IELTS test takers have no idea about the test and thus they lose their confidence. When they enter the room for speaking test, they cannot reply immediately or clearly. They feel a sense of less confidence. I have found that even people make mistakes with the answers that they know. Losing confidence, they fail to answer questions in right place. But if they had the sufficient confidence level, surely they would have achieved much better band than what they got.
So, to have a good bad score, be confident. At least pretend you are confident while participating in speaking part section.
Express relevant experience:
The IELTS is an easy exam indeed if you have the relevant experience. Well, I am not talking about the experience of appearing IELTS. Rather, I am pointing to explore your experience with the questions. Often the examiners ask few usual questions that we are familiar with from our ordinary life. For instance, an examiner may ask you to talk about yourself. In this case, as an applicant, you can take several approaches. You can simply conclude the conversation within a few sentence or you can describe something different than others like what you like, how you feel when you are happy or sad etc. These will have an additional advantage.
Besides, the candidate card might contain something usual – actually, most cases the cue cards tasks come with typical questions- and you can answer them with your relevant experience with the matters. Take an example- the cue card task asked to tell an interesting story. It is better to describe such an event that took place in your life or you have heard about. Generating a new plot is a good idea and the examiner may welcome that. But such attempts may waste your time during the test. Therefore, it is wise to engage the experience in formulating answers while taking part in speaking section.
Be well fashioned:
The first impression plays an important role in few situations and this is one of them. Often dress and fashion is considered as the armour to battle with the reality. A saying goes that a man is in good spirit when he is well dressed. Actually, when people dress well, their mental faculty is in a stable state. It helps to gain courage and confidence to the applicants. In fact, when someone dresses well, they get an inspiration inside of their minds before the live examiner. The latest fashion helps the applicants to be themselves. They do not need to pretend that they are someone else.
Moreover, when the applicants are formal in their attires, they feel that they would be able to deal with the barriers of the test. To raise the self-esteem in one’s self, attires help a lot indeed. Applying some sort of light perfume with the dresses will be beneficial in this case. In reality, the importance of getting well-dressed cannot be ignored at all. Besides, the real-life examiners also take the matter into account while scoring a candidate.
But make sure you are not creating a sense of irritation for the examiner(s). Sometimes, people dress in bizarre attires which may prove troublesome in such places. In brief, the dress should be decent and should also make you look good.
Be formal in your words and attitude:
Being a formal speaker is another important part while participating in the speaking section. Most of the candidates cannot determine what to do in such cases. They lose the ways of talking with the live examiner. They use informal/ casual languages or tones to express themselves during the test. To show their knowledge of the English language that they have learnt from movies or so. But this is a very bad idea. A candidate should demonstrate the best in them during such test. They are not expected to deliver statements like –
“Yeah, I’m gonna do that.”
“Yes, I am going to do that”, or simply “I will do” is best suited here.
Besides, few candidates also have some attitude problems while speaking. Frequent movement of limbs, leaning on the table etc. is unexpected here. Having a gentle posture is fine and matches with the situation. This is important to get the right posture during a speaking test. Please do not move your hands aimlessly while you talk with the examiner. Certainly, you can use your limbs to express naturally, but if you want to impress the examiner, I think you should pick something different.
Showing a simple attitude also plays important role in speaking part. Do not sit motionlessly or do not be too much expressive. It also does not indicate you to be shy either. What you need most is to adjust with the situation and show your natural expression. If the examiner smiles at you, you need to smile back. But sitting with a poor facial expression is unwelcomed.
Complete your answer:
Answering in full helps examiner to assess you. Keep in mind that this is a test. And as a candidate, you will get a good score if you can demonstrate your grammar and vocabulary in the English language. To represent your English skills, you have to complete your answer. Some of the candidates do not complete their answer rather move to next question or answer in short sentences. It makes the test boring for the examiner and I can bet this will not bring the desired band for the candidate.
For instance, when examiner asks to tell about your hobby and, you may wrap up the answer by saying – Book reading. But this is not a complete answer. Instead, if you describe in detail about the hobby like which types of books do you prefer, how many books you have read so far, which writer is your favourite and so forth, or add a couple of sentences, it would be counted as a complete answer. Simultaneously, keep also in mind that your time is limited and you have to answer all the questions. You will not get ‘an extra 5 minutes’ during the test. So, give your best.
Explain your words:
During the conversation, you may use some foreign words with the examiner. An explanation may help better to comprehend the words to the examiner. Often candidates from different countries use their local language while communicating. But the receiver may be unable to get the inner meaning of the words or sentences. In such scenarios, it is better to give an explanation. Speaks as much as possible. But at the end, do not forget to clarify the foreign words on your sentences.
Correct your mistakes:
Everyone makes mistakes and IELTS speaking test candidates are not an exception. If you are focused on your statements, you may find a mistake. And in that case, this is wise to correct the mistakes. Mistakes may take place in pronunciation or speak too fast. But once you identify the mistake and make it correct, the examiner will consider the issue and will note your awareness on the language.
But if you avoid the mistakes and move on other topics, the examiner will also note that. Escaping the mistake will point your weakness on the language and you might not get a good band this time. The examiner will wish you luck for next time.
If you are unable to understand any question, the best way is to ask about it. If you need to ask it twice, I suggest doing that. In fact, you will have no point cut in asking the questions. Instead, the examiner will be happy. Actually, candidates with curiosity want to interact with examiners. And asking questions will help to increase the interaction. And once you started interacting with the examiner, all your worries will vanish.
IELTS is a competitive exam and people who have good scores do not always prepare well. They follow some tips and tricks and get the desired outcome. Many of the candidates have expressed this speaking section as the hardest one. And they also have accused their failure to speak correctly for the poor bands. Actually, writing is difficult and speaking is more difficult than writing. Subsequently, a regular practice is required to get a good band in speaking part. Use of grammar, punctuations in sentences, picking the right sentence structure, maintaining a good posture is the key to success in this part. These basic tips are made on years of experience and hope would be beneficial for the IELTS candidates.