Eight Ways To Improve Your IELTS Speaking Score
The speaking section of the IELTS test can seem scary. However, if you are confident in the tremendous work you have done, it can also be your chance to show the examiner how far you have advanced in your English language skills.
Here, our global IELTS expert, Hazan Hayaloğlu, shares her top eight tips for excelling in the speaking section of the IELTS exam.
If you are preparing for an exam, keep in mind that to get the latest information on the exam format, you should always go directly to the source:IELTS . Those who take the IELTS exam can practice with exams free online of Academic Writing or General Training Writing. You can also download a Answer sheet of IELTS Writing to practice writing answers.
Table of Contents
What is the IELTS speaking section?
Before starting with the tips, it is worth reviewing the three main parts of the IELTS speaking section.
- Part One : This is where you will answer personal questions and questions about your family.
- Part Two – Here, you will speak for one to two minutes on a topic presented by the examiner.
- Third Part – In this part, you will have a longer conversation with the examiner about the topic presented in the second part.
Now let’s look at the best tips to improve your performance in the speaking section of the IELTS exam.
1. Try to relax!
Most language learners would say that speaking is the most difficult skill to acquire. You must construct sentences without errors, think about precise vocabulary and proper pronunciation, avoid making a direct translation from your native language, convey the appropriate message, use the correct tone and connect your ideas in an organized way. It can be overwhelming!
With so much on your mind, relaxing will not be easy, but it is important to remember that the examiner does not focus on your mistakes, but on the positive aspects of your speech. They are there to see what you can do, not what you can’t do, and will do everything they can to make you feel comfortable. You should think of it as a quick chat with a friend. It’s all about communication, something you’re used to doing every day.
Also, remember that you are not being evaluated based on your knowledge of specific topics. The IELTS oral assessment topics are based on your life, your experiences and your opinions. For example, you may be asked to talk about your pet, your hometown, your best friend, or your job. Most people love to talk about themselves, so relax and do the best you can. There are no right or wrong answers!
2. Expand your answers
Speaking at length is an opportunity to demonstrate your fluency. You must get into the habit of giving reasons for your answers. If after your answer the examiner asks “why?”, then you are not explaining enough. Fluency is one of the four IELTS assessment criteria and to speak fluently, you will need to maintain a good rhythm when speaking. Therefore, don’t be afraid to talk too much!
Look at these example answers to see the difference between a speaker who is fluent and one who is not.
|Examiner: What is your favourite pet animal?||Examiner: What is your favourite pet animal?|
|Candidate: My favourite pet animal is a cat.||Candidate: My favourite pet animal is a cat. I have always found myself drawn to cats because of their independent nature.|
|Examiner: Why?||Examiner: Why?|
|Candidate: Because they are cute.||Candidate: Unlike dogs, cats are low maintenance. They don’t require a lot of space and they are cheap to feed. We can leave them alone at home all day and they don’t panic or get lonely. They also make great company for us because they are beautiful, purring, intelligent pets that love and entertain us every day.|
3. Make the most of your minute
In the second part of the speaking section, in which you will speak on a specific topic, the examiner will give you one minute to prepare your speech. Use this time well!
Don’t be scared if you’re not familiar with the topic; You can make up a story or put yourself in someone else’s shoes and tell the story from their perspective. For example, if you need to talk about a sporting event you attended and you’re not a sports fan, you can put yourself in the shoes of a friend who is a sports fan and talk about their experience as if it were your own. There is no right or wrong answer; They are only evaluating you based on your oral skills.
The points you’re expected to mention will be displayed on a card, so I recommend taking a minute to quickly write down key words (it takes a long time to write entire sentences) on your note paper, so you can refer to them if you get stuck. You can add additional points in case you run out of things to say. To get a satisfactory fluency score, you’ll need to speak continuously without pausing too many times, which is why these notes will come in handy!
4. Don’t memorize!
The questions in the speaking section follow a common pattern. In the first part, you will be asked about personal topics, such as your hometown, your job, or your hobbies. The second part focuses on your experiences, so you might have to describe a place, a person or an object. The third part is a conversation about your opinions and they are related to the topic of the second part.
While it is worth equipping yourself with relevant vocabulary and common phrases and collocations (groups of common words), it is important to avoid memorizing large chunks of speech. Examiners are trained to identify memorized answers and will lower your grade for it.
Instead, I recommend studying the vocabulary of different key topics, grouping the words into categories, such as sport or cinema. This approach can also help you improve your vocabulary for other sections of the IELTS test, and the broader your vocabulary, the better your score!
5. Speak clearly and at a natural speed
Try not to rush your speech. Speaking too quickly will not improve your fluency score and could cause you to make more mistakes. Instead, stay calm, speak clearly and at a natural speed. And don’t worry about your accent; All accents are welcome in the IELTS exam. Just make sure you pronounce the words correctly.
6. Don’t give up!
There are three common cases where you may feel like giving up. All I can say is: don’t do it!
The first is when you can’t find the exact word you are looking for. If this happens, avoid long pauses and try paraphrasing or find other ways to explain what you want to say.
The second is when you are not familiar with a topic or have no opinions on a topic. If this happens, use your creativity to do your best to answer the question. Putting yourself in the shoes of someone who has experienced the situation will help you generate ideas more quickly.
The third is when you don’t understand the examiner’s question. If this happens, you can always ask for clarification (but try to avoid asking too many questions).
7. Record yourself
If you don’t have the opportunity to practice with a native English speaker, you can achieve a lot by practicing on your own. As? Recording your practice sessions and assessing yourself against the four IELTS assessment criteria: fluency, lexical resources (your vocabulary range), grammatical range and accuracy, and pronunciation.
Review your recording to identify your weak points. Could you have used better vocabulary? How fluently did you speak? Could you have used more complex structures? How was your pronunciation? Work on your flaws until you produce a better recording.
8. Know what to expect
If this is your first time taking the IELTS test, it is helpful to familiarize yourself with the format and scoring criteria. Knowing what to expect will really help calm your nerves.
I recommend you know the answers to the following questions before taking the exam:
- How long does it last?
- How many parts does it have?
- What are you expected to do in each part?
- What are the evaluation criteria?