Sitting your IELTS speaking exam can be a nerve wracking prospect, particularly if you’re looking to score a top level, or need to achieve a certain grade to get into your chosen university. Let’s take a look at some of the top tips to give you the best chance of success in your IELTS speaking exam.
- Relax! Whatever band you’re hoping to achieve in your IELTS exam, you’ll need to demonstrate that you can speak confidently and fluently. If you sit back and enjoy the opportunity to converse in English, then you’re far more likely to speak at an appropriate pace.
- Don’t get hung up on mistakes. If you start worrying about minor errors of grammar or punctuation, you’ll lose focus, meaning you’re more likely to keep on slipping up. Even native speakers hesitate from time to time, as you’ll know from speaking your mother tongue, so move on and concentrate on making your next answer word perfect.
- Keep talking! While it’s important not to waffle, your examiners are looking for developed answers. Don’t just answer the question, explain why you hold certain opinions, and show the thought process which led you to that answer. The more you say, the more opportunity you have to show off your language skills, too!
- Don’t be afraid to ask the examiner to clarify. If you’re not exactly sure what is being asked, it’s a good idea to ask the examiner to explain, rather than guessing. If you haven’t fully understood the question, you risk giving a strange answer, meaning you’re likely to lose marks.
- Practise! Practise! Practise! You should be aware of the kinds of topics that usually come up in the first part of the IELTS speaking exam. You’re likely to be asked about your everyday life, so practise chatting about your home, family, work and studies. If you can find a native English speaker to talk to, this will help you develop your speaking skills; if not, try to find a friend, family member or partner who has sufficient English to talk to you. Consider taking our mock IELTS Speaking test and receiving feedback on how to improve your band scores
- Record yourself. It’s often surprising hearing yourself talk, particularly when you’re speaking a foreign language. Try recording 2-3 minute presentations on various IELTS topics, using your mobile phone or PC. Listening back to these files will help you identify areas where you tend to hesitate, and can make you more aware of any difficulties with pronunciation.
- Learn your vocabulary! This is simple. You should have a clear idea of the kinds of topics which typically come up in the first part of the IELTS speaking examination, so make sure you’re confident on vocabulary relating to home life, employment and studying. It’s also a good idea to have a few “show off” phrases or idioms up your sleeve so you can demonstrate your familiarity with the language.
- Get online. The internet is full of useful websites help you prepare for your speaking exam. These will give you a sense of the kinds of question you might have to answer. To succeed in your IELTS test and hit the higher bands, you need to be really familiar with your subject matter, and be able to talk at length about common topics.
- Make eye contact. Presentation skills are important in your IELTS speaking exam. If you go in looking and feeling your best then you will be more confident and should be able to make a positive impression on your examiner. Making eye contact should help to support good pronunciation and intonation, as well as benefiting the warmth and fluency of your spoken expression.
- Watch your pronunciation. Of course, if you want to pass IELTS higher band candidates should be looking to produce a clear, authentic accent. Identify any sound patterns you find difficult and practise forming these sounds correctly. Many dictionaries have playback functions, so you can hear the correct pronunciation of words which you have trouble pronouncing correctly. Listening to the radio and watching TV shows in English can really help to improve your pronunciation and intonation. You could even note down any good phrases you hear, especially if they’re relevant to your IELTS topics.
However, be wary of watching TV shows set in areas with strong regional dialects, as this could affect your pronunciation!
Whatever band you’re hoping to achieve in your IELTS speaking, remember that being well-prepared, calm and confident are the key to success in your IELTS test! Get a good night’s sleep and walk into your exam ready to impress. Good luck!