IELTS Speaking Tips
With the vast majority of band 7 and 8 IELTS students, speaking is generally at a good level. However, what can happen is that the general good level of speaking is not always reflected in the exam result and students who are fluent and confident can sometimes score 6.5 and then have to re-take the exam. It is a great shame when this happens as it is completely avoidable by practising.
IELTS Speaking isn’t just a ‘chat’. Just like all the other parts of the IELTS test, it is put together in such a way that you can demonstrate a variety of speaking skills to the examiner – such things as showing your vocabulary, being able to communicate at length about various topics and presenting a short ‘talk’ on a particular subject. These are all things you will need to do as students and also in your future work. What this means is that you can and should prepare for your IELTS speaking just like you prepare for every other part of the exam.
I’ve been thinking about some quick ways in which you can practise English as you go about your daily life. I realise that not everybody is in a position where they are surrounded by English every day. (Although, if you can swing it, an immersion programme is an excellent way to skyrocket your English progress, and we have the perfect immersion programme waiting for you!) For others, they have very limited time to practise and need ‘quick fixes’ to keep their language skills moving. One area which poses a particular problem here is speaking.
I thought back to my early days of learning French. I was in a similar position with no French around me and without handy things like internet access that are available today! I invented little tricks and tasks to do in French to keep the momentum going. I’ll share these with you here and I’ve added a few more that I have observed from other people. Continue reading
I’m sure there is a lot of scientific and linguistic research about this topic and this is not a scholarly post. It is something I have thought about often in the years that I have been teaching and learning languages and I simply wanted to share my thoughts with you. I hope that they strike a chord, tally with your opinion and/or experience and spur you on to improving and developing your own language skills. Continue reading
Pronunciation is one of those things that always seems to be left out in the cold, so to speak, when learning English. We all want to speak fluently and accurately, have good listening and writing skills and improve our reading and vocabulary; but unless there are any real issues, pronunciation can wait. When working to learn English, it seems like there are just too many other things competing for your time and attention to bother focusing on pronunciation, doesn’t it take care of itself after all? Continue reading
Your approach to preparation in the IELTS tells me a lot about how you will succeed. I meet students who are organised, who have a plan and who create a process for their learning and their preparation. They balance their general English practice with their IELTS test practice and know that it is impossible to get a good band without both. They are usually successful. I also meet students who keep on just ‘having a go’. This approach to the IELTS exam is VERY EXPENSIVE and will not guarantee you success. If you do not get exposure to English except via the Cambridge practice tests, then getting a high band score is going to take a VERY long time and in some cases where a student’s English is not of a high level it will be impossible. Continue reading
There is so much information out there about taking the IELTS test and developing your language skills. An overwhelming amount of information. It can take months or even years to go through it all and to figure out what works for you! What if there was a way that you could get focused training to hone in on the language skills that you need? What if there was a way for you to have materials, advice, and tips presented to you that have been proven to really work? What if you could complete this training and be totally prepared to conquer the IELTS in a matter of weeks-not months or years? Continue reading
Students often tell me that they worry about Part 2 in the IELTS speaking exam because they don’t have enough to say. The key, as with everything in IELTS, is more practice. Make sure that you get good at this part – don’t worry about it.
Here are some ideas for practising this part of the speaking test. I’ve used these with students and they really make a big difference.
The examiner will feed you the questions but you must take the opportunity to use this part of the test to really show what you can really do in English.
Students often worry about the speaking test because they don’t know what answers the examiner expects. I used to be an examiner and I can tell you that when I did IELTS speaking tests, I knew exactly what the questions were that I had to ask but I NEVER had any idea about the answers. I was only looking for good, sensible and interesting answers from the candidate.
You can use language from your listening practice to help with your speaking and vice versa.
The more you practice the speaking the more you will be able to pick up on the listening.
- Can you think about examples of issues you have with either of these skills?
- How have you been preparing for these papers?
Whenever you are listening to English if you find useful expressions and words write them down so that you can use them in your speaking. Don’t restrict your practice to text books, IELTS or otherwise, what you really need is exposure to authentic language. Continue reading