17 expert preparation tips for success in IELTS Speaking Tests
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an English language proficiency test. This test is mandatory for immigration and higher education in some English-speaking countries Canada, the UK & the USA.
The test consists of four sections such as reading, writing, speaking, and listening. This blog will explain the insights in IELTS speaking preparation by giving you useful tips to score high in the exam.
The IELTS speaking section consists of three parts. Part 1 is to introduce yourself with some basic information. The examiner also asks you to speak on some familiar topics such as family, career, etc. Part 2 of the IELTS speaking section is, you will be given a task card that has the topic that you are going to speak for 2 minutes.
Part 3 of the IELTS speaking is conducted in a discussion format where you have to discuss the issues related to the given topic for 4-5 minutes.
The IELTS speaking preparation needs a focused practice for at least 3-4 weeks. Following a valuable guide like this will help you gain a perspective about the speaking test. There are several challenges you will face during the IELTS speaking test.
IELTS Speaking Exam Pattern
Three parts of the IELTS speaking section are
- Part 1 will be in an interview setup where you should introduce yourself and also the examiner asks some familiar questions about family, career, etc.
- In part 2 of the speaking test, you will be given a card with a particular topic and you have to speak on the topic.
- Part 3 in the speaking test is conducted in a discussion format based on the topic you speak about in part 2. In part 3 you have to provide ideas, and solutions regarding the topic if asked.
IELTS Speaking Exam Time and Duration
|Topic||Description||Time & Duration|
|IELTS Speaking Section ( Overall)||The total duration of the IELTS speaking test||Around 11-14 minutes.|
|Part 1 of IELTS Speaking Section||Introduce yourself and reply to the questions the examiners ask for.||4 to 5 minutes|
|Part 2 of IELTS Speaking Section||The time given to prepare for the topic is 1 minute and you have to speak about the topic for 2 minutes.||3 minutes approximately|
|Part 3 of IELTS Speaking Section||Discussion of the topic||4 to 5 minutes|
Total Marks in IELTS Speaking Section
- The IELTS speaking test is calculated in band scores.
- The total mark in the IELTS speaking section is band 9.
- The highest band score a student could score is band 9.
- The range of the band score is from 0 to 9.
Fluency and cohesion, pronunciation, usage of lexical resources, and grammatical range and accuracy are some of the parameters used for scoring. The marks allotted for each criterion are added the scores are provided in a cumulative form.
How are the marks scored?
The IELTS speaking test scores are calculated based on specific criteria. These criteria are expected to be met while you are speaking. The criteria that are required are
- Fluency and coherence,
- Lexical resources,
- Grammatical range and
These are the important factors that decide your IELTS speaking score. The marks are scored separately based on each criterion and then added and divided by four.
For example; if you score
7.5 in fluency and coherence
6.5 in pronunciation
8.0 in lexical resources
7.5 in grammatical and accuracy
All these marks are added and divided by 4
7.5 + 6.5 + 8.0 + 7.5 / 4 = 7.3 this score will be rounded as 7.5 and that is the final score.
Top Preparation Tips for the IELTS Speaking Section
- Understand the format of the test and read the regulations that are instructed.
- Read a lot of books, blogs, and articles with good English content. Reading develops your English knowledge and gives you an idea of how to speak.
- Try to change your voice modulations according to the context of the sentence. Do not speak in a monotonous way.
- Do not use complicated or long words during the speaking test. This may lead to you losing the actual context of the speech.
- Watch videos with good English content and also watch English news channels to know the flow in speaking.
- Avoid using filler words while speaking. Adding filler words while speaking does not sound professional to the examiner
- There is nothing to worry about the accent. The IELTS examiners are well-known in all accents and they are comfortable with any kind.
- Try speaking English with your friends, family, and surroundings during the preparation process to develop the flow in the language.
- Record what you speak, identify the errors that you make, and try to rectify them.
- Pronounce every word clearly with a bold voice.
- Do not memorize the answers in your mind. Try to comprehend the question and answer on the spot. The examiners can identify if you have memorized the answers.
- Maintain continuity while speaking and do not jump to different contexts while speaking.
- Use a variety of grammatical structures correctly. Use only if you are confident enough with the sentence.
- There is no wrong in taking time to think. Use phrases that compromise the examiners when you pause to think.
- There is nothing like right or wrong answers in the speaking test. Speak up your opinions and ideas boldly.
- While answering the questions, do not keep repeating the words that are in the question asked.
- Prepare a timetable to practice for the IELTS speaking test. Schedule your preparation time for the IELTS speaking test.
- Answer the questions with a pleasant face. Do not speak with a dull face which makes the examiner uncomfortable.
- Learn through the resources that you are comfortable with. You can find books, online blogs, video tutorials, consultants everywhere.
- In the end, practice, without practicing daily you cannot surpass the IELTS speaking test.
How to increase the score for Fluency and coherence?
- Be confident with the words that you express while speaking.
- Do not memorize the content or the format to speak.
- Try contracting the words that you use while answering
- To be coherent, do not get carried away with the topic and stay on the necessary topics.
How to increase the score for Lexical Resource?
- Avoid repetition of words while speaking
- Be aware of your choice of words, use the right word for the right context.
- Do not use the words from the given question
- Understand the meaning of the word or sentence before you speak
How to increase the score for Pronunciation?
- Do not rush when you are speaking.
- Be clear with your words
- Record yourself while speaking and rectify the errors
- Watch or hear the speeches of public speakers.
- Emphasize the words according to the context
- How to increase the score for Grammatical Range and Accuracy?
- Usage of complex sentence structures will boost your score.
- Usage of a wide range of grammatical structures and vocabulary is important.
- Use the correct tenses wherever required
- Using future tense while speaking on task 3 will help you follow up on the context.
Best Books for IELTS Speaking Section Preparation
Reading books will develop your speaking skill in English. Referring to a book to prepare for the IELTS speaking test will boost your confidence in writing. There are several books out there, especially for IELTS training. Practicing through books opens up a wider perspective in speaking. The following books guide you on how to score better in your IELTS speaking test.
1. Get IELTS band 9 in Speaking (IELTS consultants)
This Book was designed by the Cambridge IELTS consultants. This book shows you the author’s proven part of each part of the speaking test, also transcripts of the candidates giving spoken answers at a band 9 standard. This book is available in the amazon online delivery app.
2. IELTS Speaking by Sampath Bandara
The IELTS speaking guide of Sampath Bandara is a guide to scoring a band score of 8 or more. This book has several topics with sample answers. Most of the topics do have multiple sample answers for the students to understand what they are comfortable with. The CreateSpace independent publishing platform has published this book and it’s also available on online platforms like Flipkart and Rediff books.
3. IELTS speaking - 8.5 master plan
This is a very recent book published in the year 2020 by amazon digital services and was written by Marc Roche. This book has focused on giving insights on how to score an 8.5 band score by applying all the criteria that are followed by the examiner during the evaluation.
4. Collins Speaking for IELTS
This book is a very informative book for IELTS speaking purposes. The book was written by Karen Kovacs who is a well-trained IELTS expert with good experience in linguistics. The book was published by Harper Collins publisher and is also available on online platforms like Flipkart and Infibeam.
5. Official IELTS practice materials
This book is contributed by some of the major organizations in the industry of overseas education. The British Council, IDP, Cambridge University, and some more organizations have contributed their participation in this book.
This book aims to show the candidate a glimpse of what the test is like. This book is published by Klett Sprachen GmbH and is available on platforms like Flipkart and Infibeam. The paperback material of this book comes with a CD where you have a visual experience in learning.
Best Online Resources for IELTS Speaking Section Preparation
Following are some of the best online resources for IELTS speaking section preparation
- How to prepare - IELTS is one of the best online resources which is provided by the IELTS itself. It helps you to understand the test format and the website is always updated with information regarding IELTS.
- Kanan Prep - Kanan prep is an online preparation tool for IELTS. Here you can develop your English language skills and this tool helps you to get a maximum score in a minimum time.
- Road to IELTS - This website by British Council offers a lot of mock tests, sample videos, tutorials, etc. There are interactive exercises where you can track your progress.
- Magoosh IELTS speaking - The Magoosh IELTS source offers Practice tests. It gives you an idea of how to score and also provides you with a study schedule.
- IELTS Mentor - IELTS mentor is one of the best online resources to practice IELTS academic writing. It has FAQs, samples to practice, and more.
- IELTS - IDP - The IELTS IDP follows a similar way of guiding like the actual IELTS. They provide you with video tutorials and samples. They help you to practice the familiar questions that are asked till now.
- IELTS Liz - IELTS Liz provides online resources through both youtube and websites. Liz is an experienced English teacher and has created a lot of useful video content regarding IELTS.
IELTS Speaking Tips - Three Days before the Exam
The nearing days of the actual exam day are crucial. It is important to be careful in anything you do before the final days of the exam.
Here are some tips you may need a few days before the exam:
- Keep your mind clear, stay healthy and follow a sleep schedule. Enough sleep is a must.
- Avoid trips and traveling, it may lead to confusion and high chances of missing your exam.
- Do not let your negative thoughts accumulate, always be positive about the results.
- Speak about the topics to yourself facing the mirror. This may give you an inch of confidence and gives you an idea of how you look from the examiner’s perspective.
- Make sure you have all the necessary things, if not try to arrange it as early as possible.
- Avoid last-minute preparations, take enough rest on the previous day of the exam. Try to read something casual other than the topic related to the exam.
- Go through all the mistakes you have made while practicing and try to rectify them.
- Go through all the strategies and criteria that you need to apply while speaking.
- Make sure you rectify all your mistakes by recording yourself.
- Learn all the synonyms you want to use. Use the synonyms in the right context
IELTS Speaking Tips - During the Test
- Drink Plenty of water - Keep yourself hydrated and carry a water bottle with you. Have good food before going to the exam hall
- Do look at the examiner’s face while answering the questions and do not look somewhere else and that makes the examiner uncomfortable.
- Have a clear mind while you are speaking and do not let external things distract your mind.
- Speak what you know. Don’t try to speak new things thinking that would help you to improvise your content.
- Do not speak in a flat tone. It is better to emphasize some of the words and phrases when you speak.
- After entering the examination room, greet the examiner with a pleasant smile.
- Do not sit quietly if you don’t know the answer to a question. Tell the examiner that you are not aware of the question they asked.
- Do not use too many filler words while speaking and always be clear with your words.
- Use a range of grammar and vocabulary when you speak.
How to Practice for the IELTS Speaking Section?
The IELTS speaking test requires dedicated practice with a scheduled timetable. Choose the source to where you want to practice for the speaking test, it may be books, blogs, online materials, video tutorials, IELTS classes, etc.
Speak English with your family and friends to maintain the flow of speaking. Prepare for the speaking test by taking online practice tests. The practice tests give you an idea of what the test is like. Practice the familiar that has been asked all the years of IELTS.
Record yourself and rectify the mistakes you make while speaking.
How Long will it take to Prepare for IELTS Speaking?
To score a decent mark in the IELTS speaking test you need to at least prepare for 3-4 weeks. You need to dedicate these 3 - 4 weeks to understand the nuances and practice for the IELTS speaking test.
Other than that, you need to speak English in your free time when you are with your friends or family to maintain the flow.
You should know your capacity in order to start the preparation at the right time. IELTS speaking is just for 15 minutes but that does not mean your preparation time should be shorter. Invest an equal amount of time.
Difference between Academic Speaking and General Speaking
|Academic Speaking||General Speaking|
The IELTS conducts the speaking test in the same format for both academic and general categories. There is no difference in the test format for IELTS speaking.
IELTS Speaking Test Samples
The IELTS speaking test is conducted in three parts. The following samples are a glimpse of how the questions are asked in each section.
Part 1 sample question:
Part 1 of the IELTS speaking test is conducted in an interview format where the examiner asks a few basic questions about yourself and some questions about your interest, career, family, etc. Some of the questions that are asked in the IELTS speaking test are;
- Are you a student?
- What would you like to do in your free time?
- Are you good at sports?
- What kind of food do you like?
- Which was your favorite destination you visited?
- Do you watch movies?
Part 2 sample question:
Describe the movie that you like.
- Who was the director of the movie?
- What was your favorite moment in the movie?
- Tell about the main character
- What was the movie about?
- Why did you like it?
Part 3 sample question:
In part 3, the examiner asks additional questions on the topic that you have spoken about in part 2. Part 3 will be conducted in a discussion format.
- Did the movie get any recognition?
- What was the opinion on the movie from the critics?
- What impact does this movie have on you?
- Did you notice any lagging factors in the movie?
- Did you relate the movie with yourself or an incident that happened in your life?
These are some of the sample questions that give you an idea of how the test is like.
Prepare through Practice Tests
Practice tests are the best way to train yourself for the IELTS speaking test. There are several sample tests online to practice. Make sure you learned all the basics that you need to attend the test. Record yourself when you are preparing for the speaking test.
After completing the test, identify the errors that you made and correctly rectify them. Try practicing a variety of questions. Also, practice different styles and speaking, identify what suits you, and keep practicing on that.
Types of Speaking Tasks
There are three parts to the speaking test. All the parts of the test are conducted informally. Part 1 of the speaking test is conducted in an interview format for 4-5 minutes. The examiner asks questions about yourself and your interests, career, family, etc.
The second part is where you have to talk about the topic given and also say about the questions that are asked related to the topic.
The preparation time for the topic is 1 minute and you have to speak about the topic for at least 2 minutes. You should cover all the questions that are asked related to the topic.
The last part of the speaking test is conducted in a discussion format. You have to discuss with the examiner where they ask a broader range of questions about the topic you have spoken about in part 2.This discussion will happen for 4-5 minutes
Importance of Fluency and Clear Talking
The IELTS speaking test assesses your ability to demonstrate your speaking skills in a way it exhibits your fluency and coherence. You are tested to communicate about a wide range of topics and the ability to respond with relevance to the questions asked.
The most common mistakes encountered in the speaking assessment are the unintended pauses when the candidate is not sure about the answer. Sometimes usage of complicated words might make a glitch in your flow of speaking.
IELTS Speaking Preparation - Checklist
To complete a process, you always need a checklist, with a checklist you are already halfway through the ending. These are some of the things that you need to be aware of when preparing for the exam.
- Greet the examiner with a pleasant smile.
- Focus on the criteria that are used to evaluate your speaking skills.
- Avoid repetition of words and phrases while speaking.
- Use a wide range of vocabulary and grammatical structures.
- Practice all the formats of questions that are asked.
- Do not get carried away with a single content. Know your time limits
- Cover all the questions that are asked about the topic in part 2.
- Utter the words clear and bold.
- Don’t be too loud or too low. Try being audible for the examiner.
- Avoid using filler words to match the pause.
- Be firm with your words and opinions.
- Practice with a dictionary and a thesaurus to develop your vocabulary and grammar.
- Prepare through practice tests after you learned all the basic test requirements.
- Do not correct yourself too many times while speaking
- Be credible with your facts and opinions.
- Understand the format of the test and the regulations.
- Do not speak in a flat tone. Emphasize according to the context
- Do not give binary answers like yes or no. Extend the answers when you speak.
FAQs about IELTS Speaking Preparation
1. How can I prepare for IELTS speaking at home?
You can prepare for the IELTS speaking through online resources like Kanan. Kanan offers an Online preparation tool for the IELTS. This tool helps you to understand the insights of the IELTS speaking test. The Kanan IELTS experts comprehend the student’s mentality and guide them throughout the process.
2. How can I improve my speaking in IELTS?
You can improve your speaking skills in IELTS by regular practice with a scheduled timetable. You can also improve your speaking skills by speaking English with your friends and family.
3. How can I get 8 in IELTS speaking?
Scoring an 8 band score in IELTS is not an easy task. During the IELTS speaking test, you need to follow the criteria that are used to evaluate your answers. Using a wide range of vocabulary and grammar can improve your band score.
4. How can I improve my IELTS speaking answer?
Referring to books, online resources, and preparing through practice tests can improve and refine your answers. Identifying the errors and rectifying them can help you improve your answers.
5. How can I clear my IELTS speaking test?
To surpass the IELTS speaking test, you need dedicated practice and proper involvement in the preparation. Understand the test format and regulations to score a good band score.
To surpass the IELTS speaking test is not an easy task, you need a lot of preparation to score a decent band score. Practicing with a timetable on a daily basis will improve your speaking skills. Reading a lot of books and blogs with good English content will help you develop the flow in the language.
Understand the test format and be aware of the criteria that are used to evaluate your answers. Apply the criteria in your answers and use a wide range of grammar and vocabulary while speaking. You need at least 3-4 weeks to prepare for the IELTS speaking test.
So, schedule your preparation time according to your learning capacity.
Preparing through practice tests gives you an idea of what the test is like. Make a checklist during the nearing days of the exam. You can score a good band score by following all the points that have been mentioned in this blog.
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