Nervous about your upcoming IELTS exam? If you’re looking for some IELTS Speaking Test tips, we’ve got your back. Read on to find out how you can better prepare for the speaking part of your exam.

If your IELTS speaking test is approaching, you will start feeling the pressure to ace the exam and get a high band score. At a time like this, you may be looking for IELTS speaking tips and tricks and wondering if you’ll be able to pass. This test is recognized by thousands of institutions around the world. Let go of your tension and get through this IELTS speaking tips guide. But first, a little background.

What is IELTS?

Although it is an exam (or rather a series of tests), IELTS is a system to help you get to an English-speaking country/institution. IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System and was created by the British Council, Cambridge Assessment English and IDP: IELTS in Australia.

In this system, applicants are tested on the basis of their listening, reading, writing and speaking abilities in the English language. After each test type, students are given a grade from 1-9, these grades are called bands. Our guide today is aimed at the IELTS Speaking section, but getting a high band score depends on your practice level and dedication.

Read more about: Route to IELTS Success

Why Should I Take the IELTS?

There are generally two reasons people may need this test. The first is for pursuing higher education in an English language country (like the UK, USA, Australia and similar). The second reason is for migrating to a country for the purposes of work, emigration, secondary studies, training or similar.

Many degrees and programs are taught purely in English. Educational institutes require international students from non-English speaking countries to have a good grasp of the language before they are accepted into any particular course. The same holds true for employers in countries like the USA and Australia. This test is widely accepted by over 11,000 different institutions, educational and professional. With a good IELTS score, you will have authentic proof of your ability in the English language.

9 IELTS Speaking Tips

Here is our simple guide on a few IELTS speaking test tips. Note, some of these tricks can be modified to apply to the other sections of the IELTS test – listening, reading and writing.

  1. Practice Daily

Simple as it sounds, this is one of the most fundamental IELTS Speaking tips we can offer. Start by speaking English with your family, friends and others who have a good command over it. Request them to correct you at any time, this will help you improve faster.

  1. Avoid Memorization

The examiner taking your test will be able to recognize if you are simply providing memorized answers. This will indicate to them that you do not have the ability to formulate sentences in English spontaneously, which may reflect on your score band.

  1. Stick to Words You Know

Using uncommon words that you are unfamiliar with is a sure shot way to let the examiner know you don’t understand English very well. Stick to common words and vocabulary that you are familiar with and understand well. This is where practicing beforehand comes into play, it widens your vocabulary and makes you comfortable using new words.

  1. Watch Your Tone

Try to avoid speaking too quickly or too slowly, speak at the same speed you use for your native language. The more natural you are, the easier it is for the examiner to see that you are comfortable speaking English. Other important IELTS Speaking tips regarding tone include adding variation to your voice rather than speaking in a flat, monotone voice. You can use your hands and body language; this may help you converse naturally.

  1. Take Your Time

Once you have been asked a question, you do not need to rush to give an immediate answer. Take your time to pause and think about the question, and let the answer flow out of you smoothly. You can buffer your time before answering by saying something along the lines of “That’s an interesting question/topic, let me think about that for a moment”. It is better to pause at the very beginning and answer smoothly, rather than to jump straight into answering a question but pausing in between your sentences.

Note: In natural conversation, there will be pauses between thoughts and sentences, this is not what our pointer is referring to!

  1. Grammar Check

This is another one of our IELTS speaking tips that you need to work on prior to the actual test. Ensure that you use grammatical tools properly, from simple and complex sentences to proper tenses. Practice with an English teacher, tutor, friend or colleague and ask them to point out any common grammar mistakes you’re making.

  1. Detailed, Longer Answers

When you are asked a question, don’t answer with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Answer in detail, with full sentences and try to give reasons for your answer. This will showcase your ability to formulate arguments, sentences and ideas in the English language. Don’t answer in short sentences and wait for the examiner to say “Why is that?” or “Can you explain that?”. Provide your answer in full, to the best of your ability. As an example, if you are asked what your favorite season is, do not simply respond with “My favorite season is winter.” You can say that your favorite season is winter because you love the cooler temperature, maybe include a memory you have of winter as well.

Some common topics that are covered in the IELTS speaking Test are given below, you can use these when practicing at home:

Travel, Transport, Family, Recreational Activities, The Internet, Crime, The Environment, Advertising

  1. IELTS Speaking Tips – Dos

Smile – smiling can help you relax and pronounce your words better

Spot your pronunciation errors with numbers (e.g.: saying ‘fifteen’ may sound similar to ‘fifty)

Answer in the correct tense

  1. IELTS Speaking Tips – Don’ts

Don’t worry about your accent when speaking English, examiners are used to accents from all around the world. They are only there to test your skill in English, not whether you sound British or American.

Don’t use filler sentences or words (such as like, you know, umm, ahh, uhh, yeah). These are normal in common conversations with your friends, but it may give the impression that you do not know how to formulate English sentences quickly.

Don’t worry about giving the ‘right’ answers. The examiner is not there to test your general knowledge skills. Even if you provide a wrong answer, as long as you do it in proper English, you’ll get a good mark.

Don’t stress, your only task is to express yourself and your opinions in good English.

Don’t repeat the question in your answer, rephrase it while you answer the examiner.

What Is the IELTS Speaking Test Format?

The test is broken up into 3 stages: the interview stage, the individual speaking stage and the discussion stage.

First, the examiner will introduce themselves and ask you to do the same, they will ask questions about your family, your education and your personal interests (approximately 5 minutes)

Second, you will be given a topic on a card and 1 minute to prepare a speech, a paper and pencil will also be provided. After thinking about the subject and noting down any pointers, you will have a couple of minutes to speak about the topic. Questions may be asked during this stage.

Third, the examiner will have a discussion with you on the topic you wrote about in the earlier step, you can use this time to explore the topic in more detail.

What’s Next?

Start by practicing. Of all the IELTS Speaking tips, practicing is the most important. If you don’t have anyone to talk to, record yourself speaking and listen to it. As long as you are comfortable expressing yourself in a natural manner, you do not need to have a massive vocabulary in English to get a high band score in your IELTS. You may need to opt for either the IELTS – Academic or IELTS – General Training depending on your specific purpose for taking this test. Be sure to find out which one you need.

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