3 STEP IELTS SPEAKING TIPS
Here are three simple tips that could make a difference to your score:
1. Be confident
Although you might be nervous, try to speak clearly and confidently. Smile and be friendly with the examiner. As you go into the exam, tell yourself that you have prepared well and that you’re going to enjoy the challenge.
2. Know that you are prepared
You will feel much more confident if you know that you have prepared and practiced for the test. You should know exactly what to expect. For example, have you prepared some common topics (e.g. describe a place, a person, a hobby) for the short presentation? Are you ready for a past and future question in part 3?
3. Speak naturally
Try to enjoy a normal conversation with the examiner. Instead of worrying about your grammar, listen carefully to the questions and try to give natural answers. Most of the questions are about you, your life, and your opinions, so it’s best to be open. I used to be an examiner, and I always found the job more interesting when students spoke openly about their opinions and experiences.
*Note: You are not marked on body language, but I’d still recommend that you try to act in a friendly, confident manner.
IELTS Speaking Part 3: Add more details
In this lesson I mentioned 3 techniques to help you give longer answers: ask yourself why, explain the alternatives, give an example. Most students have no problem with the first step (explaining why), but they aren’t so good at giving alternatives or examples. Take the following question from last week’s lesson for example.
Question: In your opinion, are newspapers important?
Example student answer: Yes, in my opinion, newspapers are very important (why?) because they give us information about what is happening around the world. (why?) They are a vital source of knowledge about education, technology, medicine, and many other fields.
This is a good start, but let’s try to raise the answer to band 9 level.
Example answer with ‘alternative’ and ‘example’:
Yes, in my opinion, newspapers are very important (why?) because they give us information about what is happening around the world. (why?) They are a vital source of knowledge about education, technology, medicine, and many other fields. (alternative?) If newspapers didn’t exist, I think the quality of news coverage would suffer because there would be fewer professional journalists. (example?) We would have to rely, for example, on unpaid bloggers who do not have the budget to carry out detailed research before they write an article.
Do you remember my advice about how to give longer answers in part 3?•
- Answer the question directly• Ask yourself why or how (and explain in detail)•
- Give an example
- Mention an alternative or opposite answer
- example question: Do you think the seasons still influence people’s behaviour?
Example answer: Yes, I do think the seasons affect how we behave. (how?) We still wear different clothes depending on the weather, and clothes shops change what they sell according to the season. We also adapt our habits and daily routines according to the time of year.(example) For example, people in my country like to eat outside in their gardens in the summer, but we can’t do that during the other seasons. (opposite) On the other hand, I don’t think we notice the change in seasons when it comes to food; the big supermarkets import food from around the world, so most people don’t buy seasonal fruit and vegetables anymore.
Yesterday I wrote that you should avoid using long phrases to begin your answers. So what should you use instead? Native speakers say things like:-
These words/phrases might seem less impressive, but you have to remember that examiners are not impressed by the long phrases either! The important thing is to get to the point of your answer
IELTS SPEAKING TIPS
In the speaking test, examiners don’t like it when students use phrases like:-
That’s a very interesting question…-
It is my personal opinion that…-
Personally, I would have to say that…-
I am of the opinion that it depends on…-
To be honest, I personally believe that…
These phrases sound unnatural, and it is obvious to the examiner that the student has memorized them. So what should you do instead?
My advice: just answer the question directly. Stop using memorized phrases, and just get straight to the point.
IELTS Speaking Part 2: don’t focus on linking
A student asked me whether it would be a good idea to use the phrases below to organize last week’s description of a market:
1. I would like to start with the first point which is where the market is.
2. Going on to my next point which is what the market sells, well…
3. With reference to the question of how big the market is, well…
4. As a final point, I would like to explain why I enjoy visiting it.
Personally, I do not recommend using phrases like these. While you won’t lose marks for using them, you won’t gain marks either. But here’s the problem: the time you spend saying these linking phrases is time that you should be spending on the real content of your answer. Focus on answering, not linking!
Students often worry that they need to use “complex structures” in the speaking test. But what is a complex structure?
This website explains the difference between simple sentences, compound sentences, and complex sentences. You’ll notice that compound and complex sentences are much easier than they sound! I’m sure you use them all the time without realizing it.
Here’s my advice: stop worrying about the need for “complex” grammar. Instead, focus on expressing your ideas well. As you explain your ideas in detail, you will naturally produce longer sentences that contain a variety of grammatical features
IELTS SPEAKING TIPS
In part 3 of IELTS speaking, it really helps if you give personal examples:
1. Do you think it’s important for people to have hobbies? Why?
Yes, I think people need to have hobbies because we all need to do things we enjoy in our spare time. In my case, I find that playing football once a week with some friends helps me to relax, keep fit and forget about work. I think it’s the same for everyone.
2. Can hobbies have any negative effects?
Yes, if you spend too much time on your hobby, it can affect other parts of your life. Remember that one of my friends spent most of his time at university playing computer games instead of studying. In the end, he failed most of his exams