IELTS Speaking Tips

We’ve looked at the speaking exam structure as well as the type of questions and topics that give you an idea of what the test will be like.

Now we’re going to give you some speaking tips going into the exam:

Practice, Practice, Practice

The speaking exam follows a strict structure with three parts. Getting used to the type of questions asked by practicing with a native tutor will help you become familiar with answering the type of questions asked.

Finding someone to correct you is important as you want to make sure that you learn from your mistakes.

Give Full Answers

Never give one word answers; always try to expand on the question. For example:

Q: Do you prefer live music or recorded music?
A: Live music. Well, it depends really and really like listening to both types of music. Live music is great for weekends and when I am with friends. But listening to CDs in the car is nice too. But, I suppose that there is nothing better than hearing your favourite band live at a festival.

Avoid Difficult Situations

Sometimes we want to say something complex but end up making lots of mistakes. You don’t want to fall into the trap of trying to say something but you can’t find the right words. Show the examiner what you know and don’t make errors trying to say something too complicated.

But Do Show Off (And Practice Tenses Before)

Show the examiner that you know complex tenses. Use conditionals when appropriate, use the passive voice in the right situation, use some colloquial expressions (again where appropriate), and don’t hold back.

Know the key English tenses before the exam so that you can answer all questions with the right tense.

Use Fillers

Use fillerss to give yourself time to think and compose yourself – for example – “Hmmm, that’s an interesting question / complex issue / something I haven’t thought about before.”

Use the “erm“, “well“, “hmm” at the right time.

Use Your Time Wisely

In part two you are given one minute to prepare. Think of part two as a spoken essay and make sure that you include all of the information you asked to talk about. Give your spoken essay a small conclusion to let the examiner know that you have finished.

Ask for Clarification

There is likely to be a time when you are unsure of a question or you don’t understand a word. Asking for clarification is fine and there is a great way to do it to sound better. “Sorry, I didn’t quite catch that last word.” / “Sorry I didn’t quite understand the questions, could you ask it again?

Maintain Eye Contact

Don’t look down or past your examiner, but instead, maintain eye contact. Your examiner wants you to do well and being friendly and talking to them with respect helps the exam to be smoother and more natural.

Relax and Enjoy It

We did mention that you should practice a lot before the exam earlier, but don’t overdo it and take the enjoyment out of it. Take pride in your answers, smile, laugh a little, and generally enjoy the conversation.

Being relaxed helps you find the right answers and stops you from freezing during the exam. But remember that it is more of an interview than an informal conversation.