IELTS exam contains four different sections reading, writing, listening and speaking. Out of the four sections speaking is considered as the hardest section to score especially for a non native English user. In this article I list several useful tips to pass (and of course to obtain high marks) your IELTS speaking test.
1. Do some research about the speaking test before going to the actual test.
There are many videos and preparation courses available on the internet to help you with the speaking test. Even the IELTS official website have some guidelines and information about the IELTS speaking test. Read these guidelines carefully. There are 3 parts in the test. An interview, a small speech on a given topic and some casual discussion regarding the speech. Be ready for all these three parts. The best strategy for each part is different.
2. Be confident during your speaking test.
The examiner may be a native English speaker or may be a local person. Yet you should be comfortable during the exam. The purpose of the speaking test is to make sure that you are capable of engaging in conversations in English. Your confidence while speaking does play a great role. Even if you made mistakes during an early part of the test do not let them affect your confidence. Most of the examiners are friendly and will help you to gain confidence while talking.
3. Take your time during the exam.
Even though your fluency is tested you do not need to have a great word speed. A normal speed is enough. Thus take your time when giving answers to the questions. You can take time to collect your thoughts using phrases like “That’s a good question”, “Well, let me think” etc.
4. Do not be afraid to ask for clarifications if the question is not clear.
Its perfectly okay to ask for clarifications from the interviewer regarding the questions especially in the third section of the exam. This will help you to understand the question clearly and will give you more time to arrange your answers.
5. Do not be afraid to express your opinions.
One of the main objective of the test is to check whether you can express your ideas clearly. Thus do not be afraid to express your ideas even those ideas may look controversial or stupid. You are not judged on your ideas, but on the way you express them.
6. Use your preparation time wisely.
You will be given one minute of preparation time for the second part of the exam. During this time you should read the given topic and guidelines and arrange your thoughts. Make sure to arrange them in the order given in the information sheet. Some students may just read the guidelines and start describing about the topic straight away. Do not do this. Even if you are so confident about the topic, wait until the examiner ask you to start.
7. Do not use prepared answers.
Some students prepare answers before the exam based on tentative questions that may be asked. This is not a good idea. You may be asked a question that may be slightly different than the question you practiced. Thus the answer you give may not be relevant to the question. Examiners can spot such prepared answers and they can put you in trouble by asking more challenging questions. As mentioned earlier the objective of the speaking exam is to check your ability to make a good conversation in English, not checking your ability to memorize.