Speaking test for IELTS is an assessment of your communication skills and comfort with the English language. It involves discussion with a trained examiner who interacts with you and simultaneously judges you based on various parameters.
The speaking test is split into three parts and takes about 15 minutes in total to complete. You are expected to be confident and interact fluently in English with the examiner. Referring an IELTS test prep Guide available today will give you the entire exam pattern with mock tests.
We would be talking about some tips and tricks to keep handy when preparing for your speaking test.
The first part requires you to talk about yourself for about 4 to 5 minutes with general questions about your family, study, work, interests, etc. The examiner asks you these familiar question which you are expected to answer.
The types of questions asked are:
Where do you live?
What do you like about that place?
What changes have occurred there over the years?
What changes would you want to bring about to make it better?
Do you work or study?
What do you study?
Which subject do you like the most/or least?
Where do you plan to study in the future?
What are your hobbies?
What is your work profile?
Do you get along with your colleagues?
What do you think about your office?
These are some of the general day-to-day kind of question that you might be asked in the test. The trick here is don’t make the answers too long or too short. Obviously, you can’t have a long explanation for a question like ‘where do you live?’ But make sure you add some points to your answers to make it more interesting.
In this part, you are given a cue card with a topic and some bullet points about the topic. You have 1 minute to prepare on the topic and 2 minutes to speak on it.
Now, this is more like a monologue as you have to keep talking about the assigned topic.
Some tips for this section:
- On the cue card you get the topic and below that is ‘You can say’ followed by some bullet points. The bullet points mentioned below the topic are to give you an idea about what all you can include when you are talking about it. Nowhere is it mentioned that it is mandatory to answer all the bullet points. They are just for reference to give you a direction to think.
- Prepare a strategy. Utilize the 1 minute that you get very wisely. Note down the structure of what all you plan to include when you start speaking. Write down keywords that come to your mind as you think about the topic.
- As is in an essay, in a similar manner think about the introductory lines, the main body with the main features of the topic and a conclusion where you give a summary or opinion whatever is asked for.
- Practice. The speaking test is such that you actually can’t memorize anything in advance because whatever you are going to be answering is more or less impromptu, and that is precisely how it is expected to be. If the examiner finds your answers memorized it will definitely work against you.
- What you can work is the fluency with which you speak, your pronunciation and also correct use of grammar. You should practice conversing with someone who you think is capable enough to correct you and guide you.
- Also, time yourself to know how much you need to speak.
- Be confident. How much ever nervous you are, you need to be sure when interacting with the examiner. Being nervous stresses you out more. It hampers your thinking, fluency, and pronunciation. There are chances you might make a grammatical mistake or so, but you shouldn’t panic thinking about it. Instead, forget about it and continue conversing with the same confidence.
In this part, you need to develop answers and discuss the questions brought up by the examiner. They are mostly linked with the topic talked about in the second part. This part goes on for about 4-5 minutes.
Some tips for preparing for this part are:
i) If you are unable to answer the question because of your inability to understand it or because you don’t know the answer to it. Either way make sure to attempt to answer, as not attempting it would make you lose marks.
If you don’t understand the question ask the examiner to repeat it or if there is something that you don’t know the meaning of it is completely okay for you to ask them for the meaning.
If you don’t know the answer at all, you can be honest with the examiner rather than rambling things that don’t make sense. You can tell him that you don’t know the answer, but you think it could be and try to attempt it and continue.
ii) There are chances you might need more time to think of an answer. The examiners expect you to answer naturally and it is pretty much normal for a person to take a moment to think before he answers or else it might seem memorized. But in case you need more time to think you can use phrases like ‘let me think for a second..’ or ‘its a difficult question, but I think..’. Adding such phrases would prepare the examiner that you require some time to think about the answer.
iii) Since you have to talk for a long time and long answers are expected of you, at times you wonder as to how to expand a shorter answer? Your answer need not be too short of sounding incomplete or too long to let you go off topic, to make it crisp you should try to explain your point clearly with reasons and examples. Also, try to explain all possibilities rather than being firm about your own opinion.
You can also opt for full assistance from IELTS coaching in Mumbai and elsewhere which guide you throughout your preparation process. We hope these tips benefit you when you prepare and appear for your speaking test.
Author Bio: Rucha by profession, is a content writer and graphic designer at Walnut Folks. She has been interested in guiding & counseling students who wish to study abroad for a long while now. She loves interacting with fellow professionals to explore studying abroad in different countries and is herself going abroad soon to pursue her dream of studying abroad. With a combination of design and writing skills, she aspires to explore domains of marketing and journalism. Travelling, good music and movies keep her going.