IELTS Speaking Task

The Do’s and Don’ts of IELTS Speaking Task

Many non-native speakers find the IELTS Speaking Task one of the hardest IELTS Tasks. Even native speakers have trouble expressing themselves in a one-on-one conversation. Speaking part 1 lasts 4-5 minutes, and you’ll be asked questions about your family, home, hobbies, job/studies. It’s easier to talk about yourself than more abstract topics in the reading and writing parts of IELTS, but this doesn’t mean you needn’t practice for it.

Here are 5 Dos and Don’ts to ensure you take your Speaking test with a bang.

Do # 1- Know what is been asked.

When you walk into the room, you might be a little nervous, getting any surprises would mean making you more anxious. The examiner will introduce himself and ask you what your name is. Instead of a simple reply, you can use the contraction ‘My name’s __.  It’s not a great first impression if you can’t pronounce your own name. They will then ask you where you are from, and ask for an identification to begin the test. Knowing these four things will happen will help you feel more confident and start the exam better.

Do # 2- Prepare for creating a Good First Impression

There’s nothing in the marking criteria that says you’ll get more marks for being nice or making eye contact with the examiner. But these gestures will make you sound more confident, which will make your answers more effective, rather than giving short and monotonous answers with drooping eyelids. On top of that, if you’re friendly with the examiner, you’re more likely to give natural-sounding answers.

Having said that, eye contact should be a decent amount of time (5-10 secs), not too long even though you like the examiner! Just act like you’re having a normal conversation with a friend, and you’ll be fine.

Do # 3- Develop interest in the Questions

When someone answers a boring question, their voice is just flat. The examiner will probably dock your marks for pronunciation and intonations, which is in major focus.

Of course, this is not so difficult for native English speakers, as they have a very natural intonation. For non-native speakers, this could be challenging. Therefore. If you pretend to be interested in the questions, your intonation should become more varied. But don’t go overboard and make your voice too high, or too low, because you’ll sound like a crazy person.

Just start listening to native English speakers and copy the way they talk. You’ll get an idea how to speak smoothly and fluently with natural intonations.

Do # 4- Elaborate Your Answers

There are no specific limits to words or sentences you have to use in Part 1. The answers shouldn’t be too short, because you want to show the examiner that you can speak English. On the other hand, they shouldn’t be too long either, because Part 1 is on familiar topics (family, work, hobbies, etc.) and you usually don’t talk for 2 minutes when someone asks you where you are from.

Don’t #1- Answer in Yes/No

This might sound obvious, but many people just say yes or no to these questions. That’s probably because many questions are yes or no type, but you’re taking a test, so have to prove how good your English is. Giving yes or no answers doesn’t show how well you can speak English, and on top of that, it shows you’re nervous to speak. And that definitely pulls your scores down. 

Don’t # 2- Running off the track

Some students tell you their entire life story when you ask their name and where they’re from. Just remember these questions are pretty straightforward, so if you’ve been speaking more than a couple sentences, you’re probably beating around the bush.

Don’t # 3- Be Silent

You have to answer any question you don’t know the answer to, and if you don’t like the question too bad, you have to still answer it. Keep in mind that Part 1 is about you. No question will be asked that you don’t know the answer to, because they’ll all be about you.

If you don’t know what one word means, please ask the examiner to explain it. You can also ask the examiner to repeat the question if you didn’t quite catch it. But don’t abuse this and use it for every question; only use it when you need to.

If you have no idea, just tell the examiner you don’t know, and then make a guess, as it’s a test of English and not knowledge.

Don’t # 4- Speak too softly

The problem is, it doesn’t matter how well you speak English if the examiner can’t hear you. This has a lot to do with your scores, as it directly reflects the confidence and shyness of a person. Try talking a little louder than you usually do. The speaking test is recorded, so you’ll need to speak loudly so the device picks up your voice. You should record yourself and listen to it, and adjust your pitch accordingly.

These were just a few Dos and Don’ts from a big pile. Just speak normally, at a natural speed, and with clear pronunciation and the grammar will take care of itself. The examiner knows you’re not a native speaker and doesn’t expect you to be perfect. Just because someone gets a 9 band in the IELTS speaking task doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes.

Listen back to yourself and think about whether there is scope to improve your vocabulary, grammar, fluency, intonation, elaboration of answers, clarity of thoughts and speech, etc. Keep practicing until you feel comfortable talking about these common topics.

Before you start practicing, keep this blog or pointers with you for reference. Our Proficient Training Institute experts will give you in-depth practice and one-on-one analysis to help you improve and get the highest possible score on your IELTS test. For lots more information about the IELTS Speaking Task or Test, courses, mocks including experts guidance, connect with our PTE team today.

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