7 IELTS Speaking Tips: To Help You Succeed on the IELTS Exam
The IELTS exam is essential to many students for many reasons. Some want to study abroad, others want to get a job or emigrate to another country. No matter the reason, having IELTS speaking tips is imperative for all IELTS students. Here are some of the ILETS speaking tips that I give all of my students and classes before we even practice the first question.
IELTS Speaking Tips 1: Talk Enough
The IELTS speaking test is an English speaking exam, don’t forget that. The examiner is gauging your ability to speak English. In order for them to do this they must hear enough English to judge you fairly. I recommend that you say at least 5 sentences for parts 1 and 3. If you only say one word you will get a very low score (maybe a 3). If you just say one sentence you will also get a score lower than you deserve (maybe a 4 or a 5). In order to be judged fairly and to achieve a score of 7 or higher you need to say at least 5 sentences. It’s not a rule written in stone, you could say 3 long sentences and 4 sentences may be fine. But if you say 5 sentences you are much likelier to get the score you desire.
IELTS Speaking Tips 2: Use Idioms
You can get a 7 without using idioms. You just have to have a strong command of the English language, including good grammar, however it’s much tougher. If you want to get a 7.5 or higher idioms are practically mandatory.
What are idioms? Idioms are phrases. If you say the words individually the phrase usually doesn’t make sense, but those who know the phrase know exactly what the phrase means. Easy as cake, is a common one that is easy to use. If you don’t know, it means easy. Once in a blue moon is another one, it means every now and then or once in awhile.
There are a ton of idioms (probably thousands), and you can’t memorize them all. My suggestion is that you memoize 15-20 idioms and practice with them. That way you will be comfortable with them and you’ll be able to use them with ease during the exam.
IELTS Speaking Tips 3: Don’t be repetitive
The examiner is looking for your ability to speak English and use the language well. Therefore repeating the same phrase or starting the sentence with the same words over and over again gets tiring for the examiner and lowers your score. Don’t start every sentence with “I like” or “I want”. Don’t say “my country” in every sentence, spice it up (mix it up). Learn different ways of saying the same thing. Instead of constantly saying I like, you could say I prefer, I tend to, in my opinion, or from my perspective.
IELTS Speaking Tips 4: Use better words
As I just mentioned you don’t want to be repetitive and you want to use synonyms instead of saying the same thing over and over again. Continuing on this theme, my next IELTS speaking tip is to use better and bigger words…expand your vocabulary. The easiest way to do this, is to use adjectives. Visit this website to get a list of adjectives. The organic way to do this is to read. Reading exposes you to new words and phrases and this will help you increase your vocabulary over time.
IELTS Speaking Tips 5: Describe things
There are two key IELTS speaking tips that I gave you earlier in this article. The first was to use idioms, the second was to use adjectives to improve your vocabulary. The easiest way to be able to add these to your answer is to describe things. There are many advantages to this. The more detail you give, the more you’ll have to say (this becomes really handy in part 2). Describing how you feel allows you to use idioms, as that’s what they usually refer to. Describing people and situations also allows you to use adjectives. So go forth and describe.
IELTS Speaking Tips 6: Use structure
One of the most important IELTS Speaking tips that I give my students is to structure their answers. Why? Because if you don’t, you are in danger of having answers that are all over the place and it sounds like you are mumbling and fumbling over your words. You can also confuse the examiner if your answer is not clear. Structure will help you clarify your answer. Structure is especially important in parts 2 and 3. In part 2 I like to break down my answers into four parts; the intro or first sentence, background information, 2 or 3 details, and a story. When students do this they have a much easier time speaking for the full two minutes and they find it easier to add details, adjectives, and idioms to their answers. In part 3 there are a couple of structural options that I give my students, depending on how complex their English is. Part three is usually asking your opinion, so the simple structure is, “I like _____ for many reasons. First____. Also _____ and Finally _____. I go over those structures in more depth and give examples in my IELTS speaking e-book
IELTS Speaking Tips 7: Practice
This seems like a no brainer, but it is sometimes overlooked. I recommend that you give yourself 3-6 months to prepare for the exam and you should be prepared to have a lesson or do homework almost every single day. You want to devote at least 1 hour 5 days a week to studying for the exam.
That’s it. Those are the IELTS speaking tips that you need to help you improve your score.