Follow these IELTS speaking tips before and during the exam. It is all the advice you need to improve your speaking band score.

Tips for the IELTS Exam - Speaking

Before the exam

  • Only speak in English even when you are with people from the same nationality. You need to think and breathe in English. The more you speak, the more your brain switches from one language to another. This will take dedication on your part, but it is worth it. Try speaking to students from different countries as much as possible to stop yourself speaking your own language. You will make more friends and be more open-minded.
  • Also, try to speak to Australian people and blend into their culture. Go outside and take part in various activities during which you can meet them. For example, become a member of any sports club or take part in leisure activities such as painting/ cooking/ dancing classes; go and visit places where you will meet and interact with Australian people.
  • Use the vocabulary knowledge gained from your listening and reading practice in your speaking.
  • If you want to practice the IELTS Speaking section more seriously, you should buy IELTS preparation books in which you have samples of the Speaking test. Practice them (one per day) with a partner or by yourself. If you practice by yourself, record your voice and check your performance. Be honest in your feedback and try to improve your weaknesses. For example, if you have an issue with your pronunciation, use the Internet (like Google) to check the correct pronunciation of the words you struggle to pronounce. Do not hesitate to record yourself again and test yourself by repeating the word to an Australian to see if he/she understands without frowning.
  • The public version of the IELTS marking criteria for the speaking test is freely available on the internet (click here to download the sheet). Some of the language used is a bit complicated, so ask your teacher to explain exactly what it means. This marking criteria is a vital resource as it allows you to realistically assess your speaking performance in each practice test.

During the exam

  • You’ve probably answered questions about yourself and your country many times since you’ve been learning English, and you might be feeling a bit bored about doing it again in the IELTS Exam. However, you must try to be enthusiastic in the exam. Remember, the examiner has never met you or heard your answers before, so they will be genuinely interested in what you have to say.
  • Give as much detail as possible. This often gives you a chance to show the examiner the more complex vocabulary and sentence structures you’ve learnt.
  • Unplanned answers always sound much more natural than planned answers.
  • In Part 2 & 3, the topics will all be current issues. They do not require specialist knowledge or great intelligence. Think about these current issues when you watch news or read newspapers and think about your opinion on these matters. A big part of Part 2 and 3 is being able to express your view clearly and diplomatically.
  • For the second part, you have one minute to prepare your ideas. So, be brief and really clear and well-organized. Put only main ideas and key words down on paper. Don’t write out full sentences as you will be tempted to read them while speaking – this will bring down your score.
  • There are usually 3 different questions in Part 2, but they are all related to the one topic. Remember to use linking words to join the 3 different parts of your answer. This shows cohesion (one of the main aspects of speaking that you are marked on in the IELTS Test) and helps your answer sound more fluent and coherent (2 other aspects of your speaking that you are marked on).
  • To avoid making mistakes, always have clear and concise answers. But, do not stop talking until the time is up.
  • Articulate. It does not matter if you have an accent as long as that does not affect the meaning.
  • In Part 3, the questions will get more and more complex as you near the end of the exam. Remember to ask the examiner to repeat the question if you don’t understand it the first time – you don’t lose marks for doing this. You can also use stalling expressions while you think, such as “That’s an interesting question……”, “I’ve never thought about that….”.
  • Don’t just ramble on endlessly. Use falling intonation to show when your answer is finished (i.e. go down at the end of sentences/answers). This allows the examiner to move on to the next question without interrupting you.

Good luck!