Task 1 - Interview style
The first part of the IELTS Speaking test involves the examiner asking questions about yourself and your lifestyle. This includes topics such as home living, your family, work and hobbies.
Task 2 - Topic presentation
The second part of the IELTS Speaking test involves you taking a task card with a topic. You will then be given one minute to make notes on the topic, pencil and paper will be provided, in order to better prepare your thoughts and response.
You will speak on the topic for up to 2 minutes before the examiner stops you and asks a series of questions on the same topic. The session will last between 3 to 4 minutes including the preparation time.
Task 3 - General discussion
In the final part of the IELTS Speaking test, you will have a discussion on issues related to the topic in Part 2. It will be done in a general way and possibly go in-depth depending on the situation.
This section of the test will last between 4 to 5 minutes.
You might ask yourself, how hard can an IELTS Speaking test be? It may be one of the simpler parts but don’t be fooled. It’s easy to get carried away without proper preparation.
Want to learn how to stay focused on the task at hand and not go overboard? Here are 6 valuable tips to keep in mind that will help you ace your IELTS Speaking test!
Top 6 tips to ace your IELTS Speaking test
1. Focus on your experience
As tempting as it may seem to make stories up, you may want to stick to sharing your personal experiences as much as possible.
Some test takers may slip in a little white lie or elaborate backstory about their background to appear more interesting to the examiner. While there isn’t an official rule against it, fabricating phony stories doesn’t increase your score. It’s a Speaking test and not a personality test after all.
Instead, use your personal interests and unique life experiences to make your conversation as natural as possible.
2. Don’t worry about your examiner’s opinion
When conversing with the examiner, it’s easy to over analyze their body language and responses, which would eventually lead to overthinking what they think about you.
Just remember that this isn’t an assessment of your opinions and general knowledge. The only thing examiners are after is to assess your use of language and how well you demonstrate your speaking ability.
It’s also perfectly normal for examiners to interrupt you mid-sentence to ask additional questions and take the conversation even further.
So, don’t worry too much about the examiner’s opinion of you. All you need to focus on is yourself and your delivery.
3. Don’t over rehearse - Be conversational
Trying to memorise perfectly crafted answers isn’t the best strategy to ace the IELTS Speaking test. Doing so might leave you sounding like a monotonous robot reading off of a script.
Examiners are highly trained to spot memorised answers, which never bodes well for test takers. Scripted responses don’t give examiners an accurate measure of your ability to communicate in English, which may eventually lead to lower scores.
Instead, make use of what you already know and don’t be afraid to be conversational.
The IELTS Speaking test is probably the only examination where you can afford to be more casual and lighthearted, so take advantage of it!
4. Use your anxiety to score better
This Speaking test tip is rarely talked about. But sometimes, your nerves may be the key to securing better scores.
Getting mental blocked is completely normal for test takers. So rather than being paralysed by it, why not take advantage of that?
Instead of just staying silent or using way too many filler words, take a pause and consider using native phrases such as: “I’m so sorry, my mind just went blank” or “I’m not really sure, but if I had to say..”.
These simple sentences can demonstrate your flexibility and use of other language resources effectively.
5. Don’t over agree with the examiner if you have differing opinions
Most students believe that the way to better scores is by constantly agreeing with anything and everything the examiner says. On the contrary, this isn’t the case.
Just because you have different views from your examiner doesn’t mean the conversation is any less engaging.
At the end of the day, trying to impress the examiner by “sharing the same sentiments” as them isn’t what will get you high grades. It’s about how you carry a conversation while demonstrating coherence, good grammar, and pronunciation.
If you happen to disagree with any of their statements, think of a way to acknowledge it in a respectful manner.
6. Don’t fake a native accent or slang
For students with strong, native accents that are local to their home country, don’t worry about being penalised for it. Having a natural accent or slang will not have any effect on your test score.
But if you don’t have an accent whatsoever, please don’t try to fake one. Test takers will not be evaluated for how “interesting” they sound or their ability to successfully carry out a unique accent.
All you have to do is focus on the components that will actually be assessed including fluency, grammar, and pronunciation of your conversation.
How to better prepare yourself for the Speaking test
A great way to ensure you are well-prepared is to start taking sample practice tests that will mimic the real conditions of the Speaking test.
You can access our test preparation materials here.
In addition, you can also attend a free IELTS Masterclass presented by IELTS experts who will share tips and tricks to help you score better.
It will be as close as possible to the real deal and you will also get back personalised feedback that will be valuable to help you pinpoint areas that need improvement.