IELTS Speaking exam tips

by / Monday, 14 April 2014

1)    Know what to expect in the exam

It is important that you know exactly how the speaking test is organised and what you are expected to do. Look at some past speaking tests and study the typical type of questions that you may be asked to answer in each of the three sections. If possible, try to do at least one or two mock speaking tests.


2)    Listen carefully to the questions

Give yourself time to process the examiner’s questions before you start to give your answer. This is particularly important in section 3 where the questions tend to be longer and more complex. If you need the examiner to repeat a question you will not be penalised. Simply ask politely if she or he can repeat the question.


3)    Extend your answers

 Make sure that you say enough. In sections one and three you need to extended your answers appropriately. In section 1 if the examiner asks you where you come from, it is not enough to say: ‘I come from Jeddah.’ Try to give at least one piece of extra information. Likewise, in section 3 make sure that you support your opinions or ideas with a reason or an example.


4)    Use all your good language

 This is your chance to impress the examiner. Try to show him or her what you know. Use a mixture of basic and more complex vocabulary and grammar. Try not to simply repeat the words used in the questions but instead use interesting synonyms and paraphrase where possible.


5)    Correct your mistakes

 Don’t panic if you make a mistake. If possible, correct the mistake and move on. If you can’t, don’t worry. It’s more important that you keep going and give a full answer. Remember that the examiner will also assess your level of fluency as well as your grammar accuracy.


6)    Make eye contact with the examiner

Although you will be nervous, try to relax as this will help you to speak more naturally. One way to do this is to make eye contact with the examiner. Remember that the examiner wants to hear your best English and a smile can go a long way.


7)  Speak as much English as possible before the test

 This is the most important tip. The more time you spend speaking    English before the exam, the better your chances of producing automatic responses to the questions.


8)    Try to relax

 Of course it is easier said than done, but if you can control your nerves you are more likely to produce your best English. It may be an important exam, but it is only an exam. It is not a life or death situation. Tell yourself that and it may help you to relax just a little bit.


9)    Get lucky

 Sometimes it just comes down to luck. Hopefully you get some questions that are really relevant to your own life and experiences.    



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