Know More about IELTS Speaking Test

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all about speaking test you need to know. the sructure and marking crieteria of the test along with some tips for improving your scores in the speaking test

It is always good to know more or all about the test you are going to take; test that has the power and scope of changing your lives; IELTS test. Here is all about speaking test you need to know. the sructure and marking crieteria of the test along with some tips for improving your scores in the speaking test.

Structure of the test

The Speaking test is an oral interview between you and the examiner. The purpose of the Speaking test is to determine how effectively you can communicate in English.

PartInteraction Task and language
part 1

4-5 minutes
Introduction & InterviewThe examiner greets you and then introduces himself (herself) to you. The examiner verifies your ID. The examiner asks you a few different frames familiar questions.
part 2

3-4 minutes
Individual long turnThe examiner gives you a card with a topic written on it and some prompts to help you with your answer. You are also given a pencil and a piece of paper to make notes if you wish. You have one minute to think about the topic and prepare your answer.Then, you must speak about the topic for one to two minutes. The examiner may stop you if you speak longer than this. After you finish talking, the examiner may ask you one or two follow-up questions.
part 3

4-5 minutes
Two-way discussionThe examiner asks you some questions to involve you in a discussion. The questions the examiner asks have the same theme as Part 2. The language required in the discussion is generally more abstract than in the other sections.

IELTS Speaking Tips

A lot of candidates who take IELTS Speaking test find this section the hardest one because it involves face-to-face communication. But in fact, IELTS Speaking is the easiest section of IELTS to improve your score, because it is a one on one conversation and the test itself is for a short duration of 11 to 14 minutes. Most importantly, you would be asked familiar and probably repeated questions.

It’s true, speaking interviews are spontaneous. But all test-takers are worrying and don’t have much time to plan their answers. And examiners are used to that, so they don’t expect you to speak like an orator. They don’t even expect you to give very logical and structured answers! You’re only tested on your ability to:

  • speak fluently and without hesitation,
  • use various vocabulary,
  • avoid grammar mistakes,
  • pronounce words well.

10 Speaking Tips

  1. Be fluent and effortless: Speak fluently and spontaneously. You will gain more points. Don’t worry too much about using clever vocabulary, it’s more important to be fluent. But also don’t speak too quick and mind your grammar. You should find a “healthy balance” between speaking too quickly and making long pauses.
  2. Practise answering sample questions: Typically, you will be asked about everyday topics, such as work, studies, sport, family and so on. So you should try answering IELTS speaking questions before the exam. You will be surprised how simple they are! You just need to learn appropriate vocabulary and understand what answers you will give.
  3. Ask the question if you need to: Don’t be shy, if you want to clarify something. You will not lose points for asking the examiner.
  4. Be emotional!: Speak with emotions. Nothing separates the experienced speaker from beginners as tone of the speech. Express your feelings like you would do using your native language.
  5. Elaborate your answers: Try to speak at least more than the examiner. If you are asked a question using one sentence, respond with two or more. And never give short, uncommunicative replies:
  6. Be coherentUse linking words and structures. Words and phrases like howeverneverthelessall in allmoreover will enrich your speech.
  7. Give yourself time to think: If you are unsure how to answer the question, you can give yourself a bit more time to think by using this tip. First of all, you can say: “That’s a tricky question…“, “I’ve never thought about that before…” or “That’s an interesting question…“. This way you’ll have some extra time to plan your answer.You can also reformulate the question:Examiner: What was your favourite book in the childhood?
    You: What book did I like as a child? Let me see…
  8. Made a mistake? Don’t panic!: If you made a mistake – don’t panic! Try to correct yourself as smoothly as possible. And if you can’t – just continue speaking, you won’t lose many points for a few mistakes.
  9. Make a good first impression: Look good, smell good and feel good. Be confident. Although it may not seem very important, a strong first impression will go a long way.
  10. Don’t learn answers by heart: Examiners are able to determine whether you speak freely or you memorized the answer before your interview. Learning full scripts is a bad idea. Instead, it is much better to learn usefull and popular words and and adopt them in your speech.

Speaking band descriptors

The Speaking band descriptors are a set of assessment criteria that the examiner uses to assess your speaking performance. The band descriptors are the same for both IELTS Speaking tests (Academic and General Training). The assessment criteria are broken into four categories across 9 bands: 

  • Fluency and coherence 
  • Lexical resource 
  • Grammatical range and accuracy 
  • Pronunciation

1. Fluency and coherence

A few things to consider about this descriptor: 

Fluency – Your examiner will look at how fluent you are – your ability to keep speaking and if you need to hesitate, self-correct and repeat yourself to keep going.  

Coherence – Your examiner will look at how coherent you sound – how your words, ideas and thoughts flow together, using a range of words and phrases to connect and organise your ideas, help you move on to another point, etc. 

2. Lexical resource

With this descriptor, your examiner will be listening for your ability to choose the right words and phrases to express yourself clearly: 

Your words – Your examiner will consider the kinds of words you use, whether they help make your ideas clear, and whether the words are understandable, appropriate and relevant to the topic. They will also see if you can choose the right word forms (e.g. bored/boring) and if you can use the right words together – collocation (e.g. environmental pollution).  

Paraphrasing, idiomatic language and less common language – The use of idiomatic language and less common words are important at higher levels (band 7 and up). This doesn’t mean that you need to use very uncommon words, or phrases and clichés that you have memorised. It takes time and practice to use idiomatic language naturally when discussing a variety of topics. The examiner also assesses your ability to paraphrase, saying what you mean using different words when you can’t think of the right word or phrase.

3. Grammatical range and accuracy

This descriptor focuses on your ability to produce speech that is grammatically correct using both simple and complex structures:  

Sentence structure and variation – When speaking, think about the proper use of sentences – using a mix of simple and complex structures. You need to show your examiner that you can use a range of complex structures accurately, if you want to score a higher band score.  

Number of errors – It is also important to try and limit the number of grammatical errors you make. Become aware of the errors you usually make (e.g. articles, prepositions, subject/verb agreement) so you can make sure that your sentences are accurate.

4. Pronunciation

This descriptor assesses how easy it is to understand what you say, and you are assessed on the range of pronunciation features you can use, including stress, intonation and rhythm. 

How well you are understood – Your examiner will be listening for how easy it is to understand you, and how clearly (and correctly) you pronounce words. They will also listen to how you use stress and intonation to emphasise important words and ideas and the use of stress to contrast ideas. They will also listen out for pronunciation errors made when you say your words. 

When preparing for your IELTS test keep in mind that, as outlined above, there are many things your IELTS examiner will be listening for. So, it is important to understand what the examiner is looking out for, to be better prepared for test day.