IELTS Speaking Tips

IELTS Speaking Tips

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IELTS Speaking Tips

These *IELTS Speaking* tips will make you aware of what is required of you during the speaking interview and what you can do to achieve your highest possible score. Before the interview Your speaking interview will take place at a different time, and probably on a different day, to the rest of the exam. Make sure you understand when and where your interview is to take place. Quite often the location for the Speaking interview is different from that of the main exam. As with the main exam, try to keep your stress levels low by making sure you have everything you need well before leaving for the interview. You must take your ID with you and it must be the same as that used on your application form. Leave in plenty of time in case you are delayed on your journey. Late arrival could mean you forfeit your interview. The interview If we could only give one tip for the speaking interview it would be to relax and be natural. Try to control your nerves and answer the questions to the best of your ability without worrying if you have difficulties or need to ask your interviewer to repeat a question. After all, even native speakers occasionally pause and hesitate or need to ask for a question to be repeated. We won't go into detail about the interview procedure itself as this information is given on our Speaking module page. (If you haven't read that page already, we suggest you do so now.) What you do need to think about is what is required of you. The interviewer is there to assess your spoken English in a short period of time. He or she will be assessing you on four criteria: Fluency and Coherence, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range and Accuracy, and Pronunciation. It is up to you to produce sufficient language for them to do this. Part of what the interviewer is assessing is your range of language and whether it is accurate and appropriate. Try to use a variety of vocabulary and grammar but take care to use it appropriately and accurately. The best way to do this is to be relaxed and speak naturally. Don't answer questions with just a 'Yes' or 'No'. Where possible expand your answers by, for example, using "Yes, because...".

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However, don't just ramble on in order to keep talking. You need to be coherent and able to take turns. If you didn't hear a question clearly, ask the examiner to repeat it. If there is something you don't understand, ask for clarification. This is all part of normal conversation and will show your ability to react appropriately in this sort of situation. What you mustn't do is just sit blankly and say nothing. Remember, there are no right answers to a question. You don't even have to tell the truth, if you don't want to. The examiner is more interested in how you answer the question not whether the facts are correct. You are not expected to ask the examiner questions. You won't be penalised if you do but the examiner is likely to answer very briefly and steer the conversation back to you. The 'Long Turn' In the first section you will be asked general questions about yourself. Think of this section as a 'warmer'. Use it to relax and get comfortable. The second section is sometimes known as the 'Long Turn'. Here you are given a topic and asked to talk about it for 1 - 2 minutes. Once you have been given your task card you will have 1 minute to think about what you are going to say. 1 minute is not very long so make good use of it. Your interviewer will tell you when the time is up so there is no need to time yourself. First read the task. This is printed in bold surrounded by a box. The task will be to describe something and you will be given some prompts about what you should say. Do not waste time reading anything outside this box as it is only information repeating what you have already been told i.e. "You will have to talk about the topic for 1 to 2 minutes. You have one minute to think about what you are going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish." This is the only time during the IELTS test it is better not to read the instructions. Once you have read and understood the task you can start thinking about what you are going to say. Some candidates prefer not to make notes but we would recommend you do. Don't write long sentences as you won't have time; just write brief notes or phrases to help remind you what to talk about. These notes do not have to be in English and they will not be used for assessment. Some candidates draw mind maps and these seem to be very effective. If you feel you don't want to make notes and don't need the full minute to think about it, tell your interviewer who will let you start talking. You do not need to worry too much about timing yourself as your interviewer will tell you when the time is up. However, you may wish to do so in order to ensure you speak for at least a minute. If you speak for less than one minute your examiner will indicate that you should continue. The 'Long Turn' is a monologue not a discussion, so don't ask your interviewer questions. Try to speak fluently and coherently. If you run out of things to say it is better to stop than to try to keep going. As long as you have been speaking for more than 1 minute you won't be penalised. However, if you force yourself to keep going and lose fluency or coherence it is likely that your score will suffer. In the third part of the interview you will be asked questions related to the task set in the 'Long Turn'. Your interviewer has some flexibility here, while following general guidelines. A good interviewer will be able grade their language to your level of English while trying to help you produce a wider range of vocabulary and sentence forms. After the interview At the end of the interview your examiner will tell you that it is the end of the Speaking test and you will leave the interview room. If there were any problems with the way the interview was conducted or if you have any other complaints, you must make them before leaving the Test Centre. Remember, your interview was recorded and can be used to back up your complaints. For example, if you were distracted by outside noise it will be recorded on the tape. Also, if you feel the examiner did not conduct the interview correctly, this too will be recorded. Although at this point you will probably just want to relax, take a few moments to make some notes about how the interview went. Did it go as well as expected? Did you have any particular problems? These notes will help manage your expectations of your final result. If you don't get the result you need they will help you decide what to do. This might be to ask for a re-mark (an Enquiry on Results), resit the exam as soon as possible or to do further study, in which case your notes will indicate which areas you need to concentrate on.
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