The IELTS speaking test is often considered one of the toughest components of the IELTS exam. In order to score well, test takers have to be able to speak at length on a wide variety of topics without hesitation, using a wide range of vocabulary. The examiner will check if you have a good enough grasp on grammar. Many students from Singapore struggle to meet these criteria. In this article, I explain how to practice for the speaking test so that you can achieve the best score possible.
There are four criteria which the examiner will be assessing you on during the speaking test
- Lexical resource (vocabulary)
- Grammatical range and accuracy
Here are a few tips that you can use when practising for the IELTS speaking exam:
IELTS Speaking Test Criteria – Fluency
You can greatly improve your fluency with practice. Try practising with your friends and family in English. This will not improve your fluency but your confidence when speaking as well. Start off by incorporating the English language into your everyday life by simply describing your daily activities in English and then move on to more difficult IELTS speaking topics. Try talking about the past, present and future to show your range of tenses, as naturally as possible. Test yourself every day to see if you can describe everyday events using different words and tenses.
Try using the 5 Ws and how strategy, if you ever get stuck and can’t think of anything more to say for example:
E.g. I walk to work
I walk to work in the morning.
I usually walk to work in the morning.
I usually walk to work in the morning because it’s quite close to my apartment.
I usually walk to work in the morning, because it’s quite close to my apartment and I enjoy the fresh morning air.
IELTS Speaking Test Criteria – Vocabulary
Focus on improving your vocabulary. Learn words that can be commonly used in many topics. This will expand your range of vocabulary Paraphrasing (rephrasing words by using synonyms) is an important skill that the examiner will be listening out for. Avoid reusing the words from the question or repeating a particular word over and over again. This is something you can only do if you have a wide range of vocabulary, which is why learning topic-specific words is a vital part of the preparation for the IELTS Speaking test. You need to demonstrate that you can discuss a variety of topics without difficulty.
IELTS Speaking Test Criteria – Pronunciation
Pay attention to your pronunciation as this accounts for 25% of your speaking score. Don’t overcomplicate or fake your accent but rather keep it simple, and easy to understand.
Current Topics and Practice Tests
Always keep yourself updated about the current speaking topics. Collect vocabulary related to these and practice talking about them. Remember that you should not be memorising answers. The examiners are trained to recognise scripted answers and doing so will only lower your score.
Try to do as many practice tests as you can during your test preparation. This gives you a good idea of what types of questions you can expect during the different parts of the speaking test, and it will also provide you with an opportunity to think of ways you could expand on your answer. This is especially useful for part two of the speaking test as it allows you to practice note-making for different part two task cards.
You should also consider enrolling in an IELTS Speaking preparation course. The advice that you get from trained professionals during IELTS lessons can provide you with valuable insight on how to meet the examiner’s expectations on test day as well as provide you with high scoring model answers for common question types and topics.