Category Archives: IELTS Speaking (lessons)

Giving and justifying opinions for IELTS speaking

Giving and justifying opinions for IELTS speaking

The IELTS speaking test is like most conversations.  If you give an opinion, you should justify it, and if possible, offer a reason, solution or speculation.

For example:

I don’t think people should automatically be entitled to three holidays a year. [END]

Saying only the statement above is NOT SUITABLE FOR IELTS. You need to expand your argument by supporting your opinions like this:

“I don’t think people should automatically be entitled to three holidays a year, because companies may need their labourAs I see it, two holidays a year is acceptable, with any additional days off acting as an incentive for overtime.”

Whenever you state an opinion, either in the speaking or the writing test, ask yourself why. This will often lead you to thinking of how to justify what you have said.


Extend this candidate’s answer, justifying the opinions and giving examples where you see an asterisk (*)

Giving and justifying opinions for IELTS speakingNew Zealand is a great place to study.*1 There is so much to do.*2 There are a lot of international students, especially in the major cities like Auckland and Christchurch, which can sometimes make it difficult to practise your English.* 3 My advice would be to live in a homestay – that’s the best way to improve. *4 Some international students think that New Zealand is boring.*5 Personally, I agree with something my friend told me years ago – only boring people get bored. After all, there’s no point in travelling abroad if everything is the same as in your home country.*6 It can be quite exciting to discover some of the cultural differences between nations anyway.* 7 I don’t really think much of the food though.*8 I much prefer food from my own country. *9 Overall, though, I’ve really enjoyed the experience here.*10

Show how *1 could have been expanded New Zealand is a great place to study. As an English-speaking country with some well-known universities, you can get a good education here.


Show how *2 could have been expanded There is so much to do – it’s the home of so many extreme sports, such as bungy jumping and skydiving


Show how *3 could have been expanded There are a lot of international students, especially in the major cities like Auckland and Christchurch, which can sometimes make it difficult to practise your English. I often find myself spending the evenings talking to friends in my language!


Show how *4 could have been expanded My advice would be to live in a homestay – that’s the best way to improve. That way everything has to be in English, and you find yourself learning so much more because it’s almost 24 hours a day.


Show how *5 could have been expanded Some international students think that New Zealand is boring. I think that’s probably because they are so used to cities where entertainment is laid on every night, they don’t really need to think about entertaining themselves.


Show how *6 could have been expanded Personally, I agree with something my friend told me years ago – only boring people get bored. After all, there’s no point in travelling abroad if everything is the same as in your home country. The whole point of an international education is to learn something about the world, to see how about people live.


Show how *7 could have been expanded It can be quite exciting to discover some of the cultural differences between nations anyway. For example, I’ve never heard of people cooking food under the earth before like they do with a hangi.


Show how *8 could have been expanded I don’t really think much of the food though – it’s a little too greasy for me.


Show how *9 could have been expanded I much prefer food from my own country, but I guess that’s mostly because it’s what I’ve grown up with, what I’ve become accustomed to.


Show how *10 could have been expanded Overall, though, I’ve really enjoyed the experience here. Of course, I’ve learned better English from being here, but I also feel I’ve become more mature and have a more open-minded view of the world.


Now practice!

Respond to the following statements and expand your answer as much as possible.

There are no model answers for these exercises.

  1. There is no need to settle into a career until the age of 30.
  2. Visa regulations should be relaxed for foreign students.
  3. People who cause traffic accidents should not be allowed to drive again.
  4. Single-sex classes make learning easier.
  5. Nobody should eat meat.

Tips for the day of your IELTS speaking test

Tips for the day of your IELTS speaking test

So the day has finally arrived – it’s test day! Depending on the test centre you are taking your test in, you might have the speaking on a different day to the other parts of the test or at the beginning or end of the same day. Whenever your speaking assessment is, here are some useful tips for the day of your IELTS speaking test.

Tip 1: Know the procedure on test day

You can make the whole test a lot less stressful by knowing in advance what you will be required to do. As the format will be slightly different depending on your test centre, you should always ask first, but here is a common breakdown of the speaking test section.

  • You will arrive at the test centre and be registered using your ID (passport, ID card etc).
  • The test administrator will check your identification, take a photo and scan your fingerprint.
  • You will be given a piece of paper with your candidate number on. Keep this safe as you will need it a few times throughout the day.
  • You will be escorted to a waiting area.
  • In SOME test centres, you will be given an approximate time for your speaking assessment. In other test centres, you simply need to wait until your name or candidate number is called.
  • The examiner will call you out of the waiting room. Your fingerprint will be checked again, as well as your ID.
  • Your personal belongings (bags, mobile phones – even watches!) will be locked in a separate room. You will keep only your ID and the piece of paper you were given when you first registered.
  • The examiner will take you to the testing room and conduct the test.
  • After the test, you will be escorted back to collect your belongings, and then escorted away from the other candidates (you will not be allowed to talk to other candidates until they have also finished their test)

As mentioned, there will be slight differences depending on your test centre – if you have anything to add, please post it in the comments section below!

Tip 2: Get your brain thinking in English before you start!

As soon as the day begins when you have you have your speaking test, you need to get your brain thinking and responding in English. That means avoiding conversations with people in your native language if possible – take some English music or a podcast in English with you and put headphones in when you’re waiting, unless there is an opportunity to speak English to other people.

Tip 3: Don’t study IELTS textbooks while you wait

Trying to cram as much as you can in the last few minutes before the test very rarely helps, and often leaves you more panicked and nervous. Ideally, take your own note book with some vocabulary, or even just an English novel or non-IELTS related book.

Tip 4: Talk to the examiner when you are first called for your test

Don’t wait until you are in the exam room to break the ice with the examiner (break the ice means to get the conversation started between two people when they first meet). The examiner might not say much to – they have to think of the administration steps to get you ready for the test – but saying a quick hello and asking the examiner how they’re day is going is a great way to help you start building a relationship with the examiner, and helping you when it comes to starting the test.

Tip 5: Dress comfortably

You will get no extra points for wearing a suit or formal dress and you certainly don’t lose points for wearing your favourite old jeans, so dress in clothes that you feel comfortable in. Keep in mind that test day can be quite long, and you don’t know the temperature of each of the rooms you will be in (the waiting room, the test room, the queue to register) so make sure you have something to keep you warm that’s easy to hold or put in a bag if it’s too warm.

Tip 6: Take a snack

From the time you queue up to register to the time you have finished the speaking test, you could have been on the go for up to 5 hours, so although you might not be hungry as you head to the test centre, it’s important to take a snack with you keep you going. Ideally this should be something healthy (some fruit, for example) and plenty of water to keep your brain hydrated. Although there may be a vending machine of something similar at the test centre, you can’t rely on it!

Tip 7: Remember why you are there

It is common to get nervous and stressed on test day, but just remember why you are taking the test. You are NOT there to make the examiner like you or to pass a job interview. You are just there to demonstrate your level of English, so be prepared to talk and be realistic about making mistakes (even in your native language, you are likely to hesitate or express yourself a little poorly at times during a 14 minute conversation with a stranger in a formal situation!).

Tip 8: Remember why the examiner is there

Let’s be honest – if the examiner wasn’t being paid, they wouldn’t be in the exam room asking you questions. For examiners, it is a paid job and absolutely nothing personal. And where does the examiner get paid from? Your test fees, which makes you the employer! Also keep in mind that within 10 minutes of your test, once you have left the room and the examiner has decided on your level, he or she will likely never think about you again. So don’t worry about ‘making a fool of yourself’ or making ’embarrassing mistakes’ – the examiner will talk to at least half a dozen candidates that day.

We hope these tips help, but if you have any other tips that have worked well for you, please post them in the comment section below!

6 tips for making notes in Part 2 speaking

6 tips for making notes in Part 2 speaking

Here’s an example of a topic card used in Part Two of the IELTS speaking test:

Describe your favourite leisure activity. You should say:

  • what it is
  • how often you do it
  • when you first started doing it.

You should also say why it is important to you.

Using the preparation time

When the examiner hands you the topic card, you will also be given a piece of paper and a pen or pencil to make some notes before you begin talking. You have one minute to prepare what you are going to say. There are a number of common errors that candidates make in this preparation time, as shown below.

Common error #1 – telling the examiner you are ready to begin

The examiner will tell you when your 1 minute preparation time is up – you should NEVER tell the examiner you are ready before that time. You are wasting valuable time that you could use thinking of relevant points or vocabulary, and most people that start early do not finish the full two minutes of speaking.

Common error #2 – writing sentences

The one minute preparation time should be used to get ideas and make notes, not write complete sentences. With only 60 seconds to prepare, you do not have time to write complete sentences.

Common error #3 – making no notes

Some candidates spend the whole 60 seconds simply reading the topic card and thinking about what they are going to say, not making any notes at all. The problem here is that as soon as you begin to start talking or if you become a little nervous, the good ideas that you had seem to disappear, leaving you with no backup.

Common error #4 – not pacing the notes

As you can see from the topic card above, there are four sections – three bullet points and one final sentence. You are required to speak for two minutes, so divide that by the number of ‘sections’ on the topic card and you have 30 seconds per part. When making notes, try to add something for each of the 4 parts and do not move on to the next part until you think you have spoken for 30 seconds or you truly have nothing left to say.

Common error #5 – reading from your notes

Don’t be be tempted to ‘read’ your answer directly from the note paper, and this will have an impact on your pronunciation (most people read differently to how they naturally speak). Keep your head up, looking at the examiner for the majority of the time, and only glance down to scan your notes.

Common error #6 – not being flexible with your notes

Do not worry if you decide to change a little of what you have planned. It is much better to keep the conversation natural than stick rigidly to something that you are not so comfortable with. In addition, remember that the IELTS test is a communication test – it is not a memory test. If there is a fact you cannot remember, then tell the interviewer. You can show your English ability just as well by explaining that you do not know something. For example: ‘I’m not really sure when I began doing this, but I’m sure I was very young’ is just as good an answer as giving a date.

Practice your note taking skills

Now practice making notes on the topic cards below.

Describe a friend who is very important to you.


You should say:

  • who they are
  • how you met
  • what they are like

You should also say why they are important to you.


Describe a hotel you have stayed in.

You should say:

  • where it is
  • what facilities there are
  • when you stayed there

and say whether you would recommend it to a friend

Giving longer answers in IELTS speaking

Giving longer answers in IELTS speaking

Giving longer answers in IELTS speakingThis post focuses on a formula you can use to help you keep speaking fluently during the IELTS speaking test, especially in Part 2 (the topic card), and follows on from this post about longer answers in the speaking test.

Consider the following question. How could you expand your answer?

Do you think traditions are important?

Now read the candidate’s response below, and answer the questions that follow.

Yes, I do because they give us a sense of connection with the past. This is important because it can bring people together and remind us of the history we share. However, I believe traditions should also be flexible. They should reflect not only the past but also the present. Only by doing this can any tradition continue to have relevance today.

  1. Why does the speaker think traditions are important?
  2. Why is it important to have this connection?
  3. What qualification does the speaker make?
  4. Why is this qualification important?

Read the next section for the answers.

The answers for the four questions above give examples of the formula you can use to expand your topic.

FORMULA + Why + So + But + Then

In the exercise above, this is:

Why? connection with the past
So? brings people together
But? should be flexible
Then? continue to be relevant

Looking at this formula in more detail, you can break your answer down into these sections:

Why? Why do you feel that way about the question? Why is this your opinion?

So? This can also be thought of as So what? Maybe the opinion presented in the first step (why?) is true, but what impact does it have? What’s the positive result of your opinion that makes you believe it?

But? Are there any parts of your opinion that could be considered wrong by other people, or anything that needs to be taken into account?

Then? If the point you raised in the previous section happened, what would be the effect?

Now let’s apply the formula to another question

Example 1:

Do you think smoking should be banned?

Yes I do (WHY? why do you think that?) because of the significant health risks cigarettes present (SO? so what if they have health risks?) This can have an effect on not only the smoker, but also those people in the nearby area who then suffer from passive smoking, as well as on tax payers in general when smokers require additional medical treatment. (BUT? is there anything that needs to be considered from another point of view?) Of course there is the issue of having the freedom to act how you wish, and banning cigarettes could create an illegal trade (THEN? What would happen if the ‘but’ section occurred?) This could then potentially lead to rising crime and more pressure on the police.

Example 2:

Because we are now in a digital age, do you think we should therefore stop following traditional customs?

It can be argued that traditional customs can co-exist alongside more modern culture (WHY? why do you think that?) Both traditional and modern cultures are important as a reflection of history and society (SO? so what if they are important?) We should find ways that the two forms can support each other. (BUT? is there anything that needs to be considered from another point of view?) There are times when modern and traditional cultures are in conflict. (THEN? What would happen if there was conflict?) Digital culture must be considered paramount as traditional culture should not be a handicap to development.

Talking about your hometown in IELTS speaking

Talking about your hometown in IELTS speaking

Once of the more common questions in Part One of the IELTS test is to talk about your hometown. A common student error is to give short answers which do not show the examiner your real abilities, especially with regards fluency.

Talking about your hometown in IELTS speakingHere are three examples of points you could make about your hometown. All of the places below are describing areas in New Zealand!

Talking about your hometown #1

I’m from Henderson, a suburb to the west of Auckland. Although it can be a little quiet, it’s only 20 minutes from the city centre. There are a couple of interesting things about Henderson. UNITEC College has a building there, although it’s not their main campus. It is also one of the places in the North Island where a lot of movies are shot – in fact, some sections of the Lord of the Rings were filmed only a few minutes away from my house!

Talking about your hometown #2

I’m from Invercargill, the southernmost city of New Zealand. It’s an interesting place because there’s so much history there. The area was first settled by sheep farmers driving sheep from Dunedin. It was actually named after William Cargill, a Scotsman involved in the administration and settlement of the local region. When it was first constructed, the city was famous for wide streets and beautiful buildings such as the railway hotel and the water tower.

Talking about your hometown #3

Wellington, where I’m from, is the capital city of New Zealand, although a lot of people think it is Auckland. It is set between a magnificent harbour and rolling green hills – the city itself is very hilly. There four different areas within then city, but my favourite is the Lambton quarter, which has the most concentrated shopping area in New Zealand. There are lots of things to do and see when you visit, but it can sometimes depend on the weather. In fact, the area is famous for being very windy and is often called ‘Windy Wellington’.

Talking about people in the IELTS speaking test lesson 3


Talking about people in the IELTS speaking test lesson 3

Before starting this lesson, make sure you have completed Lesson 1 and Lesson 2.

Talking about people in the IELTS speaking test lesson 3

Learning synonyms is a good way to enrich your English vocabulary, and this will help you achieve a higher IELTS band score. The two columns below contain two lists of adjectives.

Try to match up a word from column one with a synonym in column two, in ten minutes or less.


Column One

1   amusing

2   diligent

3   easy-going

4   fearless

5   generous

6   intelligent

7   loyal

8   optimistic

9   passionate

10 creative

11 rational

12 utopian

Column Two

a dedicated

b idealistic

c funny

d kind

e enthusiastic

f inventive

g faithful

h relaxed

i logical

j intrepid

k positive

l clever

Show answers
  1. amusing = funny
  2. diligent = dedicated
  3. easy-going = relaxed
  4. fearless = intrepid
  5. generous = kind
  6. intelligent = clever
  7. loyal = faithful
  8. optimistic = positive
  9. passionate = enthusiastic
  10. creative = inventive
  11. rational = logical
  12. utopian = idealistic

Now practice in a complete sentence.

Finish the sentences below with an appropriate adjective from Part One.

1. In order to be a successful artist you need to be __________.

Show answers

2. John is such a _________ student, he studies for four or five hours every night.

Show answers

3. Dogs are man’s best friend because they are so _________.

Show answers

4. Sandra’s grandfather is really __________ , he bought her a car for her birthday.

Show answers

5. In an ___________ world there wouldn’t be any suffering or unhappiness.

Show answers

6. Sharks are naturally ___________ , they have no predators and killing is instinctive.

Show answers

7. Maxine is so __________ about Italian movies, she’s decided to study Italian.

Show answers

8. Mathematics requires a ___________ process of thinking.

Show answers

9. In New Zealand you can enjoy an __________ lifestyle.

Show answers

10. It is better to be an ___________ person – it is a much happier outlook on life.

Show answers

11. We watched a very _____________ comedian on TV last night.

Show answers

12. Albert Einstein was an extremely ___________ scientist and mathematician.

Show answers



Talking about people in the IELTS speaking test lesson 1


Talking about people in the IELTS speaking test lesson 1

Talking about people in the IELTS speaking test lesson 1Before you start this exercise, check that you know the meaning of the following words:

  • naughty
  • anxious
  • greedy
  • disappointed
  • polite
  • diligent
  • cheerful
  • depressed
  • messy
  • adventurous

Once you have checked the meaning of the words in the list above, complete each sentence using one of the words.

1. My friend Tom loves activities like mountain climbing, abseiling, white water rafting, bungee jumping and sky diving. In fact, it seems like dangerous situations excite him! Sometimes I wish I could have no fear like him. He is a veryperson.

Show the answer

2. My friend has a very important job interview today. He is really worried about it. He keeps biting his nails and seems so nervous. I told him to calm down and try to relax but he said he feels too.

Show the answer

3. My friend just lost his job and his girlfriend broke up with him. He is feeling very down and. I’m not sure how to cheer him up.

Show the answer

4. My friend’s dog never does what it’s told. It always runs in the house and breaks things. It is very. They need to learn how to discipline it better.

Show the answer

5. My friend’s niece always smiles and laughs. She seems so happy. In fact, I don’t’ think I have ever seen her in a bad mood. She’s a veryperson.

Show the answer

6. My friend is so untidy. He almost never cleans his room. You should see it! It’s so! I told him he will never get a girlfriend if he doesn’t become a cleaner person.

Show the answer

7. My friend didn’t like what his girlfriend got him for his birthday. He looked so! But I told him he should stop being so picky and just appreciate the gift. I think he really hurt her feelings.

Show the answer

8. My friend studies so hard. She always gets her assignments done on time and gets great results. She’s so. I think I should try and be more like her.

Show the answer

9. Ever since my friend got his new job, all he has cared about is money-money-money!! In the past he was so generous and money and possessions didn’t seem important to him. Now he is a very selfish andperson.

Show the answer

10. My friend is a waitress. The job is perfect for her personality because she is always so kind and. Even when the customers are rude to her she keeps smiling and acts very professional.

Show the answer


Now take a look at lesson 2 for describing people in the IELTS test

Making predictions in IELTS

Making predictions in IELTS

NOTE: This lesson is aimed at IELTS writing, but can also be useful for the speaking test.

Making predictions in IELTSExpressing predictions is a useful IELTS skill. Not only does it apply to writing a conclusion, but there is also the possibility of having an essay title that asks you to predict. Verbs, adjectives and adverbs can all be used when writing a prediction.

Here’s a handy guide to help:

Verbs of prediction

  • Many people think/do not think …
  • This can be anticipated to…
  • This will…
  • Many people strongly suspect this will…
  • It is commonly believed …
  • From a personal opinion/view …
  • Some people hold that this will…

Adjectives of prediction

  • It is probable that…
  • It is likely that…
  • It is possible that…
  • It is unlikely that…
  • It is doubtful that…

Adverbs of prediction

  • This will undoubtedly lead to…
  • This will certainly lead to…
  • This will definitely lead to…
  • This will probably lead to…
  • This will possibly lead to…
  • This would lead to…
  • This would possibly lead to…
  • This might lead to…

Be careful when using the stronger degrees of certainty (e.g. will undoubtedly) – if you are only presenting an opinion that others are likely to disagree with, then it could be considered too dogmatic (an opinion presented as a fact).

Supporting your predictions

Predictions are just like any other opinion in a Task II essay. After you have stated them, you should justify and support them.
For example (the section in bold is the support):

It is likely that newspapers will become less popular, largely because of the dominance of the internet and the availability of many news websites.

Practice writing about predictions

Can you extend these prompts into complete sentences using the language in the table above, and then adding your own support? An example has been done for each prompt.

1. Journalists / more interested in the social lives of famous people

Click here to see an example answer
It is highly likely that journalists will become increasingly interested in reporting the social lives of famous people,  as there seems to be a popular demand for such news that has increased in recent years as can be seen by the exposure given to the Kardashian family.

2. Tabloid newspapers / become more widely read than serious newspapers

Click here to see an example answer
Fewer people are reading serious newspapers these days, which will certainly lead to tabloid newspapers being read more than serious newspapers. This is arguably the result of a reduced focus on being informed rather than entertained.
3. Newspapers / become interactive / within ten years

Click here to see an example answer
Many people anticipate newspapers becoming more interactive within the next ten years, as can already be seen by the number of apps available to read newspaper content online using tablets and smartphones.
4. Majority of candidates / get / 8.5 / IELTS test

Click here to see an example answer
It is doubtful that the majority of candidates will get 8.5 in their IELTS tests, as this is almost the highest possible score and higher than is required by most universities or immigration departments.


Complete IELTS Task 2 essay requiring predictions

As mentioned at the beginning of this page, there is a chance that you will be required to focus on predictions for the majority of your essay. Take a look at the essay title below and see if you could write a good essay.

Click here to read a model answer for this Task

The task should take about 40 minutes.
As we move into the digital age, books and newspapers are becoming less important. Within
the next 20 years, computers will have entirely replaced any other such form of media.
To what extent do you agree with the above?
Write a minimum of 250 words.

Difficult Part 2 topic cards in IELTS

Difficult Part 2 topic cards in IELTS

Difficult Part 2 topic cards in IELTSIn Part 2 of the IELTS speaking test the examiner will give you a topic card that you will need to talk about for 2 minutes, after you have had 1 minute preparation time. But what happens if the examiner gives you a topic card that you have no ideas about and will not be able to talk about?

For example, if you have no interest in art or art galleries and really have no opinion on the subject, what would you do if this was your topic?

 Describe a piece of art that you likeYou should say:
  • what it is
  • where you saw it
  • why you like it

You should also say whether you would recommend it to someone else.


Here are some tips that will help!

Tip 1: Don’t panic!

It’s hard to do when you’re in the middle of your test, but it’s important to remain calm. Remember you have 60 seconds to prepare an answer, so take a few seconds to read the topic card again to see if there’s anything there that can you feel you could talk about.

Tip 2: Be honest

Although you cannot ask the examiner to give you another card and you cannot simply say ‘I don’t have anything to say about this’, you can tell the examiner that this is not really your kind if subject. For example:

‘Well, the topic card is asking about a piece of art that I like, but to be completely honest, I’m really not that interested in art in any form. However, I can tell you about…..’

Tip 3: Focus on anything in the subject or the prompts that you can talk about

In the example topic card above, you may have nothing to say about a piece of art you like, but can you talk about anything related? The second prompt on the card asks ‘where you saw it’ – can you say anything about local art galleries in your area or your hometown? Have you ever been to an art gallery? If so, did you like it? If you have never been to an art gallery, why not? You can talk about the lack of local facilities, or a general disinterest in art because no-one in your family is interested and you never went to galleries as a child. Even if you are only talking tangentially (not exactly or directly) about the topic, you will not lose points.

Tip 4: Be someone else

Personally, I have no real interest in art, so if I had to speak for two minutes on the topic card above, I would have trouble – and I’m a native English speaker and IELTS instructor! However, I do have a friend who is interested in art, so for the two minutes I was talking, I would pretend to be him. Why does my friend like going to galleries? What does he get out of his visits? How does he feel about art? Has he ever said anything to you about traditional versus modern art? By thinking about a question from the perspective of someone with an interest in the subject, it becomes easier to talk about.

Tip 5: Redefine the question

If you really feel that you will not be able to talk for the full two minutes of the subject, make sure that the examiner knows that you are modifying the question slightly. For example:

‘To tell the truth, I can’t talk much about art, but I am quite interested in museums. I think they are more important than art as they are a reflection of our past, and our history tells us more about who we are than art does – at least in my opinion.’

You have now told the examiner that you are moving the question away from the topic and on to something else. NOTE: try to make what you are going to talk about related to the topic in some way. For example, don’t start talking about a holiday you had or your favourite type of food!

Tip 6: Remember the focus of the speaking test

Keep in mind that is a speaking test – you are being assessed not on how accurate your response is compared to the question, but on how well you can communicate your point of view. You are NOT penalised for an indirect or unrelated answer so long as what you are saying is clear and logical. To illustrate, did you know that there is NO penalty for not covering all of the prompts on the topic card?


Take a look at some of the more unusual topic cards below – how would you respond?

Talk about something you used to collect.

You should say:

  • what you collected
  • whether your collection grew over time
  • why you collected them

You should also say whether you normally collect things.


Talk about a board game you have played.

You should say:

  • what type of game it is
  • how the game is played
  • when you started playing it

You should also say whether you still play this game.


Describe a sporting event you took part in recently.

You should say:

  • why you were involved
  • what you did
  • how many people were with you

You should also say whether you would do this again


Speaking fluently in the IELTS test

Speaking fluently in the IELTS test

Six tips for better fluency

For many people preparing for the IELTS speaking test, it can be difficult to improve your fluency unless you have an opportunity to speak with people in English regularly. However, here are 6 tips that will help you speak more fluently in the IELTS speaking test:

Tip 1: Don’t be afraid of mistakes

speaking-fluentlyThe first rule of fluency is that you are able to communicate the main message of what you are trying to say. Don’t overly worry about whether you have chosen the best grammar or vocabulary to express yourself – so long as the person you are talking to understands what you mean! If you feel that you have made a mistake, then stop, go back and repair the sentence, then continue. For example,

“My brother are a doctor, so he has always recommended eating well. Sorry, I mean by brother IS a doctor. Anyway, he suggests eating fruit and vegetables every day…”

Tip 2: Don’t focus too much on studying grammar

We all know that good grammar is important in order to accurately express yourself. However, make sure that you don’t become so preoccupied with the grammatical structure of your sentence that your speaking becomes irregular, too slow or disjointed. As mentioned in Tip 1 – don’t be afraid of mistakes! If you find that when speaking fluently you tend to make repeated errors with a particular grammar area (for example, using the present continuous when it should be the present simple) then spend some time alone reading and taking practice exercises – there are lots on this site!

Tip 3: Don’t translate your sentence in your head first

This is a difficult skill to master, but when you have a basic understanding of English (or any other foreign language) you need to start thinking in that language when constructing sentences. Not only will there be a loss of fluency as you delay the conversation to translate, but you will also find that words, phrases and sentence constructions become less easier to directly translate into your own language.

Tip 4: Take every opportunity to speak

Although it is convenient to break English into different skills such as reading, writing, grammar and speaking, it is important that you make whatever you are studying into an opportunity to speak. If you are reading an article – or even this page! – then read it aloud. If you read the same 100 or so words a few times, you will find that you have a much better chance of improving your fluency as you are training your tongue, mouth and vocal chords to move in a particular pattern, and that pattern will help when you are later in conversation. If you are listening to something and have the chance to pause whatever is playing, then listen to a sentence or two, stop it, you say it, then you play the recording again. This will help with your intonation (the sound of your voice) making you better able to pronounce words clearly and thus improving your fluency.

Tip 5: When learning new vocabulary, learn it as part of a useful phrase or sentence

Studying word lists might help you improve your understanding of individual words, but learning a few relevant phrases or sentences including the new word will make it a lot easier for your to fluently use the word in conversation. For example, if you learn the word ‘optimistic’ (meaning that you focus on the positive things, not the negative), then think of and learn a few phrases or sentences. E.g. My uncle always has hopes for the future because he’s a very optimistic person or The weather forecast said it wouldn’t rain, but judging by those clouds I’m not so optimistic.

Tip 6: Use appropriate resources

For many people learning English, the BBC is considered to be the best form of ‘pure’ English, with clear pronunciation and intonation. However, it is also important to spend some time with more ‘common’ English, such as listening and copying the patterns of speech you might hear on a TV show, movie or radio or radio programme. For some people the only way of practicing your speaking and fluency is by talking to another person who is also learning English. Although this can be effective, make sure that you do not pick up each others bad habits!

We hope these 6 tips help!