Female taking ielts speaking exam with female examiner

What techniques are there for IELTS Speaking? Master the IELTS Speaking process through topic practice.

When it comes to the IELTS exam, many people are particularly apprehensive about the Speaking section, as it's the test component where nerves can easily take hold. So, how can one improve IELTS Speaking skills, prepare effectively, and achieve good results? When facing the examiner, test-takers should demonstrate the ability to speak fluently, use English reasonably, and convey to the examiner that they are capable of studying and living comfortably in an English-speaking country. Candidates should familiarize themselves with the IELTS Speaking process, and frequently practice IELTS Speaking topics to enhance their oral skills.

IELTS Speaking Topics and Process

The primary aim of IELTS Speaking is to assess the examinee's ability to express themselves in an English conversation. The General Training format is suitable for those looking to immigrate to English-speaking countries, or work abroad. In contrast, the Academic format is for those wishing to apply to overseas universities or graduate schools, and those seeking professional qualification registration. Regardless of whether the test format is paper-based or computer-based, the IELTS Speaking exam is conducted by an IELTS-certified examiner, one-on-one with the candidate. Unlike other tests that use computer recordings, the intent here is that IELTS insists on a face-to-face oral test to simulate real-life scenarios and more accurately gauge the candidate's speaking skills. 

Female candidate taking speaking exam in room

Source: Freepik 

The IELTS Speaking process is divided into three parts, with the exam duration ranging from 11 to 14 minutes. The test is a one-on-one evaluation with a live examiner, and the session will also be recorded. 

  

  • Part One: Everyday Topics (Less than 5 minutes) 

The examiner will ask questions related to everyday life. Discussion topics may include background, personal interests, work, family, educational situation, and more. 

  

  • Part Two: Topic Presentation 

The examiner will hand you a card with a specific topic. You will have 1 minute to think about the topic, after which you'll have to speak on it for 1 to 2 minutes. 

  

  • Part Three: Discussion (Less than 5 minutes) 

The examiner will engage in a two-way discussion with you based on the topic from the second part and the content of your speech. This section is relatively more challenging.


IELTS Speaking Strategy

According to the conversation evaluation standards provided by the official IELTS, examiners assess the Speaking scores of candidates based on four indicators. Each of these accounts for 25% of the score. Candidates can improve their IELTS Speaking skills by focusing on these different sections: 


Fluency and Coherence 


  • Ensure the conversation has adequate length. 
  • Avoid pauses and hesitations. 
  • Avoid self-correction while speaking. 
  • Fully understand the question before answering. 
  • Skillfully use conjunctions. 


Lexical Resource 


  • Use various words and paraphrasing. 
  • Use collocations. 
  • Utilize less common words. 
  • Avoid mistakes. 


Grammatical Range and Accuracy 


  • Implement various sentence structures. 
  • Use different grammatical tenses. 
  • Prevent errors. 


Pronunciation 


  • Ensure the examiner can understand you. 
  • Your speech should have variations in pitch. 
  • Accents should not impact the content. 
  • Use accurate words and pronunciation. 
Girl with headphone on studying with laptop, notebook and pen

Source: Freepik 


IELTS Speaking Practice Techniques

  • Practice Previous IELTS Speaking Topics Diligently 

To enhance your IELTS Speaking skills, practice is crucial. By simulating past conversation topics, you can better cope with the actual examination. If the examiner poses a question similar to what you've practiced, you'll feel more confident and poised. 

 

  • Think in English  

Most people tend to think in their native language and then translate into English, which diminishes fluency. Try thinking directly in English, and if you encounter unfamiliar vocabulary, consult a dictionary and make notes. Gradually, you'll become more fluent. 

 

  • Engage in English Conversations with Friends  

Learn English alongside friends. This not only offers practice opportunities but also allows mutual assistance and guidance, accelerating progress. 

 

  • Record Your Speaking Practice  

Record your oral practice, then meticulously review and evaluate it. This aids in identifying areas where the language isn't fluent, and in refining pronunciation and intonation. 

 

  • Expand Your Vocabulary  

Learn more vocabulary and avoid repetitively using the same words. This enriches your language. Dictionaries are helpful tools. 

 

  • Watch English Movies and Series  

Watch English films and series (preferably without turning on subtitles) to understand the habits of foreigners when speaking English, including common vocabulary and speech pace. 

 

  • Listen to and Sing English Songs  

Listening to and singing English songs help improve English pronunciation and rhythmic sense. 

 

  • Adjust Your Mindset  

View speaking practice as chatting with friends rather than a stringent examination. Natural conversation boosts your confidence, and examiners focus more on your communication skills than on impeccable grammar and pronunciation. 

 

Moreover, one should pay attention to common IELTS Speaking pitfalls, such as unclear answers, nervousness, excessive repetitive vocabulary, and so forth. In essence, first understand the IELTS Speaking process, and consistently engage in IELTS Speaking practice, topic revision, and appropriate preparation. This will aid in mastering IELTS Speaking techniques and enhancing your oral abilities. If you have further questions about IELTS, feel free to consult the professional UK education consultants at Cyclopes. 

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