The IELTS Speaking test is popularly known to be one of the most challenging sections of the exam. This is especially true to individuals whose mother tongue is not English. The good news is that there are effective ways to improve your performance in the exam. There is a series of steps that you need to take in order to learn how to speak English fluently, naturally, and spontaneously. First, you need to learn about some basic facts about the IELTS speaking test. After learning about the exam, you need to work hard in improving your English speaking skills. If you want to take the IELTS exam in Singapore, there are many private tutors you can find.
About The IELTS Speaking Test
- 1 About The IELTS Speaking Test
- 2 Four Grading Criteria
- 3 Fluency and Coherence
- 4 Pronunciation
- 5 Lexical Resource
- 6 Grammatical Range and Accuracy
- 7 Calculation Of Band Scores
- 8 IELTS Speaking Tips
The IELTS speaking test only lasts for about 11 to 14 minutes. It has three parts and the entire conversation is recorded. The questions are often delivered in such a way that it hinders candidates from rehearsing made-up or already set responses beforehand. Since time is limited, candidates need to ensure that they utilize the time given to them for every part of the exam.
For part one, the examiner will provide general questions about yourself such as your work, family, home, hobbies, interests, and studies. The questions are typically about a range of topics about the candidate. Before the examiner provides the question, there is a brief introduction. The introduction part often involves the examiner introducing himself or herself. It also requires you to say your name and show your ID card or passport.
This part of the test is considered to be the easiest. There are normally three topic areas, each of which are the basis of four questions. For instance, when the examiner picks a topic about work, you will probably be asked about the type of job that you do, what you usually do on a daily basis, why choose such a job, and the other work you consider doing. The time set for this part of the test is four to five minutes.
The second part involves the use of a cue card with a particular topic that you are required to talk about. Before speaking, you will be given one to two minutes to prepare, organize your thoughts, and talk. You will also be given one or two questions about the same topic.
This measures your ability to talk for an extended period of time without repetition or hesitation. The cue card may ask you to describe something such as an experience or a topic you are familiar with. For instance, you may be asked to describe a place you’ve been to, a person you know, or a belonging you are fond of such as the clothes you want to wear. You will be given a minute to prepare as well as a pencil and paper if you want to make notes. This part often lasts for about three to four minutes.
Part three involves questions that are connected to the topic discussed in part two. During this part of the test, you will have a chance to discuss or elaborate the issues and ideas from the previous test part. This will also last for about four to five minutes.
The questions during this part of the test are often more abstract by nature, and are more complicated than those in the previous parts. For instance, the examiner may ask whether shopping for clothes is a trend for teenagers in your country or what exactly influences the fashion industry in the country you belong to.
Four Grading Criteria
Learning about how you will be graded can be extremely helpful in having a high band score. When you know the criterion areas, you will have a clear understanding about what the examiner is looking for and what you need to avoid doing. There are four grading criteria of the IELTS speaking test, namely the fluency and coherence, pronunciation, lexical resources, and grammatical range and accuracy.
The IELTS examiners are well-trained in interpreting these criterion areas. Make sure that you take time in understanding the details of these criteria to avoid the mistakes commonly committed by candidates. The point of these criteria is to be clear in expressing yourself and doing it in such a way that the other person understands you.
Fluency and Coherence
With this criterion, you will be graded according to how you speak fluently and how you organize your ideas. Fluency is a combination of three factors, namely length of answer, speed of speech, and pausing correctly. Coherence, on the other hand, is the ability to answer directly, expand and illustrate answers, and using tenses and connectors to connect the sentences.
There are common mistakes you need to avoid. One is to provide very long or very fast answers. Doing this can increased your risk of being penalized for lack of coherence and poor pronunciation. You should be able to express yourself clearly. Also make sure that you answer the question or else you will be penalized.
This will measure the accuracy of your pronunciation. Make sure that you pronounce words in such a way that it is easy to understand. Good pronunciation is made up of four features namely correct sentence stress, linked speech sounds, basic word pronunciation, and correct use of intonation such as rising and falling. Also remember that you do not need to have an American or British accent.
This criterion will measure how varied and accurate your vocabulary is. The main concept in this criterion is clarity, which means you need to have the right number of words to use to express your ideas or answers clearly. You will be measured according to the level of your vocabulary skills and how you use it to discuss a variety of topics. You also need to make sure that you use words accurately and you are able to express yourself clearly when you cannot find the right words to say. Refrain from using words without knowing or understanding their meaning well.
Grammatical Range and Accuracy
This will measure the accuracy of your grammar as well as how varied it is. There are two ingredients to achieve a high mark in this criterion, and one is to simply refrain from making grammar mistakes, especially in the use of tenses. Make sure that you learn how to use a range of grammatical structures than using simple sentences all throughout the interview.
Calculation Of Band Scores
All these criterion areas are used in the scoring for all of the three parts of the speaking test. It is imperative that you fully understand how these areas work and what you can do to improve your scores. All of the criteria are graded equally, so you should not take any of them for granted. When you get high grades only for the three criteria, your scores will be pulled down by the remaining criterion. It is best that you focus on all of the criterion areas of the test.
IELTS Speaking Tips
There are tips in passing the IELTS speaking test. These tips have been proven to significantly help candidates do well during the exam.
Develop your confidence skills as it can help you do well during the interview. Bear in mind that when you are not confident, you will have difficulties responding to the examiner, regardless of how knowledgeable you are. Also ensure that you are able to establish eye contact.
Work hard in improving your skills in grammar such as sentence structures, vocabulary, and pronunciation. Take advantage of the resources available online such as the reading materials, videos, audios, apps, and other educational tools designed to help improve speaking skills.
Improve Your Mouth Position
Mouth position refers to whether or not your mouth is open when you talk. This may also pertain to the positioning of your jaws and lower or upper teeth, such as if they are wide apart or close together. Learn about how mouth position can affect your pronunciation. There are right methods in moving your mouth while speaking in English.
Practice on a daily basis as it can help increase your fluency. When you practice on a regular basis, you will make many mistakes, which you can correct and learn lessons from. Practicing also improves your self-confidence and it allows you to utter English words and become familiar with them. Practicing correctly also means doing things in the right manner. When you practice properly, you will be able to build good speaking habits and this can have a positive effect of your test performance.
Learn About The Do’s And Don’ts
There are things that you need to do and avoid to succeed in the speaking test. Make sure that you don’t settle with just saying yes or no for an answer. Instead, do elaborate your answer to the question. Do not use words you don’t quite understand and just stay within your capabilities.
There are tons of information that you need to learn out and study on to do to pass the test. Make sure that you follow these tips and learn all the important things about the IELTS Speaking exam, such as the test format, grading criteria, and English speaking techniques.