ielts preparation speaking

Tips and tricks to enhance speaking skills for IELTS

Nervous about the IELTS speaking exam? Worry not! Being nervous is a part and parcel of IELTS speaking exam all we need to do is to make it our strength.

These 10 tips will help you excel in your speaking section.

Speaking section of IELTS exam is almost 11-14 minutes and it happens on a one on one basis. There are 3 sections in this task:

Section 1

The first section is the simple interview round with few questions inclined towards the personal life of the candidate the questions could be related to:

  • Work
  • Family
  • Home life
  • Personal interests

Section 2

It is a monologue (1 person speaking) by the candidate

The examiner will give a card to the candidate with a topics and some guiding questions in it.

Student will have 1 minute to prepare and has to speak for 1 to 2 minutes on this subject.

Section 3

Here the examiner will ask some more questions generally related to the subject spoken about in section 2.

These questions will be more demanding and require some critical analysis on the part of the candidate.

There are some commonly made mistakes by the candidates during the speaking test if these are rectified you can score an exceptional band score in IELTS speaking.

  1. Don’t be too brief

Our goal here is not to just answer the questions, rather be thoughtful in your responses. It might be an honest and correct answer but until it is a flat and brief response it would not allow the examiner to assess our language skill. Try to extend your answers with not more than one or two lines.

  1. Do not memorise the answer

Examiners are able to determine whether you speak freely or you memorized the answer and it is highly likely that you might forget what you have memorised or which will eventually lead you to take long pauses to recall what was memorised and this will break the actual flow of the conversation. Focusing more on expressing yourself rather that mugging up answers will increase your band score.

  1. Avoid using irrelevant memorised words

We have a notion in our mind that speaking big fancy words will increase our band, which is true so we end up learning words to impress the examiner and try to fit them in the conversation even when they don’t even make any sense. Use your lexical resources in a right way.

  1. Avoid using fillers

We often use fillers to buy time to think of sentences to speak.

Instead of using obvious fillers like “basically, you know, actually, that’s it, ehh, ahh, yeah well”

You can use sentences like- “I suppose, I think, I reckon that, in my opinion, according to my observation, one of the things that come to my mind is”

Also there are various alternative words to use to avoid loop of same word again and again, such as the word “very”.

There are multiple alternate words to replace the word very when added to any adjective.

  1. Keep a check on intonation

The rise and fall of the voice while speaking is important is you speak in monotone or in a flat voice without any variations it is difficult for the examiner to focus on what part of the speech is important. Using of hand gestures also adds to the rhythm of the conversation.

  1. Enhance your grammatical range

The IELTS examiner who assess your language skills mark you on the basis of these criteria:

  • Fluency and coherence

Fluency in language and clarity in your voice is an important part.

  • Lexical resource

Use of good vocabulary, proverbs and idioms

Grammatical range and accuracy your selection of words matters a lot, repeating the same word again and again might lose its value hence you should have a diverse range of words.

  • Pronunciation

This is the tricky part, some of us try to speak in accent. It is not important for you to speak in an American accent, instead your pronunciation in your own language should be correct. Candidate often get confused between sounds like sh and ss.

  • Grammar

Always use the correct verb tenses when answering the question. For instance, if you are asked ‘What kind of music do you like?’ (Present tense), do not answer in past tense.

  1. No negative answers

There might be instances where you do not have any answer to examiner’s question or you simply have not heard or done that before, here the trick is to reply with an affirmative attitude. You may use sentences like-

I haven’t heard that before but I would like to give it a shot…

Oh that’s a tricky one.. In my opinion..

Never answer in a negative tone, even if you have no response try to create one! There are no right or wrong answers examiner might not even care if you say, “I prefer to live underwater if given a chance”. Just express yourself!


8. Speak a little English every day!

Try to speak a few sentences on every day basis learn new words and use them in your conversation this will help you speak fluently and naturally on exam day.

 9. Do not repeat a question.

Avoid repetition of examiner’s question as a part of your answer. Understand the question and rephrase it in your own language.

 10. Practise common ielts speaking topics

Do not give the speaking exam without doing a few mock sessions, try to record yourself while speaking and play to find where you need to work. You can practise on some common topics like:

·        Sport and recreation

·        Crime and punishment

·        The internet

·        Advertising and retail

·        Entertainment

·        Education