A large number of candidates appear in the IELTS speaking test but their band scores differ, for example, some get Band 7 or above while some receive Band 6 or below. So, what is the dissimilarity with a candidate who scored Band 7 and not Band 6 or Band 5? There must be some differences in the way these candidates prepare for the exam.
Unless you understand this difference, you won’t be able to improve your band score in IELTS. Let us understand these differentiating points in detail.
How Can You Stand Out?
Last year, two million people took the IELTS exam. To get a band 7 or higher, you must stand out from the crowd. Do you know how to stand out from the crowd when it comes to the IELTS speaking task? What are you doing wrong that you’re getting a six-band? Why don’t you get a higher score on the speaking test? If you have similar concerns, read the following important points to keep in mind while speaking in the IELTS speaking exam to see if you are making any of the following errors:
Speaking without hesitation is impressive, so if you find yourself hesitant a lot while speaking, especially in the cue card, focus on this factor by thinking of it as an alarm that can help you keep speaking for longer by linking your ideas whenever you are about to pause. Another thing is that too much hesitation causes the listener to lose track of what you’re saying, especially when you’re giving your opinion on a topic.
Avoid Taking Long Pauses
The worst response is when an aspirant does not respond to the question at all. Almost all of the time, he remains silent and unresponsive. While this is true for those who receive less than a 5, it can also happen to those who receive a 5 or higher Band when they take noticeable pauses in their speech, which affect their ability to speak.
Do Not Memorise
The most common mistake people make when speaking is memorising the sample answer from the cue card. Many students try to appear intelligent, but the examiner can detect this because he will not only ask you to speak on a topic, but also to answer some questions to which you must respond spontaneously, and this is where you will fall short.
One of the most common characteristics of 5 Band speakers is their lack of confidence, which causes them to constantly correct themselves when speaking. They repeat the sentences they already said because they don’t have enough ideas or content to speak for a long time.
Pay Attention to Your Grammar
Perhaps the most important criterion of all is the ability to communicate accurately. Speaking correctly, without grammatical or tense errors, is more important than speaking for a long time. If you make numerous grammatical errors, your score will be reduced in proportion to the number of errors you make.
Pay Attention to Your Pronunciation
When it comes to evaluating speaking abilities, pronouncing words correctly is crucial. If you believe your speech is influenced by your mother tongue, you should definitely work on it. Listening to others and watching videos online can help you learn proper pronunciation. To learn how to pronounce a word, go to the appropriate online resource.
Don’t Use Complex Vocabulary
Although vocabulary is important, some candidates misunderstand its significance. It is one of the assessment factors, not the only one. The same principle applies to idioms because if a person uses idiomatic language but makes grammar errors, lacks fluency, or lacks coherence, he will be penalised.
Some people try to learn difficult words and idioms, but they frequently misuse them. As a result, even if the words or idioms are of average level, correctly using them is more important.
Avoid Overusing Connectives
Students are frequently taught that using sentence connectors can help them speak more effectively. However, some students misunderstand the concept and attempt to use them more frequently.
When it comes to speaking, don’t get too technical by trying to use connectives, idioms, and advanced vocabulary because you’ll lose fluency and naturalness. Incorrect word order in sentences and grammatical errors will make your speech sound inappropriate.
Complex Sentence Structures
The way you form sentences to express your thoughts is an extremely important aspect of speaking evaluation. If you form simple sentences, the examiner will give you a 6 Band, but if you prefer to use complex sentences, you may receive a 7 Band. However, keep in mind that complex sentences should be used correctly.
One of the major factors that affect your speaking, especially during exams, is whether you are speaking confidently or not. If you are nervous, you are going to hesitate a lot while answering the questions and this will adversely affect your performance. Keep in mind that you cannot deliver your best if you are too much nervous, you can try to be calm, patient and confident.
Now, you may be thinking that being nervous for the speaking test is inevitable. Yes! You are right but how much control you have on your nervousness would make the difference here. Rather you can use this nervousness to speak consciously and accurately.
Ask to Repeat Questions
Some candidates have the misconception that asking questions from the examiner would lead to a wrong impression and thus a lowered band score. But fortunately, this isn’t true and thus, you can ask the examiner to repeat the question even 2-3 times if you don’t hear it clearly.
The reason you should do it is that it is better to repeat the question to understand it thoroughly and then answer it, rather than replying to it wrongly. Accuracy of what we say matters a lot for a good band score and hence always ask repeated questions in case it is not heard properly.
Speaking for Long on a Topic
The Cue card section is an extremely important part of the speaking test. Here, the examiner will judge your ability to speak fluently without any noticeable pause or hesitation or grammar errors etc. Hence, if you want to make a difference here, you should try to work on speaking at length.
Mugging up statements from sample answers or trying to recall a statement you had learnt earlier is not at all recommended ways to excel in speaking and in no way they can be helpful to get a good band score. You can actually make the difference by preparing how you would speak on an unseen topic.
Extending your Answers
Questions other than cue cards are also the ones where you need to speak more, though not for 2 mins but for specifying reasons along with examples, to satisfy the examiner. Avoid giving a one-liner or one word (yes or no) answer. It would actually be the worst case if you only say “yes” or “no” but don’t paraphrase the question and extend it fully.
However, you can also keep in mind that extending an answer doesn’t mean that you can go off-topic and say just anything which has nothing to do with the question (what, where, when, how etc.).
Examiner asks you the below question:
How do you spend your weekends?
Following are examples of a bad answer:
I go to movies.
Another Not a Good Answer
I go to movies. Last night, I saw an interesting film with my family and I think it has inspired me a lot. I think that movie has been directed well and one can find a lot of humorous stuff in it.
Let’s see what a good answer can be:
I usually spend my weekends going out for a movie with my family and sometimes with my friends. This is because I feel that watching a movie refreshes my mind from the busy weekdays I have and rejuvenates me to continue my work with good spirit in the next week.
Practice for Grammatically Correct Sentences
The biggest difference you can make in your speaking is with accuracy, without any grammar mistakes. For this, if you practice at home by recording your voice and analysing your grammar errors, you can definitely help yourself in getting a good band score.
Those who don’t practice much, end up making such mistakes during exams while those who have been spending time focusing on grammar, speak very well during the exam. Without practice, even the one with a good grasp of English cannot do well during the speaking test. Hence, keep on practising speaking tests.
Instead of focusing on the length of your answers, concentrate on the quality of your responses. You’ll be able to give a better answer if you focus on the question.
It will take a lot of practice to speak fluently, but it is not impossible.
Keep all of the above points in mind as you practise, and they will become a natural part of your speech. Not only will your speaking band score change, but so will the way you communicate with others. You can improve your overall band score simply by improving your IELTS speaking section score.