Personally, the IELTS speaking test is one of the most intimidating experiences I have ever encountered while giving a test. Being in a room with an interviewer and having to speak on a topic that I was not familiar with made me sweat. A candidate has only between 11 to 14 minutes to convince your interviewer that you can speak your mind in English. Yikes! But you can be better prepared than me to deal with the speaking tasks by simply being aware and following these tips.
Yes, it’s a bonus to know a subject well but even if you don’t take the chance to express your thoughts, views, opinions, experiences freely. The examiner wants to test your language abilities, that it. The pressure to know a topic isn’t really what you should you be worried about because no matter how much you prepare there are bound to be topics you haven’t heard of or prepared for.
Your ability to communicate in English will determine your score. It’s as simple as that. So here are some tips that should help you relax during the examination.
We don’t advocate shouting at the examiner but being clear also means being audible. Speak up if you find yourself mumbling too often during your practice session. Use miniature pauses between words to avoid running through a sentence. The way you punctuate in a sentence should also reflect in your way of speaking. If you are presenting a complicated idea pause where you would have put a comma or a full stop.
It isn’t compulsory to use complicated words or long sentences to appear like someone knowledgeable. Speak the way you are comfortable with, the way you speak generally. Your discomfort can permeate through your body and make you nervous. This can be interpreted as a sign of discomfort with the language by the examiner. Don’t try and use language that makes you nervous, this can affect your state of mind immensely leading to unforced errors.
Keep it simple, keep it right. A grammatically wrong sentence will definitely lead to a deduction but using simple language may not. For example – ‘The advent of technology has changed the business world’ can be replaced with ‘Recent developments in technology has changed the business world’. Making these small changes can help you sail smoothly through the speaking test.
Don’t be bothered too much by your native accent. This isn’t an accent test. It is only natural to have a local accent if you are from a particular country. Focus more on pronouncing well and clearly. Its ok to say ‘right’ instead of ‘raaight’, but not ‘write’ instead of ‘right’.
So whether it be normal exam or IELTS you need to understand that having a quick information about the question pattern can help. It can help you to allot your resources and time to think and create answers required for the skill easily.
So there are three different parts with topics on various things we see and hear in our daily life. So, you can get to understand what kind of topics you would be dealing and the type of conversation that will take place as well.
Treat this like a warm up to more complicated topics and lengthier conversations. It is face-to-face and the examiner will ask you some basic questions about yourself. Try to be crisp, short and precise with the information. Speak to the point and keep your sentences short mostly.
This is mostly a monologue by the student for about 2 minutes. You will be given a cue card and the questions will look like this – ‘Describe a recent piece of art you liked’ or ‘Describe a recent holiday you took with your parents’. You will find a host of such topics online. Familiarise yourself but don’t mug it up. Examiners will often change the topic if your answer seems rehearsed. You also get 1 minute for preparation before you start. Here’s what you can do in that minute.
Creating a structure very similar to writing can rescue you here. Have an introduction, a main body and conclusion to completely answer the question posed to you.
You will have to enter a discussion mode with the examiner here, sharing your views and opinions regarding the topic from task 2. This will feel like a continuation of the task but is, in fact, a new section where you will be marked on your ability to form an opinion or argument for or against a certain topic. For example, you could be asked to share what you think of using hoardings as a marketing tool.
In this section, it is best to freely express your opinion while clubbing them with examples to make it easier for the examiner to understand what you are saying
The topics change every year and as an aspirant, you should stay abreast with the latest topics that are asked. Some of the most common ones are on the topics listed above.
Practice, practice, practice. It doesn’t matter if the dialogue in your head sounds perfect. You can’t just walk into an examination like the IELTS and expect to ace it without intense real-life practice. To boost your confidence, speak to friends, teachers, colleagues as much as you can every single day. Your conversations with them can be treated as a fair test of your readiness. Watch or tune into BBC news, discovery and such channels to listen and improve your style of speaking.
Another great practice is to use technology. Make a video of yourself speaking. Study your body language, your pronunciation and how confident you look. Do this with the idea of getting better and not to criticize yourself.
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