10 Tips on how to prepare for the speaking test

Perhaps the most dreaded component of the IELTS examination, the speaking test is about 11-14 minutes long and in the form of a personal interview with three main parts:

1. General questions about one’s life and interests

2. Short monologue about a given topic

3. Discussion of issues related to part 2

Make sure you have time to practice using and speaking English prior to the test, and it’s important to remember that it’s a test of how well you express yourself in good English, regardless of your opinions and ideas.


1. Know how the speaking component is assessed

The examiner will assess your speaking ability based on the following: fluency and coherence, lexical resource, grammatical range and accuracy, and pronunciation.

By knowing the criteria, you are better able to come up with a practice plan to work on your strengths and weaknesses. More importantly, you have to know your goal so you can set your expectations around and work on it.

For example, if you only need a Band 6.0, then you don’t need to speak complex English. Of course, you are welcome to aim for a higher Band if you want. Just set realistic expectations.


2. Try to “master” part 1

Remember the first part of the test is all about you. Questions about your life, family, profession, and interests would be likely asked.

Organize your thoughts, memorize by heart, and practice speaking it out loud. You may also help jog your memory by writing your life history. Be careful not to sound like you have memorized this part, remember to relax and speak naturally.


3. Be aware of your mouth position

Move your lips and jaw when you speak. Speaking clear (as opposed to mumbling) English involves using the mouth quite a lot and moving and closing the jaw to make many sounds.

To see the difference: try speaking in English like this, with your lips and jaw hardly moving. Now, try speaking in English like this, in a slightly open mouth position with the jaw moving.

Realize how clearly you sound with the proper mouth position? Be aware of this and practice utilizing your jaws and lips when speaking English.


4. Loosen your tongue by doing different tongue twisters

Although quite difficult and does not seem to make any sense, tongue twisters can be a lot of fun too, and they certainly exercise your pronunciation muscles.

Here’s a sample:

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
Did Peter Piper pick a peck of pickled peppers?
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?


5. Practice with a voice/video recorder and a timer

When practicing, record and time yourself. This might seem awkward at first, but you will soon realize that this will help you pinpoint any speech quirks and correct them appropriately.

You can also practice talking in front of a mirror, which is also a useful tool to improve your verbal and non-verbal cues.


6. Watch, listen to, speak with, and imitate good English speakers

As much as possible, choose English when: watching films, shows, news, cartoons, or anything on TV; listening to music or the radio, constructing and expressing your ideas or opinions.

Make sure you have someone, a friend, a companion or a colleague to practice speaking English with every day.


7. Utilize apps, tools, and tutorial videos

Learning and mastering a language is made easier when you have references like a dictionary, a text-to-speech application, and other handy tools.

Scour the web or app stores for helpful applications that will help you understand a word, pronounce words properly, and somehow improve your intonation. The thing is, you will need all the help you can get.


8. Slow down, talk louder

Sometimes our thoughts come quickly than we can utter them, which sometimes may result to an incoherent babble of words, or even come across as a disorganized mess of a speech.

Practice restraint. Pause, slow down, and talk louder. Remember, you are not judged on your ideas, but how well you use English to convey your thoughts.


9. Learn some idioms and slang expressions

Although this is not the key part of the test, knowing and using idioms and slang expressions appropriately will help you to score higher on the test for using some less common and idiomatic vocabulary (lexical resource).

Be careful how you use idioms. They should be used in the right context, and that you are not merely trying to fit an idiom in your speaking test! Use it only when you feel comfortable to do so.


10. Read up and review grammar rules

Even if you have been learning or speaking English for a considerable number of years, you might still be guilty of committing grammatical errors.

For starters, brush up with some basic grammar rules of the language. Having a solid foundation in grammar will certainly help you construct your sentences correctly and greatly improve your communication skills.

For inquiries, please visit our IELTS review center in Mandaue City page. Thank you.

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