From its various formats and papers, anyone that is taking the IELTS test should be familiar with everything there is to know about the internationally recognized test. In this article, we’ll be tackling one of the four main parts where one’s proficiency will be assessed: the Speaking test.
The IELTS Speaking test takes place in an in-person interview format between the examiner and test taker. In fifteen minutes, the latter will be asked a series of questions to assess their ability to hold a proper conversation.
You might ask yourself, how hard can a Speaking test be? It may be one of the simpler parts but don’t be fooled. It’s easy to get carried away without proper preparation.
Want to learn how to stay focused on the task at hand and not go overboard? Here are 6 useful tips to keep in mind that will help you ace your Speaking test!
6 tips to ace your IELTS Speaking test without overdoing it!
1. Focus on your experience
As tempting as it may seem to make stories up, you may want to stick to sharing your personal experiences as much as possible.
Some test takers may slip in a little white lie or elaborate backstory about their background to appear more interesting to the examiner. While there isn’t an official rule against it, fabricating phony stories doesn’t increase your score. It’s a Speaking test and not a personality test after all.
Instead, use your personal interests and unique life experiences to make your conversation as natural as possible.
Doing this allows you to focus more on your pronunciation and intonation rather than forming a story itself.
2. Don’t worry about your examiner’s opinion
When conversing with the examiner, it’s easy to over analyze their body language and responses, which would eventually lead to overthinking what they think about you.
Test takers always need to remember that this isn’t an attack on your opinions and beliefs. The only thing examiners are after is to assess your use of language and how well you demonstrate your speaking ability.
It’s also perfectly normal for examiners to interrupt test takers mid-sentence to ask additional questions and take the conversation even further.
So, don’t worry too much about the examiner’s opinion of you. All you need to focus on is yourself and your delivery.
3. Don’t over rehearse - Be conversational
Trying to memorise perfectly crafted answers isn’t the best strategy to ace the IELTS Speaking test. Doing so might leave you sounding like a monotonous robot reading off of a script.
Examiners are highly trained to spot memorised answers, which never bodes well for test takers. Scripted responses don’t give examiners an accurate gauge of your ability to communicate in English, which may eventually lead to lower scores.
Instead, make use of what you already know and don’t be afraid to be conversational.
The IELTS Speaking test is probably the only examination where you can afford to be more casual and lighthearted, so take advantage of it!
4. Use your anxiety to score better
This Speaking test tip is rarely talked about. But sometimes, your nerves may be the key to securing better scores.
Getting mental blocked is completely normal for test takers. So rather than being paralysed by it, why not take advantage of that?
Instead of just staying silent or using way too many filler words, take a pause and consider using native phrases such as: “I’m so sorry, my mind just went blank” or “I’m not really sure, but if I had to say..”.
These simple sentences can demonstrate your flexibility and use of other language resources effectively.
5. Don’t over agree with the examiner if you have differing opinions
Most students believe that the way to better scores is by constantly agreeing with anything and everything the examiner says. On the contrary, this isn’t the case.
Just because you have different views from your examiner doesn’t mean the conversation is any less engaging.
At the end of the day, trying to impress the examiner by “sharing the same sentiments” as them isn’t what will get you high grades. It’s about how you carry a conversation while demonstrating coherence, good grammar, and pronunciation.
If you happen to disagree with any of their statements, think of a way to acknowledge it in a respectful manner.
6. Don’t fake a native accent or slang
For students with strong, native accents that are local to their home country, don’t worry about being penalised for it. Having a natural accent or slang will not have any effect on your test score.
But if you don’t have an accent whatsoever, please don’t try to fake one. Test takers will not be evaluated for how “interesting” they sound or their ability to successfully carry out a unique accent.
All you have to do is focus on the components that will actually be assessed including fluency, grammar, and pronunciation of your conversation.
Ace your IELTS Speaking test with IDP!
The key to acing the IELTS Speaking test is to strike the perfect balance between adequate preparation and simply being yourself. Your goal is to sound as natural as possible and not overdo it.
For those who could use more tools and guidance during the preparation process, IDP has a wealth of resources students can tap into.
All you have to do is to download the IDP app to gain access to exclusive prep materials.
Book your IELTS test today and we will take it from there!