IELTS: Speaking Test
The IELTS speaking test can often be the hardest for candidates. You have to remember your English but you have to fight your nerves as well! This video gives you an idea of the type of interview that you can expect.
IELTS candidates are assessed on their performance in an interview that shouldn’t take longer than 14 minutes. This may seem like a very long time to do a speaking test in a foreign language but in reality it is a very short time for a candidate to really show off their English speaking skills. Apart from your preparation the best thing you can do is to relax and enjoy the interview. IELTS assessors are not there to frighten you and will do there best to make you comfortable so that you speak English as well as you possibly can.
Here’s a little more useful information about the IELTS speaking test:
- Examiners have been trained to make sure they judge you fairly and honestly. Examiners come from any country where English is spoken as a native language.
- IELTS examiners are all professional teachers with advanced degrees. They understand the test is difficult. They will be patient with you and will do their best to make sure you are relaxed.
What will the IELTS examiner be listening for?
- Pronunciation - Speak clearly and don’t rush through your answers. Pronunciation only becomes a real problem if it stops the examiner from understanding what you saying.
- Vocabulary - Be very careful with vocabulary! Do not try and use words that you are unsure of just because you think they sound more ‘advanced’ or ‘academic’. Students often think using difficult words improves their speaking score. However, the risk is that using words incorrectly will actually lower your score - keep to words and expressions that you are sure of!
- Sentence Structure - Keep your sentences clear and well organized. Avoid rambling sentences or sentences that finish midway through and are left hanging.
- Fluency and Coherence - Fluency and coherence have a lot to do with pacing and organization - don’t speak too fast, you’ll just get lost in your own words and ideas and do try to keep your ideas ordered and structured. Don’t pause too often as this also leaves a negative impression. Practice speaking slowly before the interview until you have a good and even fluency and gradually increase the speed of your delivery up to a level where you feel comfortable answering any question.
How you are scored
- If your speaking is unclear, you make a lot of hesitations, your sentences are poorly structured or your vocabulary is often weak then you will be Band 4 or below.
- To achieve a Band 5 you must be able to make simple sentences easily and without making a lot of mistakes
- For Band 6 - make and use longer sentences with fewer hesitations. Correctly use a variety of language. A few small mistakes will be allowed as long as your meaning is clear. You should also be able to paraphrase (restate a text, story or passage, using other words).
- For Band 7 - Ybe able to vary your sentences and connect the sentences correctly. Use and understand difficult vocabulary. Very small mistakes will be permitted if your meaning is clear. You should be able to paraphrase very well.
- For Band 8, you need a very wide vocabulary and the ability to speak fluently on any topic. You may make a few tiny errors, if those errors do not get in the way of communication.