IELTS Academic: 7 Tips To Speak Correctly & Confidently
If you’re wondering how you can achieve a better band score in your IELTS, especially in the Speaking Section, then welcome!
After interacting with hundreds of IELTS aspirants, we have narrowed down the fears, misconceptions & common mistakes that students make when it comes to the IELTS speaking section.
It takes more than just great communication skills, it requires you to have a superior hold on grammar, vocabulary, fluency, diction, pronunciation as well as coherent & confident speech.
At GREedge, we can help you do all that!
Here are 7 Tips To Ace the IELTS Academic Speaking Section
#1: Make a good first impression
This is more to your advantage than the interviewer’s: of course, you are not going to get bonus marks if you smile or shake hands, but it always helps with your own confidence levels and allows you to do your best.
Remember, even though the IELTS may seem thoroughly mechanical, the interview will, at the end of the day, be conducted by people just like you and me.
If you are able to establish a good rapport with the interviewer, it will be easy for you to sail through the interview, and speak clearly and confidently.
Exude confidence and poise, and you will automatically be in a better frame of mind to perform optimally.
#2: Weave stories out of your answers
The most important thing to remember about the IELTS Speaking test is that you are not awarded marks based on truth and veracity.
The second part of the Interview requires you to speak on a particular topic after preparing for about a minute, and it may or may not be something you’re familiar with; for instance, you may be asked to describe a recent incident that you found challenging.
The biggest mistake students do is to waste their precious preparation time racking their brains for the perfect story to tell.
If you find yourself in such a fix and can’t recall any such incident at the drop of a hat, remember, it is perfectly okay to fabricate your story and tell them what you think they might find interesting.
You are being tested on your ability to articulate using good grammar, vocabulary, and rhetoric, and the element of fictionality barely matters here.
Make your story interesting and engaging, interweaving it with idioms, strong vocabulary and grammatical structures, and you’ll be on your way to a 9.
However, don’t forget to stay on topic!
#3: Seek clarifications where needed
Many candidates, fearing negative marking, prefer to keep silent and not answer at all, as opposed to seeking clarifications for questions or words they do not understand.
Don’t worry, asking questions will not reflect negatively on your marks; what will, however, is if you keep quiet instead of answering the question asked.
Say something like “I’m so sorry, I don’t understand what you mean by…” or “Could you please repeat that?” to be clear on what exactly is asked of you.
#4: Abstraction versus narration
What exactly is it that sets apart a 9.0 band scale from a 6.0?
The answer is actually surprisingly simple: details, details, and details.
When you’re answering your second task, you could go about it in two ways—you could narrate an incident factually, as it actually transpired, or you could introduce some abstraction to it, which not only lends your answer nuance and sophistication but also showcases your command over English.
Let me explain.
If you are asked to talk about something that made you angry recently, for instance, you could talk about how you were on a crowded train and an elderly disabled woman was left standing since nobody would vacate a seat for her. That would be narration.
Instead talk about how this situation caused you to think about ageism and how unfairly the elderly are treated in our society, how social values have changed over time, and consequently how this can be mitigated through sensitization programs and a more educated upbringing.
This way, you are bringing something new to the table, and demonstrating your fluency in communicating your awareness of the world around you.
#5: Mistakes are okay!
It is easy to feel dejected or discouraged because of a mistake—it hinders your flow, interrupts your thought process, and makes a bad impression on the listener.
However, mistakes happen to the best of us: even the native speaker isn’t perfect.
If you make a mistake during your speaking test, don’t panic!
The best idea is to pause for a moment, quickly apologize to the interviewer, and correct yourself. This shows the interviewer that you have a good command over the language, and of course, that you know the right answer.
#6: Grammar and fluency trumps vocabulary
It is a tempting prospect to memorize the whole Oxford English Dictionary in a bid to impress your interviewers.
However, before you rush out to the nearest bookstore, do remember that it is far more important to be fluent and grammatically perfect than to rote learn grandiose words and phrases you barely understand.
Of course, your vocabulary is also tested, but how can you hope to build a beautiful house if your foundations are shaky?
GREedge IELTS Tip: Speaking fluidly and articulately always takes precedence over fancy vocabulary!
#7: Practice makes perfect
The easiest, most effective way to ace the Speaking test is to take a look at the sample questions from past IELTS exams and ask a friend or family member to ask you the questions.
This way, your confidence will improve, and your friend will be able to tell you if you are making any mistakes in intonation or pronunciation.
Want to know an IELTS speaking session works?
Check this Speaking Session with GREedge IELTS Student & his personal IELTS Trainer.
We hope you found this article illuminating & useful!
What are some of the IELTS speaking difficulties you face?
Comment below and we’ll reply back with personalized solutions for you!