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For anyone hoping to pursue an education or a career in an English-Speaking country, the IELTS Test is one of the most important tests s/he will ever take. It is important for any candidate to maintain a good score in all sections individually (Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing) and that is why the Speaking section is one of the most feared sections among candidates, assuming from what I have seen in my tenure as an IELTS instructor.
The speaking section involves a one-on-one live interaction with an invigilator. The section requires us to speak continuously in English in front of an examiner where the examiner asks us multiple questions to judge our English language proficiency: quite apparent why that might seem intimidating to some people.
That can be changed though and here are 7 important strategies that will help you do just that. I must state that these tips and tricks don’t promise you higher scores but rather guides you on a path designed to maximize your possibility of getting amazing scores.
1. First impressions:
Ace it from the beginning. Don’t start your answers with short, small replies. Reply with an answer that is informative, interesting and related to the question.
For example, ‘’What kind of games do children like to play these days?’’
Don’t say, “Video Games”
Say, ‘’Children these days like to play video games which are electronic games that consist of interaction with a user interface to create visual feedback on the screen.’’
Proficiency is a thing which develops with time and it might be hard to provide similar answers if you are a beginner However, the gist is, address the question in your answer and provide an informative reply.
2. Body language
Sit comfortably with a relaxed posture. A relaxed posture has been scientifically shown to decrease nervousness, and this can create a strong impression that you are proficient and thus relaxed.
Use hand gestures when speaking. Using hand gestures has a positive impact on cognitive processing and improves verbal proficiency
And finally, nod your head while listening. That’s a part of the communication that people often forget.
It is a key factor based on which you will be judged on in your IELTS Speaking exam.
Having a good vocabulary is not just about knowing lots of words and phrases but also to know how to use them.
If you use slang in the exam, it might sound inappropriate. Like you should say ‘Brilliant!’ or ‘Excellent!’ instead of ‘Wicked!’ Equally, some words that are extremely informal or old-fashioned are not often used in speaking, and might also sound inappropriate. Like, avoid saying ‘’yeah or nah’’. It is informal. You should say ‘’yes or no’’
You can always exploit the vocabulary in the questions. For example, you might be asked about a time when you watched a game, and then you can use the vocabulary to talk about how and where you watched the match.
Or you may be asked to describe a person you admire. Then you could describe an athlete and talk about his/her skills and the sports he/she was in.
Try to use and transfer vocabulary you have learned to other exam questions.
It is very important as it accurately expresses how you feel, and thus will increase your chances of getting a good score. Intonations are used to express emotion and excitement. Express the emotions with your voice, pitch and facial expressions too.
The best way to improve your intonation is to listen to how English-speakers say something, as well as what they say.
You need to use intonation properly when you are telling a stirring story. Without the presence of proper intonation, the story will seem less exciting or engaging.
For example, ‘’when it happened, I was shocked!’’ the pitch of our voice needs to go up at the last word, accompanied by appropriate expressions.
5. Fillers and Fluency
It is essential so that you keep talking and do not spend a long time in silence while you think about your answers. So, while you are thinking use phrases like:
- “That’s an interesting question.”
- “As a matter of fact, I got to know about it recently.’’
- “This is a current topic in my country.” Etc.
Fill the gap with an appropriate and relevant filler. Even if you are thinking, state, “Nice question. This definitely needs some thinking on my part to answer’, while you are mentally preparing your answer.
6. Grammar and Sentence Structures
Have a strong grasp on subject-verb agreement and tense. Grammatical mistakes can leave a really bad impression.
In order to show a solid grasp of the language, you need to use a variety of sentence structures. So, do not just use short simple sentences, even if they are correct. It is better to try using complex sentences sometimes to give off the vibe that you have attained fluency.
7. Pronunciation and Composure
Pronunciation can affect how the invigilator will judge your fluency.
If you have a noticeable problem with a particular sound, your score will be limited to 6 or 6.5.
If the examiner has difficulty in understanding parts of what you are saying because of you mispronouncing words, you will be restricted to 5.0/5.5.
Make sure the words you pronounce are distinct, clear and easy to understand.
Lastly, always maintain your composure. if you don’t know the answer to a question, think about it and try to find a relevant answer. And if you fail simply say to the invigilator that you don’t know the answer to that particular question.
Finally, practice English as much as you can in your daily life. Have conversations with your friends in English. Find a partner with whom you can comfortably speak English and read a lot of books. This will help you to get rid of your nervousness, anxiety, and uneasiness.
There’s nothing to be afraid of in IELTS Speaking part. Just make sure you relax, take your time and express yourself as best you can when you are in there. Good luck on the journey of mastering a beautiful language and not just an exam.
This article’s audiobook is read by Rafsan Lazim.
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