Speaking Hints & Tips

  1. May happen on a different day: The speaking module may not happen on the same day as the other modules. The speaking module may take place the day before, the day after, or the day of the exam. It also may not happen in the same location. If it occurs the day of the exam, you will have time for a lunch break. The day and time of the test may not be chosen. Test date and time are disclosed several days beforehand, so it is important to check your email regularly for updates.
  2. Face-to-face: The speaking test is done one-to-one, face-to-face, just you and the examiner. The test will be recorded.
  3. Know the speaking tasks: You should be familiar with the three tasks and what kinds of questions you can expect from each one. In Task 1, since everyone who comes into the room has to have the questions in common, there are a limited number of questions that can be asked. Live action IELTS Speaking videos can be found on youtube.
  4. Answer questions using full sentences: If they ask you your name, you should not simply respond “Liz”. Speaking in full sentences. Repeat the question back to them, paraphrasing and elaborating if at all possible. “My name is Elizabeth, but people call me Liz.”
  5. Don’t make the examiner ask you “Why?”: Give details to support all of your answers, even if the question is a simple yes/no. For instance, “Do you like to dance?” may be answered with “I do love to dance thanks to my mother, who taught me how to waltz when I was in primary school.” If the examiner thinks you have given too much information, they will stop you and continue on with the next question.
  6. Don’t worry if the examiner cuts you off midsentence: The speaking test can last just 11-14 minutes and you must be asked a certain number of questions so that the examiner can gauge your understanding and speaking ability.
  7. Present yourself well: Use good posture, don’t fidget, look the interviewer in the eyes (don’t always look down or around the room), don’t stutter, speak clearly. In a nutshell, the same rules apply for a job interview as for the speaking test.
  8. Fluency is vital: Speaking fluently and confidently is more important than finding the right word. If you can’t remember a vocabulary word, explain the idea.
  9. Be expressive: Use hand gestures, joke, smile, be witty, funny, and be monotone (modulate your voice tone).
  10. Alter the question: You may be asked a question about which you have no information. For instance, “Tell me about a popular form of art in your country.” If you have no idea about art, you may not say “I don’t know, I’m not into art.” However, you may try to rephrase the question in the same way, but alter the idea about which you have no information. “I am afraid I don’t know much about art, but may I tell you about a popular form of public entertainment in my country?” The examiner may say yes or may insist that you answer the original question, but points will not be taken for asking pertinent questions.
  11. Take notes during Task 2: Again, take notes in Task 2! It is a mistake not to. It is important to organize your thoughts and write down some key vocabulary you may use. If you are prone to blanking out (forgetting what you were going to say), you may be glad that you have your notes to help you out.
  12. Keep it interesting: Think up some interesting answers to common questions. Remember that the IELTS examiner talks to dozens of students each day. Boring and common answers may not get you the points that you want. For example, if you are asked, “What do you do for fun?”, don’t say “I watch television.” It may be true, but it is boring. Instead of that, try something like, “I love to run, so if I have spare time, I usually go for a jog on the seaside.”
  13. Task 3 requires more detail: In Task 3, giving examples is imperative. Feel free to be chatty and talkative. Tell a story or a joke, give an example from your life something famous and well-known.