IELTS Speaking strategies

Make sure you know what you have to do in the Speaking test and what you are being assessed on. Even good candidates can lose marks because they are not prepared for the requirements of the different parts of the test.

Part 1

Use this part to develop your confidence and fluency. The questions are about you and should be straightforward to answer.

Give full answers but do not talk for too long. Fuller answers are expected in Part 3.

Do not memorise answers. Your examiner will recognise prepared answers and you will not get credit for them.

Part 2

Use the preparation time wisely. Useful notes will help you speak for longer.

Refer to the task card as you talk. The points on the task card are designed to help you structure your talk.

Be aware of how long 2 minutes is. You need to produce a rounded talk that is long enough, but not too long.

Part 3

Make sure you know what the discussion topic is. Your answers need to be relevant to the topic.

Re-phrase the questions in your mind, so that you know what the examiner expects. The questions aim to get you to talk about things using a range of language functions.

Support and extend your answers. You must show that you can discuss the Part 3 topics fully.

All parts

Listen carefully to each question the examiner asks and think about the tenses and vocabulary you should use in your answer. You will get better marks if your answer is grammatically correct and shows a range of vocabulary.

Have some views on typical Part 1 and 3 topics. You cannot discuss topics if you do not have any views. This is especially important for Part 3.

Ask the examiner to repeat a question if you do not understand it. This is much better than talking about something which is irrelevant to the topic.

Try to develop your answers using linkers and structural markers. You will get better marks for fluency if you can sequence ideas, rather than repeating them or hesitating over them.

Speak clearly and use stress and intonation to help you get your points across. This will help improve your marks for pronunciation. Even good speakers can lose marks if they speak much too quickly.