Effective Ways of Answering the IELTS Speaking Exam


Many people find the Speaking subtest of the International English Language Test System quite a challenge. I do not blame them – the examination is 11-14 minutes, which means you have about that much time to prove that you can speak the language fluently. That is quite a challenge. Practicing with your friend or family member is fine and practicing with your coach at an IELTS review center is most certainly educational, but just to help you out, here are some tips on how to answer the IELTS Speaking Test better.

  1. 1.       Avoid one-word answers. Think about this: you are being assessed by someone who knows nothing about your English skills. If you answer with a plain “yes” or “no” to your interviewer’s questions, and a three-year-old in your country can say “yes” or “no”, then, in the interviewer’s point of view, your English language skill is equivalent to that of a three-year old.
  2. 2.       There is always a hidden “why” in IELTS speaking exam questions. This means elaborate. If you are asked in your interview “What is your favorite color”, you must say what your favorite color is and explain why this is your favorite color. If you are asked what course you took up in college, this means saying where you finished the said course or, if it is something a bit unfamiliar to many people, explain briefly what that course is.
  3. 3.       “I don’t know” and “I gave no idea” are end-of-the-world, last resort statements. Make sure you can talk about anything under the sun. The two statements above are sentences that you should never use, unless you really have no idea about the topic. Which leads us to tip number 4.
  4. 4.       Have an opinion on everything. The IELTS Speaking examination is about anything under the sun. It can be as mundane as your everyday life or the movies you prefer watching. It can be as highly intellectual as the advantages and disadvantages of genetic engineering, nuclear power, the environmental implications of globalization, or  how culture affects the care for the aging population. It does not matter whether you are taking the Academic or General Training module – you may be asked these questions. This means part of your prep should include broadening your stock knowledge about a lot of topics, just in case you have to talk about it.

The IELTS speaking examination is not really difficult. Remember the ultimate goal: prove that you can speak.

Good luck!

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