Education, Language

Thinking on Your Feet: How to Answer IELTS Speaking Questions

One of the things that are considered important in the International English Language Test System’s (IELTS) Speaking examination is spontaneity. Spontaneity, to put simply, is being able to answer questions thrown at you without too many pauses or hesitation. This is affected by two things: language ability and idea generation. Does this mean that if you do not have any ideas you may actually fail the IELTS Speaking Test?

Yes and no.


There are many ways of making sure that you do not lose your spontaneity during the IELTS Speaking Test. Here are some tips you can try out.


1. Research the common questions that are used in the examination. Imagine this: IELTS speaking examiners having a test question box. This is a metaphor to say that they have a test bank and this is where questions are often taken from. This is why questions are sometimes repeated. There is no harm in familiarizing yourself with old questions as they may come up during your exam. You can do this by going online or by asking your friends who have taken the exam regarding the questions they encountered.


2. Fill your brain with ideas. This is really the best solution, particularly for Speaking Task 3. The IELTS has general themes in terms of questions: climate, education, gender equality, health, and so on and so forth. Ideas about these things are accessible at a clock of a finger because of the Internet. Spend time reading articles, watching videos, and talking with people who know about these things. This is especially helpful, because the same topics are usually used in the Writing examination. Besides, it pays to know more about the world.


3. Lie. This is by far one of my favorite solutions when stuck in a rut. If, for instance, you are asked about the best vacation you have ever been to, but you have never really been anywhere, answering “none” is really a conversation ender. Not good if you are taking the IELTS Speaking Exam. Lie and keep the discussion going.


Remember the goal of the speaking exam, the goal is to speak and speak and speak and speak and to prove that you can speak. The lack of ideas and the inability to answer questions just because you can not think on your feet defeats this purpose. Spontaneity plays an important role to your IELTS speaking exam result. Practice as much as you can.


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