IELTS Speaking Score 8.5

How to improve your IELTS speaking band score?

This article will help you if you have good understanding of English language and grammar and you manage to speak basic English without grammatical errors.

If you think you can get a good score in real test because you already speak decent English at work or school, think twice. If you go without practice, you will barely manage to get 6.5. Take advantage of our tips and tricks and prepare fully to get band score to your maximum potential.

Structure of the speaking test?

IELTS speaking test is a face to face interview with the examiner for about 15 minutes. These 15 minutes will be intense. Your examiner and you will be in the speaking test room. You will be given a pencil and paper. You will not be allowed to take the paper outside the room after the test is over. Examiner will record the whole conversation and for scoring the test (related topic Should you go for IELTS re-evaluation or remark?). The examiner will start by asking you to introduce yourself followed by 3 more questions. For some questions, you will be given one minute to think and write down your points on the paper. When you speak to the examiner, keep eye contact, answer confidently, and keep talking until examiner asks you another question or stops you. The examiner you speak to is the one who will give you score. So, be courteous to the person and greet her and say thank you at the end of the test. During the test you might have to fabricate your answers if you face a question about incident that you never experienced, but do not worry, your examiner will not judge you for your answer content or the veracity of the story.

How is the speaking test scored?

Fluency and Coherence

– Do not stop abruptly, or until you are stopped.
– Answer should be structured logically
– Be mindful of punctuations, do not speak too fast or too slow
– Pronounce clearly, do not talk in a flat tone, expression is important
– Answer the question, do not lose focus

Lexical Resource

– Use range of words and phrases
– Don’t use a word if you are not sure about the usage

Grammatical Range and Accuracy

– Different grammatical structure – Complex and compound sentences, linking words are the easiest to use
– Range of tense

Breaking down the speaking test

Part 1: Introduction and General Questions

The speaking test will start with the examiner asking you to show your passport. After that they will ask you to introduce yourself. Generally, the first question is about your work or your field of study depending on if you are student or employed. The following question normally based on your answer of the first question. They might ask you if you like your work or why do you like your work. Or the question could be about what you do in the weekends and how you spend you free time. Or you might be asked about the city you live in and things that you like and don’t like about your city and things you would like your city to have.

So, the first part is more or less informal, interactive and easiest to answer. This is the time to get comfortable with the atmosphere, establish a friendly connection with the examiner.

Part 2: Long Turn

In the IELTS speaking part 2 test you will be given a task card on a particular topic, and this will include key points that you should talk about. You will be given one minute to prepare on the topic. A pencil and paper will be provided for you to make notes.

You will have to talk for 1-2 minutes, and then the examiner will ask you one or two questions on the same topic. Part 2 takes 3-4 minutes in total.

Part 3: Analytical Discussion (reasons, effects, comparison, support examples, personal experiences)

Part 3 is primarily follow-up questions from part 2. This part is less structured and more interactive. Instead of concrete thoughts the expressions it should be more abstract and consisting of personal opinions and views.
This part of the exam typically lasts around 4-5 minutes.

This section tests a student’s ability to develop, express, and analyze opinions and arguments. You need to be able to support any argument or opinion you expressed before or site additional arguments to critically respond to examiner’s counter questions.

Dos and Don'ts thums up thumbs down

Dos and Don’ts of speaking test

Use the one minute to write down the highlights of you part 2 answer. If you don’t write it, it will be hard to construct the answer impromptu. This will also help you remember good vocabulary and phases in case it’s a topic that you already prepared.

Do not lose focus on the topic of the question. Some people start with one topic and digress into something completely different. Giving examples is very good but come back to original topic afterwards.

Avoid repetitive use of “um”, “aa”, “yeah”, “like”, “you know”. A good way to correct this issue is to record yourself when you practice and then listen to it to criticize your speaking ability.

If you need to think to gather your ideas, please say “Let me think” and then continue.

Do not speak in too high volume or too low volume. Speak in medium pace so that the examiner can follow you.

Do not use acronyms about your job or area of study that your examiner does not know. If you have to use acronym, make sure you tell the examiner what it means. Treat the examiner as a layman.

Your body language does not matter but you need to show respect and speak humbly. Although, all the examiners are highly trained individuals and their scoring techniques are very uniform, examiner is still a human being. Your arrogance or any misdemeanor may cost you some points.

Do not wear funky clothing on the test day. Your dress does not matter in scoring, but I suggest you treat this exam like a job interview and wear at least semi-formal or business casual clothes.

If you did not understand what your examiner asked you, do not hesitate to ask her “pardon me, could you please repeat that again. Don’t use informal phrases like “say what?”.

Extra Tips

Practice with native speakers if possible or at least with friends who have better English-speaking abilities than you.

For Speaking task 2 and 3 always prepare the topics beforehand. Prepare key speaking points for at least 40 topics from the running quarter. This preparation is to be ready with the highlights of the content in case you get a familiar one. Often, a topic requires more time than 1 minute to come up with decent content. However, it’s highly likely that you won’t get a familiar topic and you have to come up with the content instantly.

Official SPEAKING: Band Descriptors

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