Top 11 Things to Remember While Attempting the Speaking Task
Two million people attempted IELTS exam last year. To score band 7 and above it is important that you rise above the rest. Do you know how to stand out and be the best amongst many that attempt the speaking task? What are you doing wrong that is making you land a 6 band? Why are you not getting better score in speaking test? If similar questions arise in your mind, read the following important things to be kept in mind while you are speaking in the IELTS exam and find out if you are making one of the following mistakes:
1. Avoid hesitating a lot
Speaking without hesitation is impressive and hence while speaking, especially in the cue card, if you feel you hesitate a lot, focus on this factor by considering it like an alarm that can help you to keep on speaking for long by linking your ideas whenever you are about to hesitate. Another thing is that too much hesitation distracts the listener from understanding your talk, more importantly at the time you are giving your opinion on a topic.
Record your voice and analyse how many times you hesitate and add fillers in your talk. Practice more at home for working on hesitation. Another tip is that you can take little pauses rather than using fillers in speaking.
2. Avoid long pauses or breaks as far as possible
The worst performance can be when a candidate does not respond at all to the question. Almost all the time, he is keeping mum and does not respond. While this is the case for those who get less than 5 Band, it can also happen to those getting 5 or above 5 Band when they take breaks in between when they are speaking, which are noticeable pauses and affect their speaking ability.
Practice speaking for long by recording your voice and count your pauses. Then, try to remove them the next time you speak.
3. Do not memorise any cue card
The biggest mistake in speaking you can do is to memorise the cue card sample answer. Many students try to act smart but this smartness is well detectable by the examiner because he will not only be asking you to speak on a topic but to answer some questions for which you need to respond spontaneously and this is the area you will miss out.
You can actually prepare for speaking the way you would speak for long on an unseen topic. When you feel you are able to speak on just any new question, you will gain confidence and this is what IELTS speaking test is about.
4. Do not often self-correct and repeat what you said before
A very common characteristic found in 5 Band speakers is that they are not confident and hence, they keep on correcting themselves when they speak. Since they feel lack of ideas or content in order to speak for long, they repeat the sentences that they already said before.
Try saying something new or forming new sentences every time you speak. Paraphrasing the questions would help you to initiate speaking so that you can take time to extend your talk.
5. Give special focus on grammar
Speaking accurately is perhaps the most important criterion on the whole. Speaking correctly free from errors of grammar or tense etc. is comparatively important than speaking for long. If you make frequent grammatical errors, your score would get reduced depending upon the number of times you make errors.
Learning grammar and practicing speaking to avoid grammar errors would be helpful. Start taking grammar lessons and read as well as listen to stuff online that will give you a concrete idea on how a sentence is to be formed correctly.
6. Be cautious of your pronunciation
Pronouncing the words correctly is an important factor for assessing speaking skills. In case, you feel that your speaking is more influenced by mother tongue, you definitely need to work on this. The right pronunciation can be learnt by listening to others and watching stuff online. Refer the right source online to understand the pronunciation of a particular word.
Listen to audios online, for example, on YouTube and also practice speaking more. Try to converse more in English with others to improve your pronunciation because while conversing, you will learn a lot from others.
7. Do not use complex vocabulary or idioms incorrectly
While vocabulary is essential, some candidates misinterpret its importance. It is one of the factors of assessment, not the only factor. Same thing is applicable on idioms also because if a person speaks idiomatic language but makes mistakes in grammar, has lack of fluency or coherence, he would lose marks.
Some people try to learn difficult words as well as idioms and they often use them incorrectly. So, using the words or idioms correctly is more important even if those words are of average level.
Do not try to forcefully use difficult words in speaking and writing, use them naturally and correctly.
8. Do not overuse connectives
It is often taught to the students that they should use sentence connectors which can make their speaking effective. But some students misunderstand the concept and try to use more and more of them.
Use the sentence connectors whenever they are required. Never unnecessarily keep on using them which may make your speaking quite unnatural.
9. Speak using complex sentence structures
The way you are forming the sentences to express your thoughts is definitely a very crucial aspect of speaking assessment. If you form simple sentences, the examiner considers it of 6 Band level while if you prefer using complex sentences, it can come up to the level of 7 Band. But remember that you should use complex sentences correctly.
Firstly, read the sample model answers and learn making long sentences. Practice more till you gain familiarity and then only use them in your speaking.
10. Avoid saying something inappropriate or unnatural
Do not be too much technical when it comes to speaking by trying to use connectives, idioms and advanced vocabulary when on the other side, you are losing fluency and naturalness. Incorrect
order of words in the sentences and grammatical errors would add inappropriateness in your speaking. Do not also try to speak something in a new way you had not earlier attempted, it would surely affect your speaking fluency as it would not look natural.
You can always try to say what you are comfortable with and confident about so that it comes out naturally. It takes time to learn new vocabulary and idioms, so you can practice till it becomes perfectly alright for you to use it in speaking. Thus, you should always implement something new after practice only.
11. Answer the follow-up questions relevantly
There is a difference between those candidates who get 6 Band and those who get 7 Band. And this is about speaking precisely and avoiding speaking which is unnecessary as per the question. Those who get 6 Band always have the habit of attempting all the questions and they don’t bother whether what they said was exactly relevant with the question or they were just beating around the bush.
Focus on the quality of your answers rather than the length of your speaking. You would deliver better if you concentrate on the question well.
Speaking fluently will take a lot of practice, but it is not impossible. Keep all the points mentioned above in your mind while practice and it will soon become part of your speech. You will not only see a change in your speaking band score, but also the way you converse with others.
Best of luck!