The Speaking Exam

The speaking exam or interview could be described as the easiest part of the IELTS exam. Unlike many other examinations, there is only you and one examiner. The exam has been designed to create the opportunity for you to speak. The topics are related to your and your opinions.

The interview lasts about 12 minutes and there are three stages.

In the first stage you are asked some general questions about yourself, your family or your job.
In the second stage you make a short presentation on a topic such as a teacher you liked, an important festival, or a great day in your life.
The final part is a short discussion on a related topic. For example, if your presentation was on festivals, then the examiner will ask you about the importance of festivals in modern day life and attitudes to them in your grandparent’s day. You may be asked whether you think traditions are being lost in the modern world.

Some pointers for the speaking exam:

The only advice is to try and speak as much as you can and do your best! Your speaking test is based on your accuracy, fluency, range of vocabulary, pronunciation and appropriate use of language.

The speaking test is designed to become more challenging as it progresses.  The early stages allow you time to settle down and relax before you have an opportunity to show off your range of language.

Do not sound rehearsed in the first stage. The examiner will notice this and change to a different topic.
Try to avoid yes / no answers and include some details.
Use the one-minute preparation time to make notes before you speak. You can look at the card and use these ideas to guide you through the presentation.
The presentation gives you a chance to show off the range of tenses you can use and also to use some interesting vocabulary.
In the final part you also have a chance to show off your spoken language skills. You need to answer the questions as fully and fluently as possible and give reasons for your opinions.
If you make a mistake and you notice it then go back and correct yourself – this is what native speakers do!
Pronunciation and intonation are important in this exam. It is generally true that you can make a grammar mistake and people will generally understand you, but if you cannot pronounce clearly then the communication breaks down. If your intonation is flat and you don’t sound interested then the person who is listening to you will think you are not!!

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