Ten Tips for the IELTS Speaking Exam

During the IELTS Speaking Exam the examiner will assess you on four different skills, which are:

  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy
  • Fluency and Coherence
  • Lexical Resource
  • Pronunciation

The examiner will award you a band score, ranging from 1-9, for each of these criteria. Each criterion is given equal importance so your overall band score will be an average of the 4 marks.

Here are ten tips for the IELTS Speaking Exam, which will help you to improve your score:

1. Before the exam

Develop your vocabulary:

  • Tips for the IELTS Speaking ExamRead newspapers, magazines and novels.

This will help you to develop a wide range of grammar usage and good control over sentences, which is essential for achieving a band score over 6.

  • Watch English movies and YouTube videos.

Read up on the subjects which are most likely to occur in the IELTS exam, which includes work, school, entertainment, literature, technology, family, sport, music, health and the environment. This will enable you to speak about these topics in the exam.

  • Practise answering mock tests.

Try to use a variety of sentence types and tenses in your answers.

  • Practise speaking everyday.

Find a native English speaker who you can speak with, either in person or online. Practise showing confidence by maintaining regular eye contact.


2. During the Exam

  • Maintain regular eye contact with the examiner.

You don’t need to look at him/her all the time but try to look at the examiner for some of the time as that will keep their attention and is normal when having a conversation with somebody and demonstrates confidence.

  • Just speak fluently.

Do not focus on grammar or accent or pronunciation during the test; a few grammar mistakes are allowed. The examiner will be looking for fluency and coherence.

  • Stick to the subject

Do not deviate because you’ll lose points even if you are very fluent.

  • Use PREP

Try to answer the examiner’s questions with more than 1 or 2 words. Instead use the PREP method, which is Point, Reason, Example, Point.

  • Speak!!

Don’t expect the examiner to guide you as to what to say. If you don’t say much the test could be over pretty quickly.

  • Ask!

If you don’t understand a question, then ask the examiner to repeat it.  Don’t try to answer it if you have not understood the question. You won’t lose marks if you ask for a question to be repeated.

  • Listen carefully

Listen carefully to the questions so that you can answer them correctly.  For example, if the examiner asks you about something that happened in the past, then ensure that your answer is in the past tense.

Follow these Ten Tips for the IELTS Speaking Exam and you will do well in the exam.

There is nothing better than to practice speaking with a native English speaker for improving your score in theIELTS Speaking Exam so ask about our lessons by Skype and get a free assessment.

Paul Andreas

Paul Andreas is a Certified Speaking Coach and qualified TEFL Teacher Online English Lessons delivered by Skype for IELTS exam preparation and conversational English. Get a free trial lesson.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. PeterNureyev

    Reading novels and listening to podcasts has helped me a lot! I love podcasts especially; there are a lot of great English ones, and very funny! I enjoy My Brother, My Brother, and Me, and The Penumbra Podcast. Also King Falls AM. Some are comedy, some tell stories, and others are about news, I find myself practicing more because I want to understand them better.

  2. Paul Andreas

    Peter, reading is a great idea and so are podcasts. Even more effective would be to purchase the audio version of the book as well and to read along at the same time as the speaker. This would improve your comprehension and your accent.

  3. Ngola Rose

    I would like to reemphasize the fact that sticking to the word count for each answer is very important. Exceeding the expected word count for a question can be a potential cause for low grades even when the given answers were correct.

  4. Godswill Wrights

    Employing the “Point, Reason, Example, Point (PREP) is a very great idea to make it big, especially when it comes to the IELTS speaking exams. Generally, simple answers are good, but in the speaking exams, limiting yourself to a few, one or two words answer will give an examiner the impression that you aren’t sure of your answers or probably that you don’t have an in-depth knowledge of what you are saying.

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