Hey! Today Nick and I are continuing our “Let’s do” series by completing a full IELTS speaking test. First, you will get a chance to answer the questions in a similar way to the real exam, and then you can listen on as Nick (our very own native speaker who is an ex-examiner) attempts the same test. That way you can listen to how the test is actually conducted and compare your answers to his. Plus, you will be getting the opportunity to hear what a Band 9.0 test sounds like!
Below, you can find a summary of the episode, which includes all of the links to useful materials and the times of each part of the discussion (so you can go directly to the part you want to listen to) 🚀
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What ONE tip would Nick and I give you for each part of the test?
In an exam environment, you really don’t want to be focussing on anything other than simply listening to the examiner’s questions carefully and answering them as directly as you can. However, having a simple thought in your mind at the start of each section can you to perform at your best. What should those thoughts be? Here is what Nick and I would advise:
- Nick: Answer the question using as many sentences as you need. Too many students either try to answer every Part 1 question in two sentences or less, or feel that they should keep on speaking until the examiner interrupts them. In my experience, it is better to simply answer the question naturally. Some answers will be short; other will be long. That is FINE!
- Shelly: My advice would be to pay careful attention to the tense of the question and make sure you mirror that tense in your answer. For example, if you are asked about the past, make sure you use past tenses! Pay special attention to question that use “would” – remember, they are not asking what you really do in real life, but what you would do in an ideal world.
- Nick: Don’t think of the cue card as 4 separate questions. Yes, there are 4 bullets, but you are really being asked to discuss one experience, so try to approach your two minutes like you are telling ONE story rather than 4. This will help with your fluency and coherence.
- Shelly: Remember to add details. I have tested so many students who could have easily spoken for 2 minutes if they had simply given me more details at every step of their turn. Remember, the examiner does not know you so you may want to start your story by giving them some background information to set the scene.
- Nick: Obviously my advice here is going to be “don’t give personal examples”. You have spent the first two parts of the exam talking about yourself, so now try to show the examiner that you can talk about abstract topics.
- Shelly: If you are aiming for a 7.5 or an 8.0, try to make sure that you address the question as accurately as possible. Too many high levels students think that it is enough to talk about the general topic of the questions (i.e. social media) but the students who get the best scores are those who are able to focus only the core of the question.
Why your full IELTS speaking test practice will not 100% the same as the real exam
In the episode, you will be given a chance to listen and respond to a full set of IELTS questions. This is how the “test” will work:
- For parts 1 and 3, I will read the questions. You can pause the recording to give your answer. I will not leave a long space for you to answer each question as the length of your response should be different for each question.
- In Part 2, after I have given you the topic, there will be a 60 second space in the recording for you to prepare your answer, and then a 2-minute gap for you to complete your long-turn.
However, although this will give you an excellent chance to practice your speaking, the test will not feel 100% the same as the real exam. This is because in a recording,
- the examiner cannot ask you “why” or “why not” in Part 1
- the examiner cannot interrupt you or ask follow up questions in Part 3 (which they definitely will do)
- the examiner cannot show you the cue card. In this test, I will read the full cue card, but in the real exam the examiner will simply hand you the cue card and you will read the bullets.
That is why when your full IELTS speaking test practice ends, we will repeat the same questions with Nick. That way, you will hear what a genuine test sounds like and have the chance to compare your answers to his.
Would you like to take a mock IELTS speaking test with Nick or Shelly?
Want to know what a real test feels like and what your scores would be if you took the test today? Then why not sign up for a mock speaking test with us? The session include a full test in exam conditions (this will be 100% the same as the real exam and feedback on your performance including accurate bands for all four of the marking criteria.
Plus, we will advise you which areas you should focus on to improve you score most quickly. You may find that small changes in your test technique can drastically improve your score for Fluency and Coherence, or you may have grammar or pronunciation issues you were previously unaware of – no matter what your current problem areas are, we promise to find them!
You can sign up for a test for just £14.99 on this link.