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IELTS advice from Band 9 achiever – Part 6, Speaking tips.

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After a long break we come back to Debashis, who scored Band 9 in IELTS and has shared his tips for success.

Tips for the IELTS Speaking test

Key points – A good vocabulary and content are important, but in my opinion, “Presentation precedes content, fluency precedes vocabulary” for the speaking exam. Adopt good presentation skills (eye-contact, pauses, speaking not too fast or slow). Read up and visualize a few possible questions. Make your answers exciting and passionate.

1. Possessing a good stock of words is important, even more so than the writing exam (where you have the luxury of review and edit). However, fluency takes precedence over vocabulary, and if you feel you have forgotten the words, it is better to display a level of fluency with simple terms you know rather than struggle with numerous pauses while searching for the perfect word.

2. Remember to adopt basic presentation skills.

- Freshen up before the speaking exam (there is usually a gap between the writing and speaking exams).

- Please ensure your breath is fresh by chewing on a few mints. The marker is unlikely to award high marks if he/she is semi-comatose from an examinee’s lethal halitosis.


- Maintain good eye contact with the marker, and adopt a friendly demeanor. Remember that she is there to help you achieve high grades, not stall and obstruct your progress.

- Speak at a reasonable pace, neither too fast or slow. You can practice this by recording your normal speech and monitoring it, or foisting yourself on a good English speaking person and asking for his feedback.

- Modulate your tone. Raise and lower your voice a few times. While I am not advocating yodeling an entire cantata through your larynx, remember that the synonym for boredom is monotony – mono tone.

- Use you hands in an expressive way, but don’t flay them about. Maintain a mild smile, but don’t giggle frivolously.

3. There are many websites that offer a good selection of possible questions. Read these and visualize your answers. This was the one area where I spent 6-7 hours preparing, but the actual questions turned out to be completely different!! Further, the link between the three questions was extremely tenuous, and I was asked to :

- Describe my favorite shop and discuss why I liked it.
- Discuss the shopping habits of my generation.
- Comment on the risks of online shopping.

As such, preparing beforehand will only confer limited benefits, and you need to rely upon your personal skills to get good marks.

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