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IELTS Preparation tips

The best ways to study for the four IELTS sub-tests: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking

6 Tips to Instantly Lift Your Listening Score

The Listening test in IELTS can be tricky, for a number of reasons.

Some people have trouble following the recording and get lost, missing a number of questions in a row. Others look at the wrong question, at the wrong time, and miss their chance to answer it correctly. Then there are the distractors – answer options that are designed to trick you into thinking they are the correct answers. There isn’t enough time to read the questions before the recording starts playing. And as if all this wasn’t enough, people lose marks just because their ‘almost correct’ answers had too many words or spelling errors.

You know what… don’t stress over it.

Here is a video that shows you how to deal with all of these problems (and more!) to make sure you train yourself to avoid all the pitfalls and get a great score in Listening.

It’s just four minutes, but it can save you a lot of time and trouble – so give it your full attention and you will be glad you did.

After watching, visit our IELTS Online Prep platform and start practicing. It’s a great tool for your online practice sessions that comes with a generous free trial. The way our practice tests look and work is very similar to the real IELTS on Computer and IELTS Online tests, so you won’t have any surprises in your exam.

Sign up for free or log in with Google and see for yourself!

IELTS Speaking Band 7, Full Test with Examiner’s Feedback (Aleks)

In this video you will watch Aleks take a mock Speaking Test – it shows you what happens on the test day in the real examination room. Due to COVID19 precautions there may be a plexiglass screen between you and the examiner, and you may be required to wear a face mask for your Speaking test. It is a good idea to ask your IELTS test centre about this, so that you know what to expect.

The questions our examiner is asking Aleks are on topics that often come up in real IELTS Speaking exams. You can find the exact questions in Speaking Test 20 in the “High Scorer’s Choice” IELTS Practice Tests book series.

There are 3 parts in the IELTS Speaking Test.

In Part 1 the examiner asks personal questions on everyday topics, such as your job or studies, your home, your family or friends, your habits, likes and dislikes.

Part 2 is different, because there is no discussion in it. Instead, you receive a topic card (cue card) to talk about for 1 to 2 minutes, with 4 bullet points you should cover in your talk. Part 2 is the only part of the Speaking test where you get 1 minute preparation time and you can write down some ideas to talk about. This doesn’t happen in Part 1 or Part 3.

In Part 3 the examiner asks you questions related to Part 2 topic. You are expected to give longer, more elaborate answers and talk in-depth about the topics your examiner brings up.

How can you make the most of this Speaking test video?

1. Get familiar with everything that happens in the Speaking test. It will help you feel prepared when it’s your turn.

2. Listen to the questions the examiner asks and note how Aleks answers them. Then think about what YOU would say in response to these questions.

3. Spot Aleks’ mistakes and avoid them when you speak.

4. Go over Examiner’s Feedback below to learn how he rated Aleks’ performance and why (he also points out some of his mistakes!)

5. You can even use this as a Listening exercise, and switch on subtitles on YouTube to understand every word on the recording.

Watch the video on YouTube here:

Examiner’s Feedback

This section shows you what goes on in the examiner’s mind when he rates a Speaking test. Make sure you read this before looking at the scores he gave Aleks in every criterion, because this explains the reasons he got those scores.

Speaking Test, Part 1 – 0:20

Aleks was pretty fluent and coherent. He answered all the questions capably, but he didn’t often use longer and developed sentences, which I would have preferred. His vocabulary range was good and he had no problem accessing the right language for what he wanted to say. Aleks’ grammar was very accurate, though not without error, i.e. saying “less bicycles” instead of “fewer bicycles”. Aleks had a small accent, but this did not affect communication in any way.

Speaking Test, Part 2 – 5:00

The cue card Aleks was given is below:

Describe a successful businessman/businesswoman that you know. You should say:

– who he/she is and how you know him/her
– what his/her business is
– how you think this person’s business will do in the future
– and explain why you think he/she is successful

Aleks’ section 2 was fine, though he struggled a little to keep going and he was often a bit generalised and vague. There was a pause at the start and there were a number of pauses through his speech. Again, his sentences were also not often really well developed. So, although Aleks provided enough speech, his fluency and coherence was a bit fragmented at times. Aleks’ lexical choices were good, though he did not show much range and repeated “thing” too much. Aleks’ grammar was good, though again there was not a great range of structure. There was only some very minor error, i.e. “until he can” right at the end. Aleks’ pronunciation was again very good.

Speaking Test, Part 3 – 7:37

Aleks gave a nice section 3. The more complex questions allowed him to develop his sentences in a better way, though there were some pauses again, especially in the second half as Aleks considered answers and sometimes tried to access language. In general, I felt his fluency and coherence were a little better. Aleks’ vocabulary was good and he showed some more high-level language, i.e. “tangible”, while giving his nice answer on motivation. There were also some awkward vocabulary moments, i.e. “convert to”. There were the same occasional awkward moments with grammar (i.e. “an eye contact” and “improve on being”) and again some lack of grammatical range, but there were few errors. Aleks’ accent was again slight and did not affect communication in any way.

Aleks’ IELTS Speaking score

The marking of the IELTS Speaking Test is done in 4 parts.

Fluency and Coherence 7
Lexical Resource 7
Grammatical Range and Accuracy 7
Pronunciation 8

Estimated IELTS Speaking Band 7

Need more Speaking tests with Examiner’s feedback? Find them in High Scorer’s Choice book series.

If you’d like to get your own Speaking evaluated, you can – go here to learn how.