Skip to content

Speaking tips

How to prepare for the IELTS Speaking test, tips and techniques that helped test takers improve and raise their score

The 3 Mistakes in IELTS Speaking That Kill Your Score

The 3 Mistakes in IELTS Speaking That Kill Your Score

Different mistakes have a different effect on your IELTS score – some are minor and won’t do much damage, but others can undo all the hard work you’ve done preparing for the test.

These 3 mistakes are something you really need to avoid because they can kill your score in the IELTS Speaking test.

Mistake #1: Mumbling or speaking too quietly

If the examiner has to work extra hard to hear what you’re saying, you score will reflect it. This mistake affects your Fluency and Coherence score, and when it drops, your overall Speaking score goes down with it.

Tip: Speak up and make occasional eye contact with the examiner – but don’t stare at him/her! Staring is considered impolite in the Western culture.

Mistake #2: Answering questions with just a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’

In the IELTS Speaking test the examiner isn’t conducting a survey about your likes and dislikes. The reason they ask you questions is to hear you SPEAK as much as possible. What you are saying (your message) isn’t as important as HOW you’re saying it. A good answer combines an idea that you express in a logical way with suitable vocabulary.

Tip: answer the question and then add a sentence explaining why, when or where or what.

Mistake #3: Talking about a something else instead of what you’ve been asked.

Sometimes test takers hear the question but forget it or get distracted and start talking about something that is perhaps related – but not quite what the examiner asked.

Example: If the examiner asks you what you like drinking, tea or coffee, don’t start talking about vegetarian dishes being your favorite or some types of food you like.

Why? You will lose marks for Fluency and Coherence and then even if you get a 7 in all the other criteria, your total Speaking score will still be just 6.5.

This is why I recommend bookmarking this post about the 3 mistakes and reminding yourself not to make them every time you practice in speaking, and especially on your test day.

How many of these mistakes are you making? Let me know in the comments!

4 Practical Steps to Get a Band 7 in IELTS Speaking in 2024

4 Practical Steps to Get a Band 7 in IELTS Speaking in 2024

Are you preparing to take the IELTS test in 2024? Many students find Writing and Speaking to be the harder skills to master, so here some effective strategies to help you tackle the test with confidence and ensure a Band 7 in the Speaking module.

Important facts about the IELTS Marking Criteria

Before diving into the preparation strategies for the IELTS Speaking test, it’s crucial to understand the assessment criteria that determine your overall band score.

The Speaking examiners use four criteria to mark your test: Fluency and Coherence, Lexical Resource (Vocabulary), Grammatical Range and Accuracy, and Pronunciation. Each criterion is equally weighted, and to achieve a Band 7 in the Speaking test, you must get a Band 7 in each individual criterion. With this in mind, here are the most effective ways to make sure your preparation is as focused and effective as it can be.

1. Podcasts to Improve Your Pronunciation and Vocabulary

Podcasts are a goldmine for rapidly improving your pronunciation and expanding your vocabulary. Listening to native speakers articulate words and phrases and repeating after them (a technique called ‘shadowing’) can significantly lift your pronunciation. Choose podcasts that cover a range of topics and get the double benefit of working on your pronunciation and vocab at the same time!

While listening, pay close attention to the intonation, stress, and rhythm of the speakers. Mimic their pronunciation to enhance your spoken English. Additionally, podcasts introduce you to new words and expressions in context – use them when you answer IELTS Speaking questions.

2. Guidance from a Teacher to Speed Up Your Progress

Since it’s hard to self-assess your Speaking and self-diagnose the issues stopping you from scoring a band 7, enlisting the help of a skilled teacher can be a game-changer. Working one-on-one with a teacher allows you to receive personalised feedback on your pronunciation, grammar, and fluency.

Teachers are great at identifying specific areas where you struggle and providing personalised strategies for improvement. A teacher’s expertise can pinpoint your weaknesses and guide you towards substantial progress much faster than trying to do it yourself.

3. Speaking Club as Your Daily Practice Routine

Consistent practice is key to mastering any skill and it will work wonders for your IELTS Speaking test. Your confidence will quickly increase and you will become much more comfortable with answering the test questions. You will quickly discover areas for improvement and be able to address any issues prior to your exam. Needless to say your initial hesitation, nerves and fear of speaking will dissipate and you will start enjoying having conversations in English.

4. VIP Club for Topic-specific Vocabulary

Staying updated on the latest trends and questions asked in the IELTS Speaking test is crucial. The VIP Club is a unique website for accessing specific vocabulary tailored to the most recent test questions. Regularly visit the VIP Club to stay up to date and, as many of our VIP members, you could get a surprisingly high number of questions you already studied for, in your real test!

The VIP Club provides daily insights into the latest topics and trends, helping you prepare for potential questions. It will supply you with the right vocabulary and allow you to feel more confident talking on any topic you may get in the real test.