IELTS Speaking Band 8.5 Full Test with Examiner’s Feedback

The video you are about to watch features a Swedish student, Joanne, who is answering questions from Speaking Test 16 in “High Scorer’s Choice” IELTS Practice Tests book series.

Joanne is doing a full simulated IELTS Speaking test with an examiner, who is asking her typical IELTS Speaking test questions. This video shows you what happens on the test day in the real examination room.

IELTS Speaking Test has 3 parts.

In Part 1 you should expect personal questions on familiar topics, for instance about your job or studies, your home, your family, etc.

Part 2 is different, because you receive a single topic to talk about for 1 to 2 minutes, with 4 bullet points you should cover in your speech. Another difference between Part 2 and the other parts is that in Part 2 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.

Part 3 is a longer discussion where 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.

Here is how you can learn from 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 how Joanne answers them. Then think about what YOU would say in response to these questions.

3. Spot Joanne’s mistakes and avoid them when you speak.

4. Go over Examiner’s Feedback below to learn how he rated Joanne’s performance and why (he also points out some of her 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 Joanne in every criterion, because this explains the reasons she got those scores.

Speaking Test, Part 1 – 0:22

Joanne spoke fluently and confidently in her section 1, showing that she was perfectly comfortable speaking in English. Joanne had an excellent range of lexis that she used and her vocabulary choices were natural and appropriate; there were only rare instances of her using a mildly awkward expression, i.e. “that goes to a certain extent.” Joanne’s grammatical range was always appropriately varied and there was excellent accuracy. Joanne had no discernable Swedish accent and even had a slight U.S. accent. This allowed her communication to be excellent. One criticism of Joanne is that she provided quite short answers and she was short on the required amount of time for section 1. She naturally spoke quite fast, but fuller answers would have put her in a better position.

Speaking Test, Part 2 – 3:28

Joanne was again very fluent and confident. She communicated well and had no problem with the vocabulary and grammar needed for what she had to say. One issue again was that she spoke very fast and frenetically, and she only managed around 38 seconds of speaking, when she needed to produce between 1 to 2 minutes. Slowing down would have helped her and maybe a bit more calm would have allowed to her to realise she had not addressed all the points on the answer sheet – she didn’t really talk about the type of food served (a lot could have been said on this) and the restaurant’s atmosphere was only touched on by saying that it was “open and friendly”. Joanne’s lexis were well chosen and mostly appropriate, with only one slightly awkward collocation, “so much effort”. The grammatical range and accuracy were excellent and again, Joanne’s pronunciation was extremely good, creating the feeling of a native speaker.

Speaking Test, Part 3 – 4:55

Joanne delivered a good section 3 and she provided some intelligent and thoughtful answers. This time, even though she spoke quite fast again, she managed to give fuller answers to the more demanding questions and speak for the required amount of time. She was not quite as fluent as before and she occasionally got a bit tongue-tied (this could have been down to nerves) and she tailed off a bit at one point. In Joanne’s case, the greater difficulty of the questions actually allowed her to show that she had a greater lexis range than was apparent earlier, i.e. “rooted in the history”, “it impacts”, “specific dietary needs”, “lactose intolerant” and “glucose intolerant” are some examples. She also knew some specific scientific vocabulary, i.e. “allergens”. Together, this showed Joanne had an accomplished English vocabulary. Joanne also produced an excellent and accurate grammatical range and was accurate all the way through. Her pronunciation, as before, was of native speaker standard.

Joanne’s IELTS Speaking score

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

Fluency and Coherence 7
Lexical Resource 9
Grammatical Range and Accuracy 9
Pronunciation 9

Estimated IELTS Speaking Band 8.5

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

Got a low Speaking Score in IELTS? Here are the tools to improve it.

Let’s start by shattering two myths.

Myth #1. If you live in a non-English speaking country, your English speaking isn’t good enough because you don’t have anyone to talk to (in English).

Myth #2. If you do live in an English-speaking country, hearing English every day automatically improves your English speaking.

Do you believe that? Because it’s very far from the truth. And the truth is

1. You CAN improve your English speaking even if there’s no one to talk to. Speaking out loud, by yourself is proven to be a very effective way to speak more fluent English.

2. Your English speaking won’t improve through just listening to, reading or writing in English.

“Your English speaking will only improve with active effort and practise” – says Georgie Harding, a knowledgeable and reputable speech pathologist, who has been working with non-native English speakers for 12 years and helped many IELTS test takers to increase their scores by 1 whole band or more.

But what do you apply your effort to? How should you practice?

As you know, in the IELTS test your Speaking is scored on 4 criteria:

  • Fluency & Coherence
  • – you should be talking at the right speed (not too slow OR too fast) and connecting your ideas together.

  • Lexical Resource
  • – you need good vocabulary and to be able to use it well.

  • Grammatical Range & Accuracy
  • – your spoken English should be grammatically correct.

  • Pronunciation
  • – you need to pronounce English well, your examiner should be able to understand you easily. Your pronunciation should not require him/her to concentrate in order to understand what you’re saying!

To improve your IELTS Speaking score there are daily actions you need to take to work on each of these 4 areas. Here are some tools to get you started:

Improving your Fluency & Coherence

Check your speed. If you speak too fast, you make the listener work harder, and also your pronunciation is likely to suffer from it. Watch this video on how and why to improve your rate.

If your English is too slow, it is a sign you need to work on fluency and vocabulary. Watch this video 1 Daily Habit to Fantastic English Fluency and practice for 15 minutes every day.

Improving your Lexical Resource

Using idioms will help. They are also referred to as ‘proverbs’ or ‘figures of speech’ – these are common sayings that have a certain meaning. Here is an example – ‘Back to the drawing board’ means you attempted something, but it failed and now it’s time to start over. Idioms will help you sound closer to a native speaker – but the trick is to use them only when appropriate, that is when the meaning of the idiom fits well in your sentence, and it is also very important that you don’t use them too much.

Using paraphrasing helps you avoid repeating the examiner’s questions – if you’re able to paraphrase, you can express the same idea using different words. For example, if the examiner asks you “How have schools and classrooms changed since you were a child?”, you can start your answer with “When I think of the way schools work nowadays…”, or “Today schools are different from the past because…” or “When I think of the modern classrooms…” – thus avoiding repetition of the question.

Using synonyms and antonyms also helps you sound more varied and less repetitive. For example saying something like “I am not a big fan of hot weather. I find cooler climates more pleasant.” is a good example of using the antonym pair ‘hot-cold’.

Improving your Grammatical Range & Accuracy, and Pronunciation

Did you know that your Pronunciation can affect your score for Grammatical Range and Accuracy? Here is how the two are connected: imagine you’re describing something that happened in the past, but you swallow your past tense endings ‘ed’ in a way they can’t be heard (you sound like ‘smile’ when you say ‘smiled’, or you sound like ‘talk’ when you say ‘talked’, etc). So for example you mean to say “I walked home yesterday from work” but you sound like “I walk home yesterday from work”. To the examiner it would sound like you’re using a present tense verb in a past tense sentence, which is grammatically incorrect and your score for Grammatical Range and Accuracy could suffer.

To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, visit this page that Georgie Harding created especially for IELTS test takers, and learn more about potential pronunciation mistakes, ways to practice and tools to improve your IELTS Speaking score.

Special offer for visitors

If you decide to purchase any of Georgie’s pronunciation courses, we have an awesome gift for you – let us know which of our IELTS books you’d like to receive, and we will email it to you, absolutely FREE! This will save you anywhere from $41 to $90, so do let us know – email and say you enrolled in a Speech Active course, and what book you’d like to get. The books you can choose from are ‘Ace the IELTS’, ‘Target Band 7’, ‘IELTS Success Formula’ and any IELTS 5 Practice Tests books from “High Scorer’s Choice” series.



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