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

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.

IELTS advice from Band 9 achiever – Part 5, Writing tips.

Today I am sharing with you some good tips that Debashis used in his IELTS Writing exam. There is one clarification though, before we move on – not many IELTS test centers allow using pencils for the Writing tasks. The one Debashis took his test in, in the UK, obviously did allow pencils, however in my experience the majority of test centers make people use pens in the Writing section.

IELTS Writing – General tips.

Key points – Write in pencil if possible (easier to erase for corrections), and carry a good stock of words to avoid constant sharpening. Use a good stock of words, and minimise spelling mistakes.

1. I carried a red pen with me for annotation, but decided to WRITE THE LETTER AND ESSAY IN PENCIL, as it is easier to erase a line. Carry a good supply of pencils and erasers to avoid having to sharpen them. I took the ones with ‘press-down tips’, basically a long piece of graphite inside a plastic coating, which is clicked to enable a nib to emerge each time it erodes.

2. Needless to say, have a good stock of words and minimise spelling mistakes (click here to read how).

3. What are the factors that make a person look beautiful? These will be the same elements that will make your letter and essay appear beautiful. The four components are :

(a) skeleton (structure)

(b) muscles / fat (content)

(c) skin (wrapping)

(d) balance (harmony)

If any one factor weakens, the overall appeal falls. Someone with lustrous skin may lose attraction if they are too thin or large. A muscular person will have less charm with sagging skin.

Finally, individually beautiful parts that fail to integrate will make your construction appear piece-meal, like a Picasso painting, or someone with flawless Nordic skin on one half of her face and beautiful Mediterranean skin on the other!!



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