Many students asked me how they can get a better score in the Speaking test. One of the things that matter in the Speaking test is your pronunciation. When you study with a teacher, improving your pronunciation is easier – he can correct you and you can listen to him and just copy the way he pronounces words. But what do you do if you’re all alone and study by yourself?
A number of things, actually!
Firstly, you can use a free web-based text-to-speech application such as this one (click here to try). “Text-to-speech” means exactly that – you type a word and the program says it. Get a passage of text and start reading it out loud. Any word you are not sure how to pronounce, type in that website and click “Say it” to hear it. Repeat it again and again until you remember the right way to say it.
Secondly, you can record yourself – using a computer or a tape recorder, an mp3 player, a mobile phone – now there are many devices that allow voice recording. Then listen to your recorded voice and take notes of which words are mispronounced. Start working on those using the talking website again and get them right.
Thirdly, get a recording of the news/radio/anything produced by native English speakers. Play the recording and repeat after them, trying to copy the way they pronounce words.
A word of advice – there is no quick and easy fix for bad pronunciation. The chances are that you won’t get rid of your accent completely – but the accent doesn’t matter in IELTS as long as you pronounce the words correctly, so work hard on that, and you should be just fine!
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