When you have to study for the IELTS Reading, Writing or Listening tests, you don’t really need anyone to help you, but what about the Speaking test? Do you just speak to the mirror?
My idea was to use an MP3 player that can record voice. I bought one especially for that purpose, to record myself speak. It helped me to recognize and admit all of my problems: the bad pronunciation, the long pauses between words, and the super-long and confusing sentences. What you do is just speak on some topic, record yourself, listen and analyze it later. It is really necessary to recognize all of those weaknesses in advance, so you can work and improve them. Make a list of things that need improvement and look at it every time before you start speaking.
Speaking to a live partner is better, of course, but if you’re on your own – an MP3 player a great solution. Another advantage here is that you can use it for listening exercises – fill it with audio books in English or IELTS Listening tests you download from the Internet and take it with you wherever you go. This way you won’t waste any time – driving, eating lunch or walking your dog can be done while listening to English on your MP3 player.
Another idea is to prepare for the IELTS Speaking test using Skype – a very popular software that lets you talk to anyone who also has Skype. All you need to do is to install it on your and your friend’s computer, plug in a set of headphones and a microphone and call your friend using Skype. Y0u can actually make international call, talk as much as you want, the voice quality is great and it costs nothing!