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IELTS Speaking Test – Best Strategies to Maximize Your Band Score

ielts speaking test

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Everyone dream to achieve a high band Score in the IELTS, for a better future. It’s true that getting a ‘High Band Score’ like 7 or more is extremely tough and it won’t be an exaggeration to say that it’s not anybody’s job. It takes a lot of dedicated, sincere effort and proper guidance, razor sharp memory and ‘Something Extra’ to make it happen. Worldwide 9 thousand institutions/organizations, also the governments of some major English speaking countries accept the ‘Band Score of the IELTS’. As per records, approximately 2.5 million candidates from 135 countries worldwide appear for the test each year. Sadly, a huge number of candidates fail to achieve as ‘High Band Score’ as 7 or more. So we need to talk about ‘Something Extra’ i.e. the strategies.

When it comes to ‘Speaking Test’, it’s a bit too tough for the candidates appearing for the test from a ‘Non-English Speaking Country’ with no English medium schooling background. If you are one belonging to the group and you don’t have a good command over English, firstly you study English under an experienced and fluent speaking English teacher for a few months to upgrade yourself.

The IELTS English ‘Speaking Test’ is the ultimate test of fluency in spoken English. Which needs not only great fluency in spoken English with perfect pronunciation, but also a high level of vocabulary and accuracy in grammatical application. Assuming that you are well prepared for the test, let’s discuss the ‘Extra’ or the strategy that you need to take to maximize your score. But remember- if you are not prepared properly, there are no strategies to enable you scoring high. Preparation is the key, right strategies could make a difference towards betterment. Now we are shifting our focus to the strategies:-

  • Dress well to look smart and polished. The first impression does matter in real life. An examiner or any person, who is meeting an unknown person for the first time, quickly figures out an impression about the person.
  • No panicking, stay comfortable. A nervous candidate is prone to commit silly mistakes. If you are a nervous person work well ahead of the test date on ‘How to avoid getting nervous during an interview’. If you study in a coaching center or under a teacher open up yourself, discuss your problem, certainly you would get help to solve it, don’t just live with the problem.
  • Don’t try to keep your mouth shut, speak to the examiner, wish him/her by saying: Good morning Sir/Madam or Good afternoon Sir/Madam, as applicable and smile a little when you get wished back, the examiner would feel good.
  • The examiner will ask you some introductory questions like: What’s your name? Where are you coming from? Don’t give a one-word answer. Rather, follow the examples given below:-

Examiner: What’s your name. Answer: I am Ritu Kaur, coming from Punjab In India.

Examiner: How many brothers and sisters do you have? Don’t just say, one or two. (As is applicable)

Answer: We are two. I and my young brother Jaspreet, he is 9 years old. (Stop here, don’t keep talking). Don’t just say ‘Two’. Mind it – If you are not asked to answer in one word, don’t ever answer in one word or shake your head without answering in words. You may think why should I answer like that. Well… Your answer will make the examiner think that you are a social person and not a nervous and scared candidate, right?

  • The examiner might ask you, Examiner: Do you know how long is this test and how many sections are there? You should answer in full with a brief detail. (While preparing for the test, collect all information about each test, including the marking procedures.)
  • When you are asked a question. The answers should be to the point and exact. (With brief details if required). It should be like- Examiner: How is the communication in your locality? And you answer, good (or bad), it’s not wise, provide brief details like- Answer: It is very poor madam, the roads are full of potholes and number of buses are very few, no other vehicles are available also.- That’s the kind of answer the examiner expects.
  • Don’t talk unnecessarily, wait till you are asked any question.
  • If you are asked, Examiner: Which season you like most?

Suppose, you like the Winter season the most, don’t answer in one word also don’t start an essay. Just give a reason or two.

Answer: I like winter the most, madam. Actually, I feel very comfortable in winter, no sweating like summer, no waterlogged streets during the monsoon, its’ fine from all angles. {A good answer, you have justified your choice. You must have created an impression in the examiner’s mind, like – This boy/girl is smart enough and can speak fluently in English.

In section 2, the examiner wants you to be a little more descriptive.

Examiner: Which ‘Sports’ or ‘Games’ you like the most and why?

Answer: I like cricket the most, especially I like the One Day Cricket. I like it mainly because it is full of excitement and is highly unpredictable, no one knows what’s going to happen in the next ball, it is really a delight to watch. (Complete answer)

  • One misconception is that your answer should cover everything written on the card. It’s not correct. If you come across a totally unfamiliar topic, just skip that, don’t waste time trying to answer whatever comes in your mind and lose marks.
  • If you just follow the sentences suggested on the card and answer accordingly its’ okay.
  • If you come across an unfamiliar topic on the test, don’t panic. Discuss other topics which you know.
  • When you would get the cue card, use the 1 minute time given to write down a few ideas.
  • Don’t try to be a perfectionist, in order to be that you may lose marks. Note it down that, even the native speakers commit mistakes. A candidate who gets Band 9 also makes a few, rather very few mistakes here and there, so don’t count mistake during the test, try your best to show your best performance.
  • If you get the options to ‘What to talk about’, talk on the topic you feel comfortable talking about.
  • Don’t avoid eye contact with the examiner, it would make the examiner annoyed and create a bad impression about you.
  • It is often seen that candidates memorize many topics expecting a known topic to come in test. Just don’t do this. If a candidate expects a familiar topic to get in the test and it does not happen, he would feel broken, shattered. It is one of the strategies, that ‘Hope for the best, but expect the worst’. So stay prepared to face unknown topics.
  • Talk fluently with perfect pronunciation, don’t talk too first.
  • You won’t have to speak in a loud voice, but make yourself audible, don’t speak in too low volume to irritate the examiner.
  • If you are asked an unknown question, don’t keep quiet. Tell the examiner: Sorry madam, I can’t answer this.
  • When candidates are asked to give an opinion, they are often found to answer in favor of the topic, hoping the examiner would be pleased- Don’t do this. Answer honestly and justify your answer if you are asked for.
  • Provide your opinion clearly, but don’t make an argument with the examiner.(even he/she is wrong).
  • The best and most applicable strategy for any candidate is: Concentrate and listen what the examiner asks you, if you don’t understand request him/her politely to repeat the question- Don’t start answering without properly understanding the question. Don’t start answering, assuming you know the question, because there might be a twist in question, If you don’t listen to properly and completely what the examiner asks and jumpstart answering- You might land in trouble.

Dozens of such ‘do’s and do not’s strategies may be cited, but ultimately you have to perform in the test and that’s what matter the most. So read about the strategies, you may like some strategies and dislike some others. Keep in mind your preparation and performance are the keys to success. Don’t memorize or cram anything with a hope to get it on the test. Don’t take every body’s advice. Never let your focus get shifted towards applying strategies, stay focused with full concentration on your test to perform in the best possible way, without losing concentration even for a while.

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