How to score higher on ‘IELTS Speaking Test’
The ‘Speaking Test’ is one of the most important parts and the most imperative part of the total testing system, as here a candidate has to face a ‘Certified Examiner’ on whose judgment depends the candidate’s score. So, being a fluent speaker is not enough to impress the examiner, the candidate should be ready witted and smart enough to answer unknown questions promptly and justify his answer if asked for. It’s not going to happen like giving one answer and rectify it the next moment, so it can be well understood that in the ‘Speaking Test’ the proficiency, smartness, Inherent ability all are put acid test, even the native speakers are to be well aware of the minute details of the test to avoid getting unnerved before the examiner and getting under the grip of tension incurring lowering the score.
Anyway, let’s talk about how is the test conducted. Firstly the candidate has to have adequate practice of going through mock tests which are at par with the original test conducted. The IELTS Speaking test has got 3 parts, in the first part the examiner introduces himself/herself and the candidate is asked to introduce or identify himself as well. An unprepared candidate would commit the first mistake here by introducing as…..I am Balbindar Sing. Incomplete answer. The complete answer would be like… I am Balbindar Sing from Punjab in India and I am a student of…. Such and such. One word answer or ‘shaking head’ to indicate yes or no would carry bad impression in the mind of the examiner and yes of course ‘First Impression’ matters. After introduction, the examiner asks a few general questions related to home, family, work or education area of interest, etc. This introductory part lasts for 4/5 minutes and the candidate gets time to adjust with the situation. While answering general questions like, ‘How is life in your city/village?’ or ‘What about the accommodation in your city/village?’ the candidate gets a scope to impress the examiner by his ‘posture’, ‘gesture’ and witty answers.
The 2nd part of the ‘Speaking test’ is most important and there are 40 important topics a candidate has to answer. The candidate may be asked, ‘Who is your favorite writer?’, now if the candidate thinks in his mind, ‘Well….the examiner is a British, so why not name a British author?’. It’s okay to name a British author, but the next question could land up the candidate in ocean of trouble, when the examiner would possibly and most probably ask, ‘Which is your favorite novel/poem written by him..?’. The candidate might not have read a piece of that famous author, so, what next? One should not answer with a view to impress the examiner, rather if he has not read any Novel/Poem of any author just mention that. Giving false or blown up answers are strictly no-no to avoid landing in trouble. Questions like ‘Name your favorite person’ and then ‘Tell me something about him’, ‘Has his/her works influenced your life, how?’ are asked, candidates should have prepared for that. If somebody says ‘Shakespeare’ is my favorite author naturally he/she might be asked some follow up questions about ‘Shakespeare’s drama’, as mentioned. A candidate might be also asked ‘Who is your favorite person and why?’, the candidate can mention the name of someone of his choice and anybody whom he knows about, because a detailed description might be asked for. Let me clarify, if the examiner asks, ‘Who is your favorite person and why?’ and the candidate answers ‘Sachin Tendulkar’, naturally he has got to answer the why part as well and what prominent aspect has influenced him to like ‘Sachin Tendulkar’, quite natural isn’t it? So the candidate has to be wise in answering. Now a lot of questions will be asked to the candidate and they are like, ‘Who is your favorite person in your family and why?’, ‘How was your first day in college, describe it’, ‘Your first visit to the museum, how was it?’ and so on. All the questions need descriptive type answers from the candidate, in order to measure his profoundness, his proficiency, his general awareness and of course his pronunciation. Let me clarify a little bit more, a candidate was asked,
. How is the city you live in?
• Describe the place and population.
• Is there anything special about it?
• Compare it to other cities in the world in regard of conveyance.
Now these can be a trouble for a candidate with low awareness or poor general knowledge. Though a candidate is not judged by failure in answering a single question, still a deserving candidate should be a knowledgeable person with very good depth in English conversation. Let’s focus on another type of questions asked usually
What do you understand by means of communications?
• What are different means of communication in day to day life?
• What is your favorite means of communication?
• What are the advantages and disadvantages of using it?
Just imagine it, without prior and extensive focused preparation can anybody answer these all questions? 40 types of such topics are there in the 2nd part of ‘Speaking Test’, a selected few are asked to discuss within the stipulated time of 4-5 minutes . So preparation should be sound to encounter such questions. A candidate always has to justify his statement, not just throwing any answer in ‘wild guess’ will do.
Now comes the 3rd part in the discussion. It takes 3 to 4 minutes and the examiner asks more in depth questions to test the general and cultural awareness as well as the capability of the candidate of describing or narrating events or celebrations in a proficient and well composed English. The questions asked usually are like: ‘Tell me about the education system/eating habits/celebration days of your country/city/village’, ‘Do you take part in any of the celebrations in your city?’, ‘If yes why do you?’, ‘If not why don’t you?’. At every step a candidate should answer wisely because he would have to justify his answers at the very next step.
These are all about the 3 parts of the ‘Speaking test’ the questions do vary but the pattern remains the same. So let us focus more on: How to prepare for the three parts of Speaking Test?
First the initial steps. Basic spoken English knowledge is a must for any candidate. Those who are not fluent in speaking English should start practicing with friends or a teacher. Native English speakers should practice speaking in formal way rather than a casual way. For non native speakers watching and listening English News and debate shows, personal interviews, counseling sessions, discussions on topics of interest on television on a regular basis is very good in terms of getting aware of acceptable English, smart vocabulary, phrasal verbs and right construction of sentences. Listening to live shows as mentioned helps a candidate to learn English which is not very different from IELTS speaking test, both in terms of question-patterns and subject-matter. So a candidate has to become a fluent speaker first by doing all that have discussed and by speaking a lot with friends or teachers as is possible. He should develop in the areas of pronunciation and understanding the foreign accent as well.
With the availability of the Internet other than remote village areas, life has changed a lot. So any candidate willing to appear for the IELTS exam, can go to a cyber cafe, if he doesn’t have access of the Internet at home, search on Google, ‘How to prepare for IELTS ‘Speaking Test‘ and chose a few websites where the minute details are given, download them and come back home and practice them as per the instruction sets given in the study materials. One, who has no computer or smart phone can practice in a cyber cafe or take a printout of the study materials to practice at home. Each and every intricate detail, timings, audios even some videos are there on the Internet which are more than sufficient for a willing candidate to have a good practice. It would be good if he/she manages to get a friend to practice ‘Speaking in English’, though practicing under the guidance of a good teacher is always a much better option.
Now, after a few months of practice when the candidate feels that he has acquired some knowledge and is eligible for appearing the exam, he should take admission in a ‘Professional Institute’ to sharpen his skill further and ensure achieving higher bands. It is the job of the experts to teach and train the candidates the tips and tricks of the test, the loopholes where candidates lose score and much more. The institutes take a series of ‘realistic’ mock tests. On the basis of the assessment of the institutes candidates become aware of ‘How well prepared they are’, getting good scores in the mock tests of course boost their confidence level and ensures their success. It may sound too difficult for a candidate to score higher band in the ‘Speaking Test’ but adhering to right tips and trick, proper guidance, time bound rigid practice, due diligence and strong desire to succeed does not go baffle.
Originally posted 2016-10-22 09:14:53.