IELTS Speaking – Why is it essential to apply English language in real-life situations? How can I quickly improve my IELTS speaking skills / level?

The IELTS speaking exam is suppose to represent what it is like to talk to someone in a real life situation. You should therefore not practice IELTS past paper topics and just talk normally to someone instead. There are thousands of past paper questions and it is very unlikely that you will be asked any of them in your test.

We strongly suggest that you must find someone to practice your English with and talk about something you are interested in or discuss  the up-to-date topics in your oral exam. This will make it much easier and you are less likely to get bored.

You will learn the language better if you practice it often, we recommend every day. You will probably agree with the idea that the more you do something, the better you will get at it, right?

But, what if you can’t really speak/practice the language? Because you’re in your home country and nobody speaks it. Well, that’s not always true. Check online see if there are some meet-ups or other similar events where people just want to exchange languages. Another method is to talk to yourself, some people do it in the shower,  think about conversations you may have had in this language before or from whatever textbook you use to learn. And repeat it to yourself, then go with other scenarios. Imagine simple day to day conversations, practice the way you would approach them. And if ever you get stuck, you know what the next thing you need to learn is. Just talk, even if it means talking to yourself.

Our strong recommendation is to try to connect with English speaking people. Surely, there are bunch of online school out there who offers variety of courses. Try to enroll and make friends with your online tutor, so you can practice conversational English and IELTS at the same time. You already have plenty of Chinese friends. Now would be a great time to diversify the types of people you associate with. This may seem extremely awkward for you at first, but you should push yourself in that direction for your own good.

You shouldn’t be afraid or embarrassed of speaking the language you are trying to learn. You’re learning the language, you don’t know it yet. You’re going to make mistakes, accept it. Only when speaking the language will you be able to play around with new words or grammar you have learnt. You will get comfortable talking the language, even with mistakes. It doesn’t matter in the end – people will always appreciate your efforts and they will not care about mistakes you might make, because these mistakes are part of who you are and the way you communicate. Embrace them and conversations will flow normally.

IELTS Speaking: Can I ask Examiner Questions?

Can I ask the examiner questions during the exam?

This page explains to your questions you should and shouldn’t ask examiners in each part of the IELTS speaking test. Take a moment to go through 🙂

Asking Questions in Speaking Part 1

Of course, you can ask the examiner to repeat the question in IELTS speaking part 1 (Could you repeat that, please?) but that’s about all you can ask. You can’t ask other questions. The examiner is limited to asking questions only in speaking part 1 and can’t help you or explain. The examiner can’t explain questions and can’t explain words.

Asking Questions in Speaking Part 2

You can’t ask any questions in part 2. And you definitely won’t be able to ask the examiner to change the topic. You must use the topic that has been given to you and try your best to talk about something related to your cue card. If you don’t understand a word on your cue card, the examiner can’t help you. You need to follow the topic on your card and follow the prompts you understand. You can add any other information you want to your talk to make it longer which relates to the topic. Remember to use plenty of LINKING PHRASES!!
The examiner will tell you when to start talking and when to stop. You don’t need to ask.

Asking Questions in Speaking Part 3

You can ask the examiner to explain words and to explain the question in IELTS speaking part 3.  This is useful because the examiner will rephrase the question using different words and make it easier to understand. You can also ask the examiner to repeat the question, the same as part 1.

Here is the list of questions you can ask in speaking part 3:

  • Could you explain that, please? (the examiner will rephrase the question)
  • What do you mean exactly? (the examiner will rephrase the question)
  • Could you explain what X means, please? (for a specific word)
  • What does X mean? (for a specific word)

Don’t ask the examiner the following questions:

  • Have you been there?
  • What do you think?
  • Where do you come from?
  • Do you agree with me?
  • Can you change the question?
  • Can you give me an example?
  • Can you give me a different topic?
  • What are your opinions?

Thinking Time

Sometimes you need to time to think about the question and think of your answer. One way to do that is to ask the examiner to repeat the question. It is a useful way to gain time to think. Alternatively, you can say “It’s an interesting question. I’ve never really thought about it before. I suppose” You could use that method for difficult questions in part 3.

Will I lose marks if I ask the examiner to repeat the question?

No, it won’t affect your score. Your score is calculated on fluency, vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. There is no score for understanding or comprehension. So, it is fine to ask the examiner to repeat one to two questions in part 1 or to explain a question in part 3.