IELTS Speaking Strategy: Seven Key Tips

Many students don’t know how to prepare properly for the IELTS Speaking test. If you don’t prepare well, you might only reach band six instead of band seven.

So let’s take a look at some important steps to follow while preparing for your test.

1. Practice Speaking Often

The IELTS test is a very good way to judge your true level of spoken English. It’s possible to increase your score a little with good strategy and preparation, but you cannot trick the IELTS test or the examiner.

If your spoken English is poor, unpracticed, and unnatural, they will know. If your spoken English is well-practiced and confident, they will know.

So to achieve a band-seven score, you really do have to get better at speaking. And as with any skill, the only secret to progress is practice.

Speak, speak, speak, and speak some more. Find anyone to speak to. Practice speaking every day if possible.

2. Listen, Read, and Write Often

Listening helps you understand how English sounds. And you need to listen to train your ear to understand English during a conversation, and during the IELTS test.

Reading is a wonderful way to improve both your vocabulary and also your understanding of English grammar.

Writing also helps you to speak better, more confidently, and with better sentence structure.

So practice listening, reading, and writing every day if you can.

3. Record Yourself

Practice answering many IELTS questions (which you can find on this site) and record yourself doing so.

You can then listen to your answers and notice mistakes you’re making with fluency, vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation.

You can even get a pen and paper and write down exactly what you said. This way you can really see clearly any mistakes you’re making. And one by one, you can stop making those mistakes, as you gradually improve over time.

If recording yourself feels unnatural, try to get over it. The best IELTS test-takers almost always record themselves while preparing.

4. Structure Your Answers

To stay focused during the test, it’s best to follow a clear structure for your answers in each part. This keeps you focused and calm. On this site, you’ll find straightforward and effective methods for answering parts one, two, and three of the test.

In part one, you can use the three-step YES Method (learn more about this here).

In part two, you can use stories and word groups (learn more here).

And in part three, you can use the three-step SEE Method (learn more here).

If you practice using these methods while answering, you’ll remain focused on what’s important in each section of the test. And you’re far more likely to reach a band-seven score.

5. Study Good Example Answers

Also on this site, you can read many, many example questions and answers. These answers are written by a native English speaker and teacher from London, England.

To speak English like a native speaker it’s best to model the language of a native English speaker. So read as many of these examples as possible and borrow vocabulary, phrases, and ideas from them. 

6. Hire an Experienced IELTS Speaking Teacher

The fastest way to prepare for IELTS Speaking is with a native teacher from the UK who specializes in preparing students for IELTS Speaking.

These days, it’s easy to do this, no matter where you live in the world. All you need is an internet connection. You can have online lessons on Skype, Zoom, or Wechat.

Get in touch to ask about online lessons here.

7. Be Patient

It takes most students a long time to improve their English from band five to band six, and then from band six to band seven.

Sometimes it takes a year or more to progress by one band. So you must be patient, diligent, and persistent.

Keep going, never give up, and you will eventually succeed.

Are you ready to get started?

First, it’s important to understand the criteria for achieving a band-seven score in IELTS Speaking. You can learn these criteria here.

If you’d like to jump into specific advice for each part of the test, find tips for part one here, tips for part two here, and tips for part three here.

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