Now, I think I always make it quite clear that I believe in starting your IELTS Test preparation way in advance of the test but in this post I’m going to give you my best IELTS last minute tips for the Speaking Test.
- On the day of the exam, you need to ‘enter the room speaking English’. This basically means that if the hour leading up to your interview, you need to practice speaking English; talk to anyone you can, find candidates of other nationalities to chat to in English, tell them that you want to practise speaking English before the Speaking Test; I’m sure that most other candidates would be very open to the idea as they also want to practise speaking English. As a last resort, speak to yourself under your breath in English (about anything!)
- Easy to say, but try to relax and be calm, take a few deep breaths before you enter the exam room. Remember that, as my granddad used to say, ‘It’s only an exam, no-one’s hurt, it’s okay’.
- Smile as you greet the Examiner; this will help you relax and people are always well-disposed to someone who smiles at them.
- Remember that the Examiner is not the enemy! You’re working together on this as a team. You want to do well and the Examiner wants to see you perform to the best of your ability.
- If you didn’t hear the question properly, simply ask the Examiner to repeat it. You do this in your own language so it doesn’t ‘look bad’. Don’t start answering a question that you ‘think you heard’; you’ll feel insecure and it will appear that you didn’t understand the question.
- In parts 1 and 3, if you don’t understand the question, ask the Examiner to repeat it and try to focus on the words you do understand. You can also check quickly with the Examiner by asking, ‘Do you want me to talk about ……?’
- If there is just one word you don’t understand and you think it’s important, just tell the Examiner, ‘I’m sorry, I’m not sure what you mean by censorship.’
- If there’s a word you don’t understand on your Part 2 topic question, you can either tell the Examiner immediately, ‘ I’m sorry, I’m not sure what leisure means’, he/she might give you a quick definition or just before you start speaking, you can tell the Examiner, ‘I’m not 100% sure what leisure means but I’ve interpreted it as ………… so I’m going to speak about ………….’
- Remember that questions are chosen at random before you enter the room, if you don’t like your topic, take a deep breath and ‘get on with it’; you’ll be fine!
- It sometimes happens that in part 2, you can’t think of anything to say about the topic. Recently, a student had to talk about cultural festivals in her country. Her mind went blank and so just before she started speaking, she said ‘I really can’t think of any cultural festivals in my country so I’m going to talk about Christmas, which I know isn’t really a ‘cultural festival’ specific to my country’. Easy! Remember that the Examiner isn’t there to ‘catch you out’. He/she wants you to speak to the best of your ability.
- Don’t even think about timing in part 2, just keep speaking, the Examiner will stop you if you’re still speaking and two minutes has passed.
- In part 3, you will find yourself discussing more abstract issues. Try to organise what you are saying with phrases such as ‘Some people think….’, ‘On the other hand……..’ This will help you keep your thoughts clear and make what you are trying to say easier to follow.
Finally, good luck on Saturday!
Here’s to the best IELTS score possible!