It’s certainly true that this is one of the limitations of IELTS self-study; evaluating your own speaking skills. When you do practice IELTS Reading and Listening Tests, you can evaluate your level through the number of answers you get correct, when you do a practice IELTS Speaking Test, you need evaluation from a native speaker; preferably an English language teacher with IELTS experience.
I do, however, have some tips for getting the maximum benefit from doing a practice IELTS Speaking Test.
Before we start, we have to think about why we do practice IELTS tests. One reason is to get an idea of what the test is like and of the different task types etc. The other is the same as any other activity you do in the English language; to improve your English. Before I talk about my guidelines, I cannot stress the importance of doing as many practice exercises as possible in order to improve your English.
Over the years, I have taught from many different IELTS books and I always recommend that my students purchase Adams & Austen IELTS books. These books contain so many useful practice exercises for IELTS, which help you improve your English, and also IELTS practice tests. They also have some great ideas for phrases you can use in your Speaking Test.
OK, so on to my tips for doing practice IELTS Speaking tests.
The IELTS Speaking Test
- First of all, get yourself a study buddy. You can practise part 1 of the Speaking Test together; taking it in turns to ask and answer questions. I suggest that you role play one of you being the examiner and the other being the candidate. You might like to keep the ‘interview’ time to 4-5 minutes as this is the length of part 1 of the Speaking Test.
- You can practise part 2 alone. I suggest that you read the topic card then give yourself one minute to prepare (exactly the same as in the exam) and then set a timer to two minutes when you begin speaking. This works even better if you record you talk so that you can listen back to it and think about ways to improve.
- Your study buddy will come in useful again when practising part 3.
Of course the best way to do a practice IELTS Speaking Test is with a native speaker; preferably an English language teacher with IELTS experience. If you would like to do a practice IELTS interview with me via skype, please feel free to contact me.
Here’s to the best IELTS score possible!