ielts speaking

Complete Guide to IELTS Speaking

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The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a widely recognized test of English language proficiency for non-native speakers. One of the four components of the test is the speaking section, which assesses a candidate’s ability to communicate effectively in English in a variety of situations.

How to Prepare for IELTS Speaking and Get a High Score

The IELTS speaking test is conducted by a trained examiner and typically lasts for 11-14 minutes.

It is divided into three parts: Part 1 is an introduction and interview, during which the examiner asks the candidate general questions about themselves and their background: Part 2 is a monologue task, in which the candidate is given a topic and asked to speak about it for one minute: and Part 3 is a discussion, during which the examiner and candidate engage in a more in-depth conversation about the topic from Part 2.

Speaking Test Part 1 – Introduction and Interview

candidates are typically asked questions about their name, age, occupation, and home town. These questions are designed to be simple and straightforward, and are intended to help the candidate relax and get into the conversation.

Speaking Test Part 2 – Individual Long Turn/Monologue

known as the monologue task, is a one-minute long discussion where the candidate is given a card with a topic and is asked to speak about it. The topic could be about a personal experience, an opinion or a general topic. The candidate has to speak for one minute without interruption. The main goal of this task is to test the candidate’s ability to organize their thoughts and speak fluently.

Speaking Test Part 3 – Two-Way Discussion

as it requires the candidate to engage in a more in-depth discussion about the topic from Part 2. The examiner will ask the candidate to expand on their previous answers, give their opinion, and ask for their thoughts on the subject. This section is designed to test the candidate’s ability to communicate effectively in English and to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the topic.

Overall, the IELTS speaking test is a comprehensive assessment of a candidate’s ability to communicate effectively in English. In order to do well on the test, it is important to be well-prepared, to speak clearly and fluently, and to be able to express oneself effectively in a variety of situations. It is also important to be familiar with the format of the test and to practice speaking in English as much as possible in the lead up to the test.

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What is the IELTS Speaking Test?

  • The Speaking test takes between 11 and 14 minutes and consists of an interview between the test taker and a trained and certified examiner.
  • Part 1: Introduction and Interview
  • Part 2: Individual long turn/monologue
  • Part 3: Two-way discussion
  • Part 1
    Test takers answer general questions about themselves and a range of familiar topics, such as their home, family, work, studies and interests. (4-5 minutes)
  • Part 2
    Test takers are given a card which asks them to talk about a particular topic. They have one minute to prepare before speaking up to two minutes. The examiner may then ask one or two questions on the same topic to finish this part of the test. (3-4 minutes)

Example 1: Describe a teacher who has greatly influenced you in your education.

You could say: where you met them, what subject they taught, what was special about them and explain why this person influenced you so much.

Example 2: Describe an email you received which was very important to you.

You could say: when you received it, who sent it, what it was about and explain why it was important to you.

You will have to talk about the topic for 1 to 2 minutes. You have one minute to think about what you are going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.

  • Part 3
    Test takers are asked further questions connected to the topic in Part 2. These questions give the test taker an opportunity to discuss more abstract issues and ideas. (4-5 minutes)

How are Band Scores Awarded for Speaking?

The criteria below describe the attributes examiners use to assess the Speaking test. Examiners use a set of very detailed Speaking Assessment Criteria for these areas.

  • Criterion 1: Fluency and coherence
  • Criterion 2: Lexical resource
  • Criterion 3: Grammatical range and accuracy
  • Criterion 4: Pronunciation
  • Fluency and coherence refers to the ability to talk with normal levels of continuity, rate and effort and to link ideas and language together to form coherent, connected speech.
  • The key indicators of fluency are speech rate and speech continuity.
  • The key indicators of coherence are logical sequencing of sentences; clear marking of stages in a discussion, narration or argument; and the use of cohesive devices (e.g. connectors, pronouns and conjunctions) within and between sentences.
  • Lexical resource refers to the range of vocabulary the test taker can use and the precision with which meanings and attitudes can be expressed.
  • They key indicators are the variety of words used, the adequacy and appropriacy of the words used and the ability to circumlocute (get around a vocabulary gap by using other words) with or without noticeable hesitation.
  • Grammatical range and accuracy refers to the range and the accurate and appropriate use of the test taker’s grammatical resource.
  • The key indicators of grammatical range are the length and complexity of the spoken sentences, the appropriate use of subordinate clauses, and the range of sentence structures, especially to move elements around for information focus.
  • The key indicators of grammatical accuracy are the number of grammatical errors in a given amount of speech and communicative effect of error.
  • Pronunciation refers to the ability to produce comprehensible speech to fulfill the Speaking test requirements.
  • The key indicators will be the amount of strain caused to the listener, the amount of the speech which is unintelligible and the noticeability of influence from the test taker’s first language.

Speaking Test: Examiner Knowledge and Skill

IELTS examiners must meet minimum professional requirements to become an examiner and undergo a comprehensive and systematic recruitment process which includes the following stages: interview, induction, training, standardisation and certification.

All IELTS Examiner Applicants Must

  • Be native speakers of English or a non-native speaker with an IELTS band score of 9 in the Speaking and Writing components
  • Hold tertiary qualifications or equivalent
  • Hold relevant qualifications in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages or equivalent
  • Have substantial relevant teaching experience.

Examiners attend regular training sessions and are required to formally demonstrate their marking proficiency through a re-certification process.

The marking performance of the 7,000-plus IELTS examiners is monitored and maintained through the IELTS Professional Support Network, a quality assurance system designed and managed by British Council and IDP: IELTS Australia.

ESPI Consultants will guide you through the learning process of the IELTS Speking test.

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