The IELTS exam tests your proficiency in English, and today we sit down with IELTS expert Eliot Freisen of Magoosh. He has created a training program to help students prepare, and today we discuss in-depth the speaking section of the exam, how it’s graded, and how to pass with flying colors.
⇒ ⇒ ⇒ Get a free copy of the transcript here!
- IELTS and TOEFL exams – which is more common and useful? What are they used for?
- Eliot’s career path and background
- What kind of score do you need to be successful in an American University?
- Are all 4 parts of the exam equally important?
- What is the speaking section like? Wow – It’s an in-person interview! 12-15 minutes, one-on-one
- In the speaking section, what is being assessed and how is it being assessed?
- The three parts of the speaking exam
- Does giving a short answer affect your score?
- Examples of questions you might get asked on the Speaking section.
- Tip for speaking: practice giving an answer that might not be your strongest opinion on a topic, just go with the first idea that came to mind. Just find something to say and talk about that – the topic itself doesn’t matter.
- What are the examiners looking for, and what are some tips on excelling?
- There are four main categories: ONE – fluency & coherence
- What to work on: practice speaking all the time.
- Don’t just think: actually say it out loud! You’re training the mouth and the connections in the brain. You can’t do this in theory, you must do it in practice.
Coherence: study connecting words and transitions words. [link to lists of word connectors, “transitional devices”]
- TWO – lexical resource (how good is your vocabulary?)
- Study vocabulary everyday, up to 15 words.
- Is it okay to use idioms and slang in the speaking test?
- Tip: don’t use informal language like slang.
- Is it okay to use reductions like ‘gonna’, ‘cuz’, and contractions? YES! [link: contractversation series]
- THREE: grammatical range and accuracy
- Tip: avoid using only simple sentences like “be” sentences. Try using different verbs and adverbs.
- Studying grammar does take time.
- You can practice speaking out loud and record yourself. Then review – you will find mistakes, and this will help.
- FOUR: pronunciation
- Note: they are NOT looking for the absence of an accent.
- Tip: do intensive practice listening to native speakers to study how they speak. Stop and start the recording, mimic exactly what you hear. Allow yourself to feel silly! You have to be willing to let yourself go there.
- How to stay motivated? Put yourself in a situation where you will need to speak English: work, school, or even some sort of club.
- Want to hear more from Eliot? IELTS blog, Complete Guide to IELTS Exam, YouTube channel. Also, be sure to check out Magoosh’s new IELTS book, just published!