This category contains 12 posts

Practise expanding your responses in IELTS speaking parts 1 and 2

Examiners like you to give full answers. If I feel that I have to pull sentences out of the candidate, they will get a much lower band. You should aim for full, well-developed answers that flow naturally. Here are two techniques which will help you practice developing your answers. For both of these, you’ll need … Continue reading

Join our campain to stop spam in the IELTS speaking and writing!

I’d like to start by sharing a little bit of spam with you. I keep getting the same comment on our blog postings. A number of ‘different people’ post: Thanks for that awesome posting. It saved MUCH time 🙂 Now, much as I would like to believe the writer really thought it was an awesome … Continue reading

How important is it to have pronunciation like a native speaker in the IELTS?

In the past, many learners of English aimed to have native-speaker pronunciation. The ideal was to speak something called received pronunciation (similar to the way they speak on the BBC news). However, nowadays more and more people are realizing that this is not necessary. There is a new understanding of what it means to have … Continue reading

Pronunciation: getting the sounds of words right

When people talk about pronunciation, they usually mean the sounds of individual words. This is not the whole story. Having good pronunciation also means having a good knowledge of word stress, sentence stress, intonation and rhythm. The good news is that problems with the individual sounds of words are usually easy to fix. Problems: It’s … Continue reading

The five main areas of English pronunciation

The public speaking bands do not contain much detail about the pronunciation features that the examiners are listening for. If you want to get a high band, you need to focus on the following areas which are key to having good English pronunciation. Individual sounds Word stress Sentence stress Intonation Rhythm Don’t forget that most … Continue reading

Overcoming ‘Speaker’s Block’ in Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking Exam

Imagine that you are in the IELTS speaking exam. You’ve just finished part 1 and the examiner has given you the task for part 2. You know you only have 1 minute to prepare. The clock’s ticking. You have no time to waste. You must decide what to talk about now. 30 seconds have passed … Continue reading

Conversation rules for IELTS speaking

In 1975, the philosopher Paul Grice proposed four conversational maxims or rules. These are important in everyday speech, business meetings, presentations and, of course, IELTS interviews. Grice’s maxims are: The maxim of quantity. This means that you should give as much information as is needed – no more, and no less. In the IELTS speaking, … Continue reading

What’s in the IELTS speaking booklets?

The IELTS interview is based on speaking booklets. These tell the examiners what to say and when to say it. For the most part, examiners aren’t using their own words. They are reading out what is in the booklet. They try to make it sound like a real conversation. But this is actually quite hard. … Continue reading

Top 5 activities for your 1 minute planning time in IELTS speaking part 2

Before part 2 of the speaking interview, the examiner will say this: “I’m going to give you a topic, and I’d like you to talk about it for one to two minutes. Before you talk, you’ll have one minute to think about what you’re going to say. You can make some notes if you wish. … Continue reading

You need (word) stress for the IELTS speaking interview

What is word stress? ‘Stress’ has more than one meaning. When we talk about stress and exams, we usually mean feelings of worry or anxiety. However, it also has a different meaning. This other meaning is important for success in the speaking interview. When we say a word which has 2 or more syllables, we … Continue reading