Category Archives: IELTS Speaking tips

These blog posts contain tips for the IELTS Speaking test.

IELTS Speaking band score 7 grammar

What grammar do you need to use to get an IELTS Speaking band score 7?

To show the examiner that you have enough grammar to get a band score 7 in the IELTS Speaking test, you need to use different kinds of complex grammar.

Complex grammar includes:

  • Complex verb phrases, i.e. verbs with two or more words and that include a word like ‘may’, ‘could’, ‘will’ or ‘have/has’ – see examples below
  • Complex noun phrases, i.e. nouns with two or more words and that include a main noun with other words connected to it – see example below
  • Complex sentences, e.g. sentences beginning with ‘when’, ‘if’ or ‘although’ or sentences containing a relative clause – see example below

Watch the following video to see me explain how an IELTS band score 6.5 candidate could use different types of complex grammar to get a higher band score.

In the first part of the video, the candidate, Ranhee, talks about an IELTS Speaking Part 2 topic for two minutes. In the second part, I explain what grammar Ranhee needs to use to get a band score 7.

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How to prepare for IELTS: What the experts say

Four experts share some advice on how to prepare for IELTS

I give a lot of advice on this blog about how to prepare for IELTS but I thought for this post I’d share some advice from other specialists in IELTS preparation.

So, apart from becoming familiar with the exam format and improving your English in general, what do the experts say about preparing for the IELTS test?

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10 ways to speak more fluently in your IELTS Speaking test

How to improve your spoken fluency for IELTS

Answering IELTS Speaking questions more easily is one way to improve your IELTS Speaking band score. That’s easy for me to say, of course, but may not be so easy for you to do.

So, I’d like to show you ten ways to answer IELTS Speaking questions more easily, i.e. speak more fluently in your IELTS Speaking test.

You can read about all ten ways below or hear me talk about some of them in the following IELTS video.

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IELTS Speaking collocations

What are collocations and why are they important in the IELTS Speaking test?

To get a band score 7 or above in the IELTS Speaking test, you need to use some collocations, i.e. combinations of words that native speakers of English often use when speaking or writing.

Here are some examples of collocations that you may be familiar with on the common IELTS topic of technology:

  • verb + noun, e.g. develop technology
  • adjective + noun, e.g. digital technology
  • noun + preposition, e.g. advances in technology

To see how a candidate could have used some of these collocations to improve their IELTS band score from a 6.5 to a 7.0, check out my latest YouTube video below.

In the first part of the video, the candidate, Efim, answers some IELTS Speaking Part 3 questions. In the second part, I explain what collocations Efim could have used to get a band score 7.0.

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IELTS Speaking Part 2 linking words and phrases

Use linking words and phrases in IELTS Speaking Part 2 and improve your band score

As you probably know, in IELTS Speaking Part 2 you have to talk about a topic for one to two minutes. What you may not know is that it’s important to use linking words and phrases (also called discourse markers) so that it’s easy for the examiner to follow what you’re saying.

Watch the video below to see me explain how an IELTS band score 5.5 candidate could use more linking words and phrases to get a higher band score.

In the first part of the video, the candidate, Kyuwon, talks about an IELTS Speaking Part 2 topic. In the second part, I explain what discourse markers Kyuwon needs to use to get a band score 6.0.

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Three common mistakes in IELTS Speaking

Why do you need to know common mistakes in IELTS Speaking?

One way to improve your IELTS Speaking band score is to make fewer mistakes with grammar and vocabulary, and the first step to doing this is to know what kinds of mistake you make.

As there’s a good chance that you make the same kinds of mistake that many other IELTS candidates make, it’s useful to know what the most common mistakes in IELTS Speaking are.

To help you do this, in my latest IELTS video I ask an IELTS candidate (May from China) some IELTS Speaking Part 1 questions and then talk about three common mistakes that she makes.

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IELTS Speaking band score 7 vocabulary

What vocabulary do you need to use to get an IELTS Speaking band score 7?

To show you have enough vocabulary to get a band score 7 in the IELTS Speaking test, there are particular types of vocabulary that you need to use.

These types of vocabulary are:

  • less common vocabulary (i.e. words or phrases that are not frequently used in everyday conversation)
  • idiomatic vocabulary (i.e. words or expressions that are natural for native speakers to use or that contain an idiom)

Watch the video below to see me explain how an IELTS band score 6.0 candidate could use some less common and idiomatic vocabulary to get a higher band score.

In the first part of the video, the candidate, Marie, answers some IELTS Speaking Part 1 questions. In the second part, I  explain what vocabulary Marie needs to use to get a band score 7.0.

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Common vocabulary mistakes in IELTS Writing and Speaking

Avoid these vocabulary mistakes and improve your IELTS Writing and Speaking band score
A common vocabulary mistake in IELTS Academic Writing Task 1
Did the number of complaints ‘rise’ or ‘raise’ between 2000 and 2008?

Do you know the difference in meaning between the words ‘rise‘ and ‘raise‘? What about ‘learn‘ and ‘teach‘, ‘lose‘ and ‘loose‘, or ‘care for‘ and ‘care about‘?

Do you know the difference in word form (i.e. verb, noun, adjective or adverb) between the words ‘convenience‘ and ‘convenient‘? What about ‘possible‘ and ‘possibly‘?

I’m asking you these questions because these are words that I’ve seen or heard many IELTS candidates make mistakes with in their writing or speaking.

To see how well you know the difference in meaning or form of these words, choose the correct word in italics in each of the examples below. (You can click on any of the words in italics for a dictionary definition). Continue reading

Five grammar mistakes that you should avoid in your IELTS Speaking test

Which of the following grammar mistakes do you make in your IELTS Speaking?

GrammarIn your IELTS Speaking test, the examiner is going to assess your spoken fluency, vocabulary and pronunciation, and of course your grammar. To give yourself a better chance of getting the band score you need, it’s important that you start noticing and correcting the grammar mistakes you make.

To help you make fewer grammar mistakes in your IELTS Speaking test, here are five common grammar mistakes that IELTS candidates make.

As you look through the examples, think about which one(s) you make in your speaking and make a note of the corrections.

1. Using the present tense to talk about past events

Perhaps the most common grammar mistake in IELTS Speaking is forgetting to use the past form of verbs to describe past events. Here’s an example from a candidate talking about a special gift he gave to his girlfriend:

“I went to many shops to find it but I never find…”

In this example, the candidate should have said ‘I never found…‘ and not ‘I never find…‘ because he was talking about a time in the past. Continue reading

Get more speaking practice and improve your IELTS Speaking band score

One way to get more speaking practice for the IELTS Speaking test

To give yourself the best chance of getting the IELTS Speaking band score you need, it’s important to get as much speaking practice as possible on common IELTS topics before your test.
IELTS Speaking practice
Here’s one suggestion for how you can get more speaking practice: Continue reading