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How to be Successful on the IELTS Speaking Section

English speaking is often the most difficult skill for ESL students. This is because there is no help while you speak, so you can’t rely on reading something aloud. Speaking is only you and your knowledge of the English language. For many confident and skilled English users, their IELTS speaking section is their lowest score. This is not because they are bad English speakers. That’s not what it means at all. When it comes to the IELTS exam, there are certain things examiners want to hear. You can learn to crack their code and increase your score on the speaking section. The key is understanding, predicting, practicing, and using. Let’s get started!


Length of Time: 11-14 minutes total

Number of sections: 3

Topic: A different theme for every person (General topics. ie: family, travel, or technology)

Types of sections:

- Introduction: 3 - 4 minutes

Questions about your name, family, hobbies, and hometown. A “get to know you” section designed to relax you.

- Short Response: 2 minutes

Short questions related to the exam theme. Every response should explain why you feel the way you do.

- Long Response: 4 - 6 minutes

Longer questions designed to get you talking. Each response should be about 2 minutes long and have many details. The examiner will as you follow-up questions like it’s a conversation with friends.


Now that you know the basics of the exam, it’s time to start learning what kind of language IELTS examiners want to hear. There are certain phrases and types of sentences that can dramatically increase your score with very little effort. They want to hear a few correctly used idioms or phrases used by native English speakers. It is very important to use the idiom correctly as it relates to your answer. Simply throwing in a random phrase where it doesn’t belong will not help you. The examiner wants to hear that you have conversational English. They do not want you to talk like a robot. Another way to quickly raise your score on the IELTS speaking section is to use emotions when you talk. Yes, it’s fine to laugh when appropriate. Yes, you can use long pauses when they’re needed. The key to scoring high on the exam is to avoid talking like a scientist has programmed you to speak English words. Instead, high scores rely on you using colloquial phrases and using proper emotions while speaking

Here are a few more tips to help you prepare for the IELTS speaking exam:

* Smile and be friendly. The examiner is not there to fail you. They’re hoping you will amaze them!

* Answer every question with an example or personal detail that explains your stance.

* Use common, everyday phrases, verb phrases, expressions, and idioms where appropriate. Don’t overuse them. About two to four will increase your score a lot. Any more than five, and it sounds forced and rehearsed.

* Use inflection, or emotions, while speaking. In section three, feel free to ask the examiner a related question after you explain yourself for a long time. This section should sound a lot like friends talking over a tea. There should be a back and forth interaction, but you should be talking about 80% or more throughout.

* Don’t be afraid to take your time when you need it. You can use phrases such as:

- Hmmm. That’s a good question. Let me think about it for a second.

- Well, I have never thought about that. I’m not entirely sure, but I’ll try to work out an

answer for you now.

- Please give me a moment while I collect my thoughts on this issue.


They say that practice makes perfect. Well, it’s a very true saying when it comes to the IELTS speaking section. There are many factors that can harm your speaking score. It’s important that you practice the speaking test often so you do not feel as stressed on the day of the test. Classes are the best place to start, and IELTS prep courses are a wonderful place to ask your instructor questions, get honest feedback, and meet other students who are studying for the exam.

Record Yourself:

The examiner records your speaking test. This is uncomfortable and new for most people. That’s why it’s highly recommended to record yourself a lot while studying. Answer questions while recording yourself. Then, come back, listen to yourself, and improve on any problems you hear. By the time the exam comes, you should be very comfortable with the idea of someone recording you while you speak English.

Take IELTS Preparation Online:

You can also get comfortable recording yourself when you take an online IELTS practice course. A lot of IELTS prep done on the Internet will either record your voice or use a video to record your image and sound. Your online instructor will listen or watch and give you pointers to help .

Take IELTS Preparation In-Person:

Your speaking exam will take place in-person, so it can be nice to practice the speaking section face-to-face. Your IELTS prep course will ask you to speak both to your classmates and your teacher. You will receive constant support and get to know the timing of the exam. If you’re currently based in Kuwait, you’re in luck! Skilzi offers high quality, personalized IELTS training in Kuwait. You can easily enroll in one of our boot camp study sessions and start preparing for your IELTS exam right away! For those of you who aren’t in Kuwait, you can still access our talented team of instructors online. We offer Internet-based test prep to help you prepare as well. We have plans to expand to other countries soon, and we will keep you updated whenever we open up a new face-to-face branch if you’re interested.


The final, and very important, step in preparing to ace your IELTS speaking exam is using English. Use the language wherever you go. Get involved with online forums, make friends who are also studying English, meet native speakers and spend time together. It’s crucial that you speak English often in order to do it well.

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