IELTS Speaking Tips: The Top 10 Mistakes

Dec 29, 2018 | IELTS Test

What mistakes do candidates make on test day? Here are some IELTS Speaking tips for what NOT to do!

Before Test Day

1. Don’t think you will get a higher score than last time with no study

Don’t just keep taking the test hoping that next time you will get a higher band score.

IELTS Examiners mark to a strict set of descriptors, and there are precise reasons why you have failed to get the score you need.

Instead of endlessly repeating the test, you should take a lesson with a qualified and experienced IELTS teacher. They will help you to identify the problems holding you back – and give you IELTS Speaking tips tailor-made for you!

One of my students had taken the test 15 times before he sought help! In most of those tests, he scored just a half band below his target. After six lessons he overcame that barrier and got the score he needed.

Seeking qualified help will move you closer to your goal more efficiently and cheaply than taking the test again and again.

On Test Day

2. Don’t Take A Watch To Time Yourself

image of apple watch on persons wrist

On exam day you cannot take anything into the exam room – with one exception, a bottle of water – with no label.

Test day staff will scan you with a metal detector to make sure you don’t have a mobile phone. You cannot wear a watch during the test either. IELTS staff will even weigh spectacles when they look like they might contain any kind of tech.

Rather than risking your valuables in a secure storage area – leave them at home.

3. Don’t Ask Other Exam Candidates What Questions They Got

Asking other candidates what questions they received won’t help – and may even put you at a disadvantage.

Examiners have many different topics to choose from – making it improbable that any 2 candidates will get the exact same questions.

Some of the questions might sound similar – but differ slightly from candidate to candidate. Instead of answering the question asked, you might instead answer the question the last candidate told you.

4. Don’t Walk Into The Examiner’s Room Uninvited

sitting outside ielts exam

After you have passed the security checks, test day staff will take you to a seat outside the examiner’s room.

Wait on that chair until the examiner fetches you.

After the last candidate has left the room, the examiner must record their score, and then set up everything again ready for you.

Waving at him, or just walking straight into the room won’t go down well and will get you off to a bad start.

During The Test

5. Don’t Try To Think Of Higher Level Vocabulary And Grammar During The Test

Many candidates will often pause during the test while they try to think of a better word or better grammar. However, hesitating leads to lower scores for Fluency and Coherence and Pronunciation. Buy my video course to find out why.

On exam day you should speak with as much fluency as possible without worrying about vocabulary and grammar. You should have perfected these as much as possible before test day, ideally with a qualified teacher!

6. Don’t Just Hand Over Your Passport

By the time the examiner asks to see your identification, the clock has already started ticking. Handing over a closed passport will give you less speaking time.

Instead, hand the examiner your passport at the identification page. That way you will get more time to impress the examiner with your speaking skills.

7. Don’t Just Guess The Meaning Of A Word In A Question

When you don’t know what a word means – ask the examiner. So long as you don’t ask too often, checking on the meaning of a word will not affect your score.

8. Don’t Ask The Examiner To Paraphrase A Question

You should not ask an examiner to paraphrase. Asking them to express a question in another way will lead them to repeat what they have just said – word for word. They may decide to pass on to the next question instead.

We Even Have IELTS Speaking Tips For After The Test

9. Don’t Ask For Your Score

The examiner will assign you a score as soon as the test finishes, but your score could still change. Several situations could lead to another examiner listening to the recording and adjusting your score.

You will have to wait until IELTS publish the official scores!

10. Don’t Forget To Collect Your Bag!

You will feel very relieved at the end of the test – but don’t forget to collect your belongings before heading home!

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