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IELTS Speaking: What is the examiner looking for?

The issue

In IELTS Speaking Part II, you have to talk for two minutes on a topic given to you by the examiner. Do you understand how you will be graded?

According to the IELTS Speaking assessment criteria, your speaking will be marked on the following five points:

  • Fluency and coherence: how well your response flows and how well connected your ideas are
  • Lexical resource: how well you use vocabulary to express what you mean
  • Grammatical range and accuracy: how well you use English grammar, the variety of grammatical structures you use and how you use grammar to aid understanding
  • Pronunciation: how easy it is for the examiner to understand what you are saying
  • Relevance: you must, of course, stick to the topic on the card

This is not difficult to understand in theory, but are you confident you know what it means in practice?
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IELTS Speaking: Significantly changing the outcome

Changing the outcome

‘Don’t leave that situation feeling, like, oh I didn’t show them who I am. Leave that situation feeling like, I really got to say who I am and show who I am.’ — Amy Cuddy

In the TED talk Your body language shapes who you are, Amy Cuddy explains how just two minutes of ‘power posing’ before an ‘evaluative situation’, such as the IELTS Speaking test, really can change the outcome.

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IELTS Speaking: Opinionated discourse markers

Discourse markers

A very important part of the fluency and coherence assessed in the IELTS speaking test are words and phrases called discourse markers. The term may sound complicated but the idea is simple: discourse markers are words and phrases we use to move through conversations, going from one idea to the next, to introduce new topics or return to old ones.

Many learners know it’s important to use discourse markers but don’t realize that most of these markers also reveal different underlying attitudes toward the new idea. Let’s look at four common discourse markers used to introduce opinions and try to clarify the attitudes behind them.

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