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.
‘I have no experience of the subject, so how can I respond?’ I often get this question from candidates. They worry they do not have knowledge of some of the topics that examiners might ask them about, for example a favourite building, an eye-catching advertisement or a memorable trip. Maybe you feel the same way?
Being successful with English, in IELTS and beyond, means finding a way to make using the language a regular part of your life. Learners often feel frustrated and lose interest in studying vocabulary when they find study materials rather boring and not connected to their own interests, but more interesting materials can difficult to find and even more difficult to understand.
You might be surprised to hear that grammar is one of the four criteria used to assess your IELTS Speaking test performance and that it carries 25% of the points. Many test-takers assume grammar in speaking is only about accuracy and not making any mistakes. This is only half the story. Making errors is natural, and IELTS understands this: even IELTS Speaking Band 7 expects that ‘some grammatical mistakes persist’.
In the IELTS Speaking test you will be asked questions about different aspects of your life: your hobbies, where you live, your occupation. How important is it to answer truthfully?