Last week, the Road to IELTS Speaking section received a very exciting update. The Speaking test has previously been one of the hardest sections to grasp with only online preparation materials. However, through a complete rewrite, the section is now highly interactive and gives you the chance to improve your band score in six key ways.
1. Being informed
In this version of the Speaking section, we want to make candidates feel completely confident about what the test is, what you have to do and what the examiner is looking for.
2. In-depth analysis
We use videos of interviews to allow you to analyse exactly what makes a better response in each part of the test: the Part 1 interview; the Part 2 ‘Long Turn’ or talk; and the Part 3 discussion. You can watch tests at different levels, evaluate them, and pick out the strong features. You will then have the opportunity to practise recording your own voice and using prompts to assess your performance.
3. Vocabulary development
You can systematically develop the areas of vocabulary that you will find useful in each part of the test. These exercises will help to improve vocabulary not just at word level, but will also help when using collocations (word partners), idiomatic phrases, lexical groups, and discourse markers, which make speech sound more natural.
4. Learning grammatical structures
Developing a range of grammatical structures is necessary to achieve a higher band score for Grammatical Range and Accuracy. You will be able to practise including more complex structures into your speaking, appropriate for each part of the test. At the same time, you will have plenty of practice in improving your accuracy — using the right tenses, the correct prepositions, linking words and time expressions.
5. Useful strategies
Learning useful strategies for each part of the test is just as important as learning its content. For example: how to expand responses in Part 1 by giving reasons and examples; how to improve a talk in Part 2 by using story-telling and descriptive devices; knowing how to buy some thinking time in the Part 3 discussion. You can use these strategies to try and improve your fluency.
6. Speaking practice
You also need to focus on actually speaking! In every set you will have a number of opportunities to record yourself and then analyse your responses through a set of guiding questions. We have also included, for the first time, some help on pronunciation with exercises that are both helpful and fun.
Overall, we hope that this new version will help you become a more active learner, have a lot of fun while learning, and, of course, improve your IELTS Speaking band score.
You can see the upgrades from a unit in the Road to IELTS Free Version here.