Top 5 IELTS Speaking Tips: How to improve your score! - PELA (2022)

Top 5 IELTS Speaking Tips: How to improve your score!

  • Top 5 IELTS Speaking Tips: How to improve your score! - PELA (1)Chris Quinn
  • Top 5 IELTS Speaking Tips: How to improve your score! - PELA (2)May 4, 2022
  • Top 5 IELTS Speaking Tips: How to improve your score! - PELA (3) How can I improve my English SPEAKING ability? How can I improve my English? IELTS Strategies & Tips

Improve your score with these IELTS Speaking tips. These strategies and techniques will help you in Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of the IELTS Speaking test.

In IELTS Speaking, it is not enough to study what topics IELTS speaking tests focus on. You need to study how to give effective answers. See below for the 5 best IELTS Speaking Test tips!

Discover more IELTS test tips!

  • Top 5 tips for IELTS Speaking Preparation
  • Your attitude can increase your IELTS Speaking score!
  • How to Improve English Speaking Skills

Tip #1: Tempo & emphasizing is as important as high level vocabulary & grammar

One of four aspects of your English that is being evaluated is ‘fluency’. For the IELTS, part of fluency is what your voice is doing to create English.

You need to think of language the same way you think of music. In music, it is not enough to say the lyrics of a song. You need to know which words to sing ‘high’ or ‘low’ to effectively sing a song. If you don’t change the tone of your voice, your song will sound strange.

The same is true in English.

In English, you need to emphasize your words in different ways in order to tell the listener what information you think is important. If you don’t emphasize words or ideas when you talk, the person listening to you doesn’t have a clear idea what you think is important for them to focus on or remember.

As importantly, the speed at which you speak words is important. Not all songs are sung at the same speed. Some parts of the song are faster than others. The speed of a song is helping to create meaning and emphasize importance.

When you talk fast, you are telling the listener that what you are saying is not as important as other information. It is like you are running past those ideas so that you can get to what you think is more important. Once you get to ideas you think are more important, you want to slow down the speed you talk. This tells the listener to pay attention.

Extra Tip: Changing the tone of your voice is like shining a spotlight on words and ideas, helping other understand your main points more easily.

Tip #2:Say something immediately after being asked a question

Another part of ‘fluency’ that the IELTS Speaking test is evaluating is how fast you can comprehend questions and respond.

This means that when the IELTS examiner asks you a question you need to immediately respond, even if you don’t understand the question!This sounds extreme, and very unfair. Maybe you are just thinking about how you truly feel about an issue. Maybe it’s a question you’ve never been asked before and you need a little bit of time to think.However, the IELTS examiner is not in your head. They don’t know why you are hesitating.

Hesitation can be interpreted by IELTS examiner as you not having a high level of English ability. They might interpret a pause before responding as you ‘translating’ English in your head.

So, immediately after they ask you question, say something.

“Well, I’m not sure.”

“Huh, let me think about that.”

“I’m not sure, but I would suppose that…”

Maybe they asked you a question and you aren’t quite sure you understood them. If so, then ask them to ‘clarify’ (make more clear) what they are asking about. You could even ask about the meaning of a word they use one and you’re not sure what it means.

Tip #3: Correct your mistakes if it helps make your ideas clearer/correct

One big worry that many students have is that they might make mistakes with their English when answering IELTS Speaking questions.

They might use the wrong word. They might use an adjective when they should have used a noun. Maybe they are halfway through saying a sentence and realize they have forgotten how to finish the sentence in a grammatically correct way.

If you make a mistake, however, you can turn it into an opportunity to increase your IELTS score!

If it is a minor mistake like:

  • You forgot the ‘s’ at the end of a verb
  • You used wrong pronoun at the beginning of an adjective clause
  • You mispronounced word or emphasized the wrong syllable

Don’t’ worry about it. Just keep talking and don’t go back to fix the mistake.

However, if the mistake can cause the IELTS examiner to be confused about what you are saying, you will want to fix the mistake.

Major mistakes could be:

  • Using the wrong pronoun when talking about someone or something
  • Using a word which changes the meaning of an idea you are trying to give
  • Losing track of the grammar of the sentence you are trying to say

For these more serious mistakes, it is okay to pause, say, “What I mean is…” and restart the sentence or clause you would like to fix.

Tip #4: Use connectors to connect, compare or transition between ideas and information

Another aspect of your English that the IELTS examiner is evaluating your ability to connect ideas to each other.

  • Use pronouns like ‘which’, ‘where’, or ‘that’ which introduce adjective clauses, creating complex sentences and giving you the opportunity to use a wider range of vocabulary. You should also use these word to create noun clauses and dependent clauses.
  • Use other pronouns like ‘he’, ‘these’, or ‘this’ that refer to nouns you’ve already mentioned, so that you aren’t continually using the same words over and over again. If you keep using the same words over and over, you are not demonstrating one type of paraphrasing.
  • Use words and phrases like ‘however’ and ‘on the other hand’ to compare and contrast ideas.

Extra Tip: Don’t just use pronouns to refer to people; use them to refer to ideas, things, or events.

Being able to use these in various ways demonstrates you know how to connect ideas to each other. If you don’t use these kinds of English connectors, it becomes harder for your listener to follow your ‘chain of thought’.

If you don’t have these kinds of connectors, it feels like you are just saying one idea after another without showing how they work together to create a deeper and more complete understanding of topic or issue you are talking about in the IELTS Speaking test.

Tip #5: Practice answering questions right before your Speaking test interview

On IELTS test day, you will be doing the Listening, Reading, and Writing sections all together with no breaks between them. However, between the Writing and Speaking sections, you will usually have at least a one-hour break—it might even be longer. Some test takers may even take the IELTS Speaking test the day before or the day after.

Luckily, whenever you take the IELTS Speaking test, you will have free time before the start of the interview. Use this time to prepare!

Take sample IELTS Speaking questions with you to test day (on paper or on your phone). During the hour right before your IELTS interview, find a quiet place where youcan talk out loud. Look at the questions and practice answering them OUT LOUD. Don’t just think of English silently in your head. Speak English. Your goal is to get your mouth and mind warmed up to work together when are answering questions in the IELTS Speaking interview.

Think of stories or examples you could tell to support your answers.

Think of interesting, unusual vocabulary you could use for the different questions.

Some students do one other thing to help them mentally prepare for the IELTS Speaking test. They imagine (create an image in their head) that they are doing the IELTS interview.

Imagine sitting with the IELTS examiner. Imagine you are answering questions with confidence. Try to create the FEELING of confidence in your heart and body. What does confidence feel like to you? This will get you ready to perform at a higher level, just like if you were getting ready to act on a stage in a theater.


So, remember to raise your IELTS Speaking score, use intonation and speaking tempo to sound more like a native English speaker, and respond immediately to questions, even if all you say is, “I don’t know”! You don’t have to correct every little mistake you make; just correct the mistakes that make your responses less confusing. Use interesting and natural transitions to move from one idea to another, and practice using them the hour right before your IELTS Speaking test.It takes time to become effective with these techniques, so practice using these techniques many times before IELTS test day so that they become a natural part of your English! Remember to use these 5 IELTS Speaking tips for the Speaking section every time you are doing mock IELTS Speaking tests, and you will see your IELTS Speaking score improve!

Discover more IELTS test tips!

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  • Top 5 Tips for IELTS General Writing 1 Letters
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  • How to Improve English Speaking Skills
  • Top 5 IELTS Reading Tips
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  • Use PELA’s 3×3 Method to learn English at home!

Want to knowhow to start IELTS preparation at home?Learn the best way to prepare IELTS Listening questions with the Portland English Language Academy. You can learn many IELTS preparation tips for how to improve your IELTS score withPELA Online’s Academic IELTS Preparation course, with Modules to help you with listening, reading, writing, and speaking test questions.

Do you need to study for the IELTS test?

PELA can help!

Even if you are not in Portland, Oregon, you can join Portland English Language Academy’s online IELTS online Preparation class and begin to master the IELTS today. Our 6-week online program will give you access to live classes with IELTS experts, as well as our IELTS Strategy video library and over 35 hours of practice quizzes and tests to help you improve your IELTS skills and get the IELTS score you want.

And if you are in the Portland, Oregon / Seattle, Washington area, PELA is your local IELTS Test Center. Find out more how you can register to take the IELTS test here with us!

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