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Welcome to the 'Free IELTS Tips' e-newsletter

This week we are going to focus on the IELTS Speaking Test. Our 'Secrets for IELTS Success", 'Vocabulary' and 'Practice your English' sections will all focus on this part of the exam. If these tips are helpful, please click on 'Like' at the top of the newsletter and forward it.

Secrets for IELTS Success

The Speaking Test

  •  Carry on speaking
  •  Learn some short phrases which you can use to sound natural
  •  Don't speak too quickly or too slowly
  •  Use a range of vocabulary

Carry on Speaking

The IELTS interview is 11 - 14 minutes long. This is your opportunity to show how much English you know - be confident and be prepared to talk a lot. In today's newsletter, we will give you suggestions for Part 1 of the Speaking Test - in this part of the test, you will be asked questions about yourself.


Always offer longer answers if possible - if you say something short, add a reason:

Question: What is your favourite food?

I enjoy eating sushi because it tastes great and it is really good for my health.

......to make your answer longer.


When you here a question think of other questions (what? when? why? how? who with?)

Question: Do you often go on trips abroad?

Yes, I do. I love travelling..um, well...I usually go abroad during the summer because I love the warm weather. Actually, I usually enjoy travelling with my two best friends.

{The candidate makes the answer longer by considering other questions connect to the one which was asked}


If you have an idea, but it is too complicated for you to say in good English, change to a simpler idea. You don't need to have amazing ideas, but you should continue without stopping for more than a few seconds. It may be easier to do this if you say something more simple. Show the listener the things you can say well, not the things you can't talk about.


As well as giving longer answers, it is important to speak without periods of silence, while thinking about what to say and how to say it.

Example in Part 1:

Question: Why do you think e-mailing is so popular in Thailand?

Lower level response:

I think people like e-mail because.....................they................can contact..........many of their friends..........easily and quickly..............and................send lots..........of information.......to them.

{the words here are not bad, but there are too many gaps where the speaker is staying silent. You should find ways to keep talking.}

Learn some short phrases which you can use to sound natural

Better response:

Well, you know, I think people like e-mail because , err, well, they, in fact, can contact err many of their friends, umm, easily and quickly yer and alsoooo send lots of umm information to them.

{This says the same thing, but the speaker uses words to fill the gaps while he/she is speaking - this is natural in English]

Common 'filler' words:

Umm         Well           You know            Errr          Sooo              And             Ahh      Like        

Right              OK              Basically                   Actually             To be honest


Don't speak too quickly or too slowly

You do not need to speak very fast.

Unless your pronunciation is perfect, speaking fast can make it more difficult for someone to understand you.

Don't speak too slow.

You need to practice speaking a lot before you go to the test so that you can speak fast enough. Speaking is a skill - to get better at speaking, you have to speak.

Use a range of vocabulary

During your Speaking test, you need to use many different words - don't say the same word again and again.

Lower level response:

I have many good friends and it is good to see them every weekend. We go to see good movies and have a good time.

In English, there are many words for good:

Higher level response:

You know, I have many close friends and it is great to spend time with them at weekends. We frequently go to see interesting movies and have a fantastic time.

Using different words like this (synonyms) shows you know more language.


Remember, for Speaking and Writing, you cannot just know vocabulary. You need to know how to use it in sentences.

This word can be used in the Speaking Test and the Writing Task 2, but the example below is appropriate for the Speaking.

Word of the week

              influence  (noun & verb)

The word 'influence' uses different grammar when it is a noun and when it is a verb:

                   My science teacher had an enormous influence on my life.

When influence is a noun, it is used with:   have an influence on + noun

                          My science teacher enormously influenced my life.

In the second sentence, 'influence' is a verb; it is used without a preposition - simply:

Subject + influence + object

Practice your English

The best way to learn new words is by reading a lot. You need to do this everyday at home (20 minutes per day).

For IELTS, you need to read news articles or other texts which have academic style English.

Click on the photo (on the right) for a link to a fantastic webite which has articles especially for foreign learners of English.

Don't read articles which are much too hard for you - this will cause you to get bored and frustrated and give up.

Read articles where you understand about 80% of the words already. Then just choose a few words to look up in a dictionary or on line (maybe words that interest you or words you see again and again).

If you think a word could be useful for Speaking (or Writing) then write it down and write down a sample sentence using the word.

Next Edition

The next newsletter will give you tips for the IELTS Writing Task 2 essay.

Secrets for Success


Practice your English

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We may publish the best questions in future newsletters.