How can you improve your speaking?
Here are three pieces of advice that we hope will help you improve your speaking.
Know what you need to be able to do
When you speak, you need different skills in different situations. Think about speaking your own language. Are you good at having friendly conversations and making friends? How about explaining a recipe? Or discussing football or politics? These all require different speaking skills. When you practise speaking, try to practise using all the different speaking skills that you need.
In the IELTS Speaking test, these are some of the things you will need to do:
agree or disagree
ask someone to repeat or explain
talk about your experiences
explain and justify your point of view.
Practise doing these things so that you can do them confidently.
Understand your own strengths and weaknesses
This week we have seen how IELTS Speaking is assessed. You can use this information to help you understand the areas where you need to improve.
Try to assess your own strengths and weaknesses, and you can also ask your teacher or other learners to help you. It’s a good idea to film yourself speaking, maybe doing an official IELTS practice test. You can use your phone to do this.
In Step 2.5 we saw this simple explanation of the Speaking assessment criteria. Try to answer the questions on this pdf about your own speaking. Or for more detail, look at the IELTS Speaking band descriptors. You may want to ask your teacher to help you with this. Just as with writing, you can ask yourself: Which descriptors do you think match your speaking? Look at the band you are aiming for – what do you need to do to get there?
Take every opportunity to speak English
Of course, the best way to practise speaking is by speaking! If you have the chance to communicate with people in English, that’s great. This could include speaking to other learners of English who don’t speak your language, as well as native English speakers. Maybe you can join an English club? Or perhaps there are English speakers near you who are learning your language – you can do a language exchange.
It’s also a good idea to listen carefully when watching English films or programmes. Listen to the phrases and expressions they use, and how they are pronounced. Try to use these yourself.
© UCLES 2016