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How do examiners assess speaking?

How do examiners assess speaking?
Personally, I’m worried about the speaking test because I’m not very confident about my grammar. What can I do? Well you can always practise your grammar beforehand. You can practise it from books, or from online resources, or you can speak to your teacher about grammar points that worry you. But remember, like we said in writing, you’re being assessed on several different criteria. So grammar is not the only thing you want to focus on. So it’s like writing where the examiner uses several criteria to assess how good I am, right? Yes, but the criteria in speaking are different from the criteria used in writing. So what are the criteria for speaking? There are four criteria, as in writing.
The first category is about fluency and coherence, and this, really, is about how fluently you speak and how clearly you link your ideas together. Then there is lexical resource. Lexical resource is about both the accuracy and the range of your vocabulary. So try to use some less common or idiomatic phrases while you’re speaking. Also, if you can’t think of a word, you need to be able to think of a way of expressing your ideas with different words. Yeah, of course. Then there’s grammar, and grammar is about both the range and the accuracy. So you need to be able to speak not just using very simple basic sentences, and of course you need to be reasonably accurate.
And finally, there is pronunciation. Pronunciation, in general, is about how easy you are to understand. This involves a range of things like being able to use stress and intonation to put across your meaning to the listener and to be able to say words clearly with the correct stress and the correct sounds. So how does the examiner decide what band does want to give me? So for each of the criteria, the examiners actually have descriptors, so short sentences, describing what someone is able to do. So they try to match you up to figure out the one that best describes where you are, and then the average for the four is your overall band descriptor, or your overall band for speaking.
I’m glad that I can go to the test with an idea and understanding of what the examiner is looking for. Do you know where I can find more information about it? Well, in fact, we have provided these descriptors, which you can find at the bottom of this screen. And in the next step, we will also be looking at some examples of speaking. So hopefully that should be helpful. That’s perfect. Thank you very much.
Watch Gad, with Jill Cosh, talking to Nuria about how IELTS Speaking is assessed.
Remember that the things the examiners are looking for are the same as the things that make good spoken communication outside the test. So the way to do your best in IELTS Speaking is to show the examiner that you can communicate effectively in English.
Look at the downloads at the bottom of the page. One of these is the Band Descriptors that Gad mentions, and the other is a simple guide to the Speaking assessment criteria.
The pdf ‘How is the Speaking paper assessed?’, and many other resources in this course, come from the Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS from Cambridge University Press and Cambridge English Language Assessment.
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