Tips from an IELTS Examiner.

One of the hardest sections of the IELTS exam is the Speaking section. Many students get low scores in this part of the exam because they don't know how to study for it. There is a saying in English, "practice makes perfect", and for this part of the test, it couldn't be truer.

We attended a presentation by International House London on tips for people studying for IELTS. Today, we wanted to share their TOP TWO tips for achieving a higher band score on the Speaking test. [1]


【Tip 1: Use complex linkers】

Linkers are the words that we use to link different ideas or parts of a sentence together. Some common linkers are: and, but, so, like, because. Native speakers often use these words in their speech, however, it's important during the IELTS speaking section not to overuse them. Repetition indicates to the examiner a poor vocabulary; this will be discussed further in Tip 2. In order to impress the examiner and show off your advanced grasp on the English language, you must use complex linkers.

► The following is a short list of complex linkers:


► Consider these two sentences:

"He is an amazing pianist and a great mathematician."

"In addition to being an amazing pianist, he is also a great mathematician."


▲ Both sentences are grammatically correct however the latter sounds more formal as it contains a complex linker.  

► Keep in mind when using these linkers it is important that you use them properly! For example, see if you can identify the mistake in the following sentence:

"Although, we were hungry, we ate all the food on the table. "

▲ 'Although' is a contrasting linker, while this sentence requires a 'reason and cause' linker. It can be corrected in many ways, here is just one example: "Because we were so hungry, we ate all the food on the table!"


 Tip 2: Avoid repetition!

The examiner is trying to gauge the breadth of your vocabulary; therefore, in both the writing and speaking sections, it is important to showcase how many different words you know. Repeating words or ideas in your speech reveals to the examiner that you have a difficult time articulating yourself.

For example, Lena is talking about the food in her hometown: "There are many delicious dishes from my hometown. My mother taught me how to cook many things and the dishes taste so good. My mother is a really good cook. One day, I would like to be able to cook like her because she is such an amazing cook."

Lena, has repeated a few words such as 'dishes, my mother, many, cook' and she has repeated the idea about her mother being a good cook. A better explanation would look something like this: "There are many delicious dishes from my hometown, Berlin, which is the capital city of Germany. My mother, who is an excellent chef, has taught me how to cook German cuisine however, I still have a lot to learn. One day, I hope to be as skilled as her."

A good way to make your responses less repetitive and more informative is to add new details about the people and places being discussed. In this case, the speaker provides more details about Berlin and lets the listener know that her mother is a chef.

With hard work and consistent practice you will do well on the IELTS. Good luck!



[1] For more information about International House London check out their website: