Speaking Tips for IELTS: How to improve IELTS Speaking Score

Speaking Tips for IELTS 2023

disha wahi

disha wahiStudy Abroad Expert

Updated on Jul 24, 2023 13:47 IST

IELTS Speaking is one the most scoring modules of the IELTS exam. It is not so difficult to perform well in the IELTS Speaking questions if you follow certain rules and do's and don’ts.  For more information follow the guidelines provided in the following paper to score a desired band in speaking.

IELTS Speaking Section (Pattern)

IELTS speaking is divided into three major parts. The bifurcation is given below.


(General Questions about the Candidate)


(Cue Card + Follow up Questions)


(Disscussion with the Examiner)

This part consists of general questions related to the candidate. Anything related to you and your life can be asked in this section of the exam. For instance, family, music, flowers, hobbies and so on. This part includes the individual's turn to speak for a longer span of time. The test taker is provided with a topic on a cue card and is given a minute to prepare on the topic. The candidate would be then required to speak on the topic for 1 - 2 minutes. This part is related to part 2 and it is more like a discussion between an examiner and the candidate. This section requires the candidates to elaborate on their
 answers in detail and give examples and abstract ideas about the topic.
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Tips for Scoring 8.5 + Bands in the IELTS Speaking Test

Speaking can be a scoring module in IELTS if prepared well. The following tips have been prepared to help you focus on essential points.

Memorizing answers will not work

The examiners will easily be able to locate whether you are repeating the answer from somewhere. Memorizing the answers would not really give the examiner an idea of your English-speaking skills, in fact, it would hinder the band.

Big fat words are NOT the key!

You might want to sound impressive in front of the examiner but use complex language only if you are familiar with it. Otherwise, it can act as a bane to your score and can affect your final bands negatively.

For essential vocabulary for IELTS exam, click here.

Use a range of grammar structures

Use varied grammar such as complex and simple sentences to express what you want to convey in your answers. Speak to your friends in English and practice recording your voice to check if you can spot the errors and self-correct.

Accent does not play any role

Try to focus on stress in words and intonation while speaking. Accents do not affect your bands, but your speaking style does. The examiner is in the habit of listening to different accents so do not worry about yours. Just keep your pronunciation correct.

Think before you speak!

It is ok to take a brief break in between to think about what you are about to say next. There is a certain way to take a break, and for that, you may like to use a few phrases while taking a pause so that it does not look like you are taking one. Some of them are:

Wow that is an interesting question

I have never thought about that, but...

That is a tricky question, but let me answer that...

That is a good point

Let me think about that...

Well, some people say that is the case, however, I think...

Fillers are a big no-no

Usually, we use these when we lack ideas. Hence it is important to use the previous tip to avoid fillers. Some of the fillers commonly used by the candidates are:

You know


Umm, ahh



Smile while you speak, it helps a lot!

Smiling helps in showing our friendly tone to the examiner and also helps in calming down nervousness. Just make sure you open your mouth wide while giving responses so that you enunciate appropriately.

Extend your answer

Always elaborate your answers well in the speaking test. Because this will show the examiner that you can answer in detail. Do not wait for the examiner to ask any question while you speak. Speak at length to give fuller answers.

Do not use monotone to answer

By speaking in a monotone, we can confuse the examiner with which part of the answer is important and can also exhaust and bore him. Hence, we need to be listened to and for that, we need to sound interesting. For expressing clearly in your ideas, you need to have variations in your tone.

Practice, practice, practice

Practice is the key to having an 8+ band in IELTS speaking. The more you talk in English with others it would build up your confidence and get you prepared for the main day. And the fewer errors you will make on that day. Hence be prepared for any instant question asked by the examiner.

Common IELTS Speaking Topics

IELTS Speaking topics keep on changing but many times you will find different questions around the same common topics. Here is a list of a few common IELTS speaking topics which you might encounter during the examination.

Accommodation Animals (and pets)  Art
Books (and reading habits) Celebrations Childhood
Clothing Dreams Education
Environment Films Flowers (and Plants)
Food (and Cooking) Friends Health
Hobbies Hometown Media (and News)
Museums Magic Neighbours
Places Shopping Sport
Studying Technology (including Computer & Internet) Transport
Travel (and Holidays) Weather Work

IELTS Speaking Tips: Do's & Don'ts

There are certain points which the candidate should keep in mind before he attempts the IELTS Speaking questions. Here are a few IELTS Speaking Do's and Don'ts which would help you to get a better IELTS band score.

IELTS Speaking Do’s

IELTS Speaking Don'ts

Know what to expect in the paper

Do not give one word or yes/no answers

Create a good first impression

Do not deviate from the point

Show that you are interested in questions

Do not give a direct NO answer, make a guess

Extend your answers

Do not speak very softly

Practice thoroughly

Do not try to be a perfectionist

Keep basic parameters for marking in mind.

Do not memorize answers

Speaking Tips for IELTS Speaking Part 1: General Questions 2023: Exam Dates, Application Form, Eligibility, Syllabus, Results


Best Books for IELTS Speaking Questions

Here are a few books to help you practice and get you going for the IELTS Speaking test. 

The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS with Answers

Target Band 7:IELTS Academic Modules- How to Maximize Your Score

Official IELTS Practice Materials Volume 1& 2

Barron's IELTS Superpack

Marking Criteria of IELTS Speaking Section

To understand better about marking for IELTS speaking paper, please refer to the following parameters.

Fluency Using a range of words and paraphrasing, using fewer common words, avoiding vocabulary errors, using collocations.
Lexical resources Using a range of words and paraphrasing, using fewer common words, avoiding vocabulary errors, using collocations.
Grammar range and accuracy Using a range of sentence structures, using various tenses, avoiding grammar errors.
Pronunciation Able to be understood throughout the test, should be able to use intonation, accurate word and sound pronunciation, accent does not affect understanding.

IELTS Speaking Sample Questions & Answers

IELTS Speaking Part 1

Question: Do you like listening to music?

Sample answer:

Yes, I am very fond of Bollywood music. I even listen to Classic old songs of 80’s and 90’s. Since I was a child, I started listening to music and have been intrigued since then to a lot of famous artists around the world like Lata Mangeshkar, Kumar Sanu and so on. I also have a fair interest in English songs and whole heartedly listen to Sam smith, The Weekend and Lana Del ray.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Question: Talk about a time when you were not allowed to use your mobile phone.

You should say:

Why were you not allowed?

Explain how you handled the situation.

What did you do?

What would advise others in such a situation?

You will have to talk about the topic for 1 to 2 minutes. You have one minute to think about what you’re going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.

Sample answer:

Well, these days mobile phones have become part and parcel of our lives, and most people find it quite inconvenient when they are stopped from using them. I would like to share one such experience when I was not allowed to use my mobile phone, and this incident took place a month ago   Actually, I was riding my motorbike and was heading towards the market, and on the road leading towards the market, there was a police check. Just like another motorist, one of the police officers stopped mine as well. It was just a routine check since I Always keep all the essential documents, just like vehicle registration, driving li insurance documents, and others in a pouch in my vehicle itself.   So, I was not worried at all when he stopped me. The officer approached me and ordered me to show the documents. I simply opened the pouch in which I keep the records and got surprised to see them missing. At this, I realized that while washing my vehicle a day before, I took out the document but forgot to place them back. So, I immediately took my mobile out of my pocket to call my brother to bring the documents. But the police officer stopped me from using my mobile. He said that you a not allowed to use a mobile phone, you have to show the documents I narrated the entire story   But, the officer abruptly snatched my cell phone and handed it over to the higher officer. I plead the officer to please return the mobile. But, he said if you do not carry the documents you have to the fine and as per the law, he can’t allow me to use the mobile phone.   Since I had no other option than accepting the ticket but, I was really disappointed with the behavior and attitude of the police officer, who didn’t listen to me at all and allowed me to make use of the mobile phone.

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Question: Do you think mobile phones have altered the way people spend their time today?

Sample answer:

People have become very busy with their tight hectic schedule these days and it's impossible for them to take out time for close ones or even themselves. That is where mobile phones come into the picture. They have helped us a lot lately not just to connect with our loved ones but also ease our professional life. Although it has a positive impact on people's lives because it has made work and personal life easy to handle. However, it comes with its own drawbacks. People esp. youngsters, have become addicted to their phones and keep them as a priority. Many times, they get distracted from academics and fall into blur traps of networking and adult sites which they are not aware of. For instance, they spend most of the time making reels, posting stories instead of giving time to their family and friends unlike before. Hence, in my opinion mobiles have changed the way people talk and treat others and if the situation isn’t controlled, it could be too late.


1. How should I prepare for the IELTS speaking test?

IELTS speaking is one of the easiest modules and indeed a scoring one. If you know the pattern of the paper well and timings allotted for each part, you are good to go. You might need the help of the trainer who would practice with you on each part of the speaking test.

Also keep in mind that you practice well, by taking to others in English frequently at least till you sit on the exam day, watch English new channels and series or movies to help you build your confidence. This skill would also help you in IELTS listening.

2. Can I write on paper during my exam?

Writing on paper is allowed in the exam. In fact, is it advisable to make notes during your part 2 (cue card) section of the exam. Many times, students forget or do not write keywords and then while speaking forget about the important points.

Hence, it is advisable to make notes because after writing the mind registers the points really well. And there are less chances to forget pointers while speaking.

3. Can I use simple language to answer my questions?

Language plays a major role in getting a good band in speaking. The way you speak, and answer questions says a lot about your performance. In fact, it is a separate parameter for marking in speaking module.

Grammar, vocabulary, fluency and intonation together talk about your speaking skills. If you use more complex sentences with uncommon vocab, a good band is on the way. The simpler the language, the simpler the bands

4. Do we have to learn idioms and phrases to score 9 bands in speaking?

Gaining band 9 can be scoring as well as tricky. Nothing comes without hard work, if you are willing to score band 9 in speaking. You should have a good command of the language. Be practical! If you have trouble in speaking English, focus on the language and not on the vocabulary.

Idioms and phrases are a boon for your speaking test but only use them if you are familiar with their usage and meaning otherwise this boon might become a hinderence in your score.

5. Can the examiner stop me in between the test?

The examiner has the right to stop you anywhere in between the exam. They must take care of the timings during the paper. Part 1 is strictly not for more than 5 minutes. Hence, they might stop you in between your answers to cover up the time. Because they have lots of candidates per day for the exam.

As well as that they might also ask you to speak more to get more ideas from you on the topic. Or sometimes if you do not elaborate much, they prompt questions for you to answer more.

6. How can I know how long I have been speaking for?

Practice makes the man perfect. It’s true! Start practicing in front of the mirror and record your voice just like it will be done in the exam. This is the best method to gain confidence for the main day and to pick up your own mistakes and correct them, so that you do not make the same mistake on the exam day.

The more you practice, esp. In part 2(cue card), the more familiar you will become with the paper and its timings. You just need to be persistent in practicing speaking because it is not a one-day game.


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