The Speaking Examination of the International English Language Test System may be the most challenging subtest to most. This is understandable, given that the Speaking Exam is not merely a test of proficiency – it is also a test of confidence. The time limit for the exam also says that it means business: those taking the test only have only 11-14 minutes to make the examiner give the score needed.
Surviving the Speaking Exam may not be easy, but there are ways to do it – and to excel. Here are some tips you may want to check out.
- Practice outside the classroom. You may be enrolled in a good review center, but remember that speaking is a skill, and as with all skills, you need to hone it by using it. Get someone to practice with – maybe a classmate or a friend or your parents– make speaking English a routine. Being able to speak in English fluently is already a big plus point to your score.
- Read out loud and have someone listen to you. This is an excellent practice for pronunciation, especially if you’re having trouble with certain sounds. It doesn’t matter what you read – books, newspapers, online articles, comics, jokes, even Tweets and Facebook statuses – as long as they are in English.
- Watch English movies. Not only will you get used to how native speakers articulate, you might also pick up a thing or two about the melody of the speech.
- Aim for clarity…which is the same as saying “don’t eat your words”. Make sure that when you speak, you modulate your speed. Speaking too fast is not good English – it is blabbing. Make sure that you are able to articulate each word correctly. Google tongue twisters if you want to work on your clarity.
- Inhale through your nose, as deeply as you can, while tensing your muscles.
- Hold your breath for 3 seconds.
- Exhale through your mouth and relax your muscles.
- Repeat 3 times.
- Quoting from a famous meme: “Keep Calm and Speak”. Performance in the Speaking exam (or any other speaking opportunities for that matter) heavily depends on the ability of the speaker to stay calm enough to say his or her piece. The pressure during the IELTS Speaking test is no laughing manner – after all, the result of the test determines if you spent P9,000.00 well or if you simply wasted it. There are several calming exercises you can do to stay calm, one of which is the deep breathing exercise. Try this:
- Power dress. Appeal to the human side of the examiners and dress to impress. It may not have anything to do with your Speaking skills, but it helps to create a first impression of professionalism, authority, and competence.
- K.I.S./S. Keep it simple, but not simplistic. The main aim of the Speaking exam is simple: to know if you can communicate in English. Remember that your aim is to communicate your ideas, and being able to do that is more impressive than a truck-load of nosebleed-inducing vocabulary that are misused and have no place in your sentences. You don’t have to use flamboyant words all the time, but a sprinkle of sophistication won’t hurt either.
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