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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid During the IELTS Speaking Test

Anybody can get nervous when they are about to be interviewed. For candidates taking the IELTS speaking test, the level of anxiety before and during the exam is a little overwhelming that some end up getting uncomfortable during the exam. When you get uncomfortable, you are prone to committing a lot of mistakes while in the interview. Mistakes are normal, yet it can be avoided. Here are top mistakes that candidates need to avoid during the IELTS speaking test.

IELTS Center

1. A simple YES or NO should be avoided.

When examiners ask you a yes or no question, do not give a response with just a yes or a no. Elaborate and present ideas why you agreed or disagreed on something.

Example:

Q: Do you like your job?

A: Yes, I do. It has been a great experience working for a company who challenges my professional skills and with colleagues who make work fun and exciting.

2. Do not overuse the use of transition words in your response. 

Transition words lead your examiner with the ideas in your response. Making use of these creates a good flow in your response. However, do not overuse them as they become inappropriate in your response as it does not sound natural at all.

Example:

Q: Why do you think friends are important?

A: That is a very good question. Personally speaking, friends are important because they give good advice. What I mean is that they can comment whether you are doing the right thing or not. Furthermore, they are good support. The reason why I say this is because they never let me down.

3. Pausing for too long before answering the question.

When you are given a tough question, do not pause for too long thinking about what to say. Use fillers.

Example:

Q: What do you think is the effect of the latest APEC Summit in the Philippines?

A: That’s a pretty tough question…

4. Parroting the question

Do not parrot questions. Instead, paraphrase them in your response. Remember that you are evaluated on how you can vary your speech, so make use of paraphrasing skills. 

Example:

Q: What is your hobby?

A: My hobby is collecting stamps. (NO!)
     I really enjoy collecting stamps. (YES!)

5. Going off the topic

This is usually a common mistake most especially when candidates are explaining their answers. Some explain the detail of the answer missing the task of the question.

Example:

Q: What do you like doing on weekends?

A: I love hanging out with friends. I have met my friends since elementary. They are very kind to me. Some of them are working here in the Philippines while others are overseas. We always have an annual dinner before Christmas. (The detail does not explain the activity, but the friends.)

6. The “I don’t understand” phrase

When given a difficult question, ask politely if they can repeat it. Do not raise the white flag saying you are clueless about the question. 

Example:

Q: What should governments do to alleviate the problems of poverty?

A: I do not understand the question. (NO!)
    Do you mean how the government can provide solutions to poverty?

7. Saying too much

It is okay to elaborate your answers, but do not bore your examiner. Make sure that you are explaining about the topic. The moment you get more detailed, the higher chances of you going off topic. In Part 2, saying too much can be a little awkward as the examiner might have to stop you in the middle of your response. 

8. Poor pronunciation

Some candidates have a strong vernacular influence that can affect their pronunciation of English words. The best way to avoid this is to practice and listen to different materials in English.  Your great ideas in a response could go down the drain when words do not come out clearly.
9. Patterned answers

Examiners are trained people to know whether your answers follow a template. When your answers are such, it can be a great disadvantage. It is important that responses should be as natural as possible. Your expertise in carrying a good English conversation depends on the fluency and coherence of your answer.

10. Being monotone

Imagine that you are talking to a friend (in a much formal way) during the test.  Put emphasis on important words or ideas in your answer. Having a flat tone is boring and often a sign of weakness for the examiner. 

To totally avoid mistakes in the speaking test, expose yourself to a lot of speaking practices. Be familiar with the common questions for the test and always take every opportunity to use the language at work, home or school. 

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