There are a few things candidates must take note of before undergoing the IELTS interview. Here are the essential points:
- The speaking test is based on accuracy, fluency, range of vocabulary, pronunciation and appropriate use of language. There is a list of skills and strategies that IELTS examiners look for, so it is beneficial to work towards these strategies as best you can.
- The speaking test is designed to become progressively more challenging. The beginning allows you time to settle in and relax before you have an opportunity to demonstrate the range of language you are able to control. Part 1 is the easiest section of the test; you should be able to complete it without difficulty. Parts 2 and 3 carry more weight and examiners usually base their assessment on the candidate's ability to speak fluidly. In Part 2 you must speak continuously for 2 minutes and in Part 3 you must argue your points. If your response in these two parts of the test are too short, there is a possibility you may not receive a high mark for your performance.
- The first couple minutes of the interview are designed to ask questions about your personal identity, i.e. name, candidate number, hometown, and passport verification. Your answers should be concise and factual. However, you should avoid responses that are too short; one-word answers are not acceptable as this does not give the examiner sufficient substance for evaluation.
- The following questions asked in the interview are related to everyday topics such as food or clothing. Your responses should be more elaborate than just yes or no replies. You should aim to develop your answers to include more details. However, you should also be careful not to speak for too long during this section (Part 1), as you will have a chance to do so in Parts 2 and 3. Forcing yourself to continue in Part 1 can likely result in you running out of ideas and having nothing left to say in the final sections. This will adversely affect your score in fluency.
- Before you begin the longer responses of Parts 2 & 3, you should use the one minute preparation time to make bullet notes. You will be able to keep these notes and the topic booklet in front of you throughout the interview. During the 2-minute response, you should continue speaking until the examiner indicates for you to stop. Don't worry about making short pauses as they are quite normal. However, long pauses signify a lack of fluency and weak command of the language. Your performance during the 2-minute response very much depends on how well you have prepared in the one minute that was given to you. Unfortunately, many candidates often do not use this one minute preparation; when they do, it is usually for taking note of sentence structures. Although fluent speakers do not always need this time, it can only be beneficial to use that minute to prepare. There is a reason why you are given this time. If you decide to skip it, you will not be given any such opportunity again during the interview.
- Finally, the examiner will lead you to the discussion stage and invite you to give your opinion on a topic. This is your chance to exhibit your spoken language skills while discussing abstract or concrete subjects. You should answer the questions as fully and fluently as possible, supporting your opinion with reasons when appropriate. In order to do this it is a good idea keep yourself up to date on news and current events. This will facilitate you in developing sufficient arguments and examples. You should form opinions on topics in the news in the interest of being able to present informed ideas during this part of the interview.
The interview is audio-recorded. This is done so that the examiner can listen to parts of the interview several times before giving you an evaluation. It also allows different examiners to listen to the interview if necessary. Recordings are randomly checked by UCLES to ensure that the standards of scoring are correctly maintained.
Until next time!