How to Improve IELTS Speaking Score
By Georgie Harding – Founder & Head Speech Pathologist
I’m going to help you improve your IELTS Speaking Score by working on your pronunciation and fluency!
Many of my clients are scoring well on other areas but really need to BOOST their speaking skills as soon as possible for a better IELTS score. Their spoken English is holding them back from getting the IELTS score they want.
Many of these people are doing the right things to improve their English speaking skills. Improving English speaking skills take a certain approach that many English learners aren’t aware of.
Complete the 3 actions under each heading below and you will start to make real improvements – you’ll avoid common traps and make sure your energy and efforts is focused on the right areas.
Remember: Your English speaking will not improve just through living in an English speaking country.
Your comprehension will but speaking – NO! Your English speaking will only improve with active effort and practise. If you’re wondering how to improve your IELTS speaking score you need to commit to spending time every day on specifically improving your spoken English. I recommend at least 30 minutes of effort a day, but the more you do, the more you will improve!
Let’s think about what the assessors are scoring you on.
For a better IELTS speaking score you need to work on the following:
- Fluency & Coherence – that’s talking at the right speed (not too slow OR too fast) and connecting your ideas together.
- Lexical Resource – how good your vocabulary is and how well you use it.
- Grammatical Range and Accuracy – how well you use grammar in your spoken English.
- Pronunciation – how well you pronounce English. Does the examiner understand your English easily and without effort or do they have to concentrate to understand. This is 25% of your overall score- so don’t neglect it.
Let’s Get Started on How to Improve IELTS Speaking Score!
OK, so now we know what they examiners are looking at for a better IELTS speaking score, let’s look at HOW to improve your IELTS Speaking Score!
I’m going to give you 3 things to consider or actions for each area you will be scored on. And some ideas for how to improve them on a daily basis for a better IELTS speaking score.
Fluency and Coherence for a better IELTS Speaking Score
Think of fluency as our ability to access words and use them well in a sentence. Did you know the ONLY way to improve your English fluency is to speak out loud? Reading and watching TV do not improve your fluency – you actually need to be speaking English out loud. The GREAT news is that you don’t need other people to improve your English fluency. You can do it by yourself. Yes, that right, speaking out loud, by yourself is proven to be a very effective way to speak more fluent English.
Your Actions to Improve Fluency:
- Watch our video: 1 Daily Habit to Fantastic English Fluency and do the recommended practise for 15 minutes each day as described in the video.
- Speak as much English as you can everyday. Ideally for a better IELTS Speaking Score
- Check your speed. If you feel your English is too slow, you need to improve your fluency and vocabulary. You rate of speaking will improve as you improve your fluency. If you speak too fast, watch this video on how and why to improve your rate. Speaking English at a good rate is crucial for a good IELTS speaking score. If you are speaking English very fast, you put strain on your listener and also your pronunciation is likely to get worse.
Lexical Resource for a better IELTS Speaking Score
Building your English vocabulary is tied to fluency. Remember it’s one skill to understand a word, and another skill to be able to use it correctly when you are speaking. You need to actively practise using new words in sentences out loud on a range of topics.
Your Actions to Improve Vocabulary:
- As explained in the video you watched above (1 Daily Habit to Fantastic English Fluency) complete the 15 minutes a day and start using podcasts to develop your vocabulary.
- Start a ‘NEW VOCAB LIST’ and each day add 6 new words (from the podcast or other source). Describe and use each word on the list in detail our loud. Cover the ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘when’, ‘where’ and ‘how’ of each word.
- Watch these IELTS speaking videos and answer the questions in the videos out loud for practise for yourself. Read the text, identify any vocabulary you don’t know and add them to your ‘new vocab list’.
Grammatical Range and Accuracy for a better IELTS Speaking Score
When following this ‘how to improve IELTS speaking score’ guide you need to actively check your grammar when you’re speaking.
Your Actions to Improve Grammar:
- Record yourself talking about yesterday (use your phone or this voice recorder). Listen back to the recording. Did you use the past tense correctly? Or did you say things like ‘yesterday I walk to the shop’, ‘I see my friends’. This is incorrect – where are the PAST TENSE endings? It should be ‘yesterday I walked to the shop’, ‘I saw my friends’ etc. Not only is leaving off past tense endings an obvious grammar mistake, it’s also very confusing for your examiner. They need correct past tense endings to understand what happened in the past, what is happening now and what will happen in the future.
- Record yourself and describe in detail what you can see in the room around you and out the window. Afterwards, listen and check your plural endings. Did you say ‘I see some chair’ or ‘I see a few car’? It should be ‘I see some chairs’ and ‘I see a few cars’.
- Talk for 5 minutes each evening focusing on past tense and plurals. For past tense, talk about what you have done that day in detail for 5 minutes focusing on using the correct past tense. Do the same for plurals. Within a week, your use of these two grammatical markers will be vastly improved.
Pronunciation for a better IELTS Speaking Score
If you have problems with your pronunciation, this can affect all your other speaking areas because it’s likely the examiner will miss some of what you say and find it difficult to follow your message. If you have poor pronunciation of word endings this will definitely negatively affect your grammar score as you won’t be pronouncing a range of grammatical markers properly and this will make it sound like you have poor grammar in your spoken English.
This is 25% of your speaking score BUT the argument could be made that your clarity and pronunciation actually affects all other areas of your IELTS speaking score because if your words are unclear, your examiner will have difficulty assessing your fluency, vocabulary, meaning and grammar!
Pronunciation is often ignored by people because it’s an area they lack confidence with and haven’t had assistance with in the past. For many people, it’s new and they don’t know where to start.
Your Actions to Improve Pronunciation:
- check you aren’t mumbling. Are you opening and moving your mouth enough for clear English? English has quite a few open sounds and some non-native speakers use a closed mouth position when they speak English because this is what they use in their first language. See more on opening and moving your mouth for clear English for IELTS here.
- Join our Speech Active free 5 day English Pronunciation Video Course to start improving your pronunciation. This will help you start improving your speech clarity for a better IELTS speaking and pronunciation score.
- Start to think about the following: English has certain stresses and a musical rhythm. This stress and rhythm actually has a HUGE effect on how clear you are. Your examiner will be listening to this and you will be scored on it. As a non-native speaker, it is highly likely that you are sometimes making some word stress errors and it’s also likely that your word stress and rhythm will be too flat. Improve this with the free course above, but also start to listen to it and pay attention to it in your own speech and other people’s speaking too!
Take-aways on how to get a better IELTS Speaking Score.
To re-cap on how to improve IELTS Speaking Score, complete the actions listed above and focus on ACTIVELY SPEAKING ENGLISH out loud for at least 30 minutes everyday.
In an ideal world I would say to you – stop speaking your first language between now and your next IELTS exam. This is really the BEST way to boost your English speaking skills quickly. Would that be possible for you? Ideally you would speak in English 100% of the time and your house mates or family can speak to you in whatever language they choose but you always speak in English. That would be my number one golden tip that will bring your the most improvement for a brilliant IELTS speaking score.
This will help you improve your pronunciation for IELTS, improve your English fluency for IELTS and to improve your vocabulary for IELTS. The great news is that when you boost your skills in one area, it boosts your skills in other areas too.
If want to get great results on your English speaking skills for IELTS speaking score then it’s time to enrol in a Speech Active course. You will boost your pronunciation and all areas of your spoken English to get a better IELTS speaking score.
See these comments from students on how they got a better IELTS speaking score with Speech Active.
I did the IELTS test before I took this course with only 5.5 for the speaking. Then after about 6 weeks of starting this course, I did the test again and it was increase to 6.5. Amazing! I hope to get my 7 for the speaking when I complete the whole course.
In the past, I learned to pronounce by copying others e.g. in class or on TV. It just gave me a general idea and sometimes made me quite confused. After taking this course, I know more secrets about pronunciation. Also for the first time I find English speaking can be so beautiful, just like music with pitches. Now I become very confident with my speaking and dare to speak with any people.
Recently I got 7.5 for IELTS speaking. It was a great improvement because I had never got over 6.5 for that band before. After taking the course, I am much more confidence in my speaking. And I also pay closer attention on how people pronounce and stress the words and I am able to recognise the difference. It is an amazing journey. I would highly recommend every non-native English speaker to take the course. It is extremely helpful.
This course helped me to improve my pronunciation and listening skills significantly which are essential for IELTS test.It helped me to get high scores in these two areas.
I got band 7 in speaking for IELTS test after this course. I highly recommend it for IELTS exam. I have more confidence in talking with locals too.
More free resources?
As mentioned above make sure you join our free English Pronunciation Course. It’s the perfect place to start improving your pronunciation for a better IELTS score.
Listen to all the Consonant Sounds & Vowel Sounds in English and record your own speech and compare it to a native English speaker.
Open your ears and listen carefully to the way people around you speak English. Listen as much as you can to the sounds they make.
If you have any questions about our course and how it can help you get a better IELTS speaking score please get in touch with us.