25% of your marks when attempting for IELTS exams depend on how well you score in writing and speaking section. You must use appropriate grammar structures that are error free if you are aiming to score band 7 or higher.
Here is a list of top 10 most common mistakes that you must avoid in your IELTS speaking section to score those precious points in IELTS –
1.Silence – When you are asked something or you are taking your time to gather your thoughts while answering, you must never take more than 5 seconds to answer. Silences more than the said time always go down badly. There is a solution to this! When you are stuck, you must try using some filler expressions such as That’s a tough question and Let me see.
2.Memorized answers – You are likely to face a penalty if the examiner notices that you are trying to recite an answer from the memory. The examiner is truly proficient in identifying your memorized answer. The signs of a memorized answer includes speaking in a ‘written’ style of English, unnatural intonation, and the candidate attempting to ‘rephrase’ the question to the one they want to answer. Practice speaking about a wide range of topics before taking the test is suggested to avoid any uncomfortable situation.
3.Overuse of transition signals – Using words like first, for example or on the other hand while making a transition in your speech is quite normal; but if you overuse such signposting words you are actually damaging your score. Sounding natural should be your goal in IELTS Speaking. Using words which are hardly used in speech such as – furthermore, moreover, and in addition could make you sound all the more less natural if you use them.
4.Parroting the question – You might be well aware of the characteristic of a parrot; a bird can literally mimic but not understand the human speech. In IELTS, a candidate who repeats the question back in a statement form behaves like a parrot – Q: What’s your favorite sport to watch on TV? A: My favorite sport to watch on TV is football. The examiner is impressed and rewards those who can vary speech, paraphrase the words or structure of the question, like - I’m always watching football on TV.
5.Answering the wrong question – You will lose the marks if your answer is completely irrelevant to the question asked. You must attentively listen what has been asked and understand it completely before answering or replying anything.
6.Saying ‘I don’t understand’ – Instead of using ‘I don’t understand’ too frequently in your speech, you can use a straightforward request like Could you say that again, please? or ask a checking question such as Do you mean…? that shows you have at least partly understood the question.
7.Saying too much or too little – If you say too little, you miss the opportunity to show off your ability and if you say too much, you risk sounding less coherent and making more mistakes. You must ensure an appropriate balance is maintained in your speech.
8.Poor pronunciation – Pronunciation accounts for 25% of the score in IELTS Speaking and that’s because it’s fundamental to spoken communication. You must find an opportunity to practice with native or native-level speakers and get an honest feedback on your pronunciation and work towards wherever necessary.
9.Flat intonation – A varied intonation, pitch, volume and speaking speed is always used in a speech in order to maintain the listener’s interest and direct attention to our important ideas. Even IELTS examiners, who are trained to listen carefully to everything a candidate says, will find a flatly-intoned response difficult to follow and your response may be marked down for both pronunciation and coherence as a result.
10.Asking for the examiner’s opinion – You are there to answer the questions, not ask them. The examiner will politely redirect the question back your way if you try to stall for time by saying I don’t know, what do you think? If you really don’t have any ideas, just say I’m afraid I know nothing about this topic and wait for the next question.