IELTS speaking practice can be tricky. You know you need to practice in order to improve, but you probably have no idea how to practice effectively or how to find people to practice with.
Like any skill, it is essential that you practice your speaking skills and also practice doing the test before exam day. Not doing this will seriously hinder your chances of getting the score you need.
This article will show you:
- How to practice on your own
- Find other people to practice with
- Find an IELTS expert to practice with
IELTS Speaking Practice: On Your Own
Most people think that practicing by themselves is a waste of time. Speaking is normally a two-way thing, so you need a partner, right? Not necessarily.
Below is a very effective technique for practicing your speaking before your test that I recommend to all my students:
Step 1- Format
Understand the format of the speaking test first.
The British Council have a very good overview of the test here.
Step 2- Marking Criteria
Understand how the test is marked. This is absolutely crucial. The examiner is going to use defined, objective criteria to evaluate your speaking level; understanding how they do this is one of the keys to success.
I created this guide on IELTS Speaking Criteria for you.
Read the guide above and understand the main principles.
Step 3- Practice Tests
Find reliable IELTS Speaking practice tests.
A great resource for this is IELTS Generator.
Step 4- Record
Do a full mock test. Record yourself. Do this using your phone or any other recording device.
Step 5- Evaluate
Listen back and note down any areas that you think could be improved.
Remember to only consider things mentioned in the official marking criteria.
This is the most important step. What you are doing here is raising your awareness of the different issues you have. Most people are completely unaware of their weaknesses so this will give you a huge advantage.
You can then work on these weaknesses and repeat the steps above. You will notice an improvement each time you do the above exercise.
IELTS Speaking Practice: With Other Students
Years ago, it would have been very difficult to find someone to help you with your IELTS speaking practice, but thanks to the internet, it is very easy.
The best place to find a study partner is in Facebook Groups. However, not all groups are the same and you should be very careful about which group you decide to join and who you decide to study with.
Here are some things you should think about before you join a Facebook Group:
- Is the group run by an IELTS expert or not?
- Is the group full of spam and people trying to sell you services or not?
- What level is the group aimed at?
- What kind of people are in the group?
Once you have decided which Facebook Group to join, you should then think about who to approach within the group to do your IELTS speaking practice with.
Simply post in the group that you want to prepare for the IELTS speaking test with someone, but you should also state:
- Your level;
- Your test date;
- What times you are available;
- What time zone you are in;
- Any other preferences.
Be very careful. You will get people who pretend to be a student, but they are really ‘teachers’ who want to do a lesson with you rather than just practice.
You will find hundreds of Facebook Groups by just typing ‘IELTS’ in the search bar of Facebook. 90% of them are full of spam and people claiming to be teachers, so again, be careful.
I run my own Facebook Group which you can join for just $9 a month. You can leave anytime you like. You’ll be able to find some great study partners in there and we also do live lessons every week. It’s not free but saves you lots of time and effort trying to find a reliable study partner.
If you want to go down the free route, have a look on Facebook.
IELTS Speaking Practice: Expert Coaching
The fastest and most effective way to practice and improve your speaking is with an IELTS expert. If your car broke down, you could try and fix it yourself, but it would probably be a much better idea to take it to an expert.
An IELTS expert should have IELTS examiner experience and also have lots of testimonials from people who they have helped in the past.
Be very careful here. There are thousands of people out there that claim to be ‘experts’ and ‘examiners’. Unless they come highly recommended from someone you know, don’t be shy to ask them about their expertise and experience. A real professional will have no problem with taking the time to talk to you about their qualifications.
Also, make sure they have a money back guarantee that you can enforce if you are not happy with the service.
The great thing about doing it this way is that the expert will be able to pinpoint your particular weaknesses after just one mock test, so you’ll be able to prepare for the test in a very efficient manner.
If you are interested in using my service, feel free to check out my offer.
I hope that helps you out with your IELTS speaking practice. For lots more free information about the IELTS Speaking test, please check out our Speaking page.