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Friday, August 23, 2013

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dear Simon,
but don't they make you sound more native? and what if you've not memorized them and you're only being spontaneous and that's the way you naturally speak english?
i'm very confused, i'd always heard that using these phrases help you get a higher score.

Hello all,

I have English collocation in use (Cambridge).
It is very useful to get good collocations and how create them.

Regards

Hi Simon,

That's really a good advice. But usually people use these phrases quite commonly, at least for some it comes so naturally and at times these phrases give lil bit of time in framing sentences you want to speak. Please help me with this confusion

I have noticed that many people use "you know" which is absurd. because, how do the examiner know, if you don't explain!
Add this words too in that list.

"you know"

I think today's lesson needs a little bit of explanation and I would say that it is more suitable for those who are struggling to get band 7 or higher.

It is true that we can hear such expressions from native speakers or people with very advanced English skills, but when they are used by students with band 6.5 or lower, they indeed sound forced and very unnatural (you may want to record and listen to yourself to find out how you actually sound). Having said that, I agree with Simon to focus and answer the questions directly, and as I always tell my students, DO NOT WASTE THE EXAMINER'S TIME!

I think today's lesson needs a little bit of explanation and I would say that it is more suitable for those who are struggling to get band 7 or higher.

It is true that we can hear such expressions from native speakers or people with very advanced English skills, but when they are used by students with band 6.5 or lower, they indeed sound forced and very unnatural (you may want to record and listen to yourself to find out how you actually sound). Having said that, I agree with Simon to focus and answer the questions directly, and as I always tell my students, DO NOT WASTE THE EXAMINER'S TIME!

Hi Simon:
It's a pity that our teachers keep telling us to use that kind of sentences especially when you don't know how to answer the examiners' question to strive for enough time to get the reply...So what should i do if I don't know how to answer the question immediately?

Every morning when driving to work, I listen to my favorite local radio station and they have what they call "Nearly Impossible Trivia", which is a game where callers can dial in for a chance to get some prizes. The game itself is entertaining and interesting, but I find it quite annoying when callers (native speakers) use some or more of the expressions that Simon listed... instead of simply giving the answer, they would start saying a lot of unnecessary things (maybe to buy some time to think), and I can tell that even the host gets impatient sometimes...

Since the IELTS speaking test lasts no more than 14 minutes and there are several questions that the examiner must cover, just follow Simon's advice and go straight to the point!

Hi Martin and Simon:

How we could answer a question straight to the point when some times there are difficult questions? A simple "mmm" could be better to buy us time?

Thanks

hi simon thanks for your advice, i completely agree with you, because i usually answer directly to the questions and i did the same in speaking test and i got 7 band.
i just wanted to ask you one question about listening test.
I commonly made mistakes in writing dashed or hyphened words...usually i listen to every word but when it comes to writing it down, it always went wrong.
eg..co-operative, self-confident and many more
And please also tell me about capitals in addresses and at other places, i lack some information about there too.
THANKS for your web answers you are doing a great job.thanks again..

Hi Zorilu,

A quick (1-second) "mmm" or "well" can work, but obviously don't do that for ALL the questions as it may become quite annoying...

Quick thinking is necessary not only for the IELTS Speaking test but also in any kind of interview. Preparation, and perhaps experience, is definitely the key to a successful test.

Examiners don't expect you to be an expert in any topic, but you are required to give your opinion for all the questions. That's why I always suggest my students to go through the common IELTS topics listed on Simon's blog and try to expand their general knowledge by reading more, listening more, and paying attention to their surroundings. Also, when it comes to daily news, ask yourself WHY, WHAT CAN BE DONE, WHAT ALTERNATIVES DO WE HAVE, and have 1 or 2 opinions about it. I believe this kind of training and preparation can help you be more confident and knowledgeable when dealing with "difficult" Part3 questions (as well as Task2 essays!!!!!).

Hope this helps! Have a nice weekend!

Martin

Remember the marking criteria everyone. IELTS speaking checks the quality of your language (vocab and errors) and quality of delivery (fluency and pronunciation). Unlike the writing test, there is no real score for 'did you answer the question' (represented by the TA/TR box in writing). Don't be ashamed if you can't answer all the questions, but you must be able to powerfully express your uncertainty, like a native might do.

A good piece of advice is to watch youtube clips of natives being interviewed and notice how they begin their answers. Often they say things like: 'Well' 'You know' (and Delvy this does not mean what you think it means) or even 'Look'.

Simon's point is to avoid phrases that you 'plan' to use because they do sound strange. Say what comes naturally, even if it's: 'Well, I've never thought about that before'. Natives will generally say what they are thinking and you should too.

Hi
Simon,
In Study English -IELTS preparation produced by IDP Australia: MArgaret Polites, has a clip teaching fillers and she highly recommends IELTS applicants using fillers such as you know,Let me think,umm, well and many others to gain time for thinking for finding ideas and also sounding natural and fluent in speaking. So a question is many teachers and even examiners suggest using them in IELTS interview: so which one is correct???

Thank you very much Martin, I appreciate your answer. Have a nice weekend you too.

hi simon
I am writing to ask about your marking criteria on the True/False/Not Given or Yes/No/Not Given questions in the reading test. If a candidate answers
True/False/Not Given when the test requires one to write Yes/No/Not Given, will the marks be reduced?

Mr Mohebbi

You should definitely use natural fillers! The more native you sound, the better you will score, especially in the pronunciation and fluency boxes. The secret is: listen to how natives speak and copy them. This is actually the secret to all language learning!

FROM SIMON:

Please read the brilliant advice from both Martin and sjm (another teacher or examiner?) in the comments above. Their comments really clarify what I'm trying to say.

To summarise what Martin and sjm have added, the big problem is this: many students RELY on these phrases too much, and they spend time learning lists of fillers instead of preparing topics and practising 'real' answers. Natural fillers are great (see the lesson following this one), but planned fillers sound forced!

Thanks Martin and sjm!

I look forward to build a group to practice speaking using skype. If we start speaking together then we will able to develop our speaking skill. If anyone interested join this id --- ielts_2013

I look forward to have practice partners.

Hello,

I'm looking for good speaker. Who wants to speak to me via Skype to improve both of my and her English?

Skype: konulqurbanova

Kind regards,


Konul

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