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Friday, September 28, 2018


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It seems that your two tudents' answers can demonstrate fluency instead of yours.


It may seem that way, but the students were trying too hard to "show off" and their answers contain vocabulary and grammar mistakes.

My answers may seem easier, but they are more natural and less "forced". There's no need to show off or give long answers in part 1.

Hello sir please tell me one thing during the reading we get lot of words even those we not get heart in life so tell me how we can learn them its the huge i don't even understand what should i do.either i try to write every single word with sentence or do anything else, as your expert so you know more if you tell me something regarding this i kindly thankful for you

Dear Simon,

I was wondering how I can improve my IELTS speaking as I'm still stuck in band 7. I have done it twice and every time I tried my best to use lots of vocabulary but I feel that the examiner doesn't want to listen! It's like he/she wants to wrap everything up so quickly! The time is really limited and it's almost impossible to show a lot. I'm really desperate for 7+. But there isn't much freedom to show my best performance and sometimes students with less knowledge can still score the same results. It might also be true for students above my level.


There is indeed much to learn, and a variety of approaches. And we need to learn not just the meaning but the usage too. Also, I believe there is a limit to how many words the mind can learn and remember in one week or month, so we may be looking at many months of study and awareness. Reading widely and listening extensively are to me the key. Reading provides the opportunity to explore new words using a dictionary, and listening is very good to refresh and recycle vocabulary. If you have the opportunity to use English in your daily life, so much the better.


I would suggest that you first look very carefully at the speaking band descriptors here:


You will need to score Band 8 in two or three areas. Looking at pronunciation first, notice the phrase "L1 accent has minimal effect on intelligibility" (where "L1" refers to your own first language). This section also mentions "pronunciation features", which would include intonation, sentence stress, word linking and so forth.

To improve these aspects you would need first to expand your awareness: if you cannot hear them when listening to native speakers, you cannot copy. Take linking for example: native speakers actually sound something like this:
"Wonapple, Toowapples, Threeyapples, Fou_rapples, Fi_vapples, Sik_sappples, Seve_napples, Eigh_tapples" and so on.

As the marking criteria demonstrate, putting in a few pieces of "advanced" vocabulary is not enough. Indeed, if wrongly used, they may plant the score for lexical resource firmly below Band eight.

The best way to improve results would be to have your speaking professionally assessed by a native speaker who is not only fully aware of the criteria, but also has the background to pick out which aspects to work on and the tools to help.

Do be aware that some aspects of pronunciation are extremely difficult to correct. For instance, your first language may have a different rhythm to English, stressing each and every syllable equally. Or the intonation may be very flat across the whole sentence, or fall on each word. Or there may be little distinction between 'l' and 'r', or the 'r' may be rolled strongly. Or your language may have no diphthongs. Other aspects may not matter, for example, whether the tongue is pressed against the teeth or just against the hard palate to make a 'd/t'.

In my experience, some aspects are fixable, and some are perhaps not. Even if you master them in practice, in the exam it is easy to relapse. Only a very experienced native teacher can help you which one feature might be holding back your score and how to address and work on it. This has to be a one-on-one diagnostic session.

Activities to improve your fluency and coherence might include:

  • simulated business negotiations
  • explaining the contents of an article
  • training and practice in giving presentations
  • explaining the meaning of words and phrases without actually mentioning the word or phrase itself (this helps paraphrasing:see lexical resource)
  • correction: ...native teacher can help you determine which...


    One example is the letter 'r' which is often silent in English. So the difference between 'had' and 'hard' is in the vowel sound, not in the extra consonant. The 'r' in 'after' is usually silent, but reappears in the phrase 'after all', in order to link the two words together.

    There are many varieties of 'r' in other languages, and transferring your own version into English may make you more difficult to understand to an native speaker, especially if this means using a strongly rolled or guttural 'r' sound. However, non-native speakers may not notice, or may find it easier to understand.

    Check out your own first language here:



    Another example is intonation. For instance there are several ways to say the following remarks, and express surprise, interest, or disinterest, sarcasm, irony, anger, irritation and so on:

    I see.....
    I see.
    I see!

    To a native speaker, intonation is a large part of the message. Persistently using the intonation from your first language may, in some cases, come across as either dogmatic, angry, or dictatorial to a native speaker .

    There are other issues too. See here:

    Thank you Bogdan. But, I don't think things like 'R' pronunciation really matters in IELTS. This is only the British pronunciation (though it's my first choice). Even native Americans can't pronounce it the way Brits do.
    Anyway, I'll follow your advice next time!


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