NEW VIDEO: How to prepare for ielts speaking test
Are you looking for help with how to prepare for ielts speaking test? Do you want to feel more confident and reach for Band 9? Even if you just want improve your English pronunciation, in this video, these are exactly the things that I’m going to help you to do.
How to prepare for ielts speaking test
You probably already know that the test is split into 4 parts: how to prepare for ielts
And it’s the speaking part of the test that this video will focus on.
IELTS Speaking Test
The speaking test last between 11-14 minutes, comprising:
- 4-5 minutes where you talk about yourself
- 3-4 minutes for you to talk about a given topic
- 4-5 minutes of you in conversation with the examiner
4 Key Areas
You’ll be assessed in four key areas:
- Fluency and coherence – your ability to speak smoothly and at an appropriate speed without unnatural pauses.
- Lexical resource – your accuracy and range of vocabulary
- Grammatical range and accuracy – your use and accuracy of grammar
- Pronunciation – being clear and understandable
So we’re going to focus on pronunciation.
Now the firstly, (and probably the most important to know) is that you do NOT need to speak in a perfect British, American, Canadian or Australian accent in order to get top marks. It’s true!
How to reach Band 9?
What you need to do in order to get top marks is this:
“have a full operational command of the language.
Your use of English is appropriate, accurate and fluent,
and you show complete understanding.”
So if it’s not about accent, then what do you need to focus on in your ielts preparation?
6 Simple and Easy Steps:
Let’s break it down into 6 simple and easy steps for how to prepare for ielts:
- Individual sounds – can they understand your words easily?
- Word Stress – are you emphasising the right parts of words?
- Sentence Stress – are you emphasising the right words in a sentence?
- Weak sounds – did you know that the pronunciation of some words change when they’re unstressed and this can affect fluency.
- Linking sounds – when one words meets another, the pronunciation of the vowel or consonant at the end or beginning of a word can also change, and this really affects fluency.
- Intonation – are you using pitch and rhythm to communicate the way that you feel about what you’re saying?
6 Steps in 6 Videos
I’m going to walk you through each of these 6 steps in 6 videos. This video will help you with individual sounds and at the end of this post they’ll be a link to the next video.
So, here we go…
Individual sounds is quite simply a question of whether your pronunciation of words is clear and understandable.
So, essentially, we’re talking about your pronunciation of vowels and consonants in words – the sounds of English.
But how do YOU know whether YOUR pronunciation is clear and understandable?
Here are some ways to find out:
#1 Find a native English Speaker
The first thing you could do is to have a conversation with a native English speaker. Ask them to point out any words that they struggle to understand, and then record them saying those words, and you can practice and change your pronunciation.
#2 Identify difficult words
The second thing that you could do to how to prepare for ielts is to read aloud sections of newspapers, magazines or books (which will also help you to increase your vocabulary). Then circle any words that you struggle to pronounce or that you didn’t feel very confident with, and then check them against the online Oxford Dictionary. And in that dictionary it has each word with an audio in both British and American English that you can listen to and practice with.
#3 Learn phonetics
Now the third thing you could do is to learn phonetics. Phonetics is a symbol system for pronunciation (so if you have ever wondered ‘what are those strange squiggles next door to words in English dictionaries?’ they’re phonetic symbols). And we have something called the IPA (which is the International Phonetic Alphabet) and it’s a map of all symbols and all the sounds, both vowels and consonants used in English.
There are two really great free resources – one is a free app called Sounds which you can have on your mobile or your tablet and you can click each symbol and it’ll give you audio of the sound.
And the other is online by the British Council which is another version of an interactive map. Again, you can double click on an it will give you audio of each sound and that might be another way to improve your pronunciation.
#4 Get a Pronunciation eBook
Now the fourth thing you could do is to get a pronunciation eBook or a pronunciation book. There are a few on the market. Get rid of your accent by Olga Smith and Linda James and there’s another called Work On Your Accent by Helen Ashton and Sarah Shepherd.
I’ve actually got my own published eBook, it was published last year. It’s 320 pages, it covers absolutely ever aspect of vowel and consonant pronunciation, word stress, sentence stress, intonation, it’s got 12hrs of studio quality audio, for you to listen to and practice with, illustrations and diagrams, absolutely everything. So click here and go and find out a bit more and that will help you to improve your pronunciation.
#5 Focus on the Top 10 Mispronounced Sounds
Now in my experience over the last 10 years of working with non-native speakers, helping them to improve their english pronunciation and intonation, there are 10 sounds that stop almost all of them from sounding confident and fluent when they speak English.
And so last year I created two free downloadable ebooks with audio for those 10 sounds. You can click here and it’ll take you to those two free resources, and it’s helped thousands and thousands of people that I’ve worked with. So check them out and have a look at those.
#6 Get some 1-2-1 help from a professional
Now the last thing you could do to how to prepare for ielts, and this is only if you’ve scoured the internet, watch youtube videos and book eBooks and learnt phonetics is to get some one-to-one guidance. You can do that with someone like an accent reduction coach or an elocution teacher. They will help you to pinpoint exactly where you’re going wrong in terms of pronunciation and intonation and they’ll be able to guide you step by step towards more confidence and fluency in English.
So look, if you want to keep learning about how to prepare for ielts speaking test then click here it’ll take you to the next video.
But if you’d like to learn a bit more about vowel and consonant pronunciation then why don’t you click here and download a free resources that I’ve created specifically for the ielts speaking test. And it will really help to improve your pronunciation of vowels and consonants, it’ll give you pictures and diagrams of the lips and tongue, audio for you to practice with. So click here and download that right now
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