THINGS TO REMEMBER BEFORE SPEAKING
(1) Try to have a relaxed attitude in Part One. Aim to show your vocabulary and fluency, but don’t treat it too formally and speak like a robot or like you are reading an essay aloud.
(2) Pretend that you’re on catching up with an old friend or on a first date(!) in a cafe and you’re trying to let the other person know some things about you.
(3) Aim to speak for three sentences. This means that your answer can be organized like (i) Answer the question simply and directly (even just a “Yes” or “No” or “I think so” or “Definitely” are good opening sentences because they are natural) (ii) Explain your main point (iii) Give an example or more details. Practice speaking like this with a range of questions and it will become natural and easy for you.
NOTE – The following questions are taken from a recent IELTS exam. Each question contains two sample answers: a simple one and an advanced one. Both answers contain useful linking vocabulary in italics and advanced/topic-specific vocabulary in bold. The advanced answer is at a Band 9 level. More comments and tips are shown below.
QUESTION ONE – Do you like sharing things with other people?
SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “Yes, sharing things with others is a good feeling. I think – especially – if you have a lot of something and someone doesn’t have much – or any – then it’s a wonderful thing to be able to share something with them, even if it’s just some food or a smile.”
COMMENT – Remember to try and paraphrase (say the same thing in different words) the question if you can. In the example above, “other people” has simply been changed to “others”. This is a simple and effective way to show the flexibility of your speaking. Also, make sure you control the speed of your speech and emphasize (say more strongly) important words (e.g. “especially”)
SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – Definitely. I think that the act of sharing with other people enhances your own enjoyment of something. Most of the highlights or milestones in our lives are more special – more memorable – when we experience them with someone else. It also shows that we care about others and not just our own selfish interests. Like the saying goes, “Sharing is caring“.
COMMENT – Using idioms and common English expressions can be a great way to show your vocabulary. However, you must use them correctly and appropriately. Do NOT try and use an idiom in every answer as this is unnatural and one of the most common mistakes that test takers make.
QUESTION TWO – What do you usually share with others?
SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “I normally share simple things with my friends. For example, if I buy a snack, I will give some of it to my friend, and they will normally do the same for me. I think it even tastes better when you share it with someone else.”
SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “I usually share everyday stuff like food, and I guess also experiences. Like when I go on a trip with some friends and we encounter a spectacular view or a funny scene, it’s something that we will always remember and look back on fondly because we had that moment together.”
QUESTION THREE – Did your parents teach you about sharing?
SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “I think so. When I was little, my parents would always make me and my brother and sister share our toys and make sure that no one had more or was treated better than anyone else. I’m glad I learned the importance of sharing from them.”
SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “I think, like most people, I picked up my values from my parents from the way they set an example and gave me and my siblings guidance. I remember that my mum would make me let my little brother have a turn playing video games, which was really annoying at the time. Although, now I’m glad I learned that sharing is must more satisfying than being self-centred.”
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