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  • Writer's pictureSte Sharpe

Why do students struggle with the IELTS speaking test?


Student struggling with the IELTS speaking test
Student struggling with the IELTS speaking test

One skill I’ve noticed my students always struggle with or feel less confident in when preparing for the IELTS test is… speaking


Students usually say: I don’t have anyone to practise with outside of the classroom… I can’t remember specific words or phrases when I want to use them… I’m not sure if my pronunciation is clear.'


If these comments sound familiar to you and you want to know how to resolve them for the IELTS speaking test, read on to learn more…


Why is speaking difficult?

When we’re speaking with someone, there’s a lot happening in your brain: we need to listen so we can understand what someone is saying to us, we need to think of the right words to reply and participate in the conversation, we need to use accurate pronunciation when we reply so the person can understand us…and we do all of this in real time- no wonder students feel anxious about speaking!


In the IELTS Speaking test, it’s the same process, but with the added pressure of time and speaking in front of an examiner who is assessing your English, which makes us even more nervous!


How can I prepare for the IELTS speaking test?

In my previous post, I wrote about my formula to IELTS success:


IELTS test familiarisation + language development'


For the IELTS speaking test, you need to know:


-how long the IELTS speaking test is

-how many parts there are in the IELTS speaking test

-what types of questions the examiner will ask you in the IELTS speaking test

-what topics you will talk about in the IELTS speaking test

-what strategies you need to use to help you answer the questions

-what band descriptors the examiner will use to evaluate you in the IELTS speaking test


Remember that IELTS is ‘an evaluation of your current level of English’, so you also need to practise your speaking with other people to improve your general speaking level, exposure yourself to English through reading, watching movies and listening to podcasts to expand your range of vocabulary and, more importantly, receive feedback on your speaking skills from an IELTS teacher so you know how to improve your speaking.


So what’s next for you?

Now that you’ve got a better understanding of why speaking is so difficult and what you need to do to prepare for the IELTS speaking test, check out my online IELTS Speaking Course where you’ll be able to learn all about the IELTS speaking test, while also practising your speaking skills with other students and receiving feedback from me to help you improve.


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