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So what do you need to focus on to achieve a band 9 in one of the most nerve racking sections in the IELTS exam. The speaking test can be daunting for many, and rightly so because the spotlight is suddenly on you!
In simple words you need fluency, confidence, spontaneity and coherence to score a 9 band in speaking. But this would be an oversimplification of the problem.
Below, we detail out how to make yourself comfortable with the test, and dig deeper into the exam format and the examiner’s expectation. If you can use the wisdom here, achieving the dream of a band 9 is not far-fetched.
What is the perfect answer?
To begin answering a question, you must consider the following points:
1. Be relevant: When answering a question, take a few seconds to align your thoughts completely. If a question is about which sport you like, it is very easy to end up talking about your favourite sports person instead.
2. Stick to the facts, never give memorized answers: When answering a question, do not try to impress the examiner by giving prepared information. Remember, you don't get marks for just any information, not on how interesting your life is. For example, the question could be – ‘Does your family have a dog? The answer to this is either a – ‘Yes, we have a dog and we call it Buddy’ or ‘No, we never had a dog, no one is really fond of pets in my family’. This is a perfectly good answer.
3. Single words don’t cut it: Sometimes you may be asked a question to which the answer could be a single word answer. In such cases, you may use the question as a reference to complete or extend the answer. For example: ‘Do all your family members live together?’ Answer with ‘No/yes, all my family members do/do not live together’ instead of just a ‘No’.
Section 1 - Stick to fast, give an honest answer, do not give one word answers!
This section is easy and is more like a chat with the examiner who will ask you basic question concerning you and your life. Treat this section like a conversation and try to be simple in answering direct questions as mentioned above.
Section 2 - Use the one minute to make notes, speak at length, do NOT repeat!
Section 2 is cue card based and you are judged for speaking at length. You must speak an average of at least two minutes. As part of the cue card, you are asked specific questions related to current issues, experiences or asked to describe scenarios in detail.
How to approach cue card questions?
The trick here is break down the main questions of the cue card into several little questions and keyword. For example, if you are asked about your favourite vacation, the cue card may look like:
Can you talk about your favorite vacation, you must say:
1. Where did you take this vacation?
2. Who was with you?
3. Why is it your favorite vacation?
To be able to speak for 2 minutes or more on this cue card, you should break it down further like this:
Where did you take this vacation?
Where did I go?
What type of holiday? beach, hill-station, trekking, pilgrimage
When did I go?
Who all went with me? - friends? family? tour?
What was so interesting about this vacation and:
Why is it your favorite vacation?
What did we all do?
How was the weather?
Was the place beautiful? special? why?
Hotel stays - were they special?
How did we have fun?
Any special experiences?
When you get a minute to prepare your answer, breaking the question down and noting the keywords give you enough