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Faux Pas in IELTS Speaking

In: IELTS By: Pallavi Jadhav

Understanding the criteria:
This is IELTS and IELTS examiners are trained to interpret these criteria in a particular way. In theory it should not matter where you take your test as all examiners grade consistently. I suggest you should spend time understanding the detail here as that way you can avoid many common mistakes. One main point is that in all the criteria a key idea is being clear. The main idea is whether you can express yourself clearly so that someone else can understand you. The basic criteria for grading:
1) Fluency and coherence
How fluently you speak and how well you link your ideas together
Fluency is a combination:
•         speed of speech
•         length of answer
•         pausing correctly
Coherence is the ability to:
•         expand your answers
•         answer the questions directly
•         add relevant detail to explain or illustrate your answers
•         connect your sentences by using tenses and connectors
Common mistakes
You should note that very fast or very long answers are not necessarily good, as you may be penalised for poor pronunciation or lack of coherence. In the speaking the main point is that you are able to express yourself clearly.
Another common mistake is to not answer the question. This is where you will be penalised.
2) Pronunciation
How accurate your pronunciation is
•         The main point here is that your pronunciation is easy to understand and whether your are able to make your meaning clear. Features of good pronunciation include:
•         basic word pronunciation
•         linked speech sounds
•         correct sentence stress
•         correct use of intonation (rising and falling)

Common Mistake
You should note that there is no need to have a “British” or “American” accent.
3) Vocabulary
How accurate and varied your vocabulary is
This is judged by your ability to:
•         have enough vocabulary to discuss a range of topics
•         to use vocabulary accurately
•         be able to explain yourself when you do not have the right word
Common Mistake
A common mistake here is to use long words without really knowing what they mean.
4) Grammatical Range and Accuracy
How accurate and varied your grammar is
There are two key key points to understand here:
•         you need to avoid grammar mistakes especially with your tenses
•         you need to use a range of grammatical structures and you should not just use simple sentences all the time
Common Mistake
Once again the key concept here is clarity: do you have enough words to express yourself clearly?

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