Fluency is one of the grading criteria in IELTS speaking. It largely affects how you express ideas and indicates whether you can effectively deliver information to others. First, check out our The IELTS Speaking Test: Fluency and Coherence to learn what it is and how it is marked. Then, let’s take a look at the factors affecting fluency in IELTS speaking as well as several useful tips for improving your language fluency.
Too Much Stress
Test day is always stressful. Facing an examiner in speaking test is even more stressful. Actually, a little bit of stress helps you to focus and do better in the test. However, too much stress is a negative factor because it may lead to speaking too fast or too slow or repeating the questions in your own words. Examiners are very likely to have trouble in understanding your message, which will definitely lower your grade.
Too Much Self-Correction
Some students correct their mistakes from time to time. Once they notice the wrong use of words, sentence structures, or incorrect grammar, they will immediately correct the mistakes by repeating what they have already mentioned. It is also a sign for examiners that your language lacks fluency and your speaking skills are not well-developed. Therefore, an appropriate way to deal with mistakes is to forget them, focus on what you should say next, and try to avoid mistakes.
Unfamiliar Topics or Questions
Another factor that affects the fluency in IELTS speaking are unfamiliar topics and questions. It is a common problem in the speaking test, especially in part 2 and part 3. Take the following part 2 topic as an example: describe a time that you forgot something important. Students are likely to get nervous if they have not prepared this topic before and they cannot recall any related experience at that moment. Some of them will make up a story in order to answer the question, which requires them to think and speak at the same time and may result in having long pauses, speaking too slow, and repeating information.
The key to success is always practice. Practice helps you to avoid mistakes and get used to use the language. Take advantage of resources like IELTS practice tests to simulate the test day experience.
Get Familiar with Questions
Though it is impossible to prepare all the topics and questions, you can practice with past IELTS speaking questions to learn the question types and find the best way to answer these questions. Set time limits just like the real test. Find a partner to practice (one acts as the examiner and the other answers). Record your answer and listen to it.
Balance with Other IELTS Prep
Don’t overwhelm yourself by only practicing speaking. Mix it up with IELTS Writing Task 1 and Writing Task 2 prep, and be sure to take mental breaks!
Relax and Be Confident!
The last but not least, do not panic when facing the examiners on test day. By this point, you’ve practiced and studied hard. Just believe in yourself and do your best!
Kuangyan creates IELTS blogs at Magoosh. She is passionate about language education and has a MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from New York University. Kuangyan has experience of teaching English both in China and in US. In her free time, she drinks mocha, does yoga, takes photos and travels to different places to explore the exciting world.
This post originally appeared on the Magoosh IELTS blog.