1.How is my performance assessed?
Examiners will evaluate your performance according to 4 criteria namely fluency and coherence (FC), lexical resource (LR), grammatical range and accuracy (GRA) and pronunciation (P).
2.What is the most important criterion in the speaking test? Is it grammar?
No. The 4 criteria are weighted equally at 25% each. The examiners will give a result for each criterion and then work out the average of the 4 scores which equates to an overall speaking score. If you get 6 for FC, 5 for LR, 5 for GRA and 6 for P, then you will receive 5.5 overall for speaking,
3.Will I lose points if the examiner disagrees with my opinion?
No. You are judged on your English, not your opinions. There is no right or wrong opinion.
4.How is my performance assessed?
Yes. As long as you keep talking and use a wide range of English, you can get a high score as this is not an IQ test. Boring or obvious opinions are fine if you can produce a wide and accurate range of language when expressing them.
5. I have a North American accent, is that OK?
Yes. American English is not penalised in any part of the test whether it be pronunciation or spelling.
6.How is my performance assessed?
No. You will receive your IELTS result within 2 weeks but not on the day.
7.What happens if I disagree with the result I was given?
You may ask the IELTS test centre to arrange another IELTS examiner to reevaluate your speaking. This is possible as all interviews are recorded. You may incur an extra expense depending on whether your score changes or not.
8.How is my performance assessed?
In your home country is often thought to be the best place to do the speaking test. However, do keep in mind that all examiners receive exactly the same training around the world which is moderated by a central body. The only justification for why it may be better to do the test in your home country is that you may score higher in pronunciation as it is seen as more subjective; examiners in your home country will be used to the Chinese accent whereas those in England may not.
9.Is there anything I can do if 1 don't understand a question?
Yes. If you don't understand you may ask the examiner to repeat the question at any time during the interview. However, if after repeating you still don't understand, only in Part 3 may you ask the examiner to explain or rephrase a question. In Part 1 the examiner will simply move on to the next question.
假若你不明白间题，可以请口试官再叙述一次。但如果口试官重复后，你还是不理解，只有在Part 3时你才可以请口试官换个说法让你明白问题;在口试的Part 1，口试官会略过该问题而直接进行下一个提问。
10.What happens if I misunderstand the question?
You may lose some points under fluency and coherenceas the examiner may have difficulty following your answer. In Part 3 the examiner may rephrase or explain the question again to give you a second opportunity. This will not happen in Part 1 though, the examiner will move on to the next question.
你可能会在流畅性及连贯性这部分被扣分。在Part 3，口试官有可能会再重述或解释该题，给你第二次机会回答;但是在Part 1时，口试官会直接问你下一个问题。
11.What should I do if I can't think of the right vocabulary?
Keep talking by paraphrasing (explaining the meaning of the word). It's better to say something than nothing. If you simply pause and hope that somehow the word miraculously pops into your head, the examiner will be unable to assess you. In other words, long silences are penalised in each criterion as you are producing no vocabulary, grammar or pronunciation features and showing no fluency.
12.How is my performance assessed?
Preferably not. Although there is no way of knowing if you are telling the truth or not, it's OK to be honest and more importantly you will sound much more natural and fluent if you are. Just remember to use good English. If the examiner asks you if you like your hometown, you don't need to pretend that you do if you don't. It's quite fine to say you hate it as long as you do so using appropriate English. Similarly if the examiner asks you if you have ever had a pet, but you never have, then say so and give a reason why you haven't.
13.Can I ask the examiner questions?
Yes and No. You may ask the examiner to repeat or rephrase a question but do not ask him/her about their opinions. The test examines your English, not the examiner's. You only have 11一14 minutes to show the examiner the full range of English you have learnt overthe past 5 years or so, so don't waste your precious time listening to the examiner.
14.Is it OK to memorise my answers?
No. There is no way of knowing exactly what questions will be asked and therefore you may give inappropriate answers if you simply regurgitate memorised answers. Nevertheless, some common phrases that could be used in a variety of situations are definitely OK to memorise.
15.Should I be relaxed and easygoing or serious and formal?
Try to be relaxed. You don't need to sound academic in the speaking interview. Just imagine that you are discussing the interview questions with your friend so that you sound more natural and fluent. Examiners are your friends!
16.Is it OK to give short answers to avoid making too many mistakes?
No. Try to give full, extended, complete answers and sentences. You need to demonstrate as much English as possible in the time given.
17.How much should I say?
In Part 1 you have 4-5 minutes to answer at least 3 and up to 10 questions which works out to between 20 to 90 seconds per question but do not rely on slow speech to fill up this time. In Part 2 you must speak for I-2 minutes and it is advisable that you speak closer to 2 minutes than 1. The examiner is required to stop you if you speak for longer than 2 minutes for which you will not be penalised. In Part 3 you have 4-5 minutes to answer between 2-6 questions which works out to between 40 to 150 seconds per answer. Try to find a happy medium between these time frames so that you can answer a range of questions as this will produce a wider range of language.
18.Do I need to speak really quickly?
No. Just speak at a steady, constant speed which can balance your fluency and accuracy.
19.Will I be recorded?
Yes. For quality control and reassessment purposes all interviews are recorded.
20.Do all examiners have a British accent?
No. Examiners come from a variety of backgrounds andtherefore accents may vary. You may even have a Chinese examiner if they themselves have scored an IELTS 9 on the test.
21.How many examiners will listen to me?
One during the interview but another examiner may listen to your recording for reassessing or monitoring.
22.Can I choose which examiner I want?
No. Examiners will be arranged for candidates in arandom order. If you know the examiner in any way, he/she may not assess you under any circumstances.
23.Are some examiners stricter than others?
No. All examiners have received the same training so all results are standardised. While some may look stricter, their scoring won't be.
24.Is the interview the same for both the GeneralTraining Module and Academic Module?
Yes. There is no difference between the 2 modules in thespeaking section. It is exactly the same.
26.Is the TOEFL speaking the same as the IELTS speaking?
No. The speaking section of TOEFL is an integrated skills test in which they combine your listening, reading and speaking skills. There is no live interview with an examiner in the TOEFL.
27.Which section of IELTS speaking is the most difficult?
Part 3 is the most difficult section of the speaking as examiners will ask you questions on unfamiliar, more academic topics.
28.What do I need to bring into the interview room with me?
Your ID card and test centre ID for the examiner to check and a positive attitude.
29.What should I wear?
It's neither a fashion show nor a board meeting with the directors. Just wear something you feel comfortable in (smart casual) as you only want to be concerned with your English not your clothes.
30.Is it possible to prepare for the speaking test?
Yes. The more you learn about and understand the test, the more confident and less nervous you will feel.
31.Are there any shortcuts to getting a high score?
Unfortunately not. How quickly you improve all depends on how much time and effort you can afford to allocate to preparing for the test.
32.How quickly can I expect to improve 1 band?
All linguistic theory books suggest it takes around 200 hours of learning and practice to improve I level. However this may be reduced for those students who may have been out of practice with English for some time and are just trying to regain their former glory. And some students have a natural gift for learning languages.
33.Is it best to have a British examiner as a teacher?
Your teacher doesn't need to be an examiner nor British. They just need to have a thorough understanding of the IELTS and be qualified and experienced to teach you the skills and strategies of the IELTS.
34.How can I improve my speaking?
Practice, Practice, Practice. The more you practice, the more you will learn, which leads to higher confidence and lower nerves.
35.Should I find a speaking partner?
Yes. Otherwise how can you practice? It doesn't need to be a foreigner nor do you need to get a foreign boyfriend/girlfriend. Your partner could be a fellow Chinese who is preparing for IELTS or just wants to improve his/her English also.