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  • Hi, I'm Justin.

  • Welcome to Oxford Online English!

  • In this lesson, you can see what you need to do to get band seven in the IELTS speaking

  • exam.

  • To get band seven in the IELTS speaking exam, you need to speak at a high level.

  • There's no other way; no one gets band seven for IELTS without speaking really good English.

  • However, you also need to know how the exam works, how the scoring works, and how to prepare

  • for your IELTS speaking test.

  • In this video, you'll see exactly what to do to get band seven in the four parts of

  • your IELTS speaking score.

  • You'll also see some common problems that IELTS candidates have, and we'll share some

  • practical exercises to help you prepare for your speaking exam and improve your IELTS

  • speaking score!

  • But first, I just mentionedthe four parts of your IELTS speaking score.”

  • Do you know what those are?

  • Your final IELTS speaking score is actually an average of four different scores.

  • First is fluency and coherence.

  • This means whether you can speak without pausing or hesitating, and whether you can answer

  • questions fully and directly.

  • Next is lexical resource.

  • This basically means 'vocabulary'.

  • This score focuses on your ability to use a wide range of vocabulary accurately.

  • Third is grammatical range and accuracy.

  • To get a high score here, you need to use a wide range of grammar structures without

  • making mistakes.

  • Finally, you get a score for pronunciation.

  • This depends both on how clear your pronunciation is, and whether you use features of native

  • speech, like natural intonation.

  • We'll look at these four scores in more detail during this class.

  • If you want to read the scoring system, you can, and you should!

  • There's a link underneath the video.

  • Let's start with your fluency and coherence score, and what you can do to improve it.

  • To get band seven in your fluency and coherence score, you need to speak without hesitating

  • much, stay on topic, and use linking words well.

  • It's okay to hesitate occasionally, for example because you need one or two seconds

  • to remember a word.

  • However, if you hesitate often, then getting band seven is difficult.

  • 'Linking words' here includes very simple connectors, like and, but or for example.

  • You don't need to use formal or academic language in your IELTS speaking test.

  • In fact, it could even hurt your score.

  • So, what should you do?

  • First, identify your biggest weaknesses.

  • Here are some common problems which could stop you getting band seven:

  • You pause and hesitate a lot when you speak You give short answers.

  • You go off-topic.

  • You speak in short, simple sentences, without using linking words.

  • What do you think; what's your number one problem?

  • It's important to choose one.

  • To improve, it's better to focus on one thing at a time.

  • Got an idea?

  • So, here's what you do.

  • Choose a common IELTS speaking topic.

  • Choose one topic and record yourself talking about it for one minute.

  • Listen to the recording.

  • Next, check for problems.

  • For example, if you said your biggest weakness is hesitating and pausing, then listen to

  • your recording and count the number of times you pause.

  • Count every time you stop, every time you say 'um', 'er' or something like that.

  • Then, repeat the task, and try to improve.

  • For example, if you're working on hesitations and pauses, then try to get fewer hesitations

  • and pauses the second time.

  • If you're working on giving longer answers, then try to get closer to one minute.

  • After you improve your answer, set yourself a new challenge.

  • For example, you can choose a different topic, or you can try to talk for longer.

  • Try to talk for two minutes without hesitating, or three.

  • You might need some help here.

  • For example, students who go off topic generally don't realise they're going off topic;

  • that's part of the problem.

  • In this case, you might need feedback from a friend or a teacher.

  • Use of linking words is more difficult to practice by yourself, but here's a simple

  • exercise you can do: write down a list of simple linking words, like this:

  • Do the same activity: choose a topic and speak for one minute.

  • Try to use all of the linking words on your list.

  • Listen to your recording, and cross off the linking words when you use them.

  • If you don't use them all, try again.

  • If you can use them all, make the task more difficult: make your list longer, and try

  • to speak for more time.

  • Practice regularly with different topics, and your fluency should improve.

  • Next, what about your vocabulary score?

  • To get band seven for your vocabulary score in your IELTS speaking test, you need to:

  • use vocabulary to talk about different topics, use some less common vocabulary, use collocations,

  • use register appropriately, and use paraphrase.

  • Let's see what these things mean!

  • 'Collocations' are word combinations.

  • For example, think about the word complex.

  • What things can be complex?

  • You could have a complex situation, a complex question, a complex personality, or a complex

  • idea.

  • There are others, but that's not the point.

  • It's not enough to know a word, like complex, you also need to know how to combine the words

  • you know.

  • 'Register' means whether the language you use is formal or informal.

  • In the IELTS speaking test, the most common mistake is trying to speak much too formally.

  • If you use words in an unnatural way, it will hurt your score.

  • Your goal is to communicate clearly and naturally, not formally.

  • Finally, 'paraphrase' means using a range of language to avoid repetition.

  • Let's look at an example.

  • The examiner asks: Tell me about your free time.

  • You say:

  • In my free time, I enjoy reading books.

  • Whenever I have free time, I like to read different kinds of books, especially historical

  • fiction or fantasy.

  • I usually have free time at the weekends, so I read books as much as I can.

  • In many ways, this is a good answer.

  • However, there's a problem; can you see it?

  • It's too repetitive.

  • The candidate uses the words free time and read books too much.

  • Paraphrase means that you use different language to avoid this.

  • For example:

  • In my free time, I enjoy reading books.

  • Whenever I have some time to myself, I like to sit down with a good book, especially historical

  • fiction or fantasy.

  • I don't have to work at the weekends, which lets me read as much as I want.

  • This answer has the same ideas as the first answer you saw, but it uses a wider range

  • of language to avoid repetition.

  • So, now you know what you need to do to get band seven for vocabulary.

  • But, how can you improve?

  • First, focus on collocations.

  • Most IELTS students who we meet have enough vocabulary to get band seven, but they can't

  • combine the words they know correctly.

  • Here's an exercise: read something in English every day.

  • It can be anything: a news article, a blog post, part of a story

  • Anything is fine.

  • In the text, try to find 5-10 new collocations using only words you already know.

  • The idea is not to learn new words; instead, your goal is to find new ways to use your

  • existing vocabulary.

  • You can also use a dictionary to find new collocations.

  • For example, imagine that you're reading a news article and you see the phrase energy

  • use.

  • You already know the words energy and use, so you learn this collocation.

  • Next, look up the word energy in the dictionary, and find 2-3 more collocations, like:

  • energy consumption green energy

  • conserve energy

  • Keep track of your new collocations using digital flashcard apps like Quizlet or Anki.

  • By improving your knowledge of collocations, you'll be able to use a wider range of vocabulary

  • in your IELTS speaking exam, and this will also help you to paraphrase.

  • It's also important to read and listen in English regularly to build your vocabulary,

  • although this is a long process.

  • Next, what about your grammar score?

  • To get band seven for grammar, you need to do two things.

  • One: you need to use a range of 'complex grammatical structures'.

  • Two: you need to make 'frequent error-free sentences'.

  • 'Complex structures' here does not mean that you need to use very formal or academic

  • language, as we mentioned before.

  • It means that you need to use different verb tenses, sentence structures, conjunctions

  • and so on.

  • For example, imagine the examiner asks you:

  • What kind of food do you prefer?

  • You answer:

  • I prefer Asian food.

  • I like strong flavours and spicy food, so I particularly like Thai food, Indian food,

  • and so on.

  • I'm quite keen on Japanese food as well.

  • I think Indian food is probably my favourite.

  • This is a good answer in many ways, but it does not have enough grammatical range to

  • get band seven.

  • Can you see why?

  • There are four sentences all starting with the same word: I.

  • All of the verbs are in the present tense.

  • Also, only one sentence has a conjunction.

  • To get a higher score, you need to use a wider range of grammar, like this:

  • I prefer Asian food, such as Thai, Indian, and so on, because I've always been a big

  • fan of spicy food with strong flavours.

  • I tried Japanese food a few weeks ago, and I like it, although I'd say that Indian

  • food is probably my favourite.

  • Think about two things here.

  • One: the meaning is the same.

  • You're expressing the same ideas.

  • Two: you're not using very complicated or formal language.

  • What changed?

  • We combined the four sentences into two, using words like because and although.

  • This will also help your fluency and coherence score!

  • We've also used a wider range of verb forms, such as the present perfect,

  • the past simple, or the modal verb would

  • However, for most IELTS candidates, accuracy is more important for band seven.

  • Remember that for band seven, you have to produce 'frequent error-free sentences'.

  • Think about the words 'error-free'.

  • That means no mistakes.

  • No mistakes with prepositions, no mistakes with the, no mistakes with verb tenses; no

  • mistakes at all, even small ones.

  • If you've been studying English for a long time, you probably have some bad habits.

  • For example:

  • You forget the 's' on 3rd person verbs, so you say 'she go' instead of 'she

  • goes'.

  • You forget to use past forms, so you use present verbs to talk about the past.

  • You make mistakes with prepositions, like using at, in or on to talk about time.

  • You use will to talk about everything in the future, instead of using going to or the present

  • continuous when you need to.

  • These are some of the most common examples, but there are more!

  • The point is: you probably make more mistakes than you realise.

  • To get band seven for IELTS speaking, you need to get rid of these bad habits.

  • So, what should you do?

  • First, identify five common mistakes which you make.

  • If you don't know, you might need to ask a teacher for feedback.

  • Next, choose one mistake to work on, then choose a topic and record yourself speaking,

  • like you did before.

  • Choose a topic which fits the grammar you're practicing.

  • For example, if you forget to use past tenses, choose a topic which is about the past.

  • Listen to the recording and count the mistakes you make.

  • Only focus on one grammar mistake at one time.

  • Repeat until you can speak for one minute without mistakes.

  • Then, try again with a different mistake, or a different topic.

  • In this way, you can learn to speak more accurately, and get a better IELTS speaking score for

  • your grammar.

  • Finally, what about pronunciation?

  • To get band seven for pronunciation, you need to be easy to understand and use 'features

  • of natural speech'.

  • What does that mean?

  • For IELTS, this mostly means: intonation, weak forms, word stress, sentence stress,

  • and linking.

  • An important point: your accent does not matter for your IELTS score, so long as you're

  • easy to understand.

  • You don't have to speak with a British accent or an American accent.

  • Pronunciation is hard to improve by yourself.

  • You need feedback from a professional teacher to work on pronunciation.

  • However, there are some things you can do in your own time.

  • First, think about the list of pronunciation features we mentioned:

  • intonation weak forms

  • word stress sentence stress

  • and linking

  • Do you know what these are?

  • If not, find out!

  • There are many resources online to help you.

  • You can also find many free videos on our website and our channel which can help you

  • to practice these pronunciation points.

  • Next, choose the point you find most difficult, and work on that with your teacher.

  • If you can only study by yourself, this will be difficult.

  • But, here are some tips that could help you: Find English songs, and sing along to them

  • with the lyrics.

  • Find videos or recordings of famous speeches, and try to copy them.

  • This is very good for your intonation and stress.

  • Find audio sources in Englishpodcasts, radio shows, YouTube videosanything will

  • do!

  • Try to copy what you hear with the same accent.

  • This isn't because accent matters, but when you copy the accent, you'll hopefully copy

  • a lot of the natural features as well.

  • Also, you should make sure you're pronouncing all English sounds correctly.

  • For example, can you pronounce 'th' sounds, or do you change it to a /d/ or a /z/ sound?

  • Like everything else, you should first identify which sounds you have problems with.

  • Practice the sounds with your teacher.