On a Saturday not long ago, I met with the owner of an encyclopaedic resource on IELTS; Mr, Dominic Cole.
- Dominic shares 3 speaking techniques.
- 1: Respond in the correct tense …. EVERY TIME.
- 2: How to find the PRECISE vocabulary for Part 2.
- 3: Why you should pace your self through the exam.
- AND: Why doing excessive speaking practice tests may hinder you.
WARNING: Doing too many practise questions is dangerous, it generates automatic responses.
Examiners aren’t impressed by automatic responses.
Natural responses impress the examiner.
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Click to read transcript
Ben: Hello there IELTS students. Hope your preparation is going well. This is a special episode about the speaking components of the exam. We’ve got Dominic Cole. He shares a bit on how to improve your core skills. Then we focus on the speaking. We really dissect the exam, what to expect, what to do, the best approach to take.
He shares a technique that I have been using with my students with great success where you can learn how to respond always with the correct tense and with the correct vocabulary. Also, I’d just like to remind you that there are the IELTS learning guides available at dichvugiadinh.info. Have a look at those especially if you’re having challenges with your writing. There’s some really detailed explanations in the learning guides.
If you’re having problems with your speaking, you need more core skills, you need to work on your core skills, go to ielts.com and look at the speaking fluently videos. I think that they’re on the top right and those are there to give you some – a lot of valuable advice from a podcast we did with Roby.
Listen to everything and tell me what you think about it as well. Send me an email if you’ve got any challenge.
And could give any advice of how to improve the core language skills.
Dominic: Okay if we so take each paper in turn, one with the writing I would simply not bother writing complete essays, soaking up the whole time. The way to write an essay is not necessarily to write essays. The way to write an essay is to learn how each separate part of the essays work.
Also another way you can’t write an essay until you can write a paragraph and so that for instance, it may not work for everybody but if you have a problem with coherence or even actually task response, start up with writing paragraphs and in a way this is a great friendly suggestion because and it’s easier to write the paragraph, you can write more paragraphs.
One problem with writing essays is it takes classroom time. Forty minutes if you’re starting by yourself is quite a long time to sit down and write an essay. If you in contrast just write a paragraph then make it a 10-15 minute exercise. You may very well find you’re producing better English. And it’s not always about quantity. It’s about quality, as well. So I would start with just producing quality paragraphs, not deeply writing.
And the least thing in the reading, the people who read best are the people who read most. I mean, so a simple suggestion there is go and read and adding another point is read things which are interesting to you because if you’re reading things which are interesting to you, your brain starts working and you start learning. Whereas, if you read something which you think you should read, but is in fact quite boring, your brain goes to sleep and you may well be wasting your time.
The benefit of those reading and listening is this is where you really learn vocabulary and vocabulary is a huge part of IELTS and all language actually. So that’s the writing maybe paragraphs.
Ben: Reading and listening.
Dominic: Listen to the podcast.
Ben: Go read a newspaper.
Dominic: Read a lot of newspapers. Good newspapers should have something in them for everybody. And actually newspapers cover the thought of topics you’re likely to find in IELTS. And speaking for many people is a hard a one because many people don’t have someone to talk to. But on the speaking, ideally, you just want to find someone to talk to and practice your conversational English. The speaking is really just a conversation. And if you can’t do that you can always practice recording yourself. The one thing I can really suggest you’re doing is going rounds of practicing or doing lots of practice questions. You want to do a few to find out how they work.
I think it can be dangerous actually if you do too many practice questions because you start to get automatic responses, and I’ve someone who’s done a lot of examining, not for IELTS but for similar exams. Examiners aren’t really impressed by automatic responses. The type of response which impresses the examiner is almost always the natural response, the response in answer to the question that you’ve just been asked.
And a really, really intelligent comment I thought which someone sent in today was, always the worst thing which can happen to you is that you got a question or you get a question which is similar to a question you’ve had before because you start to answer the wrong question. You start to answer the question you had before and plus in speaking and writing, that tends to be quite a serious problem.
Ben: Yeah. For the speaking when it says just try and get as much sort of like natural speaking as possible.
Dominic: I would say there, yes.
Dominic: I would say it’s so. The one strange part about speaking is the part 2 long term speaking where you have to speak for 2 minutes. So you need to train yourself to speak for 2 minutes. But that one is really just telling a story or telling some – talking about one of your personal experiences. Its’ not really a presentation or anything like that. The question is almost invariably talk about a pair of shoes you have bought. Keyword there is ‘you’ and then say where you bought them, why you bought them, when you bought them, and why you like them.
Dominic: The point here is you’re talking about yourself and one thing you can do is just practice talking about your own personal experiences. Look through your social album. Practice describing a picture. And actually, that’s quite a good kit because if you see a picture, you start to have more things to talk about. You can see precisely what you want to say. So for part 2, that would be one suggestion.
Ben: Wow! That’s a good tip sort of like visualize any object visualize the question. Then from there start your monologue, so to speak.
Ben: You tune in and start to talk.
Dominic: To interrupt you, say, one thing I’ve tried in class and I forget where I first found it. But it does work is in your one-minute preparation time, it may sound that it’s all a crazy idea. And one thought is simply close eyes and try to see a picture to visualize and the idea is if you close your eyes you’ve thought to visualize much better. And if you see a picture you see things. And things give you precise vocabulary and the best vocabulary and actually all parts of IELTS is precise vocabulary: not long words, not complex words – the right word.
So if you’re talking about gardens, say, a plant or a shrub, for example, of a lawn.