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The 3 Mistakes in IELTS Speaking That Kill Your Score

The 3 Mistakes in IELTS Speaking That Kill Your Score

Different mistakes have a different effect on your IELTS score – some are minor and won’t do much damage, but others can undo all the hard work you’ve done preparing for the test.

These 3 mistakes are something you really need to avoid because they can kill your score in the IELTS Speaking test.

Mistake #1: Mumbling or speaking too quietly

If the examiner has to work extra hard to hear what you’re saying, you score will reflect it. This mistake affects your Fluency and Coherence score, and when it drops, your overall Speaking score goes down with it.

Tip: Speak up and make occasional eye contact with the examiner – but don’t stare at him/her! Staring is considered impolite in the Western culture.

Mistake #2: Answering questions with just a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’

In the IELTS Speaking test the examiner isn’t conducting a survey about your likes and dislikes. The reason they ask you questions is to hear you SPEAK as much as possible. What you are saying (your message) isn’t as important as HOW you’re saying it. A good answer combines an idea that you express in a logical way with suitable vocabulary.

Tip: answer the question and then add a sentence explaining why, when or where or what.

Mistake #3: Talking about a something else instead of what you’ve been asked.

Sometimes test takers hear the question but forget it or get distracted and start talking about something that is perhaps related – but not quite what the examiner asked.

Example: If the examiner asks you what you like drinking, tea or coffee, don’t start talking about vegetarian dishes being your favorite or some types of food you like.

Why? You will lose marks for Fluency and Coherence and then even if you get a 7 in all the other criteria, your total Speaking score will still be just 6.5.

This is why I recommend bookmarking this post about the 3 mistakes and reminding yourself not to make them every time you practice in speaking, and especially on your test day.

How many of these mistakes are you making? Let me know in the comments!



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