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13 Tips for IELTS Academic Speaking Exam

Speaking test is one of the most demanding sections of the IELTS Academic exam as it's a spontaneous and live interview with a certified IELTS examiner. Test takers are often afraid of stammering, particularly in front of a native English speaker. 

The examiner might use several accents during the speaking test to evaluate your understanding of different speaking styles and tones. But you need not worry about your accent; speak naturally without mimicking a particular accent. 

There is much more to tackle in the speaking section of the IELTS test. This article will unlock some of the best IELTS Academic Speaking tips to excel at your exam.

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IELTS Academic Speaking Test Format

The IELTS Speaking part is the same for the Academic and General IELTS exams. The Speaking exam can last 11-14 minutes for both the IELTS test types. The speaking test is conducted face-to-face or via video call with a certified IELTS examiner. 

Now let's explore the three parts of the IELTS Speaking Test:

Part 1: Introduction (4–5 minutes)

The first part of the Speaking test starts with a general introduction. Your examiner will introduce themselves and ask you to confirm your identity and introduce yourself. 

A 4-5 minutes introduction can include a few simple questions on familiar topics, as listed below:

  • Family
  • Work
  • Education
  • Home life
  • Personal interests and hobbies

Part 2: Task Card (3–4 minutes)

You will be given a task card containing a topic and a few pointers you can discuss in your speech. Then, you will get a minute to prepare and plan out your oration elements. You will be given paper and a pencil to record your thoughts. 

After conceptualizing your speech, you will have 1-2 minutes to speak. Once your speech is complete, the examiner will ask a few questions about the subject. 

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Part 3: In-depth Discussion (4–5 minutes)

Part 3 of the IELTS Speaking test consists of an in-depth discussion with the examiner on the topic designated in Part 2 of the speaking exam. This is your opportunity to impress the examiner with your subject knowledge. 

You must discuss the strong points about the topic and may highlight the grey areas as well. Remember, you are the one leading this conversation; you make the maximum use of it. The questions asked by the examiner will be based on your discussion, so talk about points you are confident about. The last part of the speaking test would take around 4-5 minutes to finish.

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Tips to Improve English Speaking for the IELTS Academic

Daily conversing with family and friends is the best way to polish English language skills. Doing this will help you increase your confidence and fluency while naturally speaking English. Apart from this, you must check out our top IELTS Academic Speaking test tips to enhance your English speaking skills:

  • Enhance your pronunciation: You might mess up pronouncing certain words and phrases without knowing it. 
    Wondering why is pronunciation so complex? The answer lies in the fact that the sounds of vowels can be inconsistent. For example, a single letter 'a' can be pronounced in 9 different ways in English. In addition, the pronunciation of a vowel can be largely affected by its placement within a word. 
    The easiest way to improve your pronunciation is to break down large words into smaller parts and practice speaking each vowel sound separately. Gradually, move ahead and practice with words and sentences. With time your pronunciation will become effortless.
  • Tape your voice while reading aloud: Remember, when in school, your teacher would ask you to stand up and read a passage aloud!! It was nerve-wracking. But it's the best way to enhance your speaking skills and build confidence in speaking in public. 
    For IELTS Speaking practice, you must find a silent room to recite different forms of content ranging from short novel passages to long news articles. While narrating, you should record and listen to it later. The tactic will help you understand the way you sound and get into speaking practice. 
    Listening to voice recordings rather than reciting them aloud will give you a better feel of your tempo and overall pronunciation. Moreover, you can compare your pronunciation to a native English speaker to improvise further.
  • Watch English Web Series: Streaming English web series, movies, and songs will make you aware of the varied English accents from across the globe. 
    Many experts suggest visuals create lasting effects and improve memory recall power. So, watching the English media of your choice is a fun and effective way to remember unique words or phrases. 
    If you do not understand a particular word used in the movie or web series, pause and look for its meaning and synonyms to expand your vocabulary. Later on, you can practice different English words and phrases daily.
  • Find a Study Buddy: Learning with a friend or colleague is effortless due to the comfort level and less external environmental pressure. So, practice speaking in English with your friends whose native language is English or who speak the English language more fluently. Moreover, you can play English quiz games like Pictionary to learn advanced vocabulary.
  • Stop cramming your answers: Memorized introduction speech for Part 1 of the IELTS Speaking test does not give a true impression of your speaking abilities. An experienced examiner can easily recognize the difference between a natural introduction and a recalled speech by how you talk. An inaccurate depiction of your speaking skills might make you lose some marks affecting your band score.
  • Refrain from using long and unknown words: Most test takers try to impress the examiner by inculcating big and typical words in their speaking exam. Using unfamiliar words in your speech weighs downside as there are higher chances of making a mistake in pronunciation and correct usage of the word within a sentence. 
    So, it is advisable not to use complex words or phrases. Instead, you should use a wide range of vocabulary about the given topic. To achieve this, you must prepare a vocabulary repository of different words, their synonyms, and phrases that you can use during the test.
  • Include a wide range of grammatical structures: Using different grammatical structures with a perfect mix of simple and complex statements in your speaking test creates a lasting impression on the examiner. Moreover, you must use all the tenses— past, present, and future precisely in your speech. 
  • Speak Naturally: During the speaking test, do not stress about the type of accent you use. The examiner knows different accents, so do not worry that you might be misjudged for speaking in your accent. However, you must beware of your tone and pitch while expressing. 
    Some words in your speech require more attention; then, you can use a higher pitch and vice versa. Practice speaking with friends using different pitches and tones; this helps you gain confidence while speaking.
  • Halt and think: Stop and think when the examiner asks you a question you are unsure about. This does not mean you must stay silent for a longer period. Instead, you can use phrases like, 'Let me see', 'That's an interesting question', and so on. Using these phrases will give you time to organize your thoughts effectively without directly letting the examiner know.
  • Do not use filler words: During the speech, there will be moments when you need some time to think and restructure your ideas. In such cases, we unintentionally use filler words such as 'like', 'well', 'umm', 'yeah', etc. 
    But using these words showcases that you cannot access the correct words spontaneously. Instead of using filler words, add phrases like 'Let me think for a minute' and 'Well, that might be a popular opinion. However, I think differently, etc.
  • Expand your answers: Giving to-the-point answers to the examiner's questions showcase that you cannot explicitly discuss a topic. To avoid any such preconception in the examiner's mind, you need to extend your answers promptly. Talk about pointers you understand in detail, showing you are confident speaking longer.
  • Avoid Speaking in Monotone: Speaking at length can be exhausting, but using a flat tone without any variation showcases a lack of interest. A correct combination of high, medium, and low pitch interests the listener and conveys your message more effectively. Hence, using hand gestures and varying stress and intonation during your speech is recommended.
  • Prepare for popular IELTS topics: While preparing for your IELTS speaking test, you must refer to previous sample topics frequently asked in the exam. Practising different topics will help you speak in-depth more fluently and confidently. Some common IELTS topics can include:
    • Internet
    • Sports
    • Global Environmental Issues
    • Travel
    • Education
    • Family

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Is it good to join IELTS classes to improve speaking skills?

Speaking skills require a lot of practice, and with dedicated IELTS coaching, it might be easier to rectify your mistakes and track your progress. 

Coaching for the IELTS Academic can provide authentic scenarios for practising. The coaching centres can replicate the exam setting and offer practice tests that reflect the exam's format and difficulty level. This will assist you in acquiring confidence and lessening exam-day anxiety. 

IELTS Coaching helps you prepare for your IELTS exam, improves your general English-speaking abilities, and makes you better acquainted with the language. An excellent understanding of the English language gives you the courage to speak the language fluently and is also beneficial to your career.

Don’t Forget to Read: Benefits of IELTS Academic Online Coaching


Preparing for the IELTS Speaking test requires consistent efforts and regular practice. Expanding your vocabulary, using a wide range of grammatical structures, and varied pitch and tones during your speech are some ways to improve your English speaking skills and ace your IELTS exam. We hope the IELTS Speaking tips specified in this article will help you attain a high score in your IELTS Academic exam. Good Luck!!!