IELTS Strategic Analysis: Speaking
Hello readers, I hope you guys are far better off today or in this life than me!!!
Today I am going to discuss some basic strategic facts regarding the speaking part of IELTS. Those of us who have at least passed the bachelor degree in any registered University anywhere in the world, can at least day one or two things in English. There may be some regions in China or Japan where even an University graduate may find it difficult to speak even a word in English but for obvious reasons (their abhorrence for English as well as their love for their own culture or may be both). However, due to the trans-boundary spread of pop-culture and Hollywood-dreams, almost everyone with at least a TV knows how to utter at least a word or two in English. That being said, speaking in English and being able to speak fluently in English are two different things. Because even though someone knows how to peak a word or so in English may not be equipped to live in an English speaking country with just a shadow of a speaking skill.
Also there is a matter of practice speaking. Just like riding a bi-cycle or a horse or even to swim, the skill of speaking in English is very much practical. Someone new to English has to develop that skill by speaking it very often, whenever you get a chance. Let’s see it this way; those who were born in an English speaking country, English is their first tongue. They have been speaking this language since their childhood. However, a non-English speaker did not have a chance to speak English since childhood (there may be some exceptions but they cannot be examples) and that makes English a foreign language to him. Therefore, if a non-English speaker wants to cope with the English speaking citizens of the world, they have to ensure at least a minimum threshold of skills to cope up with the natives. That threshold is ensured by standardized tests like IELTS.
THRESHOLD PARAMETERS AND EXAM CRITERIA:
While an examiner assess a candidate during the spoken course, there are some parameters that the examiner marks and evaluates to judge the candidate. Those evaluations are based on the following criteria:
- Fluency and coherence (the ability to talk with normal levels of continuity, rate and effort and to link ideas and language together to form coherent, connected speech)
- Lexical resource (the range of vocabulary used and the precision with which meanings and attitudes can be expressed)
- Grammatical range and accuracy (the range and the accurate and appropriate use of the test takers’ grammatical resource)
- Pronunciation (the ability to produce comprehensible speech to fulfill the Speaking test requirements)
There are several parts by which the whole test is occurred. Those stages are something as follows:
- Part 1 – the examiner will ask you general questions about yourself and a range of familiar topics, such as home, family, work, studies and interests. This part lasts between 4-5 minutes.
- Part 2 – you will be given a card which asks you to talk about a particular topic. You will have 1 minute to prepare before speaking for up to 2 minutes. The examiner will then ask 1/2 questions on the same topic.
- Part 3 – you will be asked further questions about the topic in Part 2. These will give you the opportunity to discuss more abstract ideas and issues. This part of the test lasts between 4-5 minutes.
SOME RELEVANT STRATEGIES:
Speaking, not only in English but also in any language, is an art-form. I have seen many people who are extremely knowledgeably sound, but when they are asked about some topic and requested them to speak on it, even though they are master on it, their speeches get rumbled, their topic seems to sound a foreign concept and many of them even start stammering. Therefore, talking and composed speeches are two different things altogether. One may talk, but his way of delivery may be really bad. One the other hand, there may be some who does not even know that much but only by the skill of oration, his speech may be sold to the audiences with a huge amount of popularity as a cherry on top.
When we face the spoken examiner of IELTS, these things often happen. An university lecturer sometimes get 5.00- band score in spoken even though he was asked to talk about his own subject, while someone from the freshman year gets 8.00- band score in spoken without even knowing what the hell he was talking about, only because of presentation and the way he delivered. On that basis, the strategy should be set on three categories:
First- for those who are a stammerer in front of a crowd; for these people, being concise and grammatically correct is the only way to get a band-score of 7.00 and above. The delivery should be precise and to the point. These people are often some scholars who can plan things well. So, please plan your speech and then deliver them exactly the way you planned it. It won’t be that easy, nonetheless, not impossible either.
Second- for those who speaks too much and loose balance after several minutes and goes off-topic very soon; they should really really mind what are they saying and think before they deliver. IELTS examiners, though they dont exactly hate these “garrulous” type, they dont score them well either. Because the examiners are also human, and those who bore the examiners with so much talks will get their share fare of justice in their markings from the examiners in due time!!!
Third- for those who are neither of any of those types expressed above; these are the categories that the examiners are looking for in their candidates. What they should do is that practice more to be exactly like that in the exam hall. Most of the time when a candidate do worse than expected in the spoken part, the do it by being unnecessarily nervous. Though this is a common human emotion, this thing can really destroy the band-score of IELTS of any candidate. So, a good candidate should never be nervous in the interview for his own sake.
That’s it for today. As we all know that this is just an over-view of strategies of the concerned topic, the details of all of them will be discussed later. In our next topic, we will discuss more about “listening” skill of the test and how to face it.
Till then, happy reading!!!