IELTS Speaking Tips: 3 Common Mistakes to Avoid

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June 02, 2021

Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking exam causes anxiety among candidates. However, you can confidently achieve a high score in the exam with the IELTS Speaking tips we will discuss below.

In general, the speaking part of the test is the shortest part of the IELTS exam (about 20 minutes total). Let’s review the structure of the exam first and then review three IELTS speaking tips to help you on Part 2.

Structure of the IELTS Speaking Exam

Three tasks await candidates on exam day:

Part 1: The Interview

The test official asks you a series of questions about your work, studies, home, and career. Watch out for the quirky questions like: "Do you like plants?" or "How would you feel if you received a pen as a gift?"

Part 2: The Cue Card – Long Turn

Success in Part 2 requires patience and extra confidence. Candidates are given a cue card with a speaking prompt and questions to answer. The topics range from technology and education to careers and the environment.

Part 3: The Discussion

The IELTS official usually asks questions centered on the topic you spoke about in Part 2. You have more time to answer each question. Be sure to give complete answers.

IELTS Speaking Tips for Part 2

Now, let’s turn to two IELTS speaking tips to sidestep common problems on the IELTS Speaking Part 2.

The use of discourse markers is required for a higher score on the test.

These terms like however, thus, and finally help guide the IELTS grader through your story. These so-called discourse markers provide structure to your answer. Structure is an important element in both the Speaking and Writing Sections of the exam.

Good vocabulary usage is indispensable for a higher score.

On the Speaking exam, use collocations, idioms, and phrasal verbs to boost your score and show your natural English. The grading criteria calls on candidates to include these elements in their responses for a Band Score 7.0 and higher.

Collocations are groups of words appearing naturally in English. For example – business meeting or to do the dishes.

Idioms are expressions rooted deep in the culture of a language that expresses universal truths, concepts, or ideas. For example – a piece of cake or green with envy.

Phrasal Verbs are verbs that combine with a preposition, adverb, or both to form a verb that has a different meaning from the original verb. For example – to look over, to come up with.

Avoid these Common IELTS Speaking Mistakes

For three main reasons, candidates are often unable to complete their monologue within two (2) minutes.

Lack of Practice

During your IELTS preparation, it is important to practice the 1-minute preparation time and the 2-minute drill as much as possible. Work with a partner to manage the timer on a smartphone or tablet so you can focus on your response. For your part, speak into your smartphone to record your answer and replay it to see how you did. Time management is an essential skill.

Lack of Organization

An adequate response to the Part 2 questions shows good organization. In Part 2, you need to deliver a narrative that answers the questions. A good story has three parts, and thus, you should divide your response into the Beginning, Middle, and End.

Lack of Effective 1-minute Preparation Time

Exploit the 1-minute preparation time this way. Draw a T figure on the provided scratch paper to organize your responses. Quickly note your responses in the boxes for each question. Remember – you may refer to your scratch paper during your monologue. Just don’t read from it. In your mind, prepare your words to answer each question.


Confidently face the IELTS Speaking test with the above speaking tips and avoid these three common mistakes to boost your score!

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