What to do if you forget what to say during a Speaking Test?
IELTS Speaking test is the last part of the IELTS examination in which the test is conducted in 3 parts wherein the examiner has a conversation with the test taker for around 15 minutes. IELTS Speaking part 1 is a conversation between the examiner and the test taker based on common topics such as family, work, friends, etc., and lasts for 4-5 minutes. In the IELTS Speaking part 2, the examiner will give a cue card, and the test taker has to speak on the mentioned topic for 2-3 minutes after preparing for a minute. Finally, in the last part of the IELTS Speaking test, the examiner will ask some questions based on the cue card topic, and it will last for 4-5 minutes. Although each part of the IELTS Speaking module is conducted very differently, the final speaking score will be the average of all three parts.
Why is the speaking test conducted in 3 parts?
The IELTS Speaking part 1 is conducted to test the ability of the test takers to communicate the ideas and information fluently on day-to-day activities. Answers can be given in 2-4 sentences depending on the test taker’s speaking speed. IELTS Speaking part 2 is conducted to analyze the test taker’s ability to speak on a given topic using appropriate language. IELTS Speaking part 3 consists of more challenging questions, which are more generic than the personal questions in part 1. However, the questions in part 3 will be an extension of the topic in part 2. This is to assess the test taker’s ability to justify opinions and discuss the ideas rationally. In conclusion, the IELTS Speaking test is not about knowledge but it’s about fluency. Therefore, the test taker must speak spontaneously without any effort and focus on giving answers fluently without any grammar errors.
What to do if I make a mistake while speaking?
It is possible that a test taker might make a mistake in vocabulary, grammar, or pronunciation while having a conversation with the examiner in the IELTS Speaking tests. In that case, the test taker need not panic but ignore these errors as there are no extra points for correcting these errors. It is best to continue talking and get a strong score on fluency.
Making mistakes in Meaning
If the test taker makes a mistake in the meaning of an answer, then it is possible to correct it without causing too much disruption. But the test taker must not repeat the same word. Instead, rephrase and keep on talking. Again, this will show flexibility in your English language.
Example 1: I really prefer eating home-cooked food rather than eating fast food. Home-cooked meals are hygienic and contain fewer calories. Also, it saves my pocket.
Example 2: I’d prefer to eat home-cooked food instead of fast food as home-cooked food is healthy and is prepared under hygienic conditions. Moreover, it is less in calories and doesn’t cost my pocket.
We can understand from the above examples that example 2 shows more natural use of the English language with proper connectors, correct meanings and no repetition.
What to do when you don’t understand a question?
There are much better ways to check for the meaning of the questions. Instead of directly telling the examiner that you don’t understand the question. You can request in the following ways.
- Could you please say that again?
- I’m sorry, I’m not sure I understand. Do you mean (that)…?
- Pardon me! Could you please rephrase the question?
- Sorry! I don’t quite catch you. When you say (that)….?
- If I may understand that…
- Would you mind repeating the question, please?
These requests show that you have at least understood the questions partially.
Don’t get too Nervous
It is natural to get nervous, but sometimes nerves can bring someone’s score down in several ways. For example, some people speak at a very low volume when they’re nervous, which will make it difficult for the examiner to understand what you’re trying to say. Others mumble when they get scared, which is a bad idea in the IELTS Speaking test. To overcome this, the test takers should consistently prepare to feel confident about themselves.
What to do when you forget what to say or get stuck while answering?
It is quite common to get stuck or forget while answering the questions. In that case, you can try to use the following words and phrases, which show that you’re actively thinking about the topic.
- In fact…
- Let me think for a moment….
- As far as I’m concerned….
- Personally, I consider…
- It seems to me that….
- Use phrases like kind, kind of, sort of, like
When you are too nervous, you might forget some words or can’t find the right words. But do not worry about it. You can always use other words to describe what you want to say instead of naming it. For example,
- I don’t know what you call it, but we use it to cut down the trees. (a Saw)
- I’ve forgotten the name for it, but they help the farmers to plough the field. (a tractor)
- I don’t exactly remember the name of the word in English, but it’s a person’s medical condition if they don’t have enough blood in their body. (anaemic)
The key is to quickly incorporate words like this into your speech without giving a long pause, which comes only with constant practice. Try our speaking practice tests at IELTSMaterial and achieve your desired band scores in the IELTS Speaking test.
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