My name is Max and this is a website I created to help other people to find speaking partners, improve speaking skills and succed in IELTS speaking test .
I am not an expert in IELTS or qualified English language teacher. However, I have something to share. Russian is my native language. I passed IELTS in mid 2015 as a part of my immigration process. Find out more about me on About page.
This is a short guide for those who found my website searching for information on how to prepare for IELTS speaking test. Below I’m going say a couple of words addressing this question and explain how my website can help you to achieve your target score in IELTS speaking test.
It’s not really the number of words that we have in our vocabulary – it’s how we use those words
My Most Important Message for You
Practice makes perfect
You can skip some of the points below or pay them less attention, but you have to understand one simple thing about speaking test: you will pass it and get desired score if practice every day. It is not easy, but the truth is that you don’t need top spend 1 hour every day. 15-20 min is enough, because you will do it regularly. That is what will make you progress and improve your score. Of course, the more you practice the faster you learn, but for me, persistence is the key.
Ok. This is what I was doing to learn to speak in English. In the beginning I started to answer questions from IELTS sample tests. Sometimes I asked my wife help me and be my examiner.
I saw very small progress and desided to take online classes with native English speaking teacher. I turned out that price was quite high for our budget. I don’t remember where but, I met online English teacher from The Phillipines. So after about one year of practicing on my own, I started to take 2-3 classes per week. I was able to afford that amount and it kind of started to pay off.
I spent 8-9 months taking online speaking classes (with couple of breaks). I was also keeping practice on my own and with my wife. Eventually, I’ve got my 7.0 in speaking part after 5 failed tests.
Thank you for visiting my site. Keep in touch with me! Ask questions or email me.
Read Every Day Out Loud
Unfortunately, it is not as easy as it sounds “spend 15-20 practicing speaking every day”. However, most of the time the biggest problem is in you. We all tend to give up or put aside once we faced an obstacle.
The truth is that, you need almost nothing to start working on your speaking skills. Here are steps to implement easiest way to do it:
- go to bed 20 min earlier and wake up earlier in the next morning
- find an interesting text or article and read out loud for 15-20min
That’s it! You don’t even need a partner. You probably think that this is some kind of joke or absolutely useless advice. I can assure you that it makes sense to do it because
- if you cannot have a speaking class every day you each you miss opportunity to practice
- it is proved by linguists and language teachers that reading out loud helps you to train your mouth, tongue and verbal muscles to deal with new sounds
- It will help you to stay motivated, because if you practice regularly you will see progress. This is first checkpoint from where you can go further.
The bottomline is: stop feeling frustrated and take action.
Next Steps: Looking for Speaking Practice Opportunities
These are problems I faced while trying to find a language partner:
- I cannot afford lessons offered by online teachers (prices start from $7, usualy between $10-20$ per 1 hour – example here testedteachers.com)
- most of people including me (I have a wife and daughter, hectic working schedule) are very busy and it is difficult to speak via Skype because we all have different lifestyles and schedules;
- without interest, engagement and mutual simpathy it is impossible have regular conversations with other person. Honestly, it was quite stressful to speak with teacher (I took some classes from online teacher). I did lots of mistakes and lacked fluency.
- like me, some people are just not so talkative (introverts) and it is difficult to maintain talk with them.
However, there are a number of solutions which can help you to overcome most of these obstacles.
IELTS community and reaching out to people. I would reccoment contact other IELTS candidates and ask for being your speaking partner. You can find them on other blogs and websites devoted to IELTS preparation. For example: ielts-simon.com
Podcasts. This solution addresses points #1,#2 and #3.There are thousands of free podcasts on the Internet and you can hear them on the go. In addition, they cover almost all possible topics so yu can find what you will enjoy to listen.
Believe me, it does help to develop your speaking skills
- you can apply “shadowing technique”
- you will be learning new vocabulary
- you will keep yourself interested in learning English which is very powerful thing
Apps and websites for language exchange. As a solution I can reccomend online platforms providing language exchange services
Not all of them are perfect and will give you opportunity to speak with other people. On my website I will test as many of websites to find best ways to practice speaking. Keep in touch!
Focus on Topic Vocabulary
While preparing for my exam I researched quite a lot to find useful books and materials for IELTS candidates. One of the most helpful things for me was ANKI app – program that helps you to learn English vocabulary. The great thing about it that you can use shared flashcards (someone else’s) or create your own cards, That’s what I did. Now I have something to share to help other people to learn neccessary vocabulary. Feel free to use and download resources from my Topic Vocabulary Pages
Learning topic vocabulary and practicing on regular basis is what many teachers recommend to focus on to see progress in speaking test.
As long as IELTS candidates have limited time to prepare for the exam they should learn smartly, effectively use time they have and focus on the things from list above. That said, I recommend you go through most common topics from IELTS speaking test and learn specific vocabulary from each topic first.
Things to remember
Exam criteria. As you probably know, in order to get high score in IELTS, it is necesarry to meet certain requirements in the following four criterion areas:
- fluency and coherence
- lexical resource
- grammatical range and accuracy
So, always keep it mind.
Don’t give up. It is challenging but, remember, you can do it.
I hope this small story about me preparing for IELTS speaking test will cheer you up and maybe inspire you to keep going. No matter how many times you failed or how difficult it seems to be, other people did it . So you can too.