5 Common Speaking Mistakes

speaking mistakes

There is nothing easier than going wrong with the Speaking section of your exam. There are many speaking mistakes that are too easy to make. Know these simple pitfalls to avoid them and ensure good score for your IELTS/TOEFL/CAE exam.

Answering the Wrong Question

It may sound silly, but this is a common mistake. Make sure you understand the question. Ask your examiner to repeat it if you are unsure what exactly you are supposed to say. It is not going to affect your score in any way. If you still fail to get the meaning, ask to rephrase. If your answer will have nothing to do with the question then it won’t be scored at all.

Memorising the Answer

OK, this isn’t new, we’ve all done that. This time it isn’t going to work because a memorised answer is easily spotted by a professional examiner. Instead of rote-learning the whole answer try to remember some basic phrases and constructions for each possible topic. An honest answer will be much better than a learned one.

Drinking for Confidence

This isn’t going to work. You will think slower, feel out of place. Not to mention you will smell of alcohol — your examiner won’t be too happy to have you. If you absolutely have to take the pressure off — have some green tea before the exam. Mint works good too. Don’t overdo it — you can get your thinking process slowed down by drinking too much.
Alternatively, try some of these techniques to get your cognitive abilities in shape.

Short Answer

The whole idea of Speaking part of exam is to showcase your language. Some tend to forget this, responding to every other questions with only a couple of words. Remember: your answer has to be detailed. As long as it is relevant to the topic — it’s good. If you start going over the time limit the examiner will let you know. If you are unsure what to say, then make something up. Your words don’t have to be one hundred percent truth.

Spontaneous Answer

Certain tasks give you preparation time (i.e. IELTS Speaking Task 2 — the card question). Some choose to keep all the bullet points of the answer in their head. While this is acceptable, it isn’t the optimal technique. You are much better to write the crucial information down: the beginnings of sentences, some words and phrases that you think you should use and so forth. Don’t be lazy – some writing can make your answer much more structured and cohesive.

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