The best way to learn is to observe others and learn from their experience. Below is a video of a pretty Syrian girl named Sawson doing the IELTS interview.
We will go over her answer to see both strong and weak points based on four assessment criteria: fluency and coherence, lexical resource, grammatical range and accuracy, pronunciation. For explanation of assessment criteria refer to the IELTS Speaking page.
Fluency and coherence
This is the strongest aspect of this student. She maintains a fast-paces, steady rythm of speech throughout her whole answer. Only rare intermittent pauses happen, however they do not sound out of place. Remember that even the native speakers tend to make pauses to think their sentence through.
The student’s speech is coherent enough — it is easy enough to follow her idea most of the time, she develops her points clearly using a range of cohesive devices. However, at times the student gets lost in hertrain of thought:
[3:15-3:45] lack of proper cohesion
[10:05-10:35] words become more isolated with fewer cohesive devices
[10:50-11:40] almost no cohesion between ideas, she starts repeating the same words and phrases
Do not confuse coherence and cohesion. If you are coherent, then it is easy to understand what you are saying. If your speech is cohesive then you link your ideas well. See the previous link for clarification.
At times the student doesn’t address the quesitons the is asked. Instead she answers a slightly different question, either because of misunderstanding or nervousness: [3:00]
The speaker has a good range of vocabulary, however she tends to repeat the word “very” — there are many synonyms to this word, yet she never uses them. Knowing alternative intensifiers is a nice way to make your English more varied. Sawson chose not to use them so this must have affected her final score negatively.
Grammatical range and accuracy
Sawson’s English has acceptable level of grammar. There are some points that could be improved:
Prepositions. For a number of times she would use “in” instead of “on”:[5:10] The special gift … it was a necklace in her mother’s day.
[12:00] We are all human beings and we’re living in the same globe.
Other examples: [2:50] I have great taste of music (Correct: I have great taste in music/ great music taste].
At times the student chooses the wrong tense to address a question:
[3:00] The question: Has the kind of music you like changed over the years? The answer: Well yes, yes it changed because …
In this example it would be better to use Present Perfect instead of Past Simple. See this small page on tenses for additional information.
Use of articles. The student isn’t always accurate with her definite article usage. Examples:
[2:53] I like the classical, I like the Arabic music
Some words do not collocate well. Examples:
[7:05] I like to take gifts (Correct: to receive/to get gifts]
The examinee’s pronunciation is quite good. Only minor irregularities are noticeable, however they do not stand in the way of understanding.
The speaking tends to articulate letter g after n, examples:
[2:48] singer, [5:25] giving, [6:35] wearing.
The speaker demonstrated a solid command of English. She sounds natural, she is fluent as confident. More complex constructions prove to be more difficult. Even though she displayed good knowledge of the language I think that Band 7 is a bit too generous.