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IELTS Preparation Series 3, Episode 7: The Speaking Test


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Hello, and welcome to Study English, IELTS Preparation. I'm Margot Politis.

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Today we'll look at the IELTS Speaking Test.

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There are three parts to the test. Each part has a particular purpose.

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The examiner will record the interview to ensure the test is to standard and conducted

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fairly for all candidates.

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Let's watch someone begin their interview. Good morning, my name is Maria. What's your

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name? My name's Sanjay.

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Thankyou. Can I just check your ID please Sanjay. Thank you, that's fine. What are you

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doing at the moment? Are you a student, or do you work?

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I'm currently a student. And what are you studying?

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I'm studying a Diploma in Business.

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The purpose of Part One is to settle you down and get you used to the test situation. So

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you will only be required to answer some general questions about yourself on some familiar

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topics such as: studies, travel, sports, family, food and exercise.

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Let's see how another candidate answers questions about exercise. The first question is designed

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to test her skills at identifying:

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What kind of exercise do you enjoy? I enjoy running, because I think it's easy,

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and I think you should need, er, good shoes and you can run and I can run at morning,

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it's really good I think.

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The next question is to see how well she expresses an opinion:

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Is it important to exercise regularly? Yes, I think it's really important, because

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you can, um, keep your body healthy and you can keep fit, especially for girls' health,

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keep fit. And it's good for your health as well.

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This question tests comparing:

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Do you think people are exercising more these days, compared to 50 years ago?

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No, I don't think so. Because, you see, like me, they don't have enough time. I think it's,

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a lot of people don't have enough time as well, so they don't have enough regular exercise.

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Other skills that are assessed include: describing;

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expressing preferences; and giving reasons

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You are not expected to give in-depth answers at this stage of the interview but you can

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extend your answer with a longer sentence.

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To help prepare for this section you can develop vocabulary around the topic areas and make

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sure you know the verb tense that is appropriate for answering the question.

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For example the question 'What kind of exercise do you enjoy?' is in the simple present tense,

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so she replies with the same tense: I enjoy running. Listen again:

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What kind of exercise do you enjoy? I enjoy running.

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In Part Two the examiner will give you a topic on a prompt card to talk about for one to

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two minutes. You will be allowed one minute to make some notes. After your talk, the examiner

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will ask you a follow up question.

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The topics are of a general nature. You could be asked to talk about an object that is important

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to you or a major festival in your country or to describe an interesting building.

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Let's see how the interviewer introduces the second part of the interview and how the candidate

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prepares for the talk.

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Now, I'd like you to talk for one to two minutes on a topic that I'll give you.

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Sure. You have one minute to prepare, and make some

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notes to help you. Do you understand? Yes.

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Okay. Well, here's a pencil and a paper for making notes, and here is your topic. I'd

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like you to describe a holiday or vacation you took recently.

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Sure.

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This is what was written on the prompt card she gave him:

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Describe a holiday or a vacation you took recently.

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You should say: where you went,

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who you travelled with, what you did, and

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explain why you enjoyed your vacation.

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Think of 2 or 3 things to say about each prompt and write down words that will help remind

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you of what to say.

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Let's look at what he wrote.

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Do the notes help him?

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Let's listen to his talk.

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Er, the holiday which I went on recently was in Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand. Um, we, we

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planned this, I guess, two weeks, two weeks in advance, it was kind of a last minute planning

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with, with my family, we decided to just go for a short holiday down to Bangkok. So, er,

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we called, we called my travel agent, and, er, we got, we got tickets booked for me,

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my Mum, my brother and my sister.

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It is important to begin your talk by introducing the topic.

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He is following the notes he made. For 'who' he tells us "we got tickets booked for me,

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my Mum, my brother and my sister".

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For 'what' he talks about shopping:

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We went to two shopping malls. It was, one of the malls called Big C, Big C, yeah, that

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was the mall. So, er, the mall was very clean and, er, I was surprised, it was very clean,

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very big, very, very big, very clean and all. So that was just a normal shopping centre.

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Then over the weekend we decided to go and visit this big weekend market in, Bangkok

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itself. So it's called a big, a weekend market, er, it had like thousand over stalls, it was

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this big, humungous place. So what we did, we spent our whole time there, shopping.

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For 'why' he tells us what a wonderful experience it was:

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But it was a wonderful experience, going to Bangkok, and, er, visiting the sights.

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Your talk will be well organised if you follow the same order as the prompts on the card.

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The interviewer ends this section with a follow up question. Let's listen to what the interviewer

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asks him.

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Do you think you'll go back there again? Er, yeah, definitely, I mean, for shopping

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is one thing, prices are really cheap and all but, er, it's just the place. The people,

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they're all friendly and down to earth, and, um, it was a memorable experience.

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He responds appropriately with two sentences. That's all that is required.

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To help you prepare for this part, practise talking about a range of topics.

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The final part of the interview is a discussion on issues related to the topic in Part Two.

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The examiner will be assessing your ability to develop ideas in some depth.

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Let's see what kind of questions he was asked and how the discussion is introduced.

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Okay then. Well, you've described a holiday you've been on, and I'd like to ask you a

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few more questions related to this. Sure.

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Is it important to travel and take holidays in different places?

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Yeah, I feel, I feel it is important, er, reason being you, you're exposed to different

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cultures, you're exposed to different kind of people, how, how do they behave, and, er,

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you get to see a lot of things. If you just take a holiday in your own country, or somewhere

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nearby, er, you won't really get to see, er, the world I guess, see how people behave and

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all.

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By asking him "Is it important to travel?" she is testing whether he can express an opinion.

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Next, she sees if he can speculate:

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Are people travelling more these days, do you think?

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Er, yes, definitely. Er, as you can see nowadays there's budget airlines where airline prices

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all become so cheap so that they can visit more places and go to other countries.

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Then she asks a question designed to see how well he can compare:

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Is it better to travel alone, or in a group? I believe it's better to travel in a group,

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where you have a companion. Maybe not, not in such a big group, but, I guess, maybe two

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to three people … where it's nice to have someone along to share your experiences

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with and, you know, to visit places and, you know, have someone there for companionship

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and all.

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And finally she tests how well he can identify:

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What kind of problems is travel and tourism causing?

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Um, sometimes people don't know other people's culture, and they might offend them in a rude

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way, they might not know its offensive, but, you know, not knowing the culture, and not

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reading up about it, sometimes when you go to a foreign land, and you might do something

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to maybe insult the host or insult someone there.

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To answer questions well in this section you should watch programs on current affairs and

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practise discussing topics and using a variety of language functions such as comparing, explaining

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and describing.

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That's all for today

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Good luck with your studies.

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