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IELTS Speaking Task 1 - How to get a high score

September 4, 2016

 

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Hi, there. My name is Emma, and in today's lesson, we will be looking at how to do well

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on the speaking part of the IELTS. So the speaking part of the IELTS is divided up into

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three sections. Today, we're just going to be looking at section No. 1. So first of all,

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I will explain how to do well -- oh, sorry. First, I'll explain what happens in Part 1

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of the IELTS. And from there, we'll look at some things you should do to do well and some

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things you shouldn't do, okay? So let's get started.

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So what happens in Part 1 of the IELTS? Well, first of all, the speaking Part 1 of the IELTS

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is for both those taking the General IELTS exam and the Academic. So whether you're taking

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the Academic or the General IELTS, it's the same test with the same questions.

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Okay. It lasts between four to five minutes. It's made up of first an introduction. So

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the examiner is going to introduce himself or herself. Then, you will introduce yourself.

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So for example, "Hi. My name is Emma. Nice to meet you." Okay, so there's an introduction.

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And then, the examiner is going to ask you some questions about yourself. So these questions

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aren't that difficult. Usually, they're about where you're from. So for example what city

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you were born in, where you grew up. They might be about work. They might be about what

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you study, about your friends, about your hobbies, food, sports, and another thing I

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don't have up here, family. Family is also common on this part of the IELTS. Okay? So

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usually, the examiner, after introducing himself or herself, they will talk to you about two

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of these topics. Okay?"

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Now, the way they mark this part of the IELTS is they're looking specifically for pronunciation,

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okay? So can they understand what you're saying? Do you pronounce things well? They're going

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to be looking at fluency. So what's "fluency"? Well, do you go, "Uh, um, uh, uh" a lot during

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the test? Or do you speak very clearly, in a very nice rhythmic way? Do you use organizers

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or transitions? "First of all, secondly, finally." Do you use words like this? "Another reason."

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Or do you have problems speaking at a normal rate? So they look at that in fluency."

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Then, they mark you also on vocabulary. Do you use words like "good, bad" a lot? Those

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are very low-level words. Or do you use high level words that really show off your vocabulary?"

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The final thing you're marked on is grammar and accuracy. So for example, do you only

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use the present test for the whole test or are you able to correctly use the present

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tense, the past tense, present perfect, future? How well is your grammar? Okay?

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So don't panic. Maybe you're weak in grammar. Maybe you make some mistakes in grammar. But

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you're marked equally on these four components, okay? So now, let's look at some tips on how

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to do well on Part 1 of the speaking part of the IELTS.

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Okay. So what are some of the things we should do to get a good mark in Part 1 of the IELTS

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for speaking? Well, we have a list here of dos. Okay? So these are things you want to

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do. So the first thing that's very important is when you first meet the examiner, okay?

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If you're very nervous, and you don't make eye-contact, and you look at the floor the

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whole time, you're not going to do well on the IELTS even if your English is pretty good.

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So it's very important to present yourself with confidence, okay? You want to go into

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that test and know you're going to do well. If you think you're going to do well, you're

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going to do a lot better. Okay? If you think you're going to do badly, you're probably

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going to do badly. So think you're going to do well, and be confident. Okay?

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Another important thing is be friendly. Okay. You want to smile. Body language is actually

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very important in the IELTS.

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You want to make eye-contact, okay? So don't look at your feet. Don't look at your hands.

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Look at the examiner. But you don't have to stare at them, okay? Just look at them when

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you talk.

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Another thing a lot of students forget is they don't act excited when they're answering

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questions. So what do I mean by this? Well, they talk with a monotone. So for example,

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"Do you like playing sports?" This is a common question on the IELTS. A student might respond,

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"I really like playing basketball. Basketball is a good sport." Okay. If the examiner hears

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that, you're probably not going to get a good mark. You should act excited about what you're

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saying. Okay? "Yes. I love sports. Basketball is my favorite. It's, you know -- I love watching

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basketball. It's a lot of fun to play." If you seem excited, you will do better.

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Okay. The next thing that's very important is the vocabulary you use, okay? So remember,

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you're getting marked on four different things. One of these things is vocabulary. So how

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do you improve your vocabulary mark? Well, don't use simple, easy, boring, low-level

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words like, "I like basketball because it's good. I don't like soccer because it's bad."

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Okay? These words, "bad, good ", they're too easy. You need to try to find vocabulary that

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is higher level and practice before you do the IELTS. So for example, a good thing to

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do is look at the list of topics you will probably be asked about. Food is a very common

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thing they will ask you about. So try to come up with vocabulary in advance and practice

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this vocabulary about the different topics. So for example, I know they may ask me a question

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about food. So I might learn some words that have to do with food. Maybe I don't know the

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word "cuisine". Well, if they ask me a question about food, I can say, "My favorite type of

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food -- I love Indian cuisine." Okay? And there you go. They've just noticed you used

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a higher level word. Same with friends. A common word we use when we talk about friends,

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we talk about "acquaintances". Okay? So this is another good word to use. So again, try

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to come up with vocabulary for each of the different topics, and practice.

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Okay. Now, in this part of the IELTS, the examiner may ask you about what you like.

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"Do you like to play sports? What hobbies do you like? What are your favorite foods?"

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Now, one thing a lot of students do is they overuse "I like". "I like this. I like that.

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I like this. I like that." This is not going to help you with your vocabulary mark. So

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instead of using "I like" a lot, try something different. "I enjoy playing basketball. I

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enjoy hanging out with my friends. I really love yoga. I really love bowling." Okay? "I

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prefer playing sports to doing other activities." So "I enjoy, I really love, I prefer" -- I'm

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sure you can come up with more, but it's good to practice these types of expressions before

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you do the IELTS, okay?"

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Another key tip: Expand your answers. So what does this mean? Well, maybe the examiner asked

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you a question, "What is your favorite food?" Or -- sorry. Let me think of a good example.

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"Do you like to play sports?" Okay? The examiner might ask you that. Some students might just

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say, "No." And that's their answer. "Do you like to play sports? Do you like to cook?"

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"No." Well, the examiner is not going to be able to judge your English if you answer questions

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yes or no. You have to give bigger, longer answers. So this is what I mean by expand.

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Don't just say "yes" or "no". Even if you don't know what to say, make something up.

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So for example, a common question they ask, "Where are you from?" Now, I could just say,

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"I'm from Toronto." Or, "Toronto." This isn't going to help my IELTS mark. It's better if

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I expand this answer. "I'm from Toronto. It's actually the biggest city in Canada. It's

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also considered one of the most multicultural cities in the world." I don't have to talk

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too long about Toronto. I don't want to say the whole history of Toronto. I don't want

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to keep talking and talking and talking. But I don't want a very short answer. So you need

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to find an answer that is not too short and not too long. You want something in the middle.

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Okay? So that's what I mean by "expand".

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One way to expand your answers is by giving examples. So I asked this question earlier.

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You know, "What's your favorite food?" "Oh, I love Indian cuisine." How can I add to this?

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I can give examples. "My favorite dish is palak paneer. It's made from spinach, a type

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of cheese they use in India, spices. You know, we often eat it at my house." So there. Instead

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of just saying, "I like Indian food", I've given a lot of examples. And that's what you

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want to do, okay?

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Finally, most importantly, practice. Okay? So you know the types of questions you're

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going to get. A lot about what you do for work, what do you study, how many people are

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in your family -- these types of questions. Now, it's important to practice your answers.

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Okay? Practice with your friends. Practice with a mirror. Practice, practice, practice.

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It's very important that you practice answering these types of questions before you do the

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IELTS. Okay, so now, let's look at some of the "don'ts", some things you shouldn't do

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in the IELTS.

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Okay. So what are things you shouldn't do? Okay, now, we're going to look at a list of

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what you shouldn't do. So "don'ts". Okay. Don't do this. Don't speak with a monotone.

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So I already mentioned this. Don't speak where your voice flat, okay? Don't speak like, "I

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have a mother and a father." Don't say things like that. Speak with enthusiasm, okay? Not

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monotone.

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Okay. Don't give yes/no answers. "Do you have a family?" "Yes." That's a horrible answer."

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Okay? It's more -- "Have you traveled to China?" "No." Okay. These types of answers are not

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the ones you want to give. Expand. Make your answer longer, even if you have to lie. It's

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okay to lie on the IELTS as long as you speak. That's the most important thing.

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Okay. Do not repeat the question. Okay. So if they say, "Do you like sports?" "Yes, I

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like sports." You're wasting a sentence. Instead of repeating the question back to them, find

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a better way to say it. "Do you like sports in" "Yes. There are many sports that I find

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very fun and interesting." Okay, so don't repeat the question. "Do you have a family?"

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"Yes, I have a family." It's not a good thing to do."

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Don't go off topic. So sometimes, students -- they're really actually excited, and they

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want to talk. And they want to show off their language skills. And so they think, "Oh, yes.

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I need to expand my answers." But instead of expanding, they go and they talk about

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so many different things that don't have to do with the topic. So for example, if they

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ask me a question on my hometown, if I start talking about Toronto, and then I start talking

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about education, and then I start talking about technology, this is going off on too

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many different topics. Stick to what they ask you. Okay? You can give examples, but

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they should be about -- they should refer to the question they asked you.

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Okay. Don't answer, "I don't know." So in the first part of the IELTS, this would actually

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be a difficult -- I can't imagine you actually using this answer because the point of Part

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1 of the IELTS is to make you feel comfortable. So the examiner asks you questions about yourself.

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So you should know these answers. "What are your favorite hobbies? What types of foods

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do you like to eat? How many members are there in your family?" You shouldn't answer, "I

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don't know" to any of these questions. They're about you.

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And if -- maybe you don't know. Maybe you've never thought about what's your favorite food.

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Just make it up. Okay? Even if you hate sushi, even if you hate West Indian food or Canadian

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food. That's okay. Just make it up. "I love West Indian food. I love Canadian food." If

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you don't know, make up your answer.

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Don't speak too quickly, and don't speak too slowly. Okay? So this is a little bit about

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fluency. What often happens with students is when they get nervous, they start to talk

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really, really, really fast, and they go a mile a minute. They just go so fast. So if

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you're the type of person that does this, practice is speaking in environments where

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you get nervous. So this way, you can practice maybe ways to deal with stress, ways to deal

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with nervousness. Try not to speak too quickly. Also, don't speak very slowly, okay? I've

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had some students who have used a lot of "uh's" and "ah's", and this is a problem. So don't

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speak too slowly. Okay?

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Another thing: Don't speak quietly. Okay? A lot of students, they're nervous, and they're

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shy, so they talk like this. And the examiner has to really listen. They can't hear what

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they're saying, and so you're not going to do as well if you talk quietly. Talk with

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confidence. Talk loudly so they can hear what you're saying.

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Okay. Finally, the most important point: Don't worry about being perfect. You do not have

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to speak perfect English to do well on the IELTS. Even if you're aiming for a mark of

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nine on the IELTS, a bandwidth of 9 -- sorry. If you're looking for the mark of nine, you

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do not need perfect English, okay? You can make mistakes. So if you make a mistake, that's

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okay. If you can correct it easily, do so. If you try to correct it and you're going

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to make more mistakes or you're going to take a lot of time, it's okay; just leave it. If

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you make a mistake, continue to talk. Move on. There's a chance that the examiner didn't

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even hear that mistake. And they expect you to make mistakes. So if you make a mistake

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between using "a" or "the", if you make a mistake in terms of grammar, it's okay. Native

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speakers make mistakes, too. People are used to hearing native speakers, ESL students make

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mistakes. So you do not have to be perfect. I can't say that enough. Don't worry about

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being perfect. Okay?

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So if you're wondering the types of questions you may see on the IELTS, and if you want

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to practice with a friend or even in front of the mirror, I strongly recommend you visit

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the website www.goodluckielts.com. On this website, there are more tips, as well as practice

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questions for Part 1 of the IELTS. And information, too, on the writing section, listening section,

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and reading section, okay?

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So I also invite you to come and do our quiz at www.engvid.com where you can practice some

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of these tips that we've talked about today. So until next time, take care.

 

 

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