Tips To Improve IELTS Speaking Score

Last week we learned some tips to improve your IELTS score overall.  In this lesson, we will focus on ways to improve your IELTS Speaking Score.

IELTS or The International English Language Testing system is a group of tests that measures a person’s proficiency of English in four areas:

  1. Listening
  2. Reading
  3. Writing
  4. Speaking

Getting a good score on the IELTS is important for anyone who wants to study or work in a place where English is used as a language of communication.  In this lesson, you are going to learn some practical ways to improve  your IELTS Speaking Score.


Many people say this is the part that makes them the most nervous so as soon as you begin this section, take a deep breath, relax, and smile.

To get a high score, you will want to be able to use the following features correctly:

  • Individual sounds
  • Word Stress
  • Sentence Stress
  • Rhythm: The difference between strong and weak syllables
  • Linking words: Connection rules!
  • Intonation

We practice all of these features in almost every lesson of the Learn The American Accent program here at The Accent Channel. If you want some help improving your speaking score from our instructors and our community, join us!

Your evaluator is not looking for perfection. They just want to see that you can communicate clearly in English, so try to relax and be yourself.

In Part 1, the most likely topics you will be asked to speak about are:

  • Your job or area of study
  • Your hometown
  • Your family
  • Your home
  • Your likes and dislikes
  • Your hobbies

Practice speaking about these topics, but don’t memorize an answer.  Your evaluator will know you have memorized it and your score will suffer.

Also, practice using sample questions from the IELTS website or Facebook page. Record yourself, listen to your recording and evaluate your answers. Ask friends to listen and give feedback. In our Learn The American Accent program we have a private Facebook group where you can post your recordings to get feedback from instructors and fellow students. It’s a really effective way to improve your spoken English quickly.

The evaluator is scoring you on:

  • Pronunciation
  • Fluency
  • Coherence
  • Grammar
  • Vocabulary (the test calls this “lexical resource”)

Pay attention to these areas.

In addition you should also:

Practice rhythm and know which syllable to stress:

This is probably the #1 reason that you are not easily understood. When you stress the wrong syllable in a word, or don’t stress ANY of the syllables in a word, the timing of your speech is SO different from what the listener (in this case, the examiner!) is hearing, that it interferes with comprehension.

    • To stress a syllable, make the vowel louder, longer, and go up in pitch. Not sure which syllable to stress? Any online dictionary will give you the pronunciation and have an audio link to go with it. Listen and practice again and again.

Work on Intonation.

That’s the change in pitch that conveys meaning in English. Choose a speech model that you admire. Listen to the rise and fall of the pitch when your model speaks. Imitate and repeat.  Here is a lesson with tips for choosing a speech model.

Practice using idioms.

Understanding an idiom and correctly using an idiom are two separate things. We all understand many more words than we actually use. Be sure you are using the words correctly.   For example: on the ball and drop the ball have two completely different meanings. Can you use both correctly?

Practice using new words.

Only use words that you feel confident using.  Showing off with so-called “high-level” words won’t improve your score.  It will actually make you sound rehearsed and robotic. Use the words you know and use them well. Use a variety of words, don’t worry about how advanced they are. Use vocabulary to help you communicate effectively, NOT to show off all the fancy words that you know.

Practice explaining why.

Learn to use phrases likeI think x because x”…the less the evaluator has to prompt you, the higher you will score.

Know how to give your opinion.

Learn to use phrases like “In my opinion…” or “I believe that…”


Examiners will score you lower if you use lots of “uhms” “ahhhs” and “uhhhs”. Record yourself speaking about a topic. Count the number of uhms, uhs and other filler words that you hear. Sometimes just realizing that you use these filler words will make them decrease or disappear all together!

Instead of using a filler word like “um”, just pause and smile, until you are ready to speak. There is NOTHING WRONG with a short pause to gather your thoughts and prepare your statement. You can also to give yourself more time to think by saying, “Well, (pause.) That is an interesting question. (pause) I think….”  Don’t forget to breathe!!!!

Watch English TV with subtitles.

Choose a great speech model. Pause the show and repeat what you hear to improve pronunciation.

Have conversations with native speakers as often as you can.

Find a conversation partner or if you want to work with a pro, check out RYPE.

Rype offers live, private sessions with professional English teachers at an affordable price. Sessions are available 24/7 and you can try it out for free.

Click here to try 7 days of Rype for free.

Disclaimer: I will receive a small affiliate fee if you sign up using this link. However, I have tested Rype’s program and I believe that it is a really effective, convenient, and affordable way to learn and improve your spoken English. The 7-Day Trial is free, so you can sign up and decide for yourself if you are interested.

So those are some things that you can do, to improve your speaking score on the IELTS.  Practice and preparation are essential to getting the score that you want.

Do you have any tips to add?  What has helped you get a higher score on a speaking test?  Let us know in the comments below (your email address will not be published)