Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

Will your Speaking score go down if you go off topic on the IELTS Speaking test?

Great question! And we’ll answer it for you today.

We’ll show you how to veer off the topic without losing points using transition phrases.

One of our listeners said during her Speaking test she had spoken without pausing but she went a bit off topic and she didn’t use the linking words that she needed.

When you start talking about a totally different topic right away you will lose points because your answer won’t make sense and you will lose cohesion/coherence and vocabulary points.

However, if you start talking about the topic then later you start to wander to another topic that is fine.

You need the transition phrase to say that you are going to into another topic.

That would increase your score because of the linking phrases and you would not lose points for cohesion and coherence if you did it this way.

Use transition phrases such as:

  • “Side note…”
  • “You know, this makes me think of….”
  • “This reminds me of….”

Keep in mind that this kind of wandering off topic is NOT ok on Writing.

Every single sentence must be related to the question.

You will lose points if you don’t stay on topic for Writing.

Listen to the conversation and role play between Lindsay and Jessica to see how transitioning into a different topic can be done well with good transition phrases.

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