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

Today we are going to directly answer a question that we received from a listener about some advice that he received from an ex-examiner of the IELTS Exam in a book that he purchased. Here is the question from our listener:

“When I was reading a book called IELTS Speaking I came across some tips. What I got confused about is that the author suggested candidates use as many linking phrases as possible in Speaking part 2. He also said that content is not important for Part 2. He recommended focusing on linking phrases instead.”

-IELTS Energy listener

Is this advice true?

First of all, when it comes to the advice about linking phrases, yes, they are important to use on the Speaking test.

It does feel unnatural to use them.

We don’t normally use them in everyday conversation BUT if you want to score a 7 or higher for fluency and coherence, the examiner does listen to your linking words so you must use transition phrases such as:

  • Nevertheless
  • Subsequently
  • Having said that
  • Not only…but also
  • He, she, it, they (pronouns)
  • This means that….

How can you practice these?

Find an academic linking words list online.

Choose three linking words from each category that are high level.

Write them down and as you are talking, make yourself use these words.

If you don’t practice it you won’t do it on the exam.

You need to make these phrases part of your repertoire.

So that advice about linking words is correct that our listener got.

However, the ex-examiner also said that “content is not important” and we don’t agree with that.

Content is super important.

Your ideas need to make sense.

They need to directly answer the question.

Just focusing on using linking words will not get you a 7.

It is sometimes ok to transition into another topic if you can’t stay on the topic but you need to at least start out by answering or attempting to answer the question.

We have talked about how to answer the question if your mind goes blank in previous episodes.

When it comes to your fluency and coherence score and your vocabulary score it’s important to at least try to address the question directly.

You also need to create your culture of thinking when you prepare for IELTS so that you’ll have content in your mind to answer the questions.

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Let us know in the comments section below.

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