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

We have a question from a student who just took the IELTS Exam, and is worried that the examiner didn’t like her!

She wrote: [paraphrased]

I’m one of your fanatic fans who is always the first time watcher of your YouTube channel. To be honest I obtain a plethora of knowledge from you. Yesterday was my IELTS test and my Speaking Examiner was Canadian- I did very well with all my idioms, high-level vocab, was dramatic with various intonation, as you told us to do on your channel; however, I saw the examiner was not excited, and had a flat-faced expression the whole time. Does it mean something, Jessica? I’m wondering why.

Let’s look at this from the examiner’s perspective.

The examiner is a person, who has a full-time job, and a life, outside IELTS.

This person, as an examiner, could be doing only one test every three months, or maybe 3 tests a month.


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The examiner has a tough job. They are keeping a lot in their heads while they are listening to you, analyzing your fluency, coherence, vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation.

So, perhaps the look on their face has nothing to do with your answers. They are simply concentrating really hard on evaluating you and assigning you the proper score.

That is especially true for newer examiners.

Contrast that with experienced examiners, who maybe have done a thousand tests, and is just doing their job. Again, their expression is not reflecting your performance, but, rather, their own feeling of simply doing work which may not excite them anymore.

Hopefully, though, you get an examiner who still does enjoy their job, and will react to your responses with appropriate smiles and facial expressions.

Remember, also, that the IELTS Speaking Exam is not like daily conversation, where you interact more with the person you are talking to.

If you are faced with a stone-cold examiner, try to pretend you are speaking to a friend.

The message today is to prepare well for all parts of the exam, and know what to expect. Control what you can on your next IELTS Exam!

Have you had a difficult experience facing and IELTS examiner?

Share it with us in the comments section below!

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