Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

What does the Examiner really focus on for your Speaking score?

Today you’ll get the inside scoop about:

  • Topics
  • Speaking Part 2
  • Verb tense

This way, you will be armed with the truth for your next exam!

IELTS study should be fun and interesting!

If it is drudgery, you will put it off.

Find ways to make it interesting.

Seek out podcasts, books, magazines, TV shows and movies that you enjoy.

Switch up your study rather than spending long chunks of time on one thing.

Find a Speaking partner who is fun to talk to!

Question #1: Can you talk about IELTS during your exam?

A student emailed us a few questions.

#1: A teacher who is an Examiner said I should not talk about the IELTS exam.

In Part 1 I said i woke up in the morning and listened to a podcast because I had to prepare for my exam.

This advice is incorrect!

You can definitely refer to the IELTS exam and your study for it.

Examiners are concerned only with the scoring system.

They’re evaluating so many linguistic characteristics!

They aren’t concerned with whether they agree with your answers or not.

You can definitely talk about the IELTS exam!

Strategies Created by a Former IELTS Examiner

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Why would an IELTS teacher give this advice?

It is possible this teacher was referring to students asking for specific scores.

When she was an Examiner, Jessica would get frustrated when students told her the score they needed.

You should avoid doing this!

The Examiner will not consider this when giving you a score.

In fact, it can be detrimental if it annoys the Examiner.

Question #2: Should I start my Part 2 answer with, “I am going to tell you…”

The second piece of questionable advice this student had received from a teacher was regarding Speaking Part 2.

In Part 2, he said I should start the conversation by saying “I am going to tell you about…” because I would get a score from future tense.

This is terrible advice!

Don’t start your answer with, “I am going to tell you…”

So many students start Part 2 this way.

Because of this, examinees sound like a student instead of a native and will score a band 6 at best.

A native would never start a story this way!

It’s so boring!

Additionally, you can’t choose to use future tense if it doesn’t make sense for your answer.

You have to use the appropriate tense for what you’re saying!

How should you start your Part 2 answer?

One good strategy is to share how you feel about the topic.

I’m so excited to share a story about this!

If it’s a weird topic, be honest about thinking that.

A Speaking Part 2 question on a past exam asked students to describe a river.

That’s a weird question!

Wow, this is a strange one! I’m glad I had a minute to think about it!

Will using the future tense increase your score?

This teacher recommended this sentence so that a student could use the future tense to help their grammar score.

This is unnecessary!

For your grammar score, you need a variety of grammar structures.

Simple, compound and complex sentences satisfy this requirement!

Additionally, you will without a doubt be asked questions that require you to answer with the past tense.

You can get a band 9 without ever using the future tense on the IELTS exam.


Many English teachers give bad advice when it comes to the IELTS exam!

Be sure you’re subscribed to our podcast so you can get accurate information!

You can also send us your IELTS questions at

If you want to practice listening to fast group conversations, sign up for our webclass!

You can also check out our new conversation subscription service Conversations and Coffee.

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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