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

Do you need to move your IELTS Speaking score from a 5 to a 6?

In today’s episode you’ll find out exactly what the examiner listens for and how to use this information to push up your score.

There is a big difference between a 5 and 6 on IELTS Speaking.

Here is what the examiner looks for:

  • Fluency and coherence: If you can keep talking and speak for the full two minutes and if you can use complete sentences you can get a 6. You will also get a 6 if you don’t use “um” and “uh.” If you use linking words then you can get a 6. On the other hand, if you speak slowly, pause often, use “um” or “ugh” or “like” then you will get a 5 for this grading category. Remember, fluency is the ability to keep talking and that is what you need to get a 6.
  • Vocabulary/Lexical Resources: If you have enough vocabulary to get your ideas across you can get a 6.  It may be wrong but the examiner understands what you want to say. If you can talk about familiar topics such as personal topics (going to the movies, shopping) with the correct vocabulary but when you get to unfamiliar topics in Speaking Part 3 you don’t have enough vocabulary words then you will get a 5. People who get a 5 here also use general words like “stuff” or “things” or “people.” These vocabulary words are too broad. Practice being specific with your choice of words and you will get a 6 in this category.
  • Grammar: To get a 6 you need a mix of sentence structures including compound, complex, and simple sentences. You can have some mistakes and still get a 6. Don’t focus on small grammar rules like prepositions. Read more about grammar on the IELTS here.
  • Pronunciation: This is the easiest place to improve your score. Someone who gets a 5 talks like a robot with no feeling in their voice and all of their words sound exactly the same. To get a 6 you need to put some feeling in your voice. Practice varying your tone of voice in your English conversation practice and you’ll be ready to do in the test.

A student who gets a 6 is able to get their ideas across and the examiner understands most of what they are saying.

A student who gets a 5 cannot communicate their ideas and be understood, especially when they get to Speaking Part 3

Are you ready to move your score from a 5 to 6 on IELTS Speaking?

Let us know what your study plan is in the comments below.

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