Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Everyone learning English has an accent.

In fact, there are many different native English accents.

While preparing for the IELTS Speaking exam, you may be concerned about your accent.

You may have wondered if your accent will affect your Speaking score.

Today’s video gives you details about the IELTS scoring system.

With this information, you can get a 7 or higher on the Pronunciation score.

Today’s question

One of our YouTube subscribers, Masoumeh Derakhshi, commented:

Does the effect of the mother tongue have a negative impact on pronunciation in speaking even if it will not impede the conversation or cause misunderstanding?

Or better to ask, to get score 7 at least in speaking, mother tongue accent is important?

The short answer is that you can definitely have an accent from your first language in English.

Even with an accent, you can still score 7 or higher for Pronunciation on IELTS.

Watch the video now!

IELTS Pronunciation score explained

Let’s take a closer look at the IELTS scoring system.

This way you can see how a student’s pronunciation score is determined.

It is important that the Examiner can understand you.

However, this is not the only thing that determines your Pronunciation score.

What is required for a Pronunciation Band 6?

  • A range of pronunciation features with mixed control
  • Some effective use of features, not sustained
  • Can be understood throughout, but mispronunciation of words or sounds may reduce clarity

In order to understand what the Examiner is looking for, you need to know what these pronunciation features are.

You also need to know how to use them!

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What are pronunciation features?

These are all the different things that make up the way we pronounce words and sounds.

  • Word stress
  • Sentence stress
  • Individual sounds
  • Weak sounds
  • Linking words
  • Intonation

We often talk about the importance of your intonation.

This is the rise and fall in tone that indicates how someone feels about what they are saying

What is required for a Pronunciation Band 7?

The scoring system for Band 7 is:

Shows all positive features of band 6 and some, but not all, of the positive features of Band 8.

You, therefore, need to be doing everything required for Band 6.

Additionally, you need to show some of the requirements of Band 8.

For your Speaking Pronunciation score, it is key that you know what is required for Band 8.

What is required for a Pronunciation Band 8?

  • A wide range of pronunciation features
  • Sustained flexible use of features, with only occasional lapses
  • Easy to understand throughout
  • L1 accent has minimal effect on intelligibility

As you can see, one of the main differences between Band 6 and Band 8 is the use of pronunciation features must be flexible and sustained.

A student’s accent is only an issue if it affects the Examiner’s ability to understand.


You can definitely have an accent in English from your first language and get 7+ on IELTS.

Instead, focus on pronunciation features that make it easy for the Examiner to understand you.

Make sure you show native intonation and emotion that is appropriate for what you are saying.

For all the strategies you need to get a 7+ on IELTS Speaking, sign up for 3 Keys IELTS!

You’ll get a study guide and Jessica’s insider Examiner experience.

Sign up today!

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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