IELTS Energy 124: What Should I Do If My Mind Goes Blank on the IELTS Speaking Test?

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Your biggest IELTS worry will be solved today!

Do you worry that your mind will go blank on the IELTS Speaking test?

Are you afraid that the examiner will ask you a question and you will have no idea what to say?

Are you concerned that this will bring down your speaking score and your overall IELTS score?

Don’t let this happen to you!

Don’t worry!

We are here to help.

Today we’ll show you the best technique for what to do if your mind goes blank and how to use this technique to get your 7 or higher on the IELTS.

**Click the audio player above to meet Lindsay and Jessica and to listen to this episode!

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Why does your mind go blank?

You are nervous.

You are anxious.

You are analyzing your answers while you are speaking then you hit a wall and you can’t be spontaneous.

You can no longer be confident.

Here is the strategy to use when your mind goes blank:

The problem is that you don’t know which direction to go in to think of ideas.

Instead of getting stuck there you should go straight to your personal examples.

Talk about yourself.

Tell your story and how it relates to the question.

If you practice this enough and get good at this strategy it will definitely help increase your score on the test.

Steps to use this strategy:

  • Step 2: Go straight to a personal story or something that has happened in your life. Tell what happened in your life, give your point of view, and add details. You can also add idioms, expressions, and interesting vocabulary here. It’s OK if you start by stumbling as long as you go straight into your personal experience quickly.

Jessica Beck IELTS Professional All Ears English“If your mind goes blank you don’t know which direction to go into to look for ideas.

 If this happens to you then you need one direction to go into right away.

Start immediately talking about yourself with personal examples so that you don’t waste any time.

Go straight to your own life examples.

It’s easy to talk about yourself and it will increase your fluency instantly for a 7 or higher on Speaking. “

-Jessica Beck, IELTS Professional at All Ears English

Example #1:

Question: Why do we need role models?

Answer:In my personal experience we need role models because there are so many times when we don’t know which direction to take.

Personally, my dad is a great role model because he is also an entrepreneur and he has spent his life building up a successful business.

His example has helped me take my own direction in life. That’s the reason I think it’s important to have good role models.”

Key phrases from this example:

  • “In my personal experience…”
  • “Personally,…”

Example #2:

Question: How have shopping habits changed over recent years?

Answer: “Oh that’s a good question. Wow. Well, if I use myself as an example, I used to do all of my shopping in traditional stores.

I guess that’s true for most people in the world but these days I have bought an Amazon Prime membership and that’s a huge motivation for me to save time.

I spend two minutes, go on Amazon, buy something awesome, and it’s shipped to my house two days later so I’d say that’s how shopping habits have changed.”

Key phrases in this example:

  • “If I use myself as an example…”
  • “I used to…”

Example #3

Question: In your country why do people watch so much television?

Answer: “Oh that’s a good question. Well, in my opinion, the reason that people watch so much television is that they have a passive attitude.

So when I was a teenager, I used to watch a lot of TV.

I watched 90210.

That was a classic and a bunch of other shows that put garbage into my head. I just wanted to sit back and receive the ideas.

I think that’s the reason that people are watching a lot of TV.

They are lazy, not just in the physical sense but in the intellectual sense.”

Key phrases in this example:

  • “Well, in my opinion…”
  • “So when I was a teenager…”

Example #4:

Question: Do you think the types of sports that are popular will change in the future?

Answer: “Wow, that’s tough. I’m gonna say yeah. Just take my city, for example. If you look, I think in general, say, even five years ago, a lot of people in Portland were all about basketball.

I see a big change in the types of sports that people are into and passionate about. Soccer is becoming huge. Even women’s soccer.

After the women’s world cup our professional women’s team sold out every game. That would have been unthinkable last year.

I’m going to say more people are going to support women’s sports.”

Key phrases in this example:

  • “I’m going to say yeah…”
  • “Just take my city, for example…”
  • “I see a big change in….”

Lindsay McMahon IELTS Energy Co-host, All Ears English“The examiner will note the change in your voice when you talk about your personal stories.

Your voice will become relaxed, fluid, and loose.

You will sound more like a native speaker.

This will cause the examiner to give you a higher score in pronunciation and general fluency.”

-Lindsay McMahon, Co-host of IELTS Energy Podcast

What changes in your voice when you use personal examples?

The examiner will notice a change in the flow of your voice if you use personal stories, experiences, and examples.

You will become more relaxed and confident and loose.

You will feel more free to add details without worrying that you will make a mistake.

It will sound like you are just having coffee with a friend.

How can you practice this?

Get used to talking about your personal stories, experiences, and opinions out in the world and at social events.

Be confident that your life is interesting enough to share.

Open up about yourself and practice this with people you meet.

Have you used this strategy on your IELTS exam yet?

Let us know in the comments below.

What other questions do you have about IELTS?

Write your comments!

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