Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

On your Speaking Exam, should you speak to the examiner like a friend?

This is a great question, and a tricky one.

Firstly, you must behave respectfully and politely toward the examiner at all times.

This means:

However, if it helps you to relax and feel confident, you should pretend that you are speaking to a friend to improve your fluency and ease.

So, when should you speak as if to a friend on your IELTS Exam?

Grammar structures


When we speak to friends, we tend to use informal grammar, and incomplete sentences.

On your exam, you should always use complete sentences, and a variety of sentence structures.


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Yes and no.

In Speaking Part 1 and 2, you should try to use slang and idioms– informal language.

Nevertheless, in Speaking Part 3, you must use higher-level, academic vocabulary.



This is where you must not be formal!

You have to show expressive pronunciation in order to be awarded a 7 or higher in this category.

Linking words


In Speaking Part 2 and 3, you need to show your ability to use a wide range of transition phrases. We usually don’t employ such a range in daily conversation.



Support your observations and opinions with very specific examples, even personal ones.

What do you think of today’s advice?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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