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

Typical and common answers get average scores on the IELTS Speaking test!

Do you want to stand out in the examiner’s eyes and be unique to get a higher speaking score?

Do you know how to do that?

Today we’ll show you exactly what you can do to surprise the examiner with your answers.

On the IELTS Energy podcast, we often talk about surprising the examiner, standing out from the crowd, and showing your own unique English abilities on the Speaking and Writing exams.

This is important because examiners interview many people in one day.

You want to make them notice you and think, “Hey, wow, this student is interesting and different!”

The most common band score among candidates is a 6, and, if this is what you are aiming for, just keep studying like every other student and you’ll probably be fine.

However, if you are looking to get a 6.5 or higher, you need to show the examiner that you have special English abilities, and that you are of a higher level than other students.

To stand out from the other students and impress the examiner, try these strategies:

#1) Don’t give the same answers as everyone else from your culture/country.

We recently did an episode about this, and gave many additional example answers in addition to those provided below.

The strategy here is to not blend in with the crowd- stand out!

For example, if the examiner says, “What is your favorite sport?” and I don’t want to sound like every other American, I could say:

You think I’ll say American football or basketball, but it’s actually soccer.

 You’re expecting me to say American football or basketball, but it’s actually soccer.

I know a lot of people from my country love American football and basketball, but I actually love soccer

#2) Use some words or phrases that native speakers use.

Slang, for example, is not taught in most textbooks or IELTS classes, so other candidates will not be able to use it.

In order to get a high vocabulary score, you must show the examiner that you have range, using informal and formal words and phrases.

For example, if the examiner says, “Who is your favorite famous person?”

I could say:

Oh, goodness, that’s a tough one.

My mind goes blank sometimes when I’m put on the spot, even with easy questions!

Well, right now, Amy Schumer is my number one celebrity.

Her comedy is so on point and honest. She’s not afraid to stand up for her opinions.

#3) Provide support for your answers with news items you heard on the radio or read in the newspaper.

We talk sometimes about creating a “culture of thinking.”

We use this phrase to describe a society who reads and/or listens to the news about current events, both national and international.

By reading an English-language newspaper at least once a week, you will have tons of interesting ideas to use on the Speaking and Writing exams.

Plus, you will increase your vocabulary knowledge, and more quickly understand a wide a variety of topics that come up on the Listening and Reading tests.

For example, if the Writing Task 2 question asks me to talk about people who believe in global warming and people who don’t believe in global warming, I could say:

Traditionally, it has been a more conservative stance to claim that global warming and climate change was a false assertion of only a minority of scientists.

However, recently, the Pope, leader of one of the most conservative and enormous organizations in the world, the Catholic Church, asked his followers to make efforts to curb the impending environmental catastrophe.

In fact, NPR broadcast the Pope’s speech to Congress, where he addressed issues such as climate change as shocked the world.

To sum up, in order to increase your chances of gaining the highest score possible on the IELTS Speaking and Writing exams, show that you are unique from other students.

Impress the examiner by being different and get your target score!


Discussing surprises on IELTS

You may also be asked to talk about surprises on IELTS, and you need high level vocabulary for this!

In this video, Aubrey shares high-level vocabulary for talking about surprises.

Synonyms for surprised:

  • Dumbfounded
  • Astounded
  • Awestruck
  • Flabbergasted

Synonyms for sneaky:

  • Stealthy
  • Furtive

Idioms for making someone feel special:

  • On cloud nine
  • Feel like a million dollars

Watch the video now!

Have you given typical answers or have you surprised the examiner before?

Let us know in the comments section below.

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