0. Why Speaking?
I saw some learners who know how to study listening and reading, but not speaking by themselves. Generally, improving IELTS speaking band score takes time and hard for many L2 English learners.
As for me, my first speaking band score was 5.5 and it doesn't meet the academic requirement to enter the university.
However, for many test takers, speaking test is difficult!
According to British
Council (2019), female
test-takers' average band scores are
R: 6.1 L: 6.2 S: 5.9 W: 5.7
and male test-takers' averages are
R:6.0 L: 6.2 S: 5.8 W: 5.6
This shows that the average band score is the second lowest of the 4 sub-skills.
Therefore, it is essential to take time for speaking practices.
Today, I'll tell you some strategies that help me raise my speaking score 5.5 to 7.0 within 4 months.
1. Make your 'Expression list'
The first step to improve
your speaking score is to 'make an Expression list'
You may have seen some expressions that you can say in your native language, but not in English.
A list that has such expressions is an 'Expression list'.
The Expression list has ①the expressions in your first language ②the expressions in English and ③an example sentence that has the expression.
threaten A with extinction (in your own language) threaten A with extinction Example: These pests threaten native species with extinction.
You can get higher speaking score, using the expression list again and again!!
The articles below are some expressions of my writing expression list.
If you want to know how to improve
your writing score, please check them out!
The next step is practice speaking through 'Shadowing'!
In shadowing, you speak sentences like a shadow just after a model speaker read scripts.
Shadowing has 2 main advantages to improve
your speaking skill, which are ①to correct your pronunciation
and ②to improve your listening skill
According to Foote and McDonough (2017), after L2 English speakers participated in 8-week shadowing program, they improved ①English imitation ability ②Comprehensibility and ③Fluency.
Correct pronunciation is significant to get higher score, because strong accents can affect the raters' judgement.
In my shadowing experience, I found that I pronounced vocabulary as /voʊkæbləri/, not /voʊkæbjələri/.
Without shadowing, I didn't notice the correct sound of the word.
The second aim of shadowing is to improve
your listening skill.
Some people think 'I want to improve
my speaking skill, not listening'. However, this is unreasonable.
This is because if you cannot understand the questions from the examiner, you cannot answer correctly!
Irrelevant answers may influence the result of the test.
Listening skill is strongly related to speaking proficiency!!!!!
There are a lot of articles about the positive relationship between shadowing and listening skill. As an example, Hamada (2019) shows the result of shadowing practices of Japanese English learners.
Any scripts can be used for shadowing, but I recommend to continue shadowing until you can do shadowing listening scripts of IELTS official textbooks without looking at it
It takes time, but it's worth trying that!
in the effects of shadowing and it is one of the most
useful strategy to improve
your speaking skill!
3. Take online English lessons
The final step is to take online English lessons.
The reasons of this step are ①Listening practice and ②receiving feedback from the teachers.
Firstly, speaking test measure not only your speaking ability, but also your listening skill as mentioned above.
English conversation with English speakers is a good practice to listen to English questions. This practice is difficult to do alone.
Secondly, some teachers have knowledge and experiences of IELTS exam and can give you some good advice. which can help improving your speaking skill.
Some feedbacks from the teachers are very helpful to notice your grammar, pronunciation and other problems of your speaking.
Personally, I have used Engoo (DMM Online English in Japanese) for about 4 years. I like I can book lessons anytime.
In my opinion, it is better to take English online lessons for several months and improve your speaking skill efficiently rather than to fail the exam and sit for the exam again, because the examination fee is high.
I recommend to take online English lessons because it is relatively reasonable. However, if you prefer face-to-face classes, you can try them.
In short, it is important to have opportunities for output!!
4. Take free trial lessons of a study abroad agency
This strategy is not directly related to your writing contents, but this experience can help you for certain.
Some study abroad agencies sometimes give free trial lessons for IELTS preparation.
I once participated in one of the free trial lessons and obtained beneficial knowledge in IELTS writing from an active IELTS examiner.
Surprisingly, my speaking examiner of my second trial was the teacher of the free trial lesson I participated in!!
I didn't feel so nervous because I was familiar with him.
If you have money and time, you can join in the chargeable IELTS course.
・This article is about how to improve
your IELTS speaking band score.
・The strategies are ①Make an 'Expression list'
③Take online English lessons
⑤Take free trial lessons of a study abroad agency
Good luck with the exam :)