A lot of IELTS aspirants fail to clear this segment. Most people think that this is one of the toughest segments and is extremely difficult to score. People who know English very well and speak also very well, at times flounder.
This leads us to a very pertinent question and that is, what is it that I can do to achieve the desired band 7.
This blog will assist you to overcome the roadblocks. But, before that identify the roadblock: Identify what is your roadblock. What is happening when you start speaking? Some people stammer and stutter, some start a sentence with a particular thought, reach the middle of a sentence, change the idea midway and start all over again. While there are others, who can speak very well but hesitate to speak because they are introverts. A certain group is such who can speak English but its grammatically incorrect. Or, there are some more who can’t even think what they wish to say. While some think in their local language or mother tongue and mentally translate those thoughts in English, speak those ideas only to find that they have committed mistakes while translating. For that matter, we may also be very conscious if we are speaking correctly.
1. Be confident about yourself: We all are capable people and we all have areas of strengths and areas of improvement. People who enhance themselves move forward. Be confident of what you are speaking. In the beginning it could be wrong, no problem. Let this not bog you down. Speak and speak with confidence. Each time you speak, record what you are speaking. Smartphone is a good tool to use optimally. Record and listen to yourself. If you are able to detect your own mistakes, very good!!!. If you are unable to detect your mistakes, take help from people whose English is good.
2. Stammer and Stutter: If you stammer or stutter while speaking, then, speak slowly and gradually. Pause at each comma and full stop. If you have thought of an idea, dont try to speak very fast to complete speaking it. Speak three words at a time. Try and synchronise your mind and speech. The mind has the ability to move faster than our speech, hence making it important for us to train our minds to go slow according to our speech. Pick any topic daily from your life such as hobby, areas of interest, relatives, behaviour patterns, your observations about things happening around you or even the objects around you, start speaking about it. These things are in your environment and will give you the confidence that you can speak.
3. Are you an introvert? I had an opportunity to train a person who had extremely good English. He had ideas but, he refused to speak. It took me quite some while to understand why he wouldn’t express himself. This is for all introverts. The examiner does not know that you are an introvert. When you will not speak, they will assume that you do not know English which may not be the case. For once you will have to speak what is coming to your mind without internally processing it. Go with the flow. This also means that while you are with friends and relatives, open up and express your ideas during the preparation stage. The idea is to talk whether it is to your parents, siblings, friends, colleagues or not so friendly neighbour.
4. Grammatically incorrect English: Ah so you are aware that you speak grammatically incorrect English. This awareness is good as it gives you an opportunity to improve and enhance your abilities. Let this not act as an impediment to your success. Find a tutor or a mentor who can guide you to speak correctly. Practice daily for as many hours as possible. Record your speech and give it for correction. Learn from your mistakes and move forward. Try , Try, Try till you succeed.
5. Lack ideas : Do you feel that you don’t have enough ideas to express? This is extremely easy to overcome. Pick any area and ask your self questions beginning with what, when, where, why and how. The answer to the questions beginning with these words are your ideas.
Another way is to read a lot. This will also give you ideas and at the same time, improve your reading comprehension skills.
6. Translating from your mother tongue to English : Think in English. Do not translate mentally. If you will translate mentally, chances are that you will commit errors in prepositions and tenses. Which means that you will get a low band score. Now how can we think in English. This can happen when you tell yourself to think only in English. It will happen with practice and over a period of time. Find a mentor. You need help.