A candidate’s thought-provoking speaking test query

Posted February 16, 2010 by ieltsexaminer
Categories: ielts speaking tips, Ielts Tips

Now I’d like to share a little insight into the mindset of the average IELTS examiner with you. But before I do that, I am going to repeat the question which one of my passieltsonline.com candidates asked me the other day during our online practice speaking test. Before we even began the test, she asked me:

“When I go into the speaking test room, should I try to shake hands with the Examiner?”

I am going to give you a little time to think about that before I post up the answer which I gave her. An answer which actually suprisingly reveals a lot about the psychology of the average IELTS examiner.

Speaking Tip Number 4: Part 2

Posted February 9, 2010 by ieltsexaminer
Categories: ielts speaking tips, Ielts Tips

So did you work out which was the better answer? Well the correct answer is to provide more than just the name of your country. Why? Well, the chances are the examiner  either a) Lives in your country, or b) has interviewed many other candidates from you country.

Therefore if you just give the name of your country without any additional detail, then you are disrespecting the examiner.  Do you know what the average examiner is thinking when you just give the name of your country as an answer? They are thinking “YES I KNOW THAT! WHERE IN YOUR COUNTRY ARE YOU FROM?”  Of course they are very unlikely to say that,  but that  is what they will almost certainly be thinking.

 So to recap; get off to a good start with the examiner by respecting their intelligence and the fact that they will probably  interview many other people who are also from the same country during the same test day.

Speaking Tip Number 4: Part1

Posted February 8, 2010 by ieltsexaminer
Categories: ielts speaking tips, Ielts Tips

In recent practice speaking tests  on www.passietsonline.com I have been coming across a problem which occurred again and again through my IELTS examining career. Simply put, candidates drop marks by answering automatically and without sufficient care about the second question in the introductory questions section. Here are two examples: See if  you can spot which one drops marks..

Example 1:

Examiner: Where are you from?

Candidate: I am from England!

Example 2:

Examiner: Where are you from?

Candidate: I am from London, the capital of England.

I will let  you know in my next blog posting which one loses marks…and why.

IELTS Speaking Tip Number 3

Posted January 28, 2010 by ieltsexaminer
Categories: ielts speaking tips, Ielts Tips


Now..a little qualification to IELTS Speaking Tip Number 1 . It is essential to be yourself in a speaking test as previously mentioned, yet at the same time you have to look like you should be taken seriously. So..if you are one those people who likes to dress casually for every occasion then you better invest in some smart clothes for your IELTS exam.

 Now call it unfair, or even superficial, yet the the fact remains that you need to dress to impress. The IELTS speaking test is a formal interview, as I mentioned in my first post. You are introducing yourself to a stranger who knows nothing about you, and you are trying to impress them with your fluency in English.  If you dress smartly and seriously you will be taken more seriously…it is simply human nature.

 Showing concern over your appearance implies that  you also work hard on other things; such as improving your English ability. It also confers respect on the examiner as they invariably  have to dress professionally.

 Now you don’t have to go overboard and buy an expensive tailored suit (though that would certainly impress the examiner!) All you have to do is put some consideration into what you are going to wear on the day of the speaking test. This sounds like common sense, yet I have interviewed numerous candidates who obviously haven’t put  the slightest thought into what they were going to wear! I know unbelievable, yet sadly true.

Remember taking care of how  you present yourself implies that you take care  over other important things in your life as well.

IELTS Speaking Tip Number 2

Posted January 20, 2010 by ieltsexaminer
Categories: ielts speaking tips, Ielts Tips

So, onto my second tip for greatly improving your chances of succeeding in the IELTS Speaking test.  Like the first tip,  it is very simple and indeed would be what we could call “using your common sense” (a high scoring band phrase for the speaking and writing parts of the IELTS test by the way!)

What is this tip…and the answer is…..speak slowly when answering questions.

Now, this may seem like common sense, but a surprising large number of candidates with whom I have had the pleasure of inteviewing have spoken much too quickly. This is not a  good idea for three reasons:

1-You are speaking too fast  for your listener to hear fully what you are trying to say (always a bad move in an interview.)

2- Even native speakers make language mistakes when speaking quickly-so think just how much more likely you will be to make mistakes!

3- It is much harder to plan your answers if you are speaking quickly.  This is because you are speaking whilst at the same thinking about what  you are going to say.

So a simple and effective way to improve your accuracy and sound better whilst speaking in English is to speak  more slowly and carefully


  • Speaking slowly allows you to think out what you are going to say in advance of saying it-thereby reducing language errors.
  • Speaking slowy allows you to clearly pronounce words
  • Speaking slowly allows  you to place the right amount of stress on your sentence to accurately express meaning.
  • Speaking slowy allows the examiner to clearly understand what you are trying to say in English.

As always, practice makes perfect-so get used to answering questions slowly and effectively by clicking on: http://passieltsonline.com/speakingsample.html

IELTS Speaking Tip Number 1

Posted January 18, 2010 by ieltsexaminer
Categories: ielts speaking tips, Ielts Tips

Hi Guys,

So, welcome to my first post on tips on how to pass IELTS.  For today’s tip let’s start with a very basic step that will greatly improve your chances of scoring highly in the IELTS Speaking Test…..What is it you might ask?

Simply be yourself. At my last count I have interviewed over 3000 candidates for the IELTS Speaking test…and the great majority of them start acting as soon as they enter the examiner’s room..What do I mean by this? Simple…people don’t act as themselves.

Now it’s easy to say that candidates can become very nervous just before their test: we examiners know this and accept it as part of human nature.

However, many candidates try to compensate for this by becoming either overly polite or friendly or even both! Don’t do it!  The examiner is not there to be your friend and does not expect to be treated as a superior being.  The examiner is there because it is their job to interview the candidate and so expects to be treated as a  professional, nothing more and nothing less.

So no need to have big beaming smiles, and vigorous handshakes, no need to insist that the examiner sits down before you do, no need for “sirs and madam’s’….just be your normal friendly and polite self.

Try practising how to act normally in challenging circumstances  by clicking on the following link:http://passieltsonline.com/speakingsample.html

Hello world!

Posted December 28, 2009 by ieltsexaminer
Categories: Uncategorized

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