How to develop your IELTS speaking for free

This lesson gives useful advice on how to develop and improve your IELTS speaking at home for free. The tips run through what the examiner will assess you on in your test and what you can do to improve on your own without a teacher. Learn to analyse your answers for IELTS speaking, find your weaknesses and build your strengths.

[su_youtube url=””] Transcript

hello in this lesson I’m gonna show you
how to improve

and develop your IELTS speaking at home so many

tell me that they cannot improved their

because they don’t have a foreigner to
talk to so I want to show you that

it is possible

to improve your speaking at home

on your own for free now the first thing
I want you to do

is to get a list of topics the common topics

speaking part 1 speaking part 2

and speaking part 3 if you cannot find a

please go to my IELTS blog

and you will find a

of common topics difficult topics and

the questions as well so you need to get
a list of these topics and develop

ideas I don’t want you to write down
your answers I want you

only to develop the ideas so for

if the topic is the topic weather

you can develop ideas about the kind of
weather you like

what you do when the weather is like

also how the weather makes you feel

different kinds of weather or maybe the
transportation problems

that come because of that weather so just
develop ideas that you can use

for that topic the next thing number two

is a word list so vocabulary if you have
the topic of

weather you need to have arrange a

for that topic so for example

hot weather hot is a very low band

but you could use boiling

scorching sweltering

there’s a whole range a vocabulary

you can build to impress the examiner

for that topic so you need to get that
list of vocabulary

and learn it number three

your next step to developing your

get the topic weather

choose probably about let’s say 6

questions for that topic take

your telephone and answered the

recording your voice it’s very important
that you

do the recording rather than writing the

when you write answers usually

you think more about the grammar you
think more about the vocabulary

and often you make less mistakes when
you speak

it’s direct so when you record your

answer this gives you a chance to find

your weaknesses finding your weaknesses

very important so that you can improve
so you need to

record your answers to those questions
on your phone

after that I want you to listen to

to your answers listen and

check now there are four things that I
want you to check for

I want you to check for fluency

grammar and pronunciation this is what
the examiner

will check you on now each one

in the exam the is 25 percent

of your marks with so their

all equal they are all very important

and the examiner is going to check your

for each one now let’s have a look at
what you need to check

for each one fluency what does that

well the first thing that you need to

is the length

of your answer did you give a very short

or could you develop it a little bit

when you develop your answer a little bit

that is a higher band score you’re

the examiner more language but you’re
showing the ability

to speak fluently so

develop your answer more higher band score

another thing that you can check for
your fluency

is how many times you say um

ah these are hesitations

and we don’t want hesitations in our

so you need to check how many um how

ah that you have if

you have a lot that’s a problem I’m afraid

and you need to find a way to practice

so that you get rid of the ums and ahs

so we’ve got the length

of answer and the ums and ahs

another thing that you can check for
fluency how many times

you are silent

often when students start speaking

they can’t remember what they want to say
and suddenly they stopped

it is not good to stop and be silent

in the middle of your answer you need
to fill it

you need to keep speaking naturally with
a good flow

and that will give you a good band score
so those are

three things that you can check in your

for your fluency now the next thing
is vocabulary

what do we need to check in the

for your answer well obviously the first
thing is

the range and the range means how many

different words are you using I’ll give
you an example

so paraphrasing

are you repeating the same word again
and again

or are you using different words

to describe same thing so again we use
the example of

hot you could say boiling scorching

sweltering those a three different words
that we can use

for the meaning of hot so you need to show
a good range

vocabulary that’s from your word list

and you need to paraphrase and show the
ability to use

different words for the same meaning

when you paraphrase as well you are

at band score 7and band score 8

another thing you can look at with

of course are


now one way that you can check your

is by when you listen to to you answer

listen and write down the words that you

that way you can check more carefully

if you’re making any mistakes with words

are you using the wrong word are you using
the wrong

noun with the verb what problems do you

so check that in your answer

another thing to look at of course

and with grammar you need to check again

the range so for example the range

of tenses are you

giving only present simple

now I know maybe the six questions that
you have are

all present simple questions but that
doesn’t mean

that you can’t give another tense

so for example what kind of weather do
you like

I just love hot weather scorching
weather last week

it was perfect so it was a present

question but I gave a little bit

of past simple in the answer

so you can practice doing that and
develop the technique

of putting different tenses into your

another thing you can look at is

sentence structure

and that means how complex are your

are you using a lot of short sentences

so don’t forget listen to your answer write
down the words that you’re using

and then check how complex the sentences

you can perhaps start using some linkers

and start extending the sentences

and of course another thing for grammar

again are

mistakes this is very important

more mistakes you make lower your band score

will be so remember that the examiner

is listening for mistakes with
vocabulary and grammar

so please check what mistakes you’re
making and correct them

and practice and of course the last one

is pronunciation so what is
the examiner looking for


well the first one of course is word

pronunciation are you pronouncing

those words correctly

if you are not sure about that you can
go online

there are free dictionaries online so
that you can

lesson to the pronunciation of the word

so check that and make sure your words are

another thing is individual

sounds so for example sh

s ch are you pronouncing these sounds

and again you can find practice
online for that

and one other thing for pronunciation

is intonation

intonation is if your voice is

going up and down or if you are speaking

like this if you’re speaking

very flat this is not good

for your band score you need to learn to use

intonation in your voice we often use

to make something more interesting or to
show when something is important

so you can practice that at home and try to
improve it

now the last part of the last thing once
you have

got your topics in your ideas you’ve got
your vocabulary for the topic

you have your questions and you record

you listen you check your answer

don’t forget you can write down the
answer to check

what you say write down the words you’re

check your fluency vocabulary grammar
and pronunciation

and then after that

practice practice and practice

find your weakness get rid of your

improve your strength so you practice

and record again don’t forget to keep

recording your voice keep recording your

get used to that I know

it can feel uncomfortable to sit in a

alone and record but really

it’s good practice you need to do it

right well that’s all for this lesson

I really hope that you practice this at

honestly the more you practice the
better you IELTS will be

particularly if you check

your answers correctly well

keep practicing good luck and I’ll see you

another IELTS lesson


  1. Amit Sarkar says

    Hello Mam,
    Hope you are in good state of health. I want to know about speaking evaluation by examiner. Are they evaluate based on the recording of conversation or directly during the time of evaluation? Please help me to know it.

    Your E-Books of grammar is awesome.

    With Regards

  2. Dear Liz
    Thank you for the tips. My last holiday was 7 years ago. what should I do if I am asked about a recent holiday? Should I let the examiner know that I have not recently been on holiday but will talk about my last holiday?

    • You are not being marked on the information you provide or your ideas. The topics are just a chance to speaking English and showcase your language skills and range. Just be open, honest and chatty – like when you are speaking to a friend. “I haven’t been on holiday for ages. In fact, the last time was about 7 years ago …..”

  3. Hi madam my speaking test is on 3rd october but still i am very lack in speaking.could you give me some suggestion regarding this.

    • Use the RED MENU BAR to open the speaking section of this site – use all the tips, lessons and model answers to help you prepare.

  4. Hi,Liz!
    I’m a student preparing for an IELTS and I’m 16. My problem is in Speaking section. Personally, I can’t control myself, I mean I can’t make sentences with an academic vocabularies moreover I can’t speak fastly and fluently.So I need the best method which will help me with your guarantee, please.

    • Why would you want to use academic vocabulary in an informal speaking test? Just be chatty and friendly. Anyway, vocabulary only counts for 25% of your marks. Please watch the video above about developing your speaking at home.

  5. Hi Liz,your lessons are really helpful and I am feeling that I am improving day by day…I am from Pakistan….a house wife and having five children.. It’s very difficult for me to go outside and take classes from any institute…. I am struggling hard and your lesson are supporting me a lot….God blessed you…

    • I’m glad you found my site. My free materials are there to help you understand IELTS and develop skills. Keep a positive mental attitude and always review your own performance – take control of your learning 🙂

  6. kulvir brar says

    Thanks for your lessons.
    It’s a great help.
    Thanks for everything. Ur lessons really work for me.

  7. Dearest mam.
    I’m very thankful to you for yours lessons …


  8. madhavi amreliya says

    hey liz i just want to tell u that ur amazing i love ur lessons and u know exactly what problems a student faces …thank you for everything ur amazing 🙂

  9. Sukhpreet says

    Hii Mam,
    Firstly thank you very much for giving so helpful lessons.i felt before that IELTS exam is very tough but when I started listening your lessons, I found it very interesting.Here ,please tell me that is it important tto uso complex words in speaking part 2.If we use simple words then how many bands can i get????

    • You need to speak naturally. If you try to use complex words, you will probably make mistakes and lower your score. Just use the English you know well and be fluent. The aim in IELTS is to avoid mistakes, not to impress.

  10. Pranay Rathod says

    Hi Liz,
    Firstly thank you very much for a free and selfless help. I need one clarity on a topic of pronunciation. What is a right pronunciation? Do i need to pronounce it exactly as google tool prnounce it or anything which is understandable by examiner is alright. Please help.

  11. Hello Liz,
    I need a bank score of 8.5 and above and have attempted IELTS thrice.I always end up with a 7.5 score in all the modules nevertheless of how much ever preparations I take.
    I have been referring to your lessons for past few weeks and have the below queries wrt speaking . Hope you would help me by answering them for me.
    1. How do I introduce myself. I always say -> Hello , Good morning. My name is Preethi Sundar and you can call me Preethi…..
    Can I stop there or shall I add on.. I come from Chennai …… and so on’
    2. I have the habit of fidgeting and I feel I will be comfortable if I hold a pen/pencil in my hand while talking. Can I do this.. will examiner notice this and feel that I am quite nervous.
    3. No matter of my practices , I seem to use ahhh’s and ummm’s during the exam ..any other efficient way to curb this .. Pl advise

    P.S : Would be more obliged if you can provide me a feedback about my writing and vocabulary with the above post..

    • The difference between band 7.5 and band 8.5 is your level of English. Tips and techniques will not make your language more accurate or give you a better range. The examiner is interested in the English language you say and nothing more in IELTS speaking.

  12. Hi Liz,
    I attended speaking test today. Questions in the first section are as expected. The examiner asked me whether I work or study. Why did you choose this profession? Do you like your job? What aspect of your job is most challenging? Do you want to continue ? What is the importance of being polite? Who taught you to be polite? What are the advantages of being polite?

    Section 2 topic :
    Tell me about a stranger you met recently.

    When did you meet?
    What did you talk about?
    How did you feel about the person?

    Section 3:
    Why do people chat with strangers
    Do you think women chat more when compared with men?
    What’s your opinion about social media sites?
    Do you think young generation use social media sites more than old people?

    I think that I did well in the exam. Hoping for the best. Fingers crossed…

    Thanks a lot for providing variety of training topics, tips and suggestions.


  13. Sangidul Chowdhury says

    Thank you so much for all.
    Your website is very helpful for everyone who will set for IELTS

  14. Dixit chaudhary says

    Thank u so much madem,i m dixit frm india .
    Recentaly im cmplt ielts speaking test nd examinar ask me in in inroductive question abt ,do u like leave in pattern .plz ans this que .

  15. Elizabeth David says

    Thanks so much Liz! I have found your site very useful to my preparation for IELTS. I sit for my exam on the 25th of March in Nigeria. Your site was recommended to me by a friend of mine who was successful in her IELTS. Your site contains a wealth of information and they are all useful. I just wanted to say thank you.

    • That’s really kind. I’m really happy to hear that you find my site useful. I hope your friend can benefit from it too 🙂

  16. Hi!
    Thank you so much for all of your study materials! They are extremely helpful!
    I have recently found a question on an IELTS Speaking practise test and I could not find any ideas.I really hope that you have time to answer and help me with it.
    The question is: what do you think are the disadvantages of having a lot coverage of sports on TV? (Part 3 of the Speaking test)

    Thank you in advance!

    • I’m glad you find my materials useful 🙂 Here’s a possible answer to your question:
      On the whole, the main disadvantage is that people become more involved with watching sport rather than doing it. The main reason sport is so important is that it keeps us healthy. It strengthens our muscles and immune system. But by only watching sport on TV, we are not promoting our health and just becoming couch potatoes. Another problem is that people often get so wrapped up in following their favourite sports, which can be numerous, that they cut themselves off from family live and instead their life revolves around sports competitions and the box.

      You can see it’s a long answer. The examiner will cut you off at any point that they want to in order to move on to the next topic. That’s normal and fine – it doesn’t affect your score at all.

  17. preet virk says

    Hello liz mam
    Firstly lots of thanks for your adivises and your tips are very helpfur for me for ielts exam
    I want to know about…if there are giventwo bar graph ….then we only describe them…..or we describe their overview also

  18. Dear Liz,
    Thank you very much for your very helpful lectures.
    I am new in IELTS and have to sit exam. on December 3rd.
    The date is too near for me and because of time limitation, I just got time to start to learn.
    Luckily, I found your page and now learning there.
    It’s very useful for me.
    Thanks again and please help me since I need to get at least Band 6.5.
    Best regards,

  19. Mam, your classes are awesome,it gives more knowledge to me, the tips used for different tests etc…thanks

  20. I am from Nigeria. I have my speaking test in less that 40 hours. I am currently practicing with your materials on your site…Wish me luck!


    Hi Liz
    I’m Abhishek from india. I have an exam on Tuesday of speaking but i’m not fully prepared so please suggest me which type of topic would i go through.

  22. Amigna Joshi says

    Hello Liz,
    I wanted to know something about speaking part 2 I.e. Cue card. Is it OK that we could change the points to describe the topic. I mean say for example, the holiday u visited recently
    – Where
    -With whom
    -What u did
    -Why u liked

    So in this topic can we start like I visited xyz place last month, this was most memorable holiday for me because……..
    I went there with my……
    We did…..

    Like this… Or should we follow the order of points strictly… Please reply…

  23. Hi Liz,

    You are doing an amazing work by providing tips and lessons. I am from India.The day after tomorrow,on 1st september I have a speaking test.I can not speak fluently and not extend my answers.I am very nervous about it and tensed. Please guide me and give me suggestions.

    Thank you.!

  24. Hi Liz,

    I am Pankaj. First of all, thanks a lot for such important lessons for IELTS.

    Currently I am working in Singapore but originally I am from India. As you mentioned 25% of score is for pronunciation, I need your help in choosing test centre location.

    Will it be advantage if choose to take test from India instead of Singapore? I think Indian examiner can understand my pronunciation better compared to Singapore examiner. Will this make any difference?

    I just want to know your thoughts on this.

    Best Regards

    • It doesn’t really matter where you take your test as the examiner will mark your pronunciation objectively. You decide what works best for you.

  25. sai vivek says

    A very great job liz…..
    will u please suggest me some ways to improve my fluency in english within a period of two months?

  26. Thank you very much Liz.You are really doing a nice job.

    my question is this..For people who stutter/stammer.They have problem maintaining a long sentence structure and also fluency can be an issue for them

    how will this affect their band score.

    any help on this Liz?

    • If the examiner realises that this is a natural stutter or stammer, it won’t affect your score too much. As long as you are confident and expand all your answers with good examples of language and grammar tenses.
      All the best

  27. Hey Liz,

    I have something to ask. Is it okay if I suddenly change my sentence during my IELTS speaking part 2 ? Because I couldn’t find an appropriate verb, it was like this : I don’t like people to use more social websites as it will … Then I pause for a while and I changed my sentence to we will not be able to communicate effectively in daily life. Will it be a major mistake in speaking test to do this ? My overall fluency was okay. I am quite worried about this. Thank you.

  28. hey Liz..I recently joined with ur blog…. it is very helpful…. thanks for providing us very good information n teach us with a great way….I wanted to thank u for this….

  29. Hi Liz I watch your all videos.They are very good.I have a question.My exam will be in Augst.What should I do to get Score 7 in speaking??

  30. Hi Liz I watch your all videos.They are very good.I have a question.My exam will be in Augst.What should I do to get Score 7 in speaking??

  31. Hi Liz
    in my last IELTS exam the examiner was looking many times to the watch when i was answering part time questions. This made me confused as always I thought my answer is short and I have to speak more and more. Is there any consideration for speaking time in part 1 ?
    best regards

  32. I have a difficultly in passage reading can you plz give me some usefull tipsi couldn’t complete it on time

  33. Mani kishore says

    Hi Liz….
    This is my 4th time IELTS exam on Oct 24th, every time i got band 5,
    And my class sir says that i am much poor in grammer and sentence contruction …
    colud please help me in this ..
    Thnak you

  34. Liz, in speaking test do they allow candidate to record the conversation during the test? I mean to do the recording for own reference?

    • You cannot take a recording device into the test room. However, IELTS records the test for the purposes of remarking.
      All the best

      • Hi Liz,
        First of all, thanks for your help and efforts. My GT Speaking test is scheduled on 8-May-17.
        Do you mean to say that the same person who is going to take my interview will evaluate and give marks also?
        Thank you

        • There is no GT speaking test. All students take the same speaking test. There is no difference in questions or marking. The examiner who talks to you will decide your score at the end of the speaking test. Good luck!

  35. Sanjay (from Saigon) says

    Hello Liz,

    I would like to share a few tips which you can share with others. You can use a smart phone to practice pronunciation. For example, Android phones come with Google Voice recognition engine, and Iphones are equipped with Siri. I really don’t know how to use Siri for this purpose but the concept is the same even across different platforms. So let’s focus on how to improve pronunciation using an Android smart phone.

    To compose an SMS, or email or any other textual passage, we often use the keyboard and type, but Android has a feature where you can select the voice typing keyboard and speak to the phone. If your pronunciation is good then the phone can recognize the words that you say, if not, it won’t recognize and usually end up in wrongly selected words by the speech recognition engine. Imagine you say the sentence “I want to come home” (couldn’t think of a better example) then if the phone recognizes and types as “I won’t to come home” then probably you will know what words you need to improve on pronunciation. (I guess you already know that Vietnamese usually don’t sound consonants or diphthongs, hehe). So this technique will help them to study by themselves.

    About listening, I will elaborate the 2nd technique in summary. What people can do is that, by a movie DVD (or download the movie file along with the subtitle file [*.srt format]) and choose a time period from the movie, let’s say for example, from 00:14.23 to 00:24:01. Listen and watch the movie clip, write down the conversation (can use pause and rewind buttons as much as they want) and then after completing, compare with original subtitles against the script you have written. This way a person can see what words they have misheard or couldn’t comprehend.

    Thank you, and I did learn a lot of things from your website. Can you grade my write above. 😀 I have IELTS next month and I hope to get >=8 score but at least not less than 7.

  36. I am unable to extend my answers,am afraid and what can be done?

    • You should review all my model answers for speaking to see how I expand answers. You must learn to do this if you want to get a high score. Just add a bit more information to your answers as you would when talking to a friend. If your friend asked you “Do you prefer pasta or pizza?”, would you answer “pizza” or would you answer “I usually prefer to eat pizza because …”. When we talk to friends we always add a bit more friendly information. Do the same for your test.

  37. Its very useful.

  38. Hi Oybek, don’t hesitate to contact me. We can practice more to improve your band score in speaking part.

  39. Hi Liz,
    Firstly, thanks for the awesome videos. It’s a great help.
    I also have a question. I have this habit of saying phrases like ‘pretty much’ and words like ‘really’ , ‘such’ etc. in my conversation. Is that okay? Because I doubt if ‘pretty much’ is correct English.

    • It is very good to use them in speaking. They are natural words to use, native speakers use them all the time and they will help your band score. However, just make sure you don’t use them in writing because they are not suitable.

  40. hi liz, i need your help to get my score in ielts for reading.

  41. Dr.Saqib Ali says

    Hi !
    Kindly guide me about “how should i greet the examiner?”

  42. Dear Liz,
    Would you please help me? I am looking for a book which can help me to improve my grammer (advanced grammer book) as well as a book which is full of useful collocations.
    Best regards,

  43. Hi Liz, I would like to know which type of vocabulary should be used in Ielts speaking to get high score? Is it less common and informal?

    • Yes, that’s right. Phrasal verbs, collocations, less common words. Most are informal but if the question (particular in part 3) is technical, you will need to use formal, technical words as well, for example talking about global warming.

  44. Hi liz

    Plz suggest the best ielts books to prepare exam.


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