Should I Speak Fast or Slow?

Many students ask me if they should speak fast or slow in their IELTS speaking test. Some students think that if they speak more quickly, they will get better results. Before I answer the questions of how fast to talk, lets look more at how your speaking test is assessed.

IELTS Speaking Tips: Speaking Fast or Slow

All this falls under the criterion of ‘fluency‘ which accounts for 25% of your final marks for your IELTS speaking.. Fluency relates to the flow, smoothness and coherence of your speech as well as hesitations and pauses.

FLOW –  this is about your ability to keep talking. If you are aiming for band score 6 and above, this will be important. You must show the ability to answer at length rather than just give short answers.

SMOOTHNESS – this relates to how often you break your speech with pauses, hesitations, self-corrections and silences. All of this interrupts the flow and stops the smoothness of your speech. If you are aiming for band score 6 and above, it is important  to avoid any long pauses and to avoid  repeating yourself.

COHERENCE – this is all about being understood. There is no point having a good flow with smooth speech if you are not talking in any logical order. This means organising your ideas so that the listener can understand and also using some linking devices to help the listener follow what you are saying.

How Fast Should I talk? So, how fast should you speak? As long as you keep a steady pace, you will be fine. Avoid speaking very slow because the listener can get lost in what you are trying to say if it takes you a long time to say it. Alternatively, don’t speak very fast as you may lose your coherence and the words might not be clear or easy to understand. Instead:

  1. Keep a steady, even pace when you are talking.
  2. Extend your answers.
  3. Avoid long pauses.
  4. Don’t repeat yourself too much.
  5. Avoid correcting yourself more than once or twice.
  6. Keep a logical order to what you are saying.

Free IELTS Speaking Tips & Lessons

Click the following link for ore Speaking Tips: IELTS Speaking Tips & Lessons


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  1. Hey Liz,

    Hope you are doing good. Here is a writer from India. I’d like to ask a question. I am a talker with a lot of hand movements; do this in anyways sends a negative impression to the examiner?? I’d appreciate your response.


    • Be yourself and be natural. It won’t affect your score. But don’t substitute gestures for language. Always explain precisely what you mean.

  2. Blessings chilewani says

    Thanks a lot dear Liz for the tips.
    You’re doing wonderful work

  3. Thanks for your explanation and motivation for overall IELTS explanation in the blog Your explanation is so easy and sweet as you look ma’am and i hope you have become well now and recovered from your past health problems.

  4. hi Liz, am preparing for my ielts exams, am afraid I don’t know where to start from and this is my first-time, I real need to pass

    • Start with one particular skill. Do a practice test which you can get from the BC IELTS website and then do my lessons to learn and understand more. Take it step by step. There is no special place to start – just start.

  5. Hi, Liz. I had just finished my speaking test. Task 1 and task 3 went well but I’m afraid I used extremely simple language for Task 2. Around which band can I score with this? Thank you.

    • The only way to predict a speaking score is to listen to the whole test from beginning to end. Good luck with your results 🙂

      • Irish Angel N. Paras says

        Hi Liz. I am so clueless about the IELTS exam and I really need it for a requirements on college university since I will be studying in USA. What’s the first thing should I need to do? I’m from Philippines btw. Thank you! :))

        • Go the HOME page and start reading. There is no right or wrong way to start. Read about the test, then do a full test. You can find one free full test on the IELTS BC website. After the test, write down all your concerns etc. Then start learning. Use the HOME page of my site to access free lessons, tips etc for each section of the test.

  6. Hello Mam,
    I gave my speaking test today but I am worried that I spoke a little fast. But I could see that she was able to understand my speech. Will my examiner think that I have memorised my answers? Because I did not. I am afraid that I will get a low score.

    • As long as the examiner could understand, it’s fine. Signs of memorised language are not necessarily related to speed. When a student gets a topic that they have memorised language for, they produce high level answers. But when the topic is changed, their answers suddenly drop to low level English. This is more likely to be a sign of memorised answers and in that case the memorised answers might be dismissed and not scored. I don’t think you should worry. But if your score isn’t as you expect, you could always ask for a remark. Let me know how your results are when they arrive – good luck 🙂

  7. Hi liz..there is no video to show how much speed is enough?

    • This page explains that there is no such thing as “the right speed”. You are marked on your ability to be understood clearly which means not too fast and not too slow. Just speak naturally.

  8. Is it Okay to request for few seconds once you sit down to catch your breath before the beginning of part 0

    • There is no reason. You have already had time to catch your breath while you were waiting. When you walk into the exam room, the examiner will ask you to sit down and then do an ID check with simple basic questions to check your ID. After that the test starts.

  9. Hi Liz,
    I’m so glad I bumped into your website. It was extremely useful and I managed to score L – 8.5, R- 9, W – 7 and S – 7.5. Great going, keep up the good work.

  10. Akshay Sharma says

    Hello Liz,

    I have give ielts general training exam around 9 times and everytime I am getting 6.5 in speaking. I am able to clear all the other three modules every time but somehow in my speaking I am not getting 7 . Can you help me in this as I am not able to understand where I am lacking as according to me I am doing everything perfect.


    • Why don’t you list all the things you think you are doing perfect and then I can see if you are going the right way for the marking criteria.

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