Improve your band score for vocabulary and grammar
Speaking
Improve your band score for vocabulary and grammar (Part 1)

Everybody wants the chance to do well in the IELTS Speaking test. This blog is here to help you improve your band score. This blog will give you an example Part 2 task, ask a Part 3 question and give you the correct language you can use to complete the task. IELTS Speaking Part 2 – What is it?  If you don’t know or don’t remember what you need to do in this part, here’s a quick summary with an example task. You’re given a task card with a topic and some prompts.  You have one minute to prepare (use the time to actually make notes and prepare).  You then speak for one to two minutes. How is the Speaking test marked?  You are awarded a band score from 1 to 9 based on certain criteria. In this blog, we’ll look only at Lexical Resource (vocabulary) and Grammatical Range and Accuracy.  Here’s the criteria you will be assessed on: (Click to enlarge) As you can see for a band score of 7 you must be able to use vocabulary flexibly to discuss a variety of topics. You must also be able to use less common and idiomatic vocabulary. For grammar you must be able to use a range of complex structures flexibly.  Band 5 always refers to limited flexibility.   If you want greater flexibility you need to be able to use more sophisticated vocabulary and grammar structures.  Here’s that example task card:  (Click to enlarge) The first prompt asks you to say where the hotel is.  Let’s look at two responses: The hotel I’m going to talk about is in Thailand. The hotel that springs to mind, is in Krabi which is situated in southern Thailand. Which of these responses shows a use of less common vocabulary and greater flexibility in vocabulary and grammar? I think you’ll agree it’s the one on the right.    Here are the other prompts in the Part 2 task. Compare the response in the Band 5 column with the response in the Band 7+ column. Remember the vocabulary and grammar criteria we looked at earlier.   (Click to enlarge) If you feel that the language you produce is more like the language in Band 5 above, then look at the band 7+ column and highlight the language and grammar structures. Try using them yourself to improve your answer to the Part 2 task above.  IELTS Speaking Part 3 - What is it? Here’s a quick summary. In this part you and the examiner have a conversation about more abstract issues but still linked to the topic in Part 2. The discussion takes about four or five minutes. Here’s an example question that relates to the task above: “Do you think hotel work is a good career for life?” Here’s an example response to this question. Listen and decide if you think this is more like a Band 5 answer OR a Band 7+ answer.  Now compare that answer with this one. The first audio is a Band 5 response. The second audio is a Band 7+. Listen to it again and see if you can hear the following: It’s completely dependent on … long term goals professional development may start off thinking … not a very secure career All of the above show vocabulary being used flexibly. There’s also use of less common and idiomatic vocabulary. In terms of grammar, there’s a range of complex structures used flexibly. Top tip: try completing the Part 2 task and answering the Part 3 question above use some of the language highlighted as Band 7+ record yourself do it again record yourself notice how many new words and expressions you’ve used.  Happy practising! Liz

Liz Marqueiro

10 February, 2021

Improve your band score for vocabulary and grammar (Part 1)

Improve your band score for vocabulary and grammar

Everybody wants the chance to do well in the IELTS Speaking test. This blog is here to help you improve your band score. This blog will give you an example Part 2 task, ask a Part 3 question and give you the correct language you can use to complete the task.

IELTS Speaking Part 2 – What is it?

If you don’t know or don’t remember what you need to do in this part, here’s a quick summary with an example task.

  1. You’re given a task card with a topic and some prompts.
  2. You have one minute to prepare (use the time to actually make notes and prepare).
  3. You then speak for one to two minutes.

How is the Speaking test marked?

You are awarded a band score from 1 to 9 based on certain criteria. In this blog, we’ll look only at Lexical Resource (vocabulary) and Grammatical Range and Accuracy.

Here’s the criteria you will be assessed on:

Speaking Criteria

(Click to enlarge)

As you can see for a band score of 7 you must be able to use vocabulary flexibly to discuss a variety of topics. You must also be able to use less common and idiomatic vocabulary. For grammar you must be able to use a range of complex structures flexibly.

Band 5 always refers to limited flexibility.  

If you want greater flexibility you need to be able to use more sophisticated vocabulary and grammar structures.

Here’s that example task card:

Speaking Part 2 from IELTS 15 Academic

(Click to enlarge)

The first prompt asks you to say where the hotel is.

Let’s look at two responses:

The hotel I’m going to talk about is in Thailand.

The hotel that springs to mind, is in Krabi which is situated in southern Thailand.

Which of these responses shows a use of less common vocabulary and greater flexibility in vocabulary and grammar? I think you’ll agree it’s the one on the right.

 

Here are the other prompts in the Part 2 task. Compare the response in the Band 5 column with the response in the Band 7+ column. Remember the vocabulary and grammar criteria we looked at earlier.  

IELTS Speaking Prompts

(Click to enlarge)

If you feel that the language you produce is more like the language in Band 5 above, then look at the band 7+ column and highlight the language and grammar structures. Try using them yourself to improve your answer to the Part 2 task above.

IELTS Speaking Part 3 - What is it?

Here’s a quick summary.

In this part you and the examiner have a conversation about more abstract issues but still linked to the topic in Part 2. The discussion takes about four or five minutes. Here’s an example question that relates to the task above:

“Do you think hotel work is a good career for life?”

Here’s an example response to this question. Listen and decide if you think this is more like a Band 5 answer OR a Band 7+ answer.

Now compare that answer with this one.

The first audio is a Band 5 response. The second audio is a Band 7+.

Listen to it again and see if you can hear the following:

  • It’s completely dependent on …
  • long term goals
  • professional development
  • may start off thinking …
  • not a very secure career

All of the above show vocabulary being used flexibly. There’s also use of less common and idiomatic vocabulary. In terms of grammar, there’s a range of complex structures used flexibly.

Top tip:

  • try completing the Part 2 task and answering the Part 3 question above
  • use some of the language highlighted as Band 7+
  • record yourself
  • do it again
  • record yourself
  • notice how many new words and expressions you’ve used.

Happy practising!

Liz

top-tip

Every single question the examiner asks you is an opportunity for you to show the language you have available to you. Make every sentence you produce count towards a higher band score. 

Liz Marqueiro

Liz has been teaching IELTS around the world for over 25 years.

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