Improve your band score for vocabulary and grammar (Part 2)
Speaking
Improve your band score for vocabulary and grammar (Part 2)

Welcome back to this series focusing on improving your band score for vocabulary and grammar. I will be sharing an example Part 2 task, asking a Part 3 question and giving you useful language to complete the task. For those of you aiming for a band score of 7 and above, there are examples of language at this level too. IELTS Speaking Part 2 Here’s a recap if you missed the first blog. 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:  The first prompt asks you to say what the website is.  Let’s look at two responses:   As you can see, the response on the right uses less common vocabulary and a range of more complex structures: ‘I use various ...’, ‘the one that stands out for me ...’, ‘I tend to access on a weekly basis.’ Top tip The Speaking test is only 11 to 14 minutes long. You only have this window of time to show the examiner what language you can produce.  Make sure that every sentence you produce takes you closer towards a higher band score.  Here are the other prompts in the Part 2 task above. 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.     As you can see the Band 5 response answers the question well and communicates the message. However, when you compare it to a band 7+ response it is easy to see why one is better than the other. They are both communicating exactly the same message but the language and structures in Band 7+ are far more sophisticated and advanced. Why not download and print off the above responses and highlight the different vocabulary, collocations and grammar structures to see the difference? Compare your highlights to the ones here. IELTS Speaking Part 3 Here’s a quick summary again. 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: “What are some possible disadvantages of buying things from online shops?” Let’s have a look at some of the vocabulary you could use to answer this question. Disadvantages Can’t see the quality Can’t see the size Have to give personal details Not safe Don’t get the product immediately Don’t know who you’re buying from Here are the above points using more advanced vocabulary and structures: Can’t verify the quality of the product Unclear dimensions or sizing charts Have to divulge personal data Not secure – open to your personal data being used fraudulently Delayed enjoyment of the product Difficult to determine the seller’s identity Listen to an audio of the above being used in response to the original question: “What are some possible disadvantages of buying things from online shops?”   Notice how the above language is used in context. Use the audio to practice your pronunciation of the above language. Listen and pause and repeat as many times as necessary! My Top tips: try completing the Part 2 task and answering the Part 3 question above use some of the language highlighted as Band 7+ record yourself listen back and give yourself feedback on the vocabulary and structures used     repeat the exercise and this time really focus on using the highlighted Band 7+ language... record yourself once more notice how many new words and expressions you’ve used Happy practising! Liz

Liz Marqueiro

6 April, 2021

Improve your band score for vocabulary and grammar (Part 2)

Improve your band score for vocabulary and grammar (Part 2)

Welcome back to this series focusing on improving your band score for vocabulary and grammar. I will be sharing an example Part 2 task, asking a Part 3 question and giving you useful language to complete the task.

For those of you aiming for a band score of 7 and above, there are examples of language at this level too.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Here’s a recap if you missed the first blog.

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:

Example Task Card from page 53 of IELTS 15 General Training

The first prompt asks you to say what the website is.

Let’s look at two responses:

Two example responses

 

As you can see, the response on the right uses less common vocabulary and a range of more complex structures: ‘I use various ...’, ‘the one that stands out for me ...’, ‘I tend to access on a weekly basis.’


Top tip

The Speaking test is only 11 to 14 minutes long. You only have this window of time to show the examiner what language you can produce.

Make sure that every sentence you produce takes you closer towards a higher band score.

Here are the other prompts in the Part 2 task above. 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.

Responses by band score

 

As you can see the Band 5 response answers the question well and communicates the message. However, when you compare it to a band 7+ response it is easy to see why one is better than the other. They are both communicating exactly the same message but the language and structures in Band 7+ are far more sophisticated and advanced.

Why not download and print off the above responses and highlight the different vocabulary, collocations and grammar structures to see the difference?

Compare your highlights to the ones here.

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Here’s a quick summary again.

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:

“What are some possible disadvantages of buying things from online shops?”

Let’s have a look at some of the vocabulary you could use to answer this question.

Disadvantages

  • Can’t see the quality
  • Can’t see the size
  • Have to give personal details
  • Not safe
  • Don’t get the product immediately
  • Don’t know who you’re buying from

Here are the above points using more advanced vocabulary and structures:

  • Can’t verify the quality of the product
  • Unclear dimensions or sizing charts
  • Have to divulge personal data
  • Not secure – open to your personal data being used fraudulently
  • Delayed enjoyment of the product
  • Difficult to determine the seller’s identity

Listen to an audio of the above being used in response to the original question:

“What are some possible disadvantages of buying things from online shops?”

 

Notice how the above language is used in context. Use the audio to practice your pronunciation of the above language. Listen and pause and repeat as many times as necessary!

My Top tips:

  • try completing the Part 2 task and answering the Part 3 question above
  • use some of the language highlighted as Band 7+
  • record yourself
  • listen back and give yourself feedback on the vocabulary and structures used   
  • repeat the exercise and this time really focus on using the highlighted Band 7+ language... record yourself once more
  • notice how many new words and expressions you’ve used

Happy practising!

Liz

Liz Marqueiro

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

More about the author

filter tags

Recommended For You

recommended book image
IELTS 15 Academic

IELTS 15 Academic contains four practice tests EXACTLY like the real exam. It comes with audio scripts, answer keys and sample Writing answers. A new downloadable Resource Bank includes extra sample Writing answers, a sample Speaking test video and answer keys with additional explanations. QR codes in the book provide quick access to the audio and video content.  This book gives you an excellent opportunity to familiarise yourself with the test format and practise exam techniques using real-to-life test material written by the test makers (Cambridge Assessment English).  Also available for IELTS General Training *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

Skill bar

Stay up-to-date