One of the things that may surprise a lot of English learners is how often native speakers use the wrong grammar in their conversations. Sentences that start with ‘She don’t…’ and ‘True that…’ can be quite common amongst native speakers. Languages are used by people to quite simply be able to communicate with others therefore a lot of people don’t care too much about spoken grammar. Conversely, the IELTS speaking test is made to evaluate your speaking ability therefore grammar is one of the most crucial factors as to whether you get a high band score or not.
So today, we will talk about how to choose the right grammar in the IELTS speaking test. Here are a few tips that can hopefully prepare you more effectively for the exam.
TIP NUMBER 1 – Be Prepared
Being prepared and having practised for the test is always one of the best ways to avoid any surprises in the test. In the IELTS speaking test, one of the four marking criteria is grammatical range and accuracy.
First, a key area that the examiners will look at is your grammar, and how varied the range of the grammatical structures you cover in your test.
Let’s look at what is required to achieve a band score 6.0 for the IELTS speaking test, which is to use a mix of simple and complex structures with limited flexibility.
Even at band score 5.0, you are expected to produce a limited range of more complex structures even though they may have errors or comprehension issues.
Here are the actual descriptors for 6.0 and 5.0.
6.0: uses a mix of simple and complex structures, but with limited flexibility.
5.0: uses a limited range of more complex structures, but these usually contain errors and may cause some comprehension problems.
This means your answers should at least include some complex structures to achieve a minimum of 5.0 in grammatical range and accuracy.
Another way you can be more prepared for the grammar is by knowing the format and types of questions that may appear in each section.
For example, many tasks in IELTS section 2 relate to the past, which often asks you to describe a past story or experience. So, when you practise, make sure you understand different past tenses, such as past simple, and present and past perfect tenses, in addition to how you can use them effectively.
Sometimes, questions in section 3 may ask you to talk about the present, as well as to speculate about the future. So, by practising possible types of questions you will be more confident with your grammar.
But don’t worry, we have a team full of experienced native speaking teachers here to help you!
TIP NUMBER 2 – Listen To Each Questions Carefully
So now you have done your preparation, here is a tip that you can use to help you choose the right grammar in the speaking test.
Listen to the questions carefully that your examiner asks you.
Matching the grammar in the question is a trick to help you avoid simple mistakes.
E.g. If the examiner asks this question ‘What was your favourite subject at school?’, the key grammar point will be the word ‘was’ which means you should answer with the past tense too.
Therefore, naturally, you would say ‘My favourite subject at school WAS’, not IS.
Remember, the IELTS speaking test does not have specific questions for specific band scores. The examiner will look at your overall performance throughout the test and the score is not given until the end of the test. Don’t worry too much about making mistakes as you have the duration of the test to show your grammatical knowledge.