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How are IELTS speaking band scores calculated?

How are IELTS speaking band scores calculated?

If you know how your speaking is being graded by the examiner, you can avoid many mistakes in your IELTS Speaking Exam.  Here, I’ll give you a quick outline of the grading criteria to let you know how the band scores are calculated and how the examiner will typically grade your IELTS Speaking Exam.  You’ll then be able to concentrate exactly on what you need to do!


The 4 Grading Criteria for the IELTS Speaking Exam.


  1. Fluency and Coherence.
  2. Pronunciation
  3. Lexical Resource
  4. Grammatical Range and Accuracy.


Does that help?  Maybe not, so let’s look at in more simple language.


Fluency and Coherence refers to how fluently you speak and how well you are able to link your different ideas together.  You don’t necessarily need to be speaking quickly, and in fact, if you speak too fast you might lose points as you may become less coherent and lose pronunciation marks.

But you do need to be able to express yourself freely and clearly – and answering the question!


Pronunciation is simply how accurate your pronunciation is.  The examiner isn’t looking for you to speak English like the Queen, nor are they looking for you to speak like an American. But they do want you to be:

  1. Correct basic word pronunciation
  2. Linking speech sounds.
  3. Correct sentence stress.
  4. Correct use of rising and falling intonation.


Lexical Resource refers to how varied and accurate your vocabulary is.  The key point here to remember is “Clarity!”.  You need to be clear.

If your vocabulary sufficient to be able to discuss a range of different topics?

Are you able to use vocabulary accurately?  Or are you using words when you don’t really know what they mean or how to use them?

If you don’t have the right word, are you still able to convey your meaning and express yourself clearly?


Grammatical Range and Accuracy is how varied your grammar is, and how accurate it is.  Try to avoid using the Present Simple Tense when you should use the Past Simple.  But don’t forget to show that you have as much grammatical range as possible and not just using the most simple tenses all the time.


Are all the criteria counted equally and are they being graded at the same time?


It is important to remember that all four criteria are being judged throughout each of the three parts of the IELTS Speaking test.

Furthermore, all four of the criteria count equally towards the final IELTS Speaking grade.

Some candidates might come into the exam and forget completely about one of the four, so even though they feel they may have done fantastically with the Pronunciation, Grammar, and Lexical Resource, they may have been completely incoherent and not linking sentences together, and thus scored only a four for Fluency and Coherence.

Each of the four marks are added together, then divided by four.  Thus, in this example:

Pronunciation 7

Grammar 7

Lexical Resource 6

Fluency 4

7 + 7 + 6+4 = 24

24/4 = 6

Therefore the candidate would only score 6 for their IELTS Speaking Band.


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A Band 8.5 IELTS Student’s Answer for Speaking Part 3 – The Role of Advertising

A Band 8.5 IELTS student’s answer for Speaking Part 3 – The Role of Advertising

Posted by Teacher Phil

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Do you think advertising influences what people buy?

Yes, definitely. If there was no advertising and you went to a shop, then you would just buy what you wanted based on maybe what others have told you, what the product looks like, or, depending on the product, what it says on the label. Advertising builds up a brand and people then trust a certain thing because they have seen it on television or elsewhere. Also, there is so much advertising around it must influence us. You can’t escape it as it is fed to us constantly in our daily lives – not only in magazines, radio and television, but on billboards, on TVs installed on trains and platforms, even in schools and universities. So yes, advertising influences what we buy.

Do advertisements give correct information, or do they encourage people to buy things that they may not need?

I think some do and some don’t, but it’s difficult to know which are giving us the correct information. For example, the skin whitening products – I do not believe that these work but we see them everywhere in Asian countries, and we are encouraged to buy them even though they are not actually necessary. The adverts, though, tell us they are necessary as they will improve our lives and we will become more accepted and successful. This then, is an example of advertising encouraging people to buy something they do not need. I do think there are checks in most countries these days to make sure that adverts are giving the correct information and not lying to people, but I think it is still easy for advertisers to exaggerate or to do this without breaking the regulations.
Is advertising really necessary in modern society?

It could be seen to be necessary in terms of the fact that, as I mentioned before, there is so much choice that we need someone to guide us in what to buy or to give us some extra information about products. Without this, it would be difficult to know where to start. However, that said, I’m not sure that I would regard it as ‘necessary’ as overall I think it may do more harm than good. As we just discussed, advertising encourages people to buy things they possibly do not need. We live in a consumer society and many people are in debt because we are encouraged to buy and buy, and I’m sure advertising plays a major role in this. Without advertising we could just do our own research and decide what we really need. So no, I would not say that advertising is necessary in modern society.

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Minimal Pairs /fr/ versus /pr/ (for Vietnamese Speakers learning English)


Minimal Pairs /fr/ versus /pr/  (for Vietnamese Speakers learning English)















Minimal Pairs /ɔ:/ versus /əʊ/

Minimal Pairs /ɔ:/ versus  /əʊ/















Now try this Tongue Twister putting some of the different words together:

Paul the Pole bowls a ball in the cold court.


Minimal Pairs /ʤ/ versus /z/

Minimal Pairs /ʤ/ versus /z/

The /ʤ/ sound in the left side column  is an explosive sound that is like a voiced version of /ʧ/.  It is therefore similar to a sneeze and  it is impossible to extend the sound for very long. /z/, on the other hand,  is a voiced version of /s/.  It is a smooth sound and therefore can be extended as long as you like.















Omission of Final Consonants

Omission of Final Consonants by Vietnamese Speakers

Omission of final consonant. Vietnamese speakers are often very confused by words finishing with consonants as these sounds are uncommon in their own language.  Particularly difficult are /z/, /s/, /t/, /v/, /ks/, /ʤ/.  Listen to the audio and repeat.

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Job Interviews In English: The Secret To Success

Job Interviews In English: The Secret To Success

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Prepare for your job interviews in English many days in advance to reduce those feelings of being jittery or nervous. Be prepared to answer any questions about experiences you have had in regard to your resume. Some of the most common questions employers may ask you include:

  1. Tell me about our company? / What do you like about our company?
  2. Why do you believe you are a good fit for our company?
    DO NOT boast your skills. Politely and professionally state why you think you are a good fit for the position.
  3. Why didn’t your last job work out?
    NEVER under any circumstances say negative things about your previous employer(s), if you do, the new company will think that you will say bad things about them as well.
  4. What are your weaknesses? How can you be a better and more efficient employee?
    By sharing your weakness it shows them that you don’t see yourself as perfect and that you are willing to grow as a person and a professional.
  5. What would you do in *Scenario?

You will most like be given a situation with certain circumstances that you could encounter while working. Clearly describe what you would do to efficiently solve the problem. They want to make sure you can solve problems. Problem solving is a valuable trait in the eyes of an employer.

Employers are more interested in the content of your character, rather than the content of your resume. There is no reason to go reiterate things on your resume that they can already see.

Your Questions for the Employer

When the interview is nearing completion, the interviewer will most likely ask “Is there anything you would like to ask about us or the company?”

Make sure you do a substantial amount of research about the company, what they do, what makes them special. This will aid in developing questions to ask them in the interview.
A good example: while you were on the company website you may have come across a page regarding an Annual Sales Conference where a few company employees are required to represent the company at a convention in a booth. You could formulate a couple inquiries about the scenario, such as:

“How do you choose the candidates that are to represent the company at the Annual Sales Conference?”

“I am eager to know more about the topics discussed in the lectures, can you tell me about them?”

“I am eager to learn more about becoming an exhibition representative, what are the steps to take to work my way up?”


Researching and asking questions about company shows that you have ambition and motivation. These are always great traits an employers looks for. It is worth it!
My students often try to inquire about what they are going to make, or what their salary is going to be. This is very unprofessional and could forfeit a previously successful interview.


It shows the employer that you only care about the money and that you don’t care about growing the company and yourself. All employers are aware that you want to know your salary; they will tell you if it’s appropriate.

Expect the interviewer to tell you a frame of time of which they will contact you further or if you are hired on the spot.


Your interviewer will be looking closely at what you wear to see if it is professional, so dress accordingly. Business casual is the best choice, this consists of neutral colors with white, example: black and white / gray and white. Men should wear trousers with a plain collared shirt. Women should wear heels and conservative jewelry. No flashy colors or designs. Avoid t-shirts and jeans or anything with holes.


Although you have probably sent a Resume with a cover letter to the employer, print of another copy of both to bring with you to the interview. Make sure it doesn’t have any wrinkles, extra markings, or spills on it. Present it for your employer to keep, placed neatly in a folder.


It is vitally important to arrive a few minutes early. You can collect your thoughts and scan the company’s premises while considering potential questions in your head and ideas about the atmosphere of the workplace.
Ensure you make eye contact and shake hands firmly with the interviewer when greeting each other.

The Interview

Please look back and refer to the “Prepare” and “Your Questions” sections for job interviews in English. Continue to make eye contact throughout the interview. Keep alert and interested in anything the interviewer says throughout the interview.  You might want to take detailed notes to show the interviewer you don’t wish to forget anything important! It is OK to ask questions during the interview, but only ask them at appropriate times. Don’t ever interrupt the interviewer.


At the end of the interview, make sure you thank the interviewer for his or her time. If the interviewer hasn’t mentioned when you will be called back about your potential position, you might want to ask at this time.


The next day, send a typed letter or formal email to the specific person who took the time to speak with you thanking him or her for taking their time to meet with you.


Don’t forget that you are also “interviewing” the company throughout the entire process to check whether you want to work for them! The company would only have called you in for an interview if you were a strong candidate for the position, so be confident, relax, and take a deep breath!  You can do this!


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English Idioms: “To make a song and dance about something”

“To make a song and dance about something”

 song and dance

If you are making a song and dance about something, it means you are causing unnecessary fuss about something.

 For example:  “Can you stop making such a song and dance about it.  It’s not important!”

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