IELTS SPEAKING – MAT CLARK - Tài liệu Ielts Speaking

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Tài liệu ôn thi Ielts cho phần Speaking. Download IELTS SPEAKING – MAT CLARK

The Speaking Test in China .................................................................................................................5

1. Chinese Performance and the Reason ........................................................................ 5

2. The Real Reason ................................................................................................... 6

Two Different Speaking Systems.........................................................................................................9

1. The Economics of Language ................................................................................... 9

2. The Location of Key Information ............................................................................. 9

3. Summary of the Differences between Spoken English and Spoken Chinese .....................12

The Marking System..........................................................................................................................13

1. Fluency and Coherence (Scored 1~9).......................................................................13

2. Lexical Resource (Scored 1~9) ...............................................................................16

3. Grammatical Range and Accuracy (1~9)...................................................................18

4. Pronunciation (1~9)..............................................................................................20

5. A Summary of the Marking System .........................................................................23

The Speaking Test Format..................................................................................................................24

1. Part One of the Speaking Test.................................................................................25

1.1. Possible Topics for Part One.............................................................................26

1.2. Question Type 1: ―Basic Description‖ Questions..................................................28

1.3. Question Type 2: ―Liking‖ ...............................................................................33

1.4. Question Type 3: ―Disliking‖ Questions .............................................................36

1.5. Question Type 4: ― Types of‖ Question...............................................................38

1.6. Question Types 5: ―Wh-/How Often‖ Questions...................................................42

1.7. Question Type 6: ―Yes/No‖ Questions................................................................45

1.8. Question Type 7: ―Would‖ Questions: ................................................................48

1.9. Part one topic list ...........................................................................................52

2. Part Two of the Speaking Test.................................................................................92

2.1. Part Two Problems .........................................................................................92

2.2. Part Two and the Making System ......................................................................92

2.3. Part Two Topics.............................................................................................94

2.4. Strategies for Part Two ....................................................................................95

2.5. Producing a Good Quality Part Two Talk .......................................................... 100

2.6. Part Two Topic Analysis................................................................................ 110

3. Part Three of the Speaking test ............................................................................. 167

3.1. The Format................................................................................................. 167

3.2. Part Three and Score Adjustment .................................................................... 168

3.3. Part Three Question Types............................................................................. 169

4. Additional Tips.................................................................................................. 184

4.1. Giving examples.......................................................................................... 184

4.2. Paraphrasing ............................................................................................... 184

4.3. Vague language ........................................................................................... 186

4.4. Asking for help............................................................................................ 187

4.5. Example interview scripts.............................................................................. 188

4.6. Suggested, further reading ............................................................................. 192

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Mat Clark – IELTS Speaking 1 LỜI NÓI ĐẦU Chào các bạn, xuất phát từ nhu cầu bản thân muốn học môn speaking cho bài thi tiếng anh IELTS, chúng tôi nhận thấy cuốn sách này có giá trị rất tốt cho việc tham khảo. Tuy nhiên, các bản sách điện tử đang tràn lan trên mạng Internet hiện nay có chất lượng rất thấp, kèm theo đó là việc có thêm tiếng Trung dẫn tới lãng phí về giấy in, tiền bạc, thời gian. Hiện nay, cuốn này này đã được một nhà xuất bản tại Việt Nam mua lại bản quyền từ tác giả Mat Clark, và đã xuất bản tại Việt Nam, chúng tôi khuyên các bạn nên mua cuốn sách này để sử dụng, nhằm tôn trọng giá trị của cuốn sách này, cũng như tôn trọng tác quyền của tác giả cũng như nhà xuất bản. Chúng tôi gõ lại cuốn sách này nhằm mục đích duy nhất là để học tập, nghiên cứu, không hề mang bất cứ mục đích kinh doanh nào. Mọi hành động thương mại liên quan tới bản gõ lại này là không hề liên quan tới chúng tôi. Mong các bạn tôn trọng tác giả và tôn trọng ý muốn của chúng tôi. Trong quá trình gõ và biên tập, do trình độ không chuyên, không thể tránh khỏi có sai sót. Xin cảm ơn, chúc các bạn học tốt.Mat Clark – IELTS Speaking 2 IELTS SPEAKING – MAT CLARK Preface During my 5 years as an IELTS examiner in China, I have seen thousands of Chinese IELTS candidates perform OK in the speaking interview. Most people would agree that an OK score in speaking is 5 or 6. Many students now realize that a score of 5 or 6 for speaking is not enough for their study requirements and this is why I wrote this book. Many students spend months preparing for the IELTS speaking test and still find it difficult to score 7 or higher. In fact some candidates actually score lower than they potentially could have scored. There are a few reasons behind this poor performance and these will be discussed in detail throughout this book, but one major factor is the lack of quality material available for IELTS speaking preparation. As an IELTS examiner, I am able to precisely separate the differences in spoken English ability resulting in different IELTS speaking scores – this knowledge provides the basis for this book. There are a number of IELTS speaking books on the market but this book aims to break new ground by focusing on how to prepare for and achieve a speaking score of 7 (or maybe higher). All of the skills and strategies presented in this book are typical of a high scoring speaking candidate. This book is intended for anyone who intends to take the IELTS test; it will also help learners of English improve their speaking skills. It is suitable for both classroom use and self-study.Mat Clark – IELTS Speaking 3 TABLE OF CONTENTS The Speaking Test in China ................................................................................................................. 5 1. Chinese Performance and the Reason ........................................................................ 5 2. The Real Reason ................................................................................................... 6 Two Different Speaking Systems ......................................................................................................... 9 1. The Economics of Language ................................................................................... 9 2. The Location of Key Information ............................................................................. 9 3. Summary of the Differences between Spoken English and Spoken Chinese ..................... 12 The Marking System .......................................................................................................................... 13 1. Fluency and Coherence (Scored 1~9) ....................................................................... 13 2. Lexical Resource (Scored 1~9) ............................................................................... 16 3. Grammatical Range and Accuracy (1~9) ................................................................... 18 4. Pronunciation (1~9) .............................................................................................. 20 5. A Summary of the Marking System ......................................................................... 23 The Speaking Test Format.................................................................................................................. 24 1. Part One of the Speaking Test ................................................................................. 25 1.1. Possible Topics for Part One............................................................................. 26 1.2. Question Type 1: ―Basic Description‖ Questions .................................................. 28 1.3. Question Type 2: ―Liking‖ ............................................................................... 33 1.4. Question Type 3: ―Disliking‖ Questions ............................................................. 36 1.5. Question Type 4: ― Types of‖ Question ............................................................... 38 1.6. Question Types 5: ―Wh-/How Often‖ Questions ................................................... 42 1.7. Question Type 6: ―Yes/No‖ Questions ................................................................ 45 1.8. Question Type 7: ―Would‖ Questions: ................................................................ 48 1.9. Part one topic list ........................................................................................... 52 2. Part Two of the Speaking Test ................................................................................. 92 2.1. Part Two Problems ......................................................................................... 92 2.2. Part Two and the Making System ...................................................................... 92 2.3. Part Two Topics ............................................................................................. 94 2.4. Strategies for Part Two .................................................................................... 95 2.5. Producing a Good Quality Part Two Talk .......................................................... 100 2.6. Part Two Topic Analysis ................................................................................ 110Mat Clark – IELTS Speaking 4 3. Part Three of the Speaking test ............................................................................. 167 3.1. The Format ................................................................................................. 167 3.2. Part Three and Score Adjustment .................................................................... 168 3.3. Part Three Question Types ............................................................................. 169 4. Additional Tips .................................................................................................. 184 4.1. Giving examples .......................................................................................... 184 4.2. Paraphrasing ............................................................................................... 184 4.3. Vague language ........................................................................................... 186 4.4. Asking for help ............................................................................................ 187 4.5. Example interview scripts .............................................................................. 188 4.6. Suggested, further reading ............................................................................. 192Mat Clark – IELTS Speaking 5 The Speaking Test in China 1. Chinese Performance and the Reason 1.1. Chinese Performance As an IELTS examiner, I tested speaking candidates in most Chinese cities. I have often heard stories about candidates in certain cities getting higher scores than others, for example, ―Candidates in Beijing get higher scores than candidates in Wuhan.‖ This is actually an ―IELTS myth‖ and there is no truth in this theory. In reality, there is a nationwide trend of score averages and although some tests may contradict this trend on certain dates, the scoring average is quite consistent. On average, 15~20% of candidates score below 5 (mostly 4); 60% of candidates score 5; 15~20% of candidates score 6; less than 5% score 7; a very small number of candidates score 8 or 9. (In my 5 year career of IELTS testing in China, which covered around 4,000 interviews I did not award a single speaking 9!) From these numbers we can make the assumption that in general, Chinese candidates find it quite easy to score 5, but there are clearly some problems with scoring 6, 7 and 8. I always begin a new IELTS speaking class by asking my students what score they need for speaking and the response is usually: 40% need a speaking score of 6; 60% need a speaking score of 7; Clearly, most candidates are scoring below their required score in the speaking test. We can assume part of the problem rests in their preparation for the speaking test because most candidates achieve their desired score for listening, reading and writing (although the writing test has its own problems – these will be dealt with in another book). We can now ask the question: Why do so many Chinese candidates have problems scoring 6 or higher for speaking? Look at the following reasons and decide which you think are the most accurate in answer to the question above, put a cross (X) beside any reasons which you think are not true: a) The questions are too difficult. b) The candidates are nervous. c) The candidates haven't had enough practice. d) The candidates make lots of grammar mistakes. e) The examiners are too strict.Mat Clark – IELTS Speaking 6 f) The candidates give too many boring answers. g) The candidates didn't know enough about the topics. h) The candidates have poor pronunciation. i) The examiner didn't agree with the candidates' opinions. j) The candidates didn't communicate efficiently. k) The candidates have a Chinese accent. l) The candidates didn't answer the question directly. m) The candidates didn't understand the question fully. n) The candidates had no experience of talking with foreigners. o) The candidates think in a Chinese way (with Chinese logic). p) The candidates can't express their ideas clearly. q) The candidates were unfamiliar with the examiner's accent. r) The examiner talks too quickly. s) The candidates are not used to speaking in English. t) The candidates speak too slowly. Which 3 reasons are the most accurate? If you are working in a class group, compare your reasons with your partner. 2. The Real Reason Some of the reasons on the last page influence your speaking score but in fact the main reason why most Chinese candidates fail to score 6 or higher is because: 2.1. Do not Fully Understand How the Speaking Test Is Marked When we take test of any kind, one of the most important things to know is how the test is actually marked. As an example, let's forget about the IELTS for a while and consider a driving test. Anyone who is preparing for a driving test knows exactly what the driving test examiner is looking for, and they work on perfecting these particular aspects of their driving skills. They don't simply get in the car and ―do some driving for an hour‖. Most people who take the IELTS speaking test don't know what the IELTS examiner is looking for, so most candidates just go into the interview room and ―do some speaking English for 15 minutes‖. As a result, many candidates miss the whole point of the speaking test and their score is usually below 6.Mat Clark – IELTS Speaking 7 In the next section we will look in detail at the marking system of the IELTS speaking test, but first it is important to think about the basic elements of scoring. The IELTS speaking test is a test for your spoken English language ability. Most people either don't know this or they don't understand the importance of this fact. Many candidates seem to focus in the wrong way. Because the speaking test is based on a ―question – answer‖ format, many people focus far too much on ―answering‖ the questions. Obviously, candidates are required to answer the question, but what they may not realize is that the examiner doesn't give marks for the actual answer. The marks are given for the ―language content‖ of the answer – not the answer itself. It is possible to answer every question ―correctly‖ and still get a low score (4 or 5). The examiner is not asking questions because he/she needs answer. There are no correct or incorrect answers in the speaking test. There are two basic types of answer: [A] An answer to the question: “How often do you go to the cinema?” “One a month” [B] A response focused on language: “What's your favorite color?” “Well, to be quite honest, I don't really have an actual favorite color but I guess that if I were buying clothes, then I'd usually go for something like blue or gray – you know, kind of dull colors, nothing too bright.” The examiner gives marks for language ability not information, so answer A would actually get a very low mark. (There is some language ability here – 3 words, so answers like these might finally get a score of 4.) Answer B does not focus on ―answering‖ the question, instead it focuses on showing as much language ability as possible. This is the type of answer that a candidate needs to consistently produce to get a score in the region of 7. 2.2. First Language Interference The speaking test is scored on a band system from 0~9. A score of 0 is someone who cannot speak any English at all. A score of 9 is someone who can speak English in the exactly the same way as an educated native speaker of English. So the higher scores 6, 7 and 8 are quite near to ―native-speaker style English‖. This is where our next problems occurs. When we speak a second language most people are heavily influenced by their firstMat Clark – IELTS Speaking 8 language. (Regardless of what these languages are.) This causes problems because as we have just seen, to get a higher score for speaking it is essential to produce ―native speaker style English‖, but in fact most candidates produce Chinese style spoken English. In other words, they speak English in a similar way to how they speak Chinese. It is not easy to instantly change your style of speaking, but one important step is to first consider the style of your first language and compare this with the style of the second language. Basically, to be able to speak English in the style of a native speaker, it is necessary to compare spoken Chinese with spoken English. When you can recognize the differences between these two speaking systems, it will be much easier to work on removing elements of your first language influence from your second language speech. Building a clear picture of how these two spoken languages differ makes it easier to produce a more ―authentic style‖ of English. Think about the way you speak your first language (most likely Chinese). Try to list some points based on the style that native-speakers actually speak your language. Remember, we are not thinking about the actual language system here; we are dealing with the way that language is commonly used its spoken form. The next section deals with this important step.Mat Clark – IELTS Speaking 9 Two Different Speaking Systems 1. The Economics of Language This first point may sound strange but in fact it is easy to understand. Different languages can be easily distinguished by the amount of words that native speakers produce in normal speech. Ask the following question in your first language – Chinese (ask your partner if you are using this book in class); try to answer in a natural style: ―What food do you like eating?‖ Now think about your (or your partner's) answer. Try to repeat the answer exactly as it was given. How many actual words did the answer contain? Now ask the same question in English to a native speaker of English (if you can find one). Ask your teacher if you are using this book in class. Again the answer should be as natural as possible. How may actual words did the answer contain? Hopefully the result should be quite clear. As a spoken language, Chinese operates quite ―economically‖. Native speakers of Chinese are able to hold conversations and communicate efficiently using small amounts of language. The way that Chinese has developed as language means that users of the language are able to exchange precise and exact ideas or concepts using a limited amounts of words in their speech. Spoken Chinese can therefore be described as an ―economical‖ language. In simple terms, spoken Chinese doesn't waste words. Spoken English on the other hand is quite ―uneconomical‖ - it requires large amounts of words to communicate even basic ideas. In other words, spoken English wastes words. This is our first major differences between spoken English and Chinese. As a result of this, your IELTS responses should be longer than your natural spoken Chinese language response. 2. The Location of Key Information Over the years I have often heard people describe English as a ―direct language‖. In fact, this description is quite inaccurate. English is actually a very indirect language. Try listening to any British politician speaking in Parliament and you will certainly agree with me here. Chinese on the other hand is a direct language when it is spoken. Ask and answer theMat Clark – IELTS Speaking 10 following question in Chinese: ―When do you usually listen to music?‖ In Chinese, the answer would probably begin with a ―time‖, any details or explanations probably came after the key information or answer. For example, ―At weekends or the evenings...(because + details)‖ If the same question is asked in English, it is more likely that the details or explanations came first and the actual answer or key information came towards the end of the response. It is a good idea to visualize the two answers as triangles: Chinese answer (begins with key information) English answer (begins with details) Many language scientists (linguists) agree that spoken English contains approximately 50% redundant language. Redundant language can be described as words that don't contain meaning or words that do not alter the meaning of our message. These words and phrases are often described as ―conversational filters‖. Anyone who want to speak English in a native-speaker style must use examples of these words and phrases. Conversational filters may appear at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of our spoken sentences. Although spoken Chinese does contain some kind of redundant language, the actual amount is much lower than 50%. (Somewhere around 10%) Look at the following example: “Well you know my hometown London is kind of like huge you know. I mean it's actually enormous maybe even the biggest city in Europe. So really if you live there, it's sort of amazing really. You can do almost anything you want. Like you know there's so many things to do, and I guess that's why I love living there.” (about 60 words) Now look at the same message without redundant language. “My hometown London is huge, maybe the biggest city in Europe. If you live there, it's amazing. You can do anything you want. There are so many things to do. That's why I love living there.” (36 words) With not exactly 50 redundant language but very close the message in the first answer is exactly the same as the message in the second answer.Mat Clark – IELTS Speaking 11 If you are speaking English in the same way that you speak Chinese, you will not be producing this important ―native-speaker feature‖ of spoken English. There are many examples of redundant language. Another major difference between spoken Chinese and spoken English is that Chinese tends to recycle vocabulary. Spoken Chinese conversations are often structured in a way that focuses on closed questions, in particular ―yes/no‖ questions. Look at the following example: ―Is the food delicious?‖ The natural answer in Chinese would probably either: ―Yes, it's delicious.‖ or ―No, it's not delicious.‖ (followed by a reason). In spoken Chinese, it is perfectly normal to recycle vocabulary in this way. On the other hand, spoken English doesn't normally do this. One of the reasons is because English conversations contain fewer closed questions and many more open questions. Example: ―What's the food like?‖ This difference is very important in the IELTS speaking test. Look at the following question: ―Do you like animals?‖ If the candidate answers in a spoken Chinese style, the answer would probably begin with: ―Yes I like animals...especially...‖ In this answer the candidate is actually relying on the language in the question to form the answer. The candidate is not offering the examiner any original language. We can see that vocabulary recycling has a negative effect on your score for two reasons. Firstly, native English speakers do not do it. Secondly, the examiner will penalize the candidate for copying the language in the question. This point is discussed in more detail in the section on vocabulary. Another key difference between spoken English and spoken Chinese is that spoken English is heavily graded. In other words, native speakers of English usually speak in degrees. English often uses ―shades of different meanings‖. In contrast, spoken Chinese is usually ―black or white‖. Look at the following example question: ―Do you like watching TV?‖ Now look at the following answers: Yes I really like watching TV... I guess I'm quite fond of watching TV... For the most part, I would probably say that I quite like watching TV... To some extent I would say I like watching TV...Mat Clark – IELTS Speaking 12 Well, I wouldn't say I actually like watching TV... Well, I suppose you could probably say that I'm fond of watching TV... Do I like watching TV...well it's hard to say... The examples above display a common feature of spoken English – the use of ―speaking in degrees‖. Chinese answers usually begin with a definite and clearly defined yes or no followed by supporting reasons. There are more examples of this aspect of English later in this book. 3. Summary of the Differences between Spoken English and Spoken Chinese In this section we have explored the differences between the way that native speakers produce Chinese and English. There are obviously exceptions to theses differences on both sides, but our aim is not really to analyze language – our aim is to discover ways to produce native-speaker style English. Hopefully we have highlighted some basic features of native-speaker style Chinese. It is likely that in the past many of these features were present in your spoken English. As we have already stated, a high score in the IELTS speaking test is given when the candidate produces language which is similar to native-speaker style English. The first step to achieving a higher score in the speaking test is to start speaking English in the following way:  Give longer responses  Avoid being too direct  Use filters and redundant language  Don't recycle vocabulary  Try to speak in degrees These basic points are the first step in producing a native-speaker style English. The next section deals with the marking system in detail.Mat Clark – IELTS Speaking 13 The Marking System The IELTS speaking test is marked according to a carefully designed marking system. All speaking examiners use exactly the same marking system and use it in the same way. The marking system is divided into four sections:  Fluency and Coherence  Lexical Resource (Vocabulary)  Grammatical Range and Accuracy  Pronunciation This marking system is a printed document which the examiner refers to whilst listing to your spoken English. The sections are divided into scores in the following way: <I skipped this part because the band score table of speaking test could be easily downloaded.> Each box in the table contains a very detailed description of the features required for that score in that section. The box for ―Fluency and Coherence 7‖ contains a 50-word detailed description of all of the things a candidate must do to get a score of seven in this section. Directly above and below the examiner can see the description for 8 and 6, in this way the examiner can listen to your language in the interview and decide carefully which description best fits your language. It is important to understand this because many people do not realize that, for example, a score of 7 for ―Lexical Resource‖ can only be awarded if your vocabulary exactly fits the description in that box. The descriptions are written in professional linguistic terms so it would not be very useful to reproduce them here. Instead, the following section will translate into simple terms the language features a candidate must produce to achieve scores of 6, 7 and 8. 1. Fluency and Coherence (Scored 1~9) In general terms, the score for ―Fluency and Coherence‖ refers to the ways that the candidate speaks. The features described in the marking system for this section include:  Ability to produce long responses  How easily the candidate can produce the long responses  The amount of hesitationMat Clark – IELTS Speaking 14  The speed of speech  Use of discourse markers/ linking phrases/ connectives  The amount of self-correction Fluency and Coherence 6 According to the marking system, the examiner will award a 6 in this section if the candidate produces the following features:  Be able and willing to produce long responses to most questions.  Produce a range of different linking words/ phrases.  Linking phrases are sometimes used incorrectly.  Use some ―marker‖ language (eg, redundant language).  There is some hesitation/ repetition/ self-correction. So from the above, it is clear that a Fluency 6 is the score where candidates begin to produce native-speaker style language features in longer answers. A Fluency 5 lacks most of these features. Fluency and Coherence 7 The examiner will award 7 in this section if the candidate can produce the following:  Can produce long responses easily.  Produces a wide range of linking words, phrases and connectives.  Uses different linkers in a flexible ways.  Responses are relevant to the topic.  There is some hesitation/ repetition/ self-correction (but these do not affect understanding and meaning). From the above it can be concluded that a Fluency 7 is awarded when the responses are usually long and they contain a larger quantity of linking devices (redundant language etc.) Fluency and Coherence 8 The examiner will give 8 in this section if the candidate can produce the following features of language:  Fluent use of a wide range of linking language features.  Occasional hesitation/ repetition.Mat Clark – IELTS Speaking 15  Long responses are easily delivered and are directly relevant to the topic.  Use cohesive features (linking phrases) accurately. A Fluency and Coherence 8 score is very close to native speaker level. Summary of Fluency and Coherence Many people believe that the ―Fluency‖ score is based on the speed and flow of speech. From the marking system descriptions it can be seen that these aspects are only a small part of the actual score. The most important aspect of your ―Fluency and Coherence‖ score is the length of your response and your use of cohesive features such as linking words, discourse markers, connectives and redundant phrases. Problems with Fluency and Coherence The most common problem that Chinese candidates face in this section of the marking system is that they focus to heavily on answering the question. In other words, their answers contain ― information content‖ but lack the language to link these ideas together. Look at the following example: “What do you like about your hometown?” “My hometown is Wuhan. Wuhan is very modern so I like the buildings. All over the city there are lots of new interesting buildings being built. When I was younger most of the buildings looked the same so it wasn't as attractive as it is nowadays.” The answer above is not a bad answer. In fact the grammar is fairly complex and accurate; it is not too short. The problem with this answer is that it lacks cohesive features. Now compare the following answer: “Well you know, my hometown is Wuhan and you might not know this but Wuhan is a very modern, so I suppose I would have to say I like the buildings. Actually, all over the city there are lots of new interesting buildings being built. In fact, it's quite interesting to consider that when I was younger most of the building looked the same, so you know it wasn't as attractive as it is nowadays.” The content in the answer above is exactly the same as the first answer. The difference in this second answer is that the information is linked using native-speaker style cohesive features. The answer above would most likely be typical of a Fluency and Coherence 7 or 8. (There is a section later which deals with cohesive language in detail.) A second problem with coherence is when candidates avoid the question by talkingMat Clark – IELTS Speaking 16 about something else. Look at the following example: “What sports do you like?” “I don't like sports. I like computer games. My favorite computer game is Counter Strike and this game is very popular in China now. I like Counter Strike because...” This situation happens quite often in the speaking test. If it happens once or twice, the examiner probably won't change your score. If it happens frequently then your ―Fluency and Coherence‖ will be reduced. 2. Lexical Resource (Scored 1~9) Many people (even examiners) call this section as the ―vocabulary‖ score. There are some common misunderstandings about how this score is awarded. I have often been asked the following question: ―How many words do I need to know to get a vocabulary score of 7?‖ This question is almost impossible to answer because the marking system does not base the ―Vocabulary‖ score on how many words you know. The ―Vocabulary‖ section of the marking system is based on the type of words you use and how you use them. The language points featured in this section of the marking system include:  Ability to use lest common words  Use of idiomatic language  Paraphrasing (explaining words that you don't know)  Ability to talk about unfamiliar topics  Ability to convey precise meaning A candidate will score 6 in this section if he/ she can produce the following features:  Can produce vocabulary for most topics in some detail.  Can explain ―vocabulary gaps‖ by using other words.  Does not confuse meaning by using vocabulary incorrectly. A Lexical Resource 6 is not difficult to score. In general, Chinese candidates can score 6 in this section quite easily because they usually know quite a lot of English words and have prepared vocabulary for most topics. If a candidate fails to paraphrase or explainMat Clark – IELTS Speaking 17 ―vocabulary gaps‖ this may reduce the score to 5 in some cases. Lexical Resource 7 A score of 7 in this section requires examples of the following items:  A range of vocabulary to talk about a wide variety of topics in detail.  Examples of uncommon words.  Some use of idiomatic language.  Some examples of collocation.  Ability to successfully explain ―vocabulary gaps‖  Some vocabulary may still be used incorrectly. The Lexical Resource 7 score is quite different to the 6 score because it needs some examples of complex vocabulary skills (a 6 doesn't require this). One of the most common reasons why candidates fail to score 7 is because they don't include idiomatic vocabulary. Idiomatic vocabulary can cover many aspects including slang, idiomatic sayings and phrasal verbs. (There is a section on vocabulary later in the book which offers examples of idioms for many topics). Another reason why candidates fail to score 7 in this section is because there are no examples of uncommon vocabulary or collocations. Lexical Resource 8 A score of 8 will awarded if the candidate shows:  A wide vocabulary range – enough for all topics.  Vocabulary is used to give precise and exact meanings.  Use a range of uncommon words and idioms correctly.  Explain ideas using uncommon vocabulary. In many ways the score of 8 is similar to 7. The main difference is the amount of uncommon vocabulary and idiomatic language. Problems with Lexical Resource Generally speaking, the most common problem in this section is the overuse of common words: ―Beijing is a big city.‖ In this example, the word ―big‖ is an example of very basic vocabulary. The candidate could have chosen any word to describe Beijing but chose to produce an example of a very basic adjective. In contrast, “sprawling, cosmopolitan, politically-important, fast-developing,Mat Clark – IELTS Speaking 18 colossal” are examples of uncommon vocabulary and would have a positive effect on the candidate's ―Vocabulary‖ score. Candidates often neglect this area because they focus too much on the answer to the question. There is a section later in this book on vocabulary building. 3. Grammatical Range and Accuracy (1~9) There are two aspects of this score - ―range‖ and ―accuracy‖. This score is often misunderstood because many people believe that a high score is awarded if the candidate doesn't make any grammar mistakes. The score in this section is based on a number of different factors including:  Sentence formation  Use of clauses (subordinate etc.)  Use of complex structures  Range of tense use  Error density (the amount of errors in each sentence)  The level of errors (whether the errors occur in basic or complex structures) Grammatical Range and Accuracy 6 The candidate will be awarded a 6 in this section if the following is produced:  A mixture of both basic and complex structures.  Basic structures are produced accurately.  Complex structures may contain errors.  The grammar errors do not seriously influence meaning of the sentence.  Tenses are usually formed correctly but not always used correctly. A score of 6 in this section is not difficult to achieve. The candidate's language may contain quite a lot of grammar errors but these errors must occur in the examples of complex grammar. There should be examples of different tense formation, in particular, perfect and continuous tenses. Grammatical Range and Accuracy 7 A score of 7 is awarded when the candidate's language contains the following aspects:Mat Clark – IELTS Speaking 19  A wide range of sentence structures and tenses.  Many examples of sentences without grammar errors.  Some small grammar errors. The description of a Grammar score 7 is quite simple. The main point here is that the candidate must produce many examples of sentences which do not contain errors. Most basic sentence structures must be correct. There must be examples of complex sentence structures and many examples of subordinate clause structures. Modals (would, could, should, may) should also be used correctly. There must be a range of different tenses (usually used correctly). Grammatical Range and Accuracy 8 The 8 score in this section is quite simple to describe:  Wide range of grammar structures and features.  Wide range of complex sentence structures used correctly.  Most sentences contain no grammar errors.  There may be occasional grammar errors but these are probably careless mistakes and do not affect meaning. An 8 score is awarded when the candidate can produce examples of most complex sentence structures and can produce most tenses correctly and use them in the right way. There are a few mistakes. Problems with Grammatical Range and Accuracy Grammar is a very important part of the English language. In spoken English, basic meaning can be communicated using basic grammar. Many IELTS candidates focus on ―communicating‖ the answer to the question and as a result they produce basic grammar. Another problem is the lack of perfect and continuous tenses. Native speakers of English produce quite a lot of these tenses when the speak. In general, Chinese speakers of English neglect these important tenses. The next problem is the actual sentence type. Many candidates produce too many basic sentences, eg: ―I come from Chongqing. Chongqing is a mountain city. It is located in on the Chang Jiang River.‖ (three basic sentences) ―I come from Chongqing which is a mountain city located on the Chang Jiang River.‖ (one complex sentence) To score 7 in this section the majority of sentences should be complex sentences.Mat Clark – IELTS Speaking 20 There is a section later in this book which gives advice and activities on tenses and sentence structures. 4. Pronunciation (1~9) With effect from August 1st 2008, the marking scale of pronunciation will change in all IELTS speaking tests worldwide. Examiners will now be able to award band score 1~9 instead of the older system 2-4-6-8. Candidates' pronunciation will be marked in the same way, but for the higher scores (7-8-9) there are one or two areas that have become more emphasized in the marking criteria; these are discussed below. The most common myth about the ―Pronunciation‖ section is that many people place too much importance on accent. The pronunciation score is influenced by accent but there are other important factors which influence the score. ―Pronunciation‖ covers the following language aspects:  How easily the examiner understands what is being said  Word stress  Sentence stress  Intonation  Evidence of first language accent Pronunciation 6 To score 6 for pronunciation, a candidate must display the following:  Examiner can understand most of the candidate's language quite easily.  There are some examples of correct word stress and sentence stress.  Some evidence of intonation.  Some use of stress of intonation to emphasize important meaning.  There may be some mispronounced words.  A first language accent may still be present. The key to scoring 6 in this section is to speak clearly enough to be understood throughout. There is no need to try to reproduce a native-speaker accent (British, American, and Australian) in this band score. Pronunciation 7 To score 7 for pronunciation, a candidate must display the following:Mat Clark – IELTS Speaking 21  Examiner can fully understand candidate's language (may have occasional problems).  Examples of correct word and sentence stress used to emphasize or focus meaning.  Use of intonation to emphasize important meaning.  Able to vary speed of delivery to affect meaning.  Able to divide utterances in ―chunks‖ (see below)/  There maybe some mispronounced words.  A first language accent may still be present. Pronunciation 8 The candidate will be awarded 8 in this section if the following requirements can be met:  The examiner understands everything clearly and easily.  The candidate uses pronunciation features to emphasize and alter meaning efficiently throughout the interview.  Intonation, word stress and sentence stress are used efficiently throughout the interview.  Fully able to use variation of speed, volume and pitch to efficiently emphasize meaning.  There may be evidence of a first language accent but this does not affect meaning or understanding.  May have occasional minor problems with sentence intonation. Pronunciation 9 The candidate will be awarded 9 in this section if the following requirements can be met:  Fully demonstrates native-speaker style pronunciation and skillfully uses pronunciation devices to control meaning.  Some minor evidence of first language accent may still be present but this have no effect on intelligibility. Aiming for Pronunciation 7 The introduction of the band score 7 in pronunciation will benefit many candidates.Mat Clark – IELTS Speaking 22 In the past, because pronunciation scores were awarded 2-4-6-8, the absence of the score 7 meant that many candidates narrowly missed their target score of 6.5 or 7.0 simply because their pronunciation score was 6. Now it should be easier to score 6.5 or 7.0 if the candidate can score 7 for pronunciation. Also, because there is a pronunciation score of 9, the requirements for a pronunciation 8 have been lowered slightly; this means more candidates will be awarded a score of 8 for pronunciation. It should also be remembered that some candidates will be worse off under this new system of marking. There will be situations where examiners will award a 5 for pronunciation when in the older system (2-4-6-8) the score would have been 6. The Skills Required for a Pronunciation 7 If candidates can focus on the following skills and techniques, it will be easier to achieve a 7 in pronunciation. 1) Using variations in volume and pitch to highlight important meaning E.g: I suppose that I occasionally read magazines but I rarely pick a newspaper. In this sentence we can increase the volume or pitch of the adverbs. 2) Using variation in speed to emphasize meaning E.g: I used to be quite into Yoga but more recently I've been getting into ballet dancing. In this sentence we can slow down or stretch the phrases ―used to‖ and ―more recently‖ to emphasize the time comparison. 3) Dividing utterances into “chunks” E.g: (I recently went on holiday to Sanya) (which is a small resort on Hainan Island.) (I guess it's one of the most popular tourist destinations in South China because of its beaches.) (Of course you can find a wide variety of seafood there, things like crab, shellfish and lobster.) Each ―chunk‖ of speech can be delivered as on ―flowing segment‖ where sounds at the start of end of words can flow into each other. This is also called ―elision‖. The Marking System – The Overall Score The candidate is awarded four different scores and the overall score is an average of these scores. For example: Fluency and Coherence 5 Lexical Resource 5 Grammatical Range and Accuracy 6Mat Clark – IELTS Speaking 23 Pronunciation 6 The average of these four scores 5.5 In the IELTS speaking test, scores are rounded up or down to the nearest half-band (5.0 5.5 6.0 etc.), so in this example the candidate would score an overall 5.5 for speaking. 5.25 = 5 5.5 = 5.5 5.75 = 6 etc 5. A Summary of the Marking System In this section we have looked in detail at the way that the speaking test is marked. It should now be quite clear that in order to achieve a higher score, the candidate must produce the features specially described in the marking system under that score. One very important point to emphasize here is that the marking system does not include references to the following points:  Interesting or original content  Amusing or funny answers  Polite or well-mannered attitudes  Body language  Eye contact  Intelligent answers  The truth  Correct answers  Opinions or ideas  Appearance or dress code So in fact it can be concluded that your speaking score is awarded purely on the basic of your spoken language. In theory it could be possible for a candidate to arrive at the interview in dirty old clothes, be impolite, invent answers, tell lies and hold unreasonable or controversial opinions and still achieve a high score if he or she demonstrated the features described in the marking system – i.e. native-speaker style spoken English. I can add an example from my own experience here. Many years ago in an IELTS speaking test, I interviewed a young lady who was arrogant , impolite, impatient and quite rude – I awarded this candidate a score of 8 because her spoken English matched the descriptions in the marking system for band score 8.Mat Clark – IELTS Speaking 24 The Speaking Test Format At the time of writing, the speaking test follows the format introduced in the year 2000. There are often ―rumors‖ about changes to the format of the test. To date there have been no changes to the test format since it was first introduced in the year 2000. There are regular changes to the speaking test content, but the format remains the same. All IELTS speaking tests follow a rigid structure. Wherever in the world you take your speaking test, you can expect your interview to follow the same pattern. Examiners are regularly monitored to ensure that they deliver the speaking interviews in the correct way as set by UCLES (the test designers). Overall, speaking interviews are between 11 and 14 minutes in length. (Occasionally this may differ, for example if a candidate fails to respond to any questions, the interview will probably be shorter in length.) The interview is divided into three clearly defined sections and each section focuses on different speaking skills and linguistic abilities. The criteria described in the marking system is the same for all 3 parts of the test and the score is awarded according to the candidates average performance across all three parts. This means that all three sections are generally ―equal‖ in value. In theory, it is possible for a candidate to achieve a reasonably acceptable score (5~6) even if he or she underperforms in one particular section as long as the other two sections produced a decent performance. To achieve a higher score (7+) a candidate must demonstrate the features as described in the marking system in all three parts. The Start of the Speaking Test There is confusion surrounding the start of the test. Usually candidates will be shown to their interview rooms and they wait outside until the examiner invites them inside. The candidate is asked to sit down and the examiner will say the following: ―Good Afternoon, My name is..., can you tell me your full name please?‖ Many candidates misinterpret this as the start of the actual speaking test and proceed to deliver a long answer describing their name and tell a story about how their name was given to them. This is totally unneccessary because the examiner needs to know you name so that he is certain that he is interviewing the right person. The suitable response is: ―My name is...(Mo Wenwei).‖ Many candidates try tro establish a conversation with the examiner at this stage; again this is totally unneccessary because this part of the interview is not being tested. So something like:Mat Clark – IELTS Speaking 25 ―Oh, you must be very tired today...‖ is unneccessary because the test has not really started. Save your energy until the actual test has begun. The best way to deal with the start of the interview is to follow the examiner. The actual speaking test will begin when you hear the words: ―In this first part I'd like to ask you some questions about yourself.‖ In other words, everything you say after this point is being tested, anything you say before this point is not being tested. The start of the speaking test (asking for candidate name and checking ID card) usually taks about 30 seconds to 1 minute. This time is not included in the interview time. The examiner starts timing the interview when the test questions begin. 1. Part One of the Speaking Test Part One of the speaking test lasts for 4~5 minutes. Many people wrongfully call Part One the ―self-introduction‖ part of the test. This is an inaccurate description because although this section does ask some questions about your personal background, it also covers many other questions and topics. A more accurate description of Part One would be: ―Basic questions on familiar topics including your background, hobbies, interests, routines, lifestyle and habits.‖ The examiner will select three topics in Part One. The range of Part One topics is quite extensive. (See the section on Part One skills.) In general the first topic in Part One deals with your background and there are two possible paths. [A] Where you live (you city, area where you live, street, house) [B] Your studies, work, job As a rule, the examiner will select either path A or B but NOT both. All candidates can expect to be asked questions on one of these topics areas. After this first ―personal‖ topic, the examiner will select two more topics based on hobbies, interests, routines, lifestyle and habits. The number of questions asked in Part One varies for each candidate. The maximum number of questions for each topic is usually four or five and the minimum is two. This means that the maximum number of questions in Part One is between twelve and fifteen and the minimum is around six.

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