BEST TIP: AVOID BEING OVERLY FORMAL

AVOID BEING OVERLY FORMAL

BEST TIP: AVOID BEING OVERLY FORMAL

It’s your IELTS speaking not a job interview!!!
Whenever you give your IELTS speaking test, along with so many other things which you need to keep in mind, you also need to take are of whether your tone is formal or informal. Did that surprise you!? However it’s completely true. Every time you give your ielts speaking test, you should always remember that it should be a natural conversation between you and your examiner. Therefore, you should try to be confident and informal while developing a healthy conversation with your interviewer. It should be like a daily chat between you and one of your acquaintances and not like a tensed job interview.

Why is it important?
If we look at the description of ielts speaking format you’d notice some points like this :

The Speaking test will assess your use of spoken English. The test will last between 11 and 14 minutes where you will discuss a variety of topics with an IELTS examiner. Your test will take place in a quiet room with an examiner who will encourage you to keep speaking. Unlike an AI test, an IELTS examiner will be able to make you feel relaxed and confident. They’re also able to understand your accent to ensure you get the best possible score. There are 3 parts to the Speaking test.  

AVOID BEING OVERLY FORMAL

Part 1  

The examiner will ask you general questions about yourself and a range of familiar topics, such as home, family, work, studies and interests. This part lasts between 4 and 5 minutes.  

Part 2  

You will be given a task card and the examiner will ask you to talk about a topic. You will have 1 minute to prepare before speaking for up to 2 minutes. The examiner will then ask one or two questions on the same topic to finish this part of the test.  

Part 3

You will be asked further questions connected to the topic in Part 2. These questions will allow you to discuss more abstract ideas and issues. This part of the test lasts between 4 and 5 minutes. 

AVOID BEING OVERLY FORMAL
Now reading this you can get an idea that the entire speaking test would be based on your general life experiences and opinions where you ought to be honest and natural. Hence, maintaining a formal tone can be odd.

Under the heading ‘Fluency and Coherence’ of the official IELTS Speaking Band Descriptors it states that a Band 5.0 answers ‘may over-use certain connectives and discourse markers‘. This refers to a person who overuses the formal phrases below. Getting a Band 5.0 in one of the four marking criteria makes it nearly impossible to get a good overall mark.

AVOID BEING OVERLY FORMAL

I have had many good IELTS students come to my class with excellent grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation, but when asked to talk they seem to use formal phrases in every sentence and this is the main reason they failed to get a good score.

The existing shortcomings

Generally , phrases like ‘In my opinion….’ and ‘In modern life…’ seemed to be contained in every sentence of the candidates whenever they’re questioned while practicing and  ‘moreover’ can be heard infinite times.

This is not a criticism of the students- they can only use what they have been taught- but more a criticism of how they have been taught. Every course book contains phrases like ‘in addition’ and ‘incidentally’ and these are an important part of learning English, but they are rarely used in plain spoken English and used more for formal or academic writing. They are fine to use in the Writing Test, but are not really suitable for the Speaking test.

What can be done to improve?

The IELTS Speaking test is supposed to represent a normal conversation between two people and you should therefore not use overly formal language. You can’t use slang or anything too informal either, just plain spoken English. Listen to how native speakers of equal status talk to each other; you will very rarely hear them use anything too formal.

Some students believe that using the phrases on the left hand column below will impress the examiner, but you would be wrong. It just tells the examiner that you have an overly formulaic approach to speaking and you  have not been exposed to how native speakers actually talk. In other words, you are not going to get one of the higher band scores using them too much.

What you can use instead?
Given below are some examples of formal and informal phrases which you can have a look at and understand the difference yourself:

AVOID BEING OVERLY FORMAL

      Formal                                        Informal
‌It is said that….                           People say that….
 
‌It is agreed that….                      I agree….
 
‌It is necessary for me to      I’ve got to…..
 
‌In my opinion….                         I think…
 
‌In my view…                                I guess….
 
‌There is much…                 There is lots of
 
 Whilst                                          While
 
‌Moreover…                      As well as that….
 
‌In addition…                          What’s more..
 
 Additionally…               Another thing is….
 
‌In consequence….                   So…
 
‌In conclusion…                       All in all…
 
‌However…                                Still….
 
‌Incidentally….                         By the way….

Some of these would help you to enhance your ielts speaking, while you can search for more when you practice.

Try to implement these in your speaking and note the improvement yourself.. 

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BEST TIP: AVOID BEING OVERLY FORMAL
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