The benefits of work

So, what do you need to do to score well in Part 3 of the IELTS Speaking test? Well, when you are speaking, you are assessed on four things by the examiner. In order of importance, these are:

  1. Pronunciation: This is critical. You must be able to say words correctly so that the examiner can understand your speaking.

  2. Coherence and Fluency: Secondly, you must speak on the topic and in a logical and structured way without many pauses or repetition. This is very important and helps the examiner understand your answer easily.

  3. Grammar: Once you are competent in the first two areas, you need to try and use a range of grammatical forms and different sentence constructions (e.g simple, complex, conditional). This displays the level of your English language skills.

  4. Vocabulary: Finally, the vocabulary you use will show the examiner your level of understanding of English words and phrases.

So in Speaking Part 3, speaking clearly and fluently on the topic and using a good systematic structure (e.g. an introduction + a range of linkers - firstly / secondly + explanations + examples + conclusion) is initially MORE IMPORTANT than your range of grammar and vocabulary.

Think of it like cooking. You can have all the great ingredients for your meal (these are your vocabulary and grammar) but if you do not know the step-by-step method for cooking the ingredients (a systematic structure), then your meal will be a disaster. It is the same with your speaking.

Listen to a student give a Band 7 answer to an IELTS Part 3 question. Her answer is around a Band 7 because she speaks (a) with good pronunciation, (b) on the topic (c) fluently with few pauses and repetition and (d) using a very good cohesive and concise structure. She is very easy to understand.

The speaker uses a lot of fillers (ah, um) in her speaking. This is GOOD. This is natural because it indicates that she is thinking about her answer. She does however make a small number of grammatical and syntax errors.

Look at the parts of her answer highlighted in red below. Are you able to correct her mistakes?

Yep...ah… benefits… Um…I think, having a job has several benefits. Umm… the first one is money or because most people say money can’t buy happiness, but ... it can certainly show the ways of the happiness... um... We can able to pay for our food, shelter, clothes and… and for our rent and everything that I need. So, money is the one of the benefits of having a job.

Um… the second thing...ah... the second thing is a sense of identity. Um because um most of conversations start with umm what’s your name and end at what do you do? Ah.. it is not an indication of who I am...ah... but it is the definition, it shapes the definition of who I’m um what I am. It’s the starting point.

Ah...the second, the third, the third thing is...ah... we can learn new skills and we can meet new people in our work ...ah...because...ah... we have the force to learn new skills because of to improve in our job. And when we go to work or office..ah... we can meet um… we can meet...we can meet new people of different abilities and different personalities, so we can expand our horizons. Ah...this is the thirdly benefit.

I think the last thing is..ah.. independent. Having the we make and we feel independently in making decision. In my opinion, I think...ah... people having, people who work a job..ah...they have more confident in decision making process than people who does not work. Um that’s all um some of the benefits of having a job, teacher.

If you think you can correct the errors, enter your answers in the sheet below.


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