Tomorrow is the beginning of a new year. It is a time when people around the world make resolutions (decisions to do or not to do something in the future). In this post, I’m going to suggest five New Year’s resolutions to improve your speaking skills for the IELTS Speaking test.
Resolution 1: “I will think in English for at least one hour a day.”
Thinking in English is a very good way of improving your confidence and fluency. If you can get used to thinking in English, you will become less nervous when speaking English.
Resolution 2: “I will pay more attention to native speakers.”
When you listen to native speakers in the next year, make sure you really listen to them. Pay special attention to the natural expressions that they use as well as their pronunciation and intonation. The more carefully you listen, the better your speaking will be.
Resolution 3: “I will stop repeating the same mistakes.”
Even advanced learners of English keep repeating the same simple mistakes when speaking — without realising it. If you listen carefully to native speakers, you can learn how to speak natural English and you will discover what mistakes you make. Make notes when you can. My eBook Typical Mistakes in English can also help you to correct your bad habits.
Resolution 4: “I will improve the balance between accuracy and fluency.”
Do you speak very slowly and hesitate a lot? Or do you speak too quickly and make lots of mistakes? If you speak very slowly, this usually means that you are trying too hard to speak correctly. You are thinking too much about how to express yourself without making mistakes. If you do this in the test, you could get a low fluency score. However, if you speak too quickly and make lots of mistakes, then you will get a lower score for accuracy. Keep trying to achieve a good balance.
Resolution 5: “I will learn lots of synonyms.”
If you are aiming for Band 7 or higher, less common synonyms of simple words and phrases can help you reach your target score. Buy a good self-study vocabulary book, do the exercises and try to observe native speakers using the synonyms in practice. Alternatively, review Useful Synonyms for Band 7-9, part of my IELTS Speaking Test Preparation pack.