Speaking with fluency in your IELTS exam is tricky, mainly because you are under pressure in the context of an exam, and therefore, using fillers is very tempting and easy to do.
With practice, it is possible to significantly reduce these and even remove their usage entirely. Fillers (um, ah, ahm, like) are just utterances of hesitation and we use them all the time, but for your IELTS exam- we need to learn how to un-use them.
The following strategies are excellent remedies in removing fillers:
- Slow down
- Take a pause instead of using a filler- this will become a learnt habit the more you practice
- Speak with sincerity in order to be more fluent. If you think about someone who is speaking about something that is true to them, it reels off more easily, it is more digestible, it swims along- rather than someone who is too vigilant about what they are saying, too self-conscious, resulting in fragmented speech.
Revision flash cards
Fluency also involves having enough vocabulary to comfortably use at any given moment. Having a range of vocabulary requires regular practice and active ways of studying. This means taking actionable steps to ensure you are learning when you engage with language, whether this is listening, reading or even watching. Read my article on how to study actively, and not passively.
Another way to develop your speaking skills is by using flash cards. Flash cards are an excellent way to pick up new language, and again, learn in an active manner. You can also develop your vocabulary with the aid of flash cards. This deck was created by myself, in a collaboration with the revision app; AnkiPro.
Key points on how to improve your fluency for English:
- Practice Daily Conversations: Engage in English conversations regularly to build speaking comfort and confidence.
- Mimic Native Speakers: Listen to native English speakers in podcasts, movies, and broadcasts. Try to imitate their pronunciation, intonation, and speech patterns.
- Expand Your Vocabulary: Learn new words and phrases. Practice using them in sentences to express ideas more precisely.
- Use Linking Words: Practice using words like "however," "therefore," and "moreover" to connect your ideas smoothly.
- Simulate Exam Conditions: Practice speaking with a timer to get used to thinking and responding quickly.
- Record and Reflect: Record your practice sessions. Listen back to identify areas for improvement and monitor your progress over time.
- Focus on Clarity and Recovery: Work on speaking clearly at a natural pace and practice recovering quickly from mistakes without losing the flow of conversation.