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IELTS speaking clips – examiner comments

Examiner comments on candidate Hendrik, Germany
Speaking Part 3:
Famous people
Band 7

This candidate can maintain the flow of speech without noticeable effort and there is no loss of coherence. He uses a variety of linking words and markers (I would say; that’s a good question; as I said; as long as), but he overuses the filler (yeah) and sometimes referencing is inaccurate (for the one or the other reasons).

He uses a wide range of vocabulary, including some less common and idiomatic items and effective collocation (easy to blame; global warming; financial crisis; he stands for something; can’t stand the pressure). However, sometimes he lacks precision in his choice of words and expressions (Greek instead of ‘Greece’; on the other side of the lake; environmentally people/things; a big branch).

His grammar displays a good range of both simple and complex structures. Many of his sentences are error-free but he makes some mistakes in subject/verb agreement (people who wants; the people who admires him), articles (the normal person) and relative pronouns (everything what happens).

His pronunciation is clear and easy to follow. He uses both sentence stress and intonation effectively to convey meaning (you can’t blame a soccer player but it’s easy to blame the politicians). He does have a noticeable accent, however, and his mispronunciation of a few words results in occasional loss of clarity (wole model for ‘role model’; wong for ‘wrong’; serf the planet for ‘serve the planet’).

This candidate is a clear example of a Band 7.

Examiner comments on candidate Xin, China
Speaking Part 3:
Famous people
Band 6

This candidate is able to give extended responses. He uses a range of markers (you mean; you know; it’s really a hard question; in this way) and other cohesive features, such as referencing, but he uses only a narrow range of linking words (so; because). He repeats himself quite a lot and self-corrects, but coherence is only occasionally threatened.

He has a wide enough vocabulary to discuss topics at length and his ideas and opinions are quite clearly conveyed (change the world; focus on the real things; use reputation to gain a lot of profit). Vocabulary is sometimes inappropriate but meaning can be worked out from the context (have a silence instead of ‘have privacy’; signature instead of ‘autograph’; act well instead of ‘behave well’).

He produces a mix of simple and complex structures though his attempts at longer, more complex sentence forms tend to contain errors. Mistakes in verb tenses, subject/verb agreement and prepositions are quite frequent, but these do not impede communication.

His pronunciation is generally clear and there is some effective use of stress and intonation. However, his speech is mainly syllable-timed, so his rhythm is rather mechanical. Some words are mispronounced (uerally for ‘usually’) or are wrongly stressed (profit). This reduces clarity at times, but understanding generally requires little effort.

This candidate is a clear example of a Band 6.

Examiner comments on candidate Tina, Vietnam
Speaking Part 2: An interest or hobby you enjoy
Band 5

This candidate is able to maintain the flow of speech for most of the time but there are hesitations as well as some repetition and self-correction. This, together with the fact that she describes several interests rather than one interest, makes her hard to follow at times and leads to some loss of coherence (before when I live in Vietnam I often go to … church and or some association … er … I can … er … I often ask my friend to … er … to contribute … er … er … and give a hand to help the poor people … or the old people because I think the old people are so … er … my … is look like my grandparents so I want to take good care for them). She can use markers accurately but within a narrow range (first; so; because; as well; in the future).

Her rather limited range of vocabulary is just adequate for this part of the test. She manages to talk at some length about these familiar topics and produces some good items (widen my knowledge; to overcome or try to get over the problem; contribute; take good care). She makes some errors in usage (do volunteers).

She uses a narrow range of sentence patterns, but there are a few instances of ‘if’ and ‘when’ clauses. She produces basic structures with reasonable accuracy but verb tense errors and omissions are frequent (I can shopping; before when I live in Vietnam I often go ... ; in picnic; I enjoy with it).

She has quite a strong accent with a number of poorly formed sounds and systematic omission of word endings (lee a han for ‘lend a hand’). Rhythm is often syllable-timed and utterances are sometimes delivered too rapidly, which causes some difficulty for the listener.

Despite this candidate’s ability to keep going throughout her long turn, her grammatical limitations and pronunciation problems restrict her rating to Band 5.