IELTS speaking tip :give yourself time to think


Right, hello again. So we’ve got another IELTS speaking tip for you today. The tip that we have today is give yourself time to think. Now this would apply to part one and part three, maybe not part two, the presentation, because you already have a minute to prepare. But part one and part three you have give an immediate answer, you have no preparation time. But there’s something you can do, often we call this buying time, so to buy time. Sometimes, especially in part three, they’re going to ask you some quite complex questions, giving your opinion, comparing something, something that requires maybe a little bit of thought.

Now you’ve got to think how can you get time, how can you get time to think about this when you’ve got to give an immediate answer. It’s quite difficult, but there’s a couple of ways that you could do this. Now one way is to comment on the question. So you’re almost thinking out loud. If the examiner asks you a difficult question you could say something like, hhmm, that is an interesting question or that’s a good question. So whilst you’re saying that you’re having a little think in the back of your mind about about what you’re going to say. Just one thing I’d say, don’t over use this, every question they ask you don’t want to say, hhmm, that’s a good question, because that would sound rather strange. But you can buy time by doing this, by thinking out loud. Or another way to buy a little bit of time maybe, have a little sentence saying you don’t know much about the topic. So maybe the firstly I’ve bought time by commenting on the question, so I could say that’s a difficult question, then I could have a phrase saying that I’m not an expert. So you could say, well I don’t really know much about this topic to be honest, but…and then you attempt to give your answer. So that’s another way, also maybe you could ask for a couple of seconds to think about what you’re going to say.

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This is just a natural thing native speakers do when they’re talking, so I don’t think it could be wrong that you’re doing this in the test. So you could say, oh, give me a couple of seconds to think about the answer, I’m really not sure, and then you can have a couple of seconds to think about what you’re going to say. It’s something that people do when they’re speaking naturally, so I don’t think the examiner could mark you down if you do just ask for a couple of seconds to think. Not a long time, if you’re asking for a couple of seconds, just take a couple of seconds. But you’re trying to buy time, you’re giving yourself time to think.

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