Passing the IELTS Academic Speaking: Tips, Tricks and Guide


There are some tips and tricks that you need to know in IELTS academic speaking. One of those is the use of the right verb.

This is a very common mistake committed not only in IELTS speaking but also in everyday conversation.

Consider this conversation below.

"Hi, how are you?", asked a longtime friend.

"I am very well, thank you", answered the other.

"Where do you work?", the friend asked again.

"I am working in the Isle of Man", he answered.


When you look at the sentences above, they seem to have no error at all. But when you analyze them closely, you will find that the answer to the second question is wrong, at least in the verb tense. Why?

Grammatically speaking, the answer to the first question is correct because the verb used was "am" which agrees in tense with the verb "are" in the question. Both are present tense. However, the answer to the second question is grammatically wrong. It is because the verb in the question is in the simple present tense (do), while the verb in the answer is in the present continuous/progressive (am working).

Analysing the answer deeply, he was saying that he is working at that particular time when in fact he's talking to his friend. Do you get the point here?

The answer should have been "I work in the Isle of Man". The verb "work" agrees now in tense with the verb in the question, both are in the simple present tense.

So the top tip is:

The verb in your answer must agree in tense with the verb in the question. Don't translate your answer in your own language into English. Use the English way-the right way instead.

If you were asked about your hobby, family,or your present job, you must use present tense, but if it is about experiences or anything that happened before or in the past, then by all means use past tense.

Another tip to get a good score in IELTS academic speaking is to not memorise possible answers. You will never know what the examiner will ask you. What you can do is just practise speaking on some personal topics like those mentioned above, but never memorize your lines.

Following these tips and the sets of criteria in scoring the IELTS academic speaking module will make you 2 steps ahead of others.



From IELTS Academic Speaking to Listening

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