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Your Native Language

This IELTS speaking tip depends a bit on your native language. I’ve taught in Germany, South Korea, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.

In some of those countries, for example Vietnam, they don’t have a the past simple. In Germany, they have it but it is more common to use the present perfect.

So before you decide to do this tip consider this: what are the main grammatical differences between your language and English?

Think about a common area of grammar like the past simple or present continuous.

Vietnamese students very rarely use the past simple during the speaking test even though if I asked them to write a sentence in the past they could do it easily.


Because the speaking test is fast. You have to focus on your pronunciation, grammar, vocab and fluency and there’s no time to get it right.

So, for Part 2 of the speaking test I recommend to my students to spend their preparation time writing down regular and irregular past simple verbs if the topic takes place in the past (most do).

Write the verbs again and again.

Not only will that help you remember to use them when you talk, but they will also light your way through your response.

Here I am (in a video from our YouTube) talking about the same tip:

Here are some helpful speaking model answers: friends, phones, school, and history.

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