What to do if You Are Unfamiliar With the Topic in IELTS Speaking Module?

  • Team MasterPrep
  • minute read
  • Sep 24, 2022 01:54 PM

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IELTS students’ biggest nightmare is getting an unfamiliar topic in the speaking module on the test day. It is a lot of pressure for students to talk on a different topic in a second language. Even the native speakers struggle to speak on a topic that they are not familiar with.  In this post, we will highlight how to deal with such situations. Honestly, the chances of getting an unfamiliar topic are directly proportional to the time invested in the IELTS preparation. The IELTS choose items that people are comfortable to discuss. However, what is more, important to remember is that it is a speaking test and not a speaking test. The marking scheme doesn’t focus on knowledge much; instead, it focuses more on Fluency, Pronunciation, Vocabulary, Grammar, etc.

Coming back to the point, ‘What to do if I get an unfamiliar topic?’ the following tips will get through your tough times:

Tip 1: Be open and honest.

You can openly tell the examiner that you have little or no knowledge about the topic. It is always important to explain why. You are explaining why, will give you an extra opportunity to showcase your pronunciation, grammar, fluency skills and vocabulary. 

Tip 2: Stay calm

Remember to stay calm. Take a deep breath and think. There are some quick phrases you can say in case you encounter such a situation:

•"That's an interesting question."

•"Let me think about the topic for a minute please."

Also, you can ask for rephrasing or clarification. Do not be afraid to ask your examiner to repeat or clarify your question. To clarify, you can also use the following phrases:

•"I'm sorry I don't understand the question."

•"Can you explain the question, please?"

Tip 3: Don't be silent:

Silence doesn’t help you anywhere in your life. It will not be going to help you show your language ability. If you are not saying anything, it means that examiner doesn’t have enough evidence of your speaking ability to score.

Tip 4: Questions, questions, questions:

The speaking module consists of three parts. Therefore, if you are not able to answer one question, there are many opportunities to speak during the exam. Try not to get distracted or stressed if, at some point, you are not able to answer any question.

Tip 5: Don't be uninformed:

It is advisable to take some time to become familiar with the speaking descriptors used for the IELTS exam. Also, make sure you practice the sample papers and give mock tests at Masterprep. If you are planning to study abroad, then you need to give a language proficiency test to prove your eligibility. To score well, join the best IELTS coaching institute like Masterprep today! Enrol today!