How to Improve English Pronunciation Skills for the IELTS Speaking Test

how to improve english pronunciation

IELTS or International English Language Testing System gauges the language ability of candidates seeking to study or work in countries where English is used as the first language of communication. It is a standardized and highly esteemed English-language proficiency test that can get you noticed by thousands of universities all over the world. The four sections, writing, speaking, listening, and reading, test international students’ usage and understanding of English as it is spoken, written, and heard in college and university surroundings.

IELTS is taken by students, immigrants, and skilled workers to take Permanent Residence or get a job in an English-speaking country. To work or study in a foreign land where English is the only medium of communication and instruction, applicants need to test their eligibility in the English language. 

IELTS is broadly classified into IELTS Academic and General Training. Each type has four sections – Writing, Reading, Listening, Speaking. English language skills like pronunciation, vocabulary, coherent and cohesive writing skills, fluency, English grammar, confidence, and spelling are assessed in IELTS Speaking section. If you talk about one aspect that is very important and holds a lot of significance in IELTS, then that is pronunciation skills. The pronunciation skills of non-native English speakers are very important to understand if they will be able to communicate, integrate, understand, and most importantly, be understood by the native English speakers. 

Source: AcademicEnglishHelp

Pronunciation is the key to strong communication skills. If you are not able to pronounce the right word, it does not make sense because the other person will get you wrong. Pronunciation is one of the marking criteria in the IELTS examination and holds a lot of marks. In the IELTS Speaking test, it will not matter which accent you have, unless your pronunciation is right. Pronunciation takes a percentage of 25% of the entire IELTS Speaking score, so you must improve your skills to get a good band. 

Pronunciation is all about clear enunciation of sounds, individual speech, rhythm, word, and sentence, and specific intonation. The most important aspect of pronunciation is whether you are understood by the next person. The non-native English speakers need to work on pronunciation because their mother tongue is not English. The applicants should not let their native language control the pronunciation of English language words. To get a good band, in speaking and writing, you need to get good pronunciation skills. In short, to get a band 8 or more, your pronunciation skills should be clear so that the respective examiner can understand everything you are saying. If your test date is arriving soon, you need to start working on these below-listed tips that can help you with a winning pronunciation skill. Go through and learn how to improve English pronunciation. 

Tips to improve pronunciation in IELTS examination

Listen more English

One of the best ways to work on pronunciation to get a good IELTS band is by listening to English. Make the habit of listening as much as you can. You need to listen to it every day and make it a part of your daily life. You can learn from other speakers how words are preferred. Pay attention to words you hear. When you pay attention and listen to the expression and various words said by anyone or you are reading something, you will start differentiating between words and the sound that they produce. Listen to inspiring talks, watch English dialogue, and learn English from YouTube videos. 

Download some text reading applications

If you are eager to work on your pronunciation skills, you need to get some amazing text reading applications that are available online. You can download anyone from the Play Store or App Store that you find relevant and has good reviews. It can read any text for you. When it reads, you can listen to the pronunciation of each word. After this, you can repeat the same words in the same way. This way you will be able to get a good hold over the English language slowly. The more you talk, read and listen to the English language, the better you will be at it. 

Stop speaking your native language for some time

Your native language is not English, and that is why you are taking the English language proficiency test. Now, the native local language that you know proficiently will try to control your English-speaking ability. When you speak, you will have the accent of your local language and you pronounce words more with that local language. This way it will be a tedious task to get your English language pronunciation right. Stop speaking your native language when you are preparing for your IELTS examination. Start speaking in English. 

Get personal help from an expert

It is very important and vital for non-native English speakers to get pronunciation right. If you are trying to get a good band in speaking as well as other sections, you need to make sure you are doing something about it. Take expert help who will be able to teach you all the basics of the English language. Get a personal tutor so that you can correct all the English language skills and get good knowledge about pronunciation. 

Get help from a dictionary

Taking help from the leading dictionaries that are available like Cambridge Dictionary of English, Merriam-Webster, and American Dictionary of English will be very helpful for you to get hold of English words and sounds that they make. Try and check out all the available online versions of the above-mentioned dictionaries. Search for any word to know the meaning of the word and learn how it is pronounced. 

Face the mirror and notice your mouth while you speak

You may feel that pronunciation is all about sound, but it is your mouth that is making various shapes to create the sound. Watch yourself in a mirror to check whether you are truly making the right shapes to deliver the right sounds. 

Listen to yourself

If you feel you are not comfortable facing yourself in the mirror, you can try out this. Listen to yourself. Speak anything loudly so that you can hear it. This is one very essential way to get hold of those tricky little errors and pronunciation mistakes. When you are randomly talking, it is very easy to overlook these mistakes. Try to record yourself and then when you hear it, you will find all the small and major errors that will catch your ears immediately. 

So, take your phone and do the recording. Then listen very carefully to what you say. Be objective, take feedback and be critical of yourself. If you feel there is something wrong, that is where you need to start working on it. 

Speak English

It is not just about listening to the English language. You need to listen. However, you need to speak English spontaneously. When you are not prepared, start speaking English or give answers to someone suddenly in the English language when you are not supposed to. This will help you get accustomed to speaking English. The more you speak, the more you make mistakes, and eventually, you will learn from them. Get a friend with whom you can speak English. Get the right partner, with whom you can try out speaking English in all kinds of emotions. When you involve a variety of emotions, you will learn a lot of words. Make sure your partner corrects you when you are wrong. 

Speak slowly

Fluency has nothing to do with speaking fast. Speaking fast will only make you nervous, confused, and very indecisive. When you speak slowly you will be able to pronounce all the words in the best way. When you speak slowly you get time to think, and you know what you want to say next without being nervous. When you think and speak slowly, you pronounce better. 

Sing English songs

Did you know that singing your favorite song can improve your pronunciation? Singing is the best way to improve your English proficiency in pronunciation and fluency. Singing is the perfect way of relaxing your mind, but it also helps with your rhythm and intonation. You get to speak various English words fluently, and this will show you an improvement with time. 

Converse with native English speakers

Communicate with native speakers. Listen to what they say and how they say it. It is important to observe how native speakers speak and you need to compare how your speaking and pronunciation are different from the native speakers. The more you speak, you get to compare and point out all the mistakes. 

Practice difficult words

When you try to speak difficult words, you will be able to work out the pronunciation skills for simple words. Languages are not consistent in the sounds that they produce and have. Some words may have a sound that is not there in any other words. So, when you practice difficult words, you understand easily how to pronounce all the simple and common words. 

Break down big words

When you hear or see the bigger words you will be struggling with, it is important to remember and simplify the big words by breaking the big words down into syllables. 

Conclusion

Right pronunciation is important because that is how you help others understand what you are speaking. Similarly, IELTS tests English language proficiency and pronunciation is an important factor for a good band score. To have good communication skills, you need to have the right pronunciation so that you can integrate, communicate, and settle down in an English-speaking country. The above tips will help you improve your pronunciation and get a good IELTS band.

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