You can ask questions

You can ask questions

Asking an examiner questions in the speaking exam

You can ask the examiner questions in the IELTS speaking exam.There are numerous ways to deal with problems and it is a good idea to learn these before taking an exam.

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Asking the examiner questions
        FUNCTION                PHRASE
Repeat question

Could you please repeat that?

Sorry, I didn’t quite catch what you said?

 Checking a word (part 1 -3) Sorry, what does X mean?
Could you please explain the meaning of X?
Checking the question
(part 3 only)
Are you asking me….?
Do you mean….?
Engaging the examiner If you know what I mean.
Don’t you agree?
Do you feel the same way?
Useful Discourse Markers
FUNCTION                          PHRASE
    Buying time   Let me see now, that really is quite a tricky question. Well, I suppose I would have to say that…
Oh gosh! I’m really not sure about that, but probably…
Extending Let me cut to the chase, the key point is…
Anyway, the thing I really want to say is…
What I’m trying to say is…
And, well, let me put it this way…
 Repeating  Let me put it another way
Or, in other words…
To put it more succinctly…
 Restarting How can I put this (better) …
Let me start over…
Oh, I seem to have lost my train of thought a bit, let me see, oh yes, that’s right, what I mean to say is…

Something  I’d like to know is am I allowed to make notes in both the second and the third part?
Only really the 2nd part (you get one minute) most examiners will take away the paper after part 2, and you don’t have time to make notes in part 3, you must answer fairly quickly (no preparation time is given)

And what would you advise me to do if i totally block and can`t come up with normal and logical answer.
Just tell the examiner “sorry I don’t have any opinion about that”

Can I ask the examiner what a word means
Part 1
you can ask the examiner to repeat the question (they can do this 1 time only for each question). It won’t have a negative impact on your grade unless you do this often.
Part 1 and 2 you can ask the examiner the meaning of a WORD
Part 3 you can ask the examiner to REPHRASE the question

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2 thoughts on “You can ask questions”

    • For an essay yes! For speaking, it is OK one time. The examiner may rephrase it or guide you towards an opinion..maybe saying something
      like “Well, do you think it would be bad for the economy”


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