IELTS Study Material
Speaking
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Fluency

Fluency is one part of the IELTS Speaking Test assessment criteria, Fluency and Coherence (FC). There are three others, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range & Accuracy, and Pronunciation.

What is fluency?

According to the British Council, fluency means the following:

‘Fluency in a language means speaking easily, reasonably quickly and without having to stop and pause a lot.’

However, examiners assessing IELTS Speaking follow strict guidelines, regarding fluency, and it is those guidelines that we will focus on.

Here the examiner is observing the speed, and flow of the candidate's speech. Where it is very slow, the listener can experience difficulty holding onto the connections between the words or propositions used. Very slow speech does not captivate the listener, and hold their attention, compounding the difficulties!

Smooth flowing speech is what the examiner is looking for. The ability to express oneself without stops, and starts, constant unnecessary repetition of words and phrases, long pauses, etc. A weak vocabulary can result in a lack of fluency, as the candidate takes long pauses, searching for the appropriate, next word!

It should be noted, that most native speech does not flow all the time and has pauses, so being fluent does not mean perfect flow, rather the ability to maintain a flow of language without unnatural, or excessive hesitation.

In the FC band descriptor, lower levels are characterised by slow speech and excessive pausing. For band scores of 6 and above, it is necessary to be able to continue speaking with some degree of ease, whatever the topic being discussed.

It is easier to maintain a level of fluency when discussing topics that are familiar to the speaker, so higher band levels require the speaker be fluent most of the time, even when discussing unfamiliar subject matter.

Fluency comes from a lot of speaking practice, so the best way to improve is to speak and engage in conversation as often as possible!

Useful websites

Speaking Rules

Top 10 Tips of Fluent Speech

Speak English Fluently

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Study Materials List
  • Pronunciation
    IELTS Speaking
  • Fluency
    IELTS Speaking
  • Vocabulary
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  • Grammatical Range
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  • Grammatical Accuracy
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  • Task 1 Question Types
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  • Key Features
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  • Idioms
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  • Collocation
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  • Format
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  • Paraphrasing
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  • Introduction to the IELTS Speaking Test
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  • Referencing & Substitution
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  • Spelling and Word Selection
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  • Key Features / Bullet Points
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  • Tone
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  • Chunking
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  • Format & Data
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  • Overview
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  • Sentence Forms
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  • Coherence
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  • Cohesion
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  • Answer Script Overview
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  • Factually Correct
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  • IELTS Essay Introduction
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  • Introductory Markers
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  • Task Purpose / Requirements
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  • Question Response
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  • Sequencers
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  • Errors
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  • Linking Words and Phrases
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  • Task 1 Requirements
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  • Idiom
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  • 5 Paragraph Essay
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  • Coherence
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  • Paragraphing
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  • Transition Sentences
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  • Collocation
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  • Chunking
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  • Introductory Frame
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  • Demo Study Material
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