If I learn answers to speaking questions, does that mean that I memorise answers? Will I have a lower band score because of that?
Well, everyone says that you should avoid memorised answers in IELTS speaking because examiners can spot such answers easily. That’s right. But don’t be so afraid. It is clear that all learning requires memorisation. Just don’t confuse memorising answers with learning words, phrases, and even parts of the answer which you can easily adapt and change while you speak.
BAD APPROACH: If you learned the whole answer by heart, but you don’t understand what you are talking about. You just learned a sequence of sounds. As a result, you won’t sound natural, you will sound mechanical. If you forget some part of the answer and continue from some point, your answer will make no sense. For example, I speak an answer but I don’t have any idea of what this answer is about. All I can do is learn all these sounds by heart. If I forget any part, I don’t even know how that will influence the meaning. Any experienced tutor and examiner will easily recognise such answers.
GOOD APPROACH: You read some answer to speaking questions to get ideas, learn some good phrases, some parts of the answer, even the whole answer. But the most important thing is to understand what each expression or phrase means, which words to emphasize, where to make pauses. Thus, you will sound natural even if you tried to learn the whole answer because you will change and adapt your answer while you speak. Also, even if you forget some part, you will say something appropriate because you will understand what exactly you are saying. So, it’s okay to learn answers as long as you understand them!
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