Speaking 4:  IELTS speaking tips to help with pronunciation 
The face-to-face nature of the IELTS speaking test encourages individuals to develop the skills they will need to interact successfully with English speakers. Pronunciation is one of these skills – and one of the four test criteria for IELTS, along with fluency and coherence, grammatical range and accuracy, and lexical resource, which are all covered elsewhere.

This video looks at a variety of pronunciation features, such as individual sounds, word stress, sentence stress and intonation. It also highlights the pitfalls that come with memorising long answers before the test and indicates how techniques such as chunking can be used to improve performance.

Word stress, sentence stress and intonation
Stressing the wrong syllable in a word is a common error, especially as the stressed syllable often changes within word families. For example, we stress the pho in photograph, the to in photography and the gra in photographic. Similarly, people often make mistakes with the way that words are emphasised within a sentence (sentence stress) or struggle with changing the pitch of their voice (intonation) to convey meaning.

While some individuals are tempted to memorise long responses in advance of the test, this can result in a monotone delivery and potentially lower test scores. Instead, people should practice as much as possible to improve their pronunciation in speaking tests. 

Tips for improving performance
A useful first step is for any candidate working on their  IELTS speaking pronunciation is to determine how word and sentence stress, intonation and rhythm differ between English and their own first language. 

Listening to a variety of authentic English sources – such as BBC Radio or The Voice of America – can help . Even when we’re not listening closely, having the radio or television on in the background can help us attune to the rhythm and intonation of another language, so this is a useful tip to pass on. 

People taking the test may also benefit from using ‘chunking’, a way of packaging information for the listener. This involves delivering ‘chunks’ of information to communicate a thought or idea with short silences in between. To test this in practice, individuals might like to record themselves and listen back. This will also help them hear if they are rushing, not speaking clearly or missing appropriate pauses.