Speaking fast in IELTS Speaking is a good idea?

I bet you have seen so many English teachers talk about how to speak fast to sound “more fluent” and “native-like” by combining and/or skipping sounds. (There’s no such thing, though! The clearer you speak, the better! But we’re not discussing this here!) So you thought that in IELTS, you might as well speak fast in IELTS Speaking to “impress” the examiner.

Congratulations! You are…wrong!

speak fast in ielts speaking

Everything you need to know about IELTS.

Just like speaking fast in conversations doesn’t make you sound better, just because you speak fast in IELTS Speaking doesn’t mean you will get a better band score! Not only that, it may also contribute to a reduction in your score.

In this article, I will explain to you why speaking too fast will hinder your preparation process, and what you should do instead.

Speaking too fast is the source of so many issues.

Unclear pronunciation

When you speak too fast, you tend to omit some sounds in words, especially sounds that are soft and at the middle/end of the pronunciations. It means you skip the sounds that need to be pronounced as they are soft and they are in tricky positions, such as a soft vowel sound between two strong consonants.

This tendency creates mispronunciations, affecting your Pronunciation score.


When you speak too fast, you have no control over your pronunciation. Words will be pronounced in an instinctive way, which means you have no time or brain capacity to focus on the words that you instinctively pronounce wrong but know the correct pronunciation.

Think about a mispronunciation that you have. You know it’s a mispronunciation and you also know the correct one. But when you speak too fast, you tend to revert to the pronunciation you are used to. Of course, this is not ideal but if you slow down a little bit, you will have time to realize that you are about to use this word and adjust your pronunciation in the way that you want to.

Huyen reacts to IELTS Speaking Band 5.5.

The lack of logical answers

‘Fluency and Coherence’ is a criterion in IELTS Speaking that assesses your level of fluency and how coherently you can answer the questions.

Speaking too fast leaves you no time to organize your ideas, hence your answers lack a logical flow. Not all of us are good communicators, so we all need to think and maintain the thinking process throughout the exam. 

Even though there is no right or wrong in IELTS Speaking, there are answers that are put logically and those that are messy. If you want to improve your ‘Fluency and Coherence’ score, you should work on organizing your ideas in a logical way.

Recent actual IELTS Writing Task 2.

The most important thing is to maintain a good speed throughout the exam!

A good speed

A good speaking speed is a speed that is not too fast and not too slow. This speed varies among people You should find your own good speed.

This speed is the one that allows you to sound fluent (not too slow) but at the same time, you can still have the brain capacity to think and organize your language and ideas (not too fast). At this speed, you know exactly what you are talking about, what ideas are about to come out, if the ideas are relevant, how to present the ideas, what words and their synonyms, and what grammar you should use to present these ideas, and how to elaborate these ideas properly.

Maintain this speed

You should never change your speed mid-exam unless you are asking for more time to think (as in you don’t have an answer yet). Even in that case, you shouldn’t slow down too much and it shouldn’t happen more than twice.

So, do not suddenly speak faster or slow down in your exam. It makes you sound unnatural and, of course, may hurt your score in the process.

So, what do you think? Are you trying to speak fast in IELTS Speaking?

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Don’t waste your time on IELTS! You can get it this time.

Have fun learning!

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Huyen Nguyen

Founder of Practice9, creator of IELTS with Huyen. Huyen has 10 years of experience with IELTS, overall 8.5.

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