IELTS speaking ‘echo’

Posted by on February 19th, 2020 | 0 comments | IELTS, lexical resource, paraphrase, reformulation, speaking

What kind of bag do I use to carry my personal belongings? The bag that I use to carry my personal belongings is a ruck sack.

Consider this dialogue:

What is your favourite form of transportation?
My favourite form of transportation is motorcycle.

In this example the candidate echoed a large part of the question: my favourite form of transportation. As a result the candidate missed an opportunity to demonstrate what is called reformulation:

What is your favourite form of transportation?
Actually I prefer to travel by motorcycle.

In IELTS speaking it’s a good idea to avoid echoing what the examiner says. Reformulating questions will potentially increase your IELTS speaking score, in particular your score for vocabulary (Lexical Resource).

  • Even if you can’t think of different words to use, it’s often possible to use different word forms (e.g. ‘success’ / ‘succeed’)!


In the following practice activity, try matching questions and answers, and notice how the candidate avoids echoing words and phrases from the questions.

  • What’s your favourite wild animal? || When I was younger I really liked elephants!
  • What didn’t you like about your school days? || Sport wasn’t much fun because it was usually outdoors and the weather is awful in my country.
  • Are there any occasions when flowers are used in your culture? || On Valentines day people often give roses.
  • What do you use the Internet for? || Mostly I stay in touch with friends through social media.
  • Where can you exercise near where you live? || A lot of people go jogging at the beach.
  • Do you do housework at home? || I don’t really have time for cooking and cleaning. I have a maid for that.
  • What are the most popular pets in your country? || In Bali many people have dogs to scare away intruders.
  • Should people grow flowers or food in their gardens? || It depends whether their aim is decoration or self-sufficiency.
  • Would you like to be a celebrity? || Not really. I’m quite a shy person.
  • I’m sorry I’ve never really thought about that.

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