Do You Have To Sound Like A Native Speaker For The IELTS Exam? - IELTS University (Singapore)

Do You Have To Sound Like A Native Speaker For The IELTS Exam?

Having to fake a native speaker accent in order to score well in the IELTS exam is a common myth that has unfortunately been perpetuated throughout the internet. In this article, we will take a look at whether there is any truth to this statement or not.

What Is An Accent?

In truth an accent is not apart of the speaking criteria of (so you do not need a native accent at all to score well in the exam). In fact most people actually confuse the meaning of the word accent, when they really mean pronunciation.

Pronunciation refers to a specific set of speaking features like word stress, intonation, and enunciation, while the word accent refers to how people from a particular area speak. All accents in the IELTS exam are generally fine unless of course your accent somehow hinders the understanding of what you are trying to say

Pronunciation is an important criteria for the speaking exam. Pay attention to your pronunciation as this accounts for 25% of your speaking score. Don’t overcomplicate or fake your accent but rather keep it simple, and easy to understand.

How Can You Improve Your Pronunciation?

A significant portion of your speaking score is based on In order to mimic the pronunciation features of a native speaker, you have to be aware of the flow and tempo of your speech, you also have to pay close attention to your tone and intonation.

You can think about it in terms of whether your voice is following the right patterns of speech, is the rhythm of your going up and down in the correct places, and are you speaking at the correct speed.

To do this you can listen to how native English speakers speak. There are many ways in which you can do this by watching  English TV programmes or News channels, or listening to podcasts about topics that interest you This will help acclimatize you to the sounds and unique pronunciations used by speakers. Try getting a hold of the transcripts and repeating what you have just heard, with the same pronunciation and stress. Pay attention to the rhythm and how intonation is used to show attitudes and emphasis. It would be best to record what you say and then listen back to it to see how it compared to the original audio.

You should improve your pronunciation skills before you sit for the exam. However, it is very difficult for second language learners to objectively point out their own weak areas when it comes to productive skills like speaking. This is why the best approach would be to work on your pronunciation with a trusted PTE professional, who can guide on all the best methods and tips to improve your pronunciation.