IELTS pronunciation practice techniques to boost your speaking score

By Edvoy• Last updated: Nov 8, 2023
IELTS pronunciation practice techniques to boost your speaking score
Free IELTS coaching for you
Get access to virtual sessions, expert tips, mock tests and more

The speaking section is one of the key components of the IELTS exam, where you are assessed on your ability to communicate effectively in English. Pronunciation plays a significant role in effective communication, as it affects how well your speech is understood by others.

Pronouncing English words correctly, using appropriate stress and intonation, and speaking with natural rhythm and pace can greatly enhance your speaking skills and boost your overall IELTS score.

In this guide, we will explore various techniques and strategies for pronunciation practice that will help you improve your spoken English and increase your chances of success in the IELTS speaking test.

Techniques to improve your English pronunciation

The speaking module of the IELTS test evaluates a candidate's ability to communicate effectively in spoken English, including their pronunciation. Here are some effective techniques for practising pronunciation specifically for the IELTS speaking test:

1. Listen to authentic English audio

Listening to authentic English audio, such as recordings of native speakers or English-language news broadcasts, can expose you to different accents, speech patterns, and intonation patterns. Pay close attention to how native speakers pronounce different sounds, stress syllables in words, and use intonation to convey meaning.

Listen to a variety of sources to familiarise yourself with different accents and speech styles, which can be beneficial for the IELTS speaking test where you may encounter speakers from various English-speaking countries.

Also read: IELTS grammar rules

2. Record and analyse your speaking practice

Recording yourself speaking in English and analysing the recordings can be a useful technique for identifying and improving your pronunciation errors. Record yourself speaking IELTS-style questions or practice prompts, and listen to the recordings critically.

Compare your pronunciation with that of native speakers and identify areas where you may have difficulties, such as specific vowel or consonant sounds, word stress, or intonation. Take note of the areas that need improvement and practise them deliberately.

Also read: 75 English words used daily (and their meanings)

3. Focus on individual sounds

English has a wide range of vowel and consonant sounds that may not exist in your native language. Pay particular attention to the sounds that are different from those in your native language and practice producing them correctly.

Watch videos or listen to audio clips that demonstrate the correct articulation of these sounds, and practice them repeatedly. Pay attention to the position of your tongue, lips, and vocal cords when producing these sounds, and practice until you can accurately reproduce them.

Achieve your highest IELTS score!

Signup for your free IELTS masterclass with Edvoy.

Learn from the best of the best teacher with over 17 years of experience.

Sign up now!

4. Practise word and sentence stress

Word and sentence stress plays a crucial role in English pronunciation. English often stresses one syllable more than others in multi-syllable words, and sentence stress can convey meaning and emphasis in spoken English. Practise identifying and applying stress to the correct syllables in words, and using appropriate intonation patterns in different types of sentences.

For example, questions in English often have rising intonation at the end, while statements have falling intonation. Practising word and sentence stress can help you sound more natural and fluent in English during the IELTS speaking test.

Also read: IELTS vocabulary words: The ultimate list

5. Slow down and enunciate

Many non-native English speakers tend to speak quickly, which can affect their pronunciation. Practise speaking slowly and clearly, enunciating each sound and syllable. Pay attention to the sounds that you tend to rush or mumble, and practise them deliberately to improve your articulation.

Speaking slowly and clearly can help you improve the accuracy and clarity of your pronunciation, which is important for the IELTS speaking test where examiners assess your ability to communicate effectively.

Free IELTS coaching for you
Get access to virtual sessions, expert tips, mock tests and more

6. Use phonetic symbols

Phonetic symbols, such as the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), are visual representations of the sounds of English. Learning and using phonetic symbols can help you identify and correct pronunciation errors more effectively.

You can find online resources or apps that provide phonetic charts and practice exercises to familiarise yourself with the symbols and their corresponding sounds. Practice using phonetic symbols to transcribe and analyse your own speech or the speech of native speakers to improve your accuracy in producing English sounds.

Also read: IELTS preparation

7. Mimic native speakers

Mimicking native speakers is a powerful technique to improve your pronunciation. Listen to native speakers and try to imitate their speech patterns, rhythm, stress, and intonation. Pay attention to the nuances of their pronunciation, such as the way they form certain sounds or the melody of their speech, and practise replicating them.

Mimicking native speakers can help you develop a more natural and authentic pronunciation, and build muscle memory for the correct articulation of English sounds.

8. Get feedback from native speakers

Seek feedback from native English speakers to get an external perspective on your pronunciation. You can practise speaking with native speakers, whether it's through language exchange programs, online language partners, or English-speaking friends.

Ask for feedback on specific aspects of your pronunciation, such as sounds, stress, intonation, and rhythm. Native speakers can provide valuable feedback and help you identify areas for improvement.

Watch our IELTS Lessons Playlist on YouTube. Our expert instructor covers all modules: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Click here.

9. Practice in context

Practice pronunciation in the context of real-life situations. For example, simulate the IELTS speaking test by practising with sample questions and prompts. Use the pronunciation techniques you have learned to respond to the questions or prompts naturally and fluently.

Practice speaking in different situations, such as giving presentations, having conversations, or participating in group discussions, to develop your pronunciation skills in various contexts.

10. Use technology

There are several online resources and apps available that can help you practise pronunciation. You can find websites or apps that provide interactive exercises, videos, and audio clips for improving specific pronunciation skills, such as vowel sounds, consonant sounds, and intonation patterns.

Some apps even use speech recognition technology to provide instant feedback on your pronunciation. Utilise these resources to supplement your practice and receive additional guidance on improving your pronunciation.

Also read: IELTS tricks and tips

Free IELTS coaching for you
Get access to virtual sessions, expert tips, mock tests and more

Pronunciation features

The main pronunciation features that are important for achieving clear and effective communication in English, including the IELTS exam, are as follows:

1. Sounds

English has a variety of vowel and consonant sounds. Understanding and accurately producing these sounds is crucial for intelligibility.

For example, the vowel sounds /æ/ (as in "cat"), /ɪ/ (as in "sit"), and /ʌ/ (as in "cut") have distinct pronunciation patterns. Similarly, the consonant sounds /p/ (as in "pat"), /t/ (as in "top"), and /k/ (as in "cat") require specific mouth positions and airflow

2. Word stress

English is a stress-timed language, meaning some syllables in words are stressed more heavily than others. Mastering word stress involves identifying the stressed syllables in words and pronouncing them with emphasis.

For instance, in the word "photograph," the stress is on the second syllable: "pho-TO-graph." By placing the stress on the correct syllable, you ensure clarity and avoid confusion with similar-sounding words.

3. Sentence stress

Sentence stress refers to the emphasis placed on certain words in a sentence to convey meaning and highlight important information. Content words, such as nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs, are usually stressed, while function words, like articles, prepositions, and pronouns, receive less emphasis.

For example, consider the sentence, "I didn't say he stole the money." The stressed words "didn't," "say," "stole," and "money" convey the main information and intentions of the speaker.

4. Intonation

Intonation refers to the rise and fall of pitch in spoken language. It adds meaning, mood, and emphasis to speech. Appropriate intonation patterns are crucial for conveying questions, statements, exclamations, and other speech functions accurately.

For example, a rising intonation pattern at the end of a sentence typically indicates a question: "Are you coming?" In contrast, a falling intonation pattern usually accompanies a statement: "I am going to the store."

5. Connected speech

In connected speech, words often blend together, and certain sounds may change or be omitted to facilitate smoother and more natural speech flow. Features of connected speech include linking sounds, elision (omission of sounds), and assimilation (sounds changing based on neighbouring sounds).

For example, in the phrase "I want to go," the phrase is often pronounced as "I wanna go," with the "t" in "want to" being elided, and the "a" in "wanna" linking smoothly with the following word.

6. Rhythm

English has a specific rhythm known as stress-timing. It means that stressed syllables occur at regular intervals, while unstressed syllables are compressed.

For example, consider the sentence, "She can't go to the party." In the stress-timed rhythm, the stressed syllables ("can't," "go," and "party") are spaced evenly, while the unstressed syllables are compressed.

7. Pronunciation of commonly mispronounced words

Some words have a higher tendency to be mispronounced due to irregularities or inconsistencies. Identify these words and practise their correct pronunciation to avoid common errors.

For instance, the word "colonel" is pronounced as "kernel," and "pronunciation" is pronounced as "pro-nun-see-AY-shun." By learning and practising the correct pronunciation of these words, you can avoid common errors.


Improving your pronunciation is crucial for achieving a high score on the IELTS speaking test. Remember to practise consistently and be patient with yourself as pronunciation skills take time to develop. With dedication and effort, you can enhance your pronunciation and confidently demonstrate your English speaking abilities in the IELTS Speaking test.

Frequently asked questions

How important is pronunciation in the IELTS speaking test?

Pronunciation is a crucial aspect of the IELTS speaking test as it accounts for 25% of the speaking score. Accurate pronunciation helps convey your ideas clearly and enhances your overall speaking fluency, which can significantly impact your score.

Can I improve my pronunciation even if English is not my native language?

Yes, absolutely! Regardless of whether English is your native language or not, you can still improve your pronunciation with practice, dedication, and guidance. By following techniques such as listening to native speakers, mimicking their pronunciation, practising difficult sounds, and seeking feedback, you can make significant progress in improving your pronunciation skills.

How long does it take to improve pronunciation for the IELTS speaking test?

The time it takes to improve your pronunciation for the IELTS speaking test varies depending on your current level of proficiency and the amount of effort and practise you put in. Consistent practise and dedication over time can yield significant improvements. However, it's important to be patient with yourself and understand that improving pronunciation is a gradual process that requires consistent effort and practice.

How can I get 7.0 in IELTS Speaking?

It is essential to focus on several key areas, such as fluency, coherence, vocabulary range, grammatical accuracy, and pronunciation, to achieve a 7.0 in IELTS Speaking. Practising regularly, seeking feedback from native speakers, and familiarizing yourself with the IELTS Speaking test format can greatly contribute to improving your performance.

Which pronunciation is used in IELTS?

IELTS does not require you to use any specific accent or pronunciation. The test assesses your ability to communicate effectively, so as long as your pronunciation is clear and understandable to the examiner, it will not affect your score.

How can I improve my IELTS Speaking vocabulary?

Improving your IELTS Speaking vocabulary can be done through various methods. Reading extensively, especially materials related to your desired band score, will expose you to new words and phrases. Additionally, practising speaking with others, using vocabulary exercises, and keeping a vocabulary notebook to record and review new words can all contribute to expanding your vocabulary for the IELTS Speaking test.

Does pronunciation affect IELTS Speaking?

Yes, pronunciation does have an impact on your IELTS Speaking score. The IELTS Speaking assessment criteria include pronunciation as one of the key factors. It is important to focus on clear and accurate pronunciation, as well as stress and intonation patterns, to ensure effective communication.

Achieve your highest IELTS score!

Signup for your free IELTS masterclass with Edvoy.

Learn from the best of the best teacher with over 17 years of experience.

Sign up now!

Share this article:
author avatar
Written By

Study Abroad Expert

Stay tuned with us for more updates on studying abroad.