How to Improve Fluency and Coherence for IELTS Speaking: Tips and Strategies

by | Mar 28, 2023 | IELTS Speaking, Practice Strategies


Achieving fluency and coherence in the IELTS Speaking exam is a crucial aspect of attaining a high band score.

As the two primary components of the speaking test, fluency, and coherence are essential to demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively in English.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide detailed tips and examples to help you improve your IELTS Speaking fluency and coherence. Get ready to conquer your speaking exam with confidence!

Understand the criteria for fluency and coherence

To optimize your IELTS Speaking fluency and coherence, it’s essential to understand what the examiners are looking for:

• Fluency: The smoothness, pace, and ease of your speech. This includes minimal hesitation, appropriate use of fillers, and a natural speech rate.

• Coherence: The logical organization and clarity of your thoughts and ideas. This includes clear connections between sentences, the use of cohesive devices, and the development of relevant points.

Fluency and coherence are two key components of the IELTS Speaking assessment criteria.

Practice speaking English regularly

Immersing yourself in English-speaking environments and consistently practicing your spoken English will significantly enhance your IELTS Speaking fluency. Here are some ways to practice:

• Join conversation clubs or language exchange groups.

• Speak with native English speakers or other learners.

• Record yourself speaking and analyze your performance. Listen back to identify areas of improvement.

• Use mobile apps designed to improve spoken English.

Think in English

To achieve greater fluency in IELTS Speaking, try to develop the habit of thinking in English. This will help you respond to questions more spontaneously and naturally, without needing to translate from your native language. To practice this, you can:

• Narrate your daily activities in English.

• Engage in mental conversations with yourself.

Plan and Organize Your Ideas

Before you start speaking, take a moment to plan and organize your thoughts. This will help you maintain coherence and avoid unnecessary pauses or repetitions.

Structure your response with a clear introduction, main points, and a conclusion. Using this approach will ensure that your ideas flow logically and seamlessly.


For a part 2 topic, create a mental outline of your response, including the main points you want to discuss and supporting details.

Develop logical and organized responses

For coherent speech, it’s essential to have a clear structure in your responses. You can achieve this by:

• Answering the question directly and concisely.

• Expanding on your answer with relevant details and examples.

• Using cohesive devices such as “firstly,” “secondly,” “for example,” and “on the other hand.”

• Summarizing your main points at the end of your response.

Monitor Your Speaking Speed

Speaking too fast or too slow can affect your fluency.

Aim for a comfortable pace that allows you to articulate your thoughts clearly without rushing or hesitating. Practice speaking at different speeds to find the optimal pace for you.

Record yourself speaking and adjust your speed until you find the most natural and comfortable pace.

Master Effective Pausing

Effective pausing allows you to gather your thoughts and maintain fluency. Instead of using filler words like “um” or “uh,” try using short pauses to signal that you’re thinking.

To practice this, record yourself speaking and identify instances where you use filler words. Replace these with pauses and notice the improvement in your fluency.

This will help you maintain coherence and sound more natural.

Work on your pronunciation and intonation

Clear pronunciation and appropriate intonation contribute to fluency and comprehensibility. Focus on:

• Learning the correct pronunciation of difficult sounds.

• Imitating native speakers to understand natural intonation and stress patterns.

• Practicing stress and rhythm in sentences.

• Slowing down your speech when

Use resources such as videos, podcasts, or pronunciation guides to mimic native speaker accents. As you become more confident in your pronunciation, your fluency will naturally improve.

Expand your vocabulary

A diverse vocabulary is essential for IELTS Speaking fluency. Improve your vocabulary by:

• Reading a variety of materials (newspapers, books, articles, etc.).

• Watching English-language movies and TV shows.

• Using flashcards or vocabulary apps.

• Learning collocations and idiomatic expressions.

Aim to learn new words and phrases regularly, focusing on various topics relevant to the test. Practice using these words in context to improve your speaking confidence. For instance:

Topic: Environment

• Words: deforestation, pollution, renewable energy

• Sentence: “Deforestation is a major contributor to pollution, but switching to renewable energy sources can help combat this issue.”

Learn a certain number of new words or phrases each day and try to use them in a conversation.

Learn English Idioms and Phrasal Verbs

Learning English idioms and phrasal verbs is also important for achieving fluency and coherence in the IELTS Speaking exam.

Idioms and phrasal verbs are common in English and using them appropriately will make you sound more natural and fluent. You can find a list of common idioms and phrasal verbs online, and practice using them in your conversations.

Utilize Linking Words and Phrases

Linking words and phrases are vital for creating coherent responses. They help to connect your ideas logically, making your speech flow more naturally. Some common linking words and phrases include:

• Giving examples: for example, for instance, such as

• Contrasting: however, on the other hand, in contrast

• Adding information: moreover, furthermore, in addition


“Some people prefer to live in the city because of the job opportunities, while others, on the other hand, enjoy the peace and quiet of the countryside.”

“Many people believe that technology has a positive impact on education. For instance, online courses allow students to learn at their own pace, which can lead to a more in-depth understanding of the subject matter.”

Use fillers strategically

Fillers are words or phrases that we use when we need time to think. While overusing fillers can negatively impact fluency, using them strategically can create a more natural speech flow. Examples of fillers include:

• “Well, …”

• “You see, …”

• “Actually, …”

• “To be honest, …”

Practice Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing is the ability to rephrase a statement or question in your own words. This skill helps you demonstrate fluency and understanding of the topic. To practice paraphrasing, try:

• Reading a sentence or statement

• Rephrasing it in your own words

• Comparing your version with the original

Learn synonyms and antonyms for common words. Practice rephrasing sentences using different grammatical structures.


Original: “Air pollution is a major environmental issue.”

Paraphrased: “Air contamination is a significant ecological problem.”

Original sentence – “The growth of technology has led to many advancements in various fields.”

Paraphrased sentence – “The proliferation of technology has resulted in numerous breakthroughs across multiple domains.”

Seek Feedback

It is recommended that you seek professional help from an IELTS coach or tutor.

They can provide you with feedback and guidance on how to improve your fluency and coherence, as well as help you identify your weaknesses and strengths in the exam. They can also provide you with practice materials and exercises to help you prepare for the exam.

Be Confident and Positive

Finally, it is important to be confident and positive in the IELTS Speaking exam.

Confidence can help you to speak more fluently and accurately, while a positive attitude can help you to stay focused and motivated.

Remember to speak clearly and confidently, and to maintain eye contact with the examiner.


Improving your IELTS Speaking fluency and coherence requires dedication, practice, and the implementation of effective strategies.

By following the tips outlined in this comprehensive guide, you’ll be well on your way to achieving a high band score.

Remember, regular practice is crucial to mastering fluency and coherence, so keep working on your speaking skills and watch your confidence grow.



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