IELTS Speaking: Improve your fluency with the LASAGNA METHOD



Welcome to

I'm Adam.

In today's video I'm going to talk about IELTS speaking.

So, as normal, I'll speak a little bit faster.

For those of you taking the test, you get a little bit of listening practice as well.

Even if you're not taking the test, this is also very useful for you if you want to practice

your speaking skills in English.


So, we're going to talk about IELTS speaking generally.


I'm not going to talk about any of the three parts in specific.

I want to talk about fluency in specific.

Fluency is one of the categories that you will be graded on.

The interviewer is listening for your fluency skills when deciding to give you the band

out of nine.


Now, first of all, what does it mean...?

What does "fluency" mean?


Fluency has a few things to consider within it.

First, how quick you respond; a fast response.

So when the question is asked to you, when the interviewer asks you a question in part

one or part three, they're looking to find out...

They're paying attention to how quickly you answer back.

If you receive the question and you need to think about the question, try to translate

the question in your mind, then you need to try to build up an answer before you start

speaking - the more time you take to do this, the less fluent you are in English.


The graders want to make sure you understood the question quickly, you're ready to start

speaking quickly; that's part of fluency.

Another thing: Connected sentences.

They want to make sure that your sentences flow from one to the next; you're not just

throwing out ideas.

"I like it.

It's good.

I did it five times."

Like, all of these sentences individually are not part of fluency.

That means you're just throwing out ideas, but fluency is also how...

The flow.

The flow of your speech.

And, again, especially in parts one and three when they're asking a question, but also in

parts two where you need to construct the answer completely.

They're listening for your thinking sounds, so: "Um...

Well, uh...


If I...



" All of these thinking sounds means you're having trouble with the language, means: Your

fluency is not very high, your score is going down.


Try to minimize or even completely eliminate thinking sounds from your speech; they don't

help you.

Now, if you need some time to think about what to say, you could say: "Well, when I

think about this situation, what I usually think about is..." and then get into your


You say: "Well, um...

Well, usually it's like this..."

Well, that doesn't work.

That's not fluency.

That means you're having problems with the language.


So cut out the thinking sounds: "Ah, erm, er", etc.

Now, extend - this is probably the most important part of fluency.

Do not give one-word answers to any question.

-"Do you like swimming?"



Why do you like swimming?"

-"It's wet."

That doesn't work.

That's not an answer, even, right?

They want full sentences, they want a few sentences, and they want to have a few ideas

all strung together coherently and with nice flow.

Now, with all these things in mind, what do most students have the most problems with

when it comes to the actual speaking test of the IELTS?

The most common problem is what to talk about; they just don't have ideas.


So here is my major tip, my major piece of advice to you when it comes to preparing for

the speaking section of the IELTS test: Create an idea bank.


This is what I call this exercise.


Essentially, what this means is: Do your thinking before the test.

Don't be in the test room, don't be sitting in front of the interviewer and trying to

think about all these ideas that they're asking you about, because sometimes they're going

to ask you about things that you have...

You just don't think about; you don't really care about.

If they ask you about music and you're just not a music fan, you don't...

You don't listen to music, you don't have an iPod; you listen to the music when you're

with your friends, but generally you don't really know much, you don't know who the famous

bands are, who the famous singers are - you don't care about music.

How are you going to answer questions about music?

Now, keep in mind: You don't really have a choice in terms of what they're going to ask

you about.

If they ask you about music, you have to speak about music.


So, make sure that you have some ideas about music before test day.

Here's what you can do.

I want you to make a list.

Grab a note...

Take a notebook and make a...

Start making a list.

I want you to write favourites.

Favourite anything.

Favourite food, favourite restaurant, favourite book, movie, band, music.


Make a whole bunch of these lists.

And then make another list.


Think about people; friend, relative, famous person.


Or a hero, or somebody...

A bad person.

Make a list of people.

And then think: Hobby, activity, game, sport.

I can make a whole huge list here; I'm not going to do that now.

You can use your imagination.

Think of all the different topics they can ask you about.

Then once you find out...

Once you have your list, start thinking about ideas.

Food: What's your favourite food?

Now, you have to think about favourite food to eat; favourite food to prepare; and then

favourite food in terms of, like, ethnicity.



Like, do you like Chinese food?

Do you like Italian food?

Do you like Greek food?


Think about all the different types of food.

Now, when you think about food...

When you come to the test and they ask you any question about food, you're going to think

and you're going to talk about this particular dish that you've already thought about at


So, let's take a lasagna.

Your favourite food to eat is lasagna.


Guess what?

Your favourite food to prepare: Also lasagna.

Your favourite ethnicity of food: Italian.


Don't think about all kinds of different foods.

One food.

Any question that comes up about food, you're going to talk about lasagna.


Because why start confusing yourself by thinking about different types of food?

Have one ready to go for any question about food.

Now, if the question is about restaurant: -"What is your favourite restaurant?"

-"Oh, my favourite restaurant is Italian.

They make a...

I love the one near my house; makes the best lasagna.

The reason I like lasagna is..."

Again, food, restaurant: Lasagna.

It doesn't matter what the question is up, bring it back to lasagna because you already

thought about the ideas.

Now, once you have your topic, once you have your specific example of the topic, make sure

you make yourself a vocabulary list; a bit higher-end words so you're not stuck using

simple words.

Think: "culinary".

"I'm a culinary adventurist; I like to try all kinds of different foods.

My favourite, of course, is lasagna, because I love Italian cuisine.

Now, I've had some gourmet lasagnas, but my lasagna, I think, is the best.

The ingredients I use are...

I like to prepare it..."

Again: "I like to sautthe onions just so, so I can put them on the top layer of

my lasagna."

And, again, it's all about lasagna because your question is about food.

So when you come to the test and your interviewer asks you about: -"What's your favourite food

to eat that you don't eat very often?"

-"Oh, I don't eat very often...


Well, I don't eat curry very often.

Or I don't..."



You eat lasagna every day, you eat lasagna once a year - it doesn't matter.

Talk about lasagna because you already have the ideas.

So, again, remember: The whole point is not to think.

You want to answer fast.

You want to have connected sentences, which means you have to have information.

You don't want thinking sounds, but you don't need to think; you already thought about this

at home.

And you want to extend your answer; you want to speak more, so...

Another thing about the extension, remember: The more you speak, the less the interviewer


If you speak...

If you give long, good answers, they will have less time to ask you more questions.


So speak at length.

Don't go off topic, but make sure you have full answers.


Now, same thing for book and movie.

Why would you think about one book and one movie?

Think about a book that's been made into a movie.

Any question about book, you're going to talk about this one book you thought about at home.

Any questions about movies, you're going to think about this one movie that's also the

same as the book that you thought about at home.

So, for example: Shawshank Redemption, I think everybody has heard of this movie at least;

it's a great movie.

It's also a book.

It was written by Stephen King.

Read the book at home, make sure you know the story; be able to talk about it.

But any question about books: Shawshank Redemption; any question about movies: Shawshank Redemption.

You've killed two birds with one stone, essentially.

Band, music, all of these things.

As much as you can...


A friend or a relative.

Who says that your best friend can't be your cousin?


Why not?

One person for two topics.

And do as much of this as you can for all kinds of different topics, so you think less,

speak more.

Now, very, very important and I know this is very hard for a lot of students, and I've

had experience with this with a lot of students: Do not be afraid to say: "I don't know."

It's okay not to know.

This is not a test of your knowledge of music; this is a test of your knowledge of English.

If somebody asks you a question about a topic that you just don't know anything about, say:

"To be honest with you, I don't really..."

Like, okay: -"What's your favourite...?

Who's your favourite musician?"

-"Well, to tell the truth, I don't really listen to music very much so I don't really

have a favourite musician, but I like to listen to, you know, whoever's popular on the radio

these days."

Say you don't know, but make sure that the interviewer understands that you understood

the question.


Show them you understood the question, you just don't really know about this topic so

you don't have much to say.

It's not an English problem; it's a topic problem.

Some interviewers will adjust their questions to make it easier for you to actually speak;

some won't, in which case, again, just say: "Well, you know, I don't really think about

this stuff very much, but if I had to imagine, I would say this, that, or the other."

The key is: Speak.

Don't panic, don't overthink it.


Have all your ideas ready.

Now, another thing you can do: Once you have all of these things ready-you have your general

topic, you have your specific examples and your specific situations about this topic,

you have your vocabulary-practice part two of the speaking.

Create a one-and-a-half-minute speech...

Create one-and-a-half-minute speeches for each topic.

Just practice saying it for a minute and a half.

A) You'll work on your timing, because you're supposed to speak for one to two minutes.

If you speak for one minute, they will make you speak more or they will ask you more questions.

Practice speaking for about one and a half minutes.

Maybe they'll ask you one more question; maybe they won't.

Plus, when you come to the actual test, it's just like you practiced.

You've already practiced it, and you have all these ideas.

Practice making, like, very organized, structured answers, so again, you get your connected

ideas and you get your extensions, and you eliminate your thinking sounds, and you get

a high fluency score.


That is the key to the speaking section.

Now, there are also other videos here on engVid by Emma, and I think Benjamin has a very good

video as well about the speaking section - go watch those.

But, again: Speak, don't think, get your fluency score.

Don't forget to work on the pronunciation of these words before the test day, that way

you're relaxed, you don't panic, you get a good score, you pass your test, you go on

with your life and not think about it again.


If you have any questions about any of this, please go to in the forum section

there; you can ask me questions and I'll be happy to help you out.

There's also going to be a quiz just to review all this information.

If you like the video, please give me a like, and don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube

channel, and come back for more great tips on how to pass the IELTS test.

See you again.