Filler words in ILETS speaking test

There was some confusion amongst my students last week when one student had seen a video on the internet which had some tips for the speaking part of the IELTS exam. One of the tips was to use fillers such as 'urm' when speaking to try and sound more like a native speaker. It is true, native speakers do use fillers such as 'urm', when they are trying to think of what they want to say. It is also true that some native speakers overuse these fillers. There are however, other filler phrases which you can use if you want a bit more time to think. "Oh, that's an interesting question, my opinion would be..." or even the simple, "I'm sorry, I didn't quite hear that" to get the examiner to repeat the question and give you some more time to think. You can also paraphrase the question to give yourself more time to think. "Why do some people choose to read the news on the internet rather than in a newspaper?" You could say out loud to yourself, "what are the reasons people use websites for current affairs rather than traditional newspapers?" which shows that you can paraphrase. With all these filler techniques, it is better not to overuse them, only use when necessary.

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