IELTS Speaking Part…. Zero?

In today’s lesson I’m going to tell you how to impress the examiner in IELTS speaking part 0. That’s right, zero. Wait… you know there’s a part 1, 2, and 3… so what’s part 0?

IELTS Speaking Part 0

By part zero we mean the bit at the very beginning of the IELTS speaking exam that isn’t exactly part one. It happens when you first walk in the door and begin the exam, but before the interview section begins. It is essentially about greeting the examiner and showing your identification document.

First Impressions

First impressions are really important in life. They say that we form our opinions of people when we first meet and that these are really hard to break. It’s a natural psychological phenomenon. The examiner will always try to be fair and reasonable, and will evaluate you through the whole exam, but don’t forget that you can give him/her a great first impression to help make them more favorable towards your performance.

What Happens First?

When you first walk in the door, the examiner will greet you. They’ll probably say something like:

Good morning, my name is David Wills. Could you please give me your full name.

You should then reply in kind:

Good morning, David. My full name is __________.

Some common mistakes to avoid are getting the examiner’s title wrong. For example, calling a man Mrs or a woman Mr. Also, remember that these go with surnames, so you would call me Mr Wills, but not Mr David.

Be friendly but not overly familiar. This is a formal exam, of course. One of my students recently asked me if he could say something “interesting” to the examiner, like “wassup?” or “yo, how’s it goin’?” I told him to stick to polite formalities. You should, however, smile to create a positive relationship.

What’s Next?

The next question will most likely be:

What can I call you?

to which you should simply reply:

You can call me _______.

You could also say “you should call me____” but this is a little too forceful. It’s better to say “can”.

Avoid giving a long backstory about your name. Don’t say “My English name is Harry because I really liked the Harry Potter movies and my English teacher told me that this was suitable.” Instead, just keep it short and simple. You will have plenty of time to show off your speaking skills later.

It is perfectly acceptable to use your English name or real name. If you have a very long name, perhaps keep it short. In keeping with Western naming conventions, you should use your “given” name.

Where Are Your From?

Next up, the examiner will ask where you come from. It will be asked like this:

Where do you come from?

May I ask where you are from?

Could you tell me where you come from?

You should respond simply:

I come from _______.

I’m from _______.

There’s no need to go into detail here. You could say, “I’m from Seoul, in South Korea,” or “I’m from Taipei, the capital of Taiwan.” However, don’t say any more than that. It’s not necessary at this point. Also, do try to use the English pronunciation of a place. Certain places like Paris, Bangkok, or Hong Kong are spoken differently in English from the native tongue, so try to use the English.

Note: You don’t need to ask the examiner where he/she comes from! It is polite and friendly, but at this stage in the exam you are just clarifying important information.

Finally, Identification

For this last section of part 0, you will simply be asked for your ID. The examiner may say:

Can I please see your identification?

Could you should me your identification, please?

You will then give your ID to the examiner and you only need to say something simple, like:

Here you are.

Here it is.

Certainly, here you go.

This is the easiest part, and you could even say nothing while handing over your card. But a short, polite phrase it probably best.

Conclusion

Part 0 is really the easiest part of the IELTS exam, but it is still important. You should aim to make a good first impression on the examiner. This is also creates a positive psychological boost for yourself, as you get off to a good start. Make sure you are familiar with this process before doing the exam in order to feel adequately prepared. From there, you can get into parts 1, 2, and 3 with confidence!

Good luck! Check out my latest video for more IELTS speaking help:

Author: David S. Wills

David S. Wills is the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult' and the founder/editor of Beatdom literary journal. He lives and works in rural China, and loves to travel. His other IELTS website is called IELTS Teaching.

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