What is the importance of Pronunciation & Accents In IELTS?

Pronunciation and accents are two different things in the IELTS exam each playing a different role in marking your IELTS exam. What these concepts matter in the IELTS exam and how candidates should work on improving these are all given in the article below-

Firstly, let’s begin with the basic difference between pronunciation and accent.

What is Pronunciation?

Pronunciation is the art of making your words sound clear and with the correct tone. This is one of the attributes included in the IELTS marking criteria. Pronunciation along with other marketing criteria is calculated and averaged to mark a final IELTS speaking exam score of candidates.

What is Accent?

The accent is the way distinctively pronouncing the word. The distinctive ways depend upon

  • The place from your parents belongs
  • Your mother tongues
  • The place you live in
  • Your Social Status

There are countless accents available across the world so it bit unfair to only favour one particular accent. Due to which, marking is not done on the basis of accent but yes definitely on the basis of pronunciation. As long as your pronunciation is accurate and clear you are at ease on getting desired band score especially in IELTS Speaking exam.

We have come to a conclusion that Accent doesn’t matter at all in IELTS speaking exam as you are not judged on the basis of accent. Now the question arises- “What Should I focus on?”.

What If I had mixed accent?

Well, you don’t need to worry about that. It’s completely fine if you have a mixed accent, almost all of us have that variation in accents while speaking. Even if we talk about native speakers they also have mixed accents. The IELTS speaking exam is not marked on the basis of accents so if you have a mixed accent with good pronunciation, certainly, you have a high chance of getting a higher band score in the IELTS exam.

What if I have accent from my own country?

Well, it’s normal for anybody to retain an accent from their own language. There is no such kind of prohibition that having accent from own country is has to lead to a lower band score in the IELTS exam. In place of this you should ask that what if it is causing difficulty to the examiner to understand. My advice is that if your mother tongue accent is so heavy that it is very difficult to understand your English pronunciation, you will get a lower score.

However, if your accent with MTI is very mild and English pronunciation is clear and easy to understand, there are likely higher chances of the desired band score. It all depends upon the efforts of the listener that they make in understanding your speech. The less effort is required the more the chances of getting a higher band score. However, always remember, you still need to demonstrate the features of pronunciation.

What should I focus on?

In place of trying your IELTS examiner with a strange accent that sounds artificial or maybe silly sometimes leaves a negative impact on your examiner in place of making them impress. It doesn’t that you are using high vocabulary until your accent is not understandable. So, the tip is to keep your accent natural while speaking.

Also, we have listed important factors which affect IELTS exam marking and lead to high band scores in IELTS speaking exam. Marking is categorized into 4 sections you will find in band descriptors.

1. Fluency & Coherence

Fluency in English is related to multiple factors such as grammar, speaking skills, vocabulary, and confidence. It is one of the vital factors on which your IELTS speaking exam is marked. One can improve their English-speaking fluency by avoiding the most common mistakes and daily practice.

You can also refer to the given article-

10 Myths About Fluency In Spoken English-Get Tips To Improve!!

2. Lexical Resource

High vocabulary is the strongest tool to gain a high band score in IELTS speaking exam. However, your ideas must be a clear examiner. Having good vocabulary doesn’t mean using long complex words which make no sense and are not related to the topic. A vocabulary is a tool that is helpful in presenting your ideas clearly and enables better communication.

Read the given articles to get to know everything about IELTS vocabulary

Proven Ways To Enhance Your Vocabulary & Get Higher IELTS Score

Learn the Use of Mind Maps in Building Your IELTS Vocabulary

3. Grammatical Range & Accuracy

Use of grammatical structure accurately and in the right proportion is required in IELTS Speaking. 25% overall marking in the IELTS exam is based on the use of grammar range and accuracy. However, this term doesn’t mean that your grammar use must be correct only but it should be varied also. A mix of simple, compound, and complex grammatical structures must be used in order to get a high band score in the IELTS exam.

What is the importance of Grammar in IELTS Exam?

7 Key Grammar Rules For IELTS Exam Everyone Should Know

8 Common Grammatical Mistakes In IELTS Speaking Exam

Grammar Translation Method- Meaning, Merits, Demerits & Techniques

4. Pronunciation

You might get shocked to know that 25% of your potential IELTS speaking score is marked on the basis of pronunciation. The words must pronounce clearly and accurately, if it fails to give clarity of idea to the examiner then it may leave a negative impact on the overall band score. It should be no or minimal effort for the examiner to understand what you want to say. It doesn’t matter that your fluency is excellent, grammar and vocabulary are on point until your pronunciation is not clear to the examiner. Given articles can help you in improving your English pronunciation-

Is accent important in the IELTS speaking test?

As of now, we are pretty much clear about the importance of pronunciation in the IELTS exam. On the other hand, if we talk about accent then candidates should not worry about the accent they are using as the IELTS exam is not marked on the basis of accent.

Understanding the Accent Game of IELTS Exam: How To Practice?

Various Aspects on which Pronunciation is Marked

Students’ pronunciation is assessed on various aspects by the speaking examiner. The main features of IELTS speaking pronunciation are mentioned below-

1. Individual sound- similar sounds (p/b m/n d/t), consonant clusters (sht / cht etc), length of vowels (sheep/ship, etc), schwa (the lazy vowel sound that is never stressed), silent letters.

2. Strong & Weak Forms- for example, the word “and” can be pronounced in two ways, either in short form which means “n” like snacks n drinks, or in a strong form like snacks and drinks on the basis of how and when you use it.

3. Word stress and syllables

4. Word Pronunciation

5. Sentence stress

6. Chunking- Chunking refers to putting parts of a sentence together into chunks to create stress and clarity within a sentence.

7. Use of Contractions such as use of “I didn’t” in place of “I did not”, “ I wanna” in place of “I want to” and more.

Band Score on Basis of Pronunciation

Band Score


Band Score 5

Some minor miscommunications that is causing difficulty to examiner in understanding. Candidate is attempting to control pronunciation features, but often does not succeed. The candidate may show some features of band 6.

Band Score 6

Candidate is using a range of pronunciation features but unable to control these features consistently throughout the test. There might be a mispronunciation of words or sounds which reduces the clarity. However, the meaning of what is being said is generally clear throughout the test.

Band Score 7

The candidate represents all features of band 6 & a few of the positive features of band 8.

Band Score 8

Uses a wide range of pronunciation features throughout the test. Mother's tongue is not affecting the quality of the speech and it is completely understandable.

Band Score 9

Candidate used full range of features with precision and subtlety. The candidate is effortless to understand.

Pronunciation Advice

We agree that pronunciation is something that takes time and practice to improve. This isn’t something you can change just before the exam. However, you can just polish your skills by listening to news channels, documentaries and shadowing them at the same time to improve your pronunciation. Another entertaining option is Netflix for improving Englishbinge watch films, web series and more.

Speak out loud what you learned from film, film famous dialogues, any random IELTS speaking cue card or anything in English just to get comfortable with the language & gain that confidence in speaking. Record your speeches and listen to it again. Check for your mistakes and improve then record again. Repeat till you get perfection in pronunciation.

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