IELTS Speaking: two types of hesitation

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If you look at the ‘fluency and coherence’ column of the band descriptors, you’ll see the following:

  • Band 7: may demonstrate language-related hesitation
  • Band 8: hesitation is usually content-related

Do you understand the difference between these two types of hesitation? Here’s how I would summarise them:

  • Language-related hesitation: the candidate pauses because he/she is struggling with vocabulary or grammar.
  • Content-related hesitation: the candidate pauses to think about his/her answer to the question.

Tip: Try recording yourself as you answer some IELTS speaking questions. Listen to the recording and pay attention to your hesitations. Ask yourself whether you paused to find language or to consider your response to the question.


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