Can I ask the examiner to repeat the question in the IELTS speaking test?
One of our enrolled members asked a very good question a few days ago – do I lose points in the IELTS speaking test if I ask the examiner to repeat a question?
The simple answer is no – you won’t lose points simply because you want to hear the question again. However, there are some caveats [caveats: limitations or conditions on something] to this.
Point 1: First of all is how you ask the examiner. Imagine the examiner has just asked you a question – which is the better response?
Candidate A: “What?”
Candidate B: “Say that again.”
Candidate C: “Sorry, would you mind repeating that – I didn’t quite follow you.”
It should be clear that Candididate C is displaying the best use of English. Candidate A is too simple and sounds rude. Candidate B is technically accurate, but the command form (telling the listener that they must do something) is not suitable for the situation.
Point 2: It also depends on which part of the speaking test you are currently in. In Part 1, the examiner can only repeat the question – as examiners, we are not allowed to rephrase or provide explanations for any vocabulary, so if you ask the examiner to repeat the questions they will – but generally only once before they move on to the next question.
However, in Part 3, the examiner IS allowed to give you more help – they can explain words, rephrase questions and repeat multiple times.