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Listen then Speak's strategy to achieve higher scores

By DET Practice - TADE Hub
April 28,2022 | 14:53 PM

To most test-takers, Listen then Speak question type is the most challenging because we have only 20 seconds of preparation time to listen to the question up to three times. It's your time to prepare your answer too.

  • What if the question lasts for almost 10 seconds? 
  • What if we do not understand the question completely? 
  • What if we are so scared to deliver a well-organized answer?

Our members have all undergone the above problems; we hope that you don’t have to. But if you do, this strategy is developed to help you out in the most challenging circumstance because one of our members has applied and advanced his Production sub-score intensely. 

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We wholly suggest you pay close attention and practice along the way with us to optimize it fully. Besides, if you want to boost your score faster, you should definitely check our “How to improve your performance for Speaking questions”. This article will share with you a number of ways to advance your speaking generally.

1. Take notes and Brainstorm

a. Taking notes

In this question type, you need to listen to a question and give your answer. What if you cannot understand some of its words? Then how could you take notes? 

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From our experience, as we took the test over 10 times, we didn’t understand some questions, but we still answered them properly. Our tip is to speculate the question based on what we understand. For example, let’s listen to the following question: 

Click HERE to listen

Please write down the question you hear first! 

Alright, is what you wrote down exactly the same as our below question? 

“More and more young people buy sumptuous clothes to impress their friends. Is this a positive or negative development?”

The word that may be difficult for you is “sumptuous”isn’t it? Let’s assume that you do not understand it, so how could you answer the question?  

Obviously, our last resort is to analyze and speculate the question based on the words we understand, so we stand a better chance of understanding the question correctly. It will help if you do not overthink because your time is minimal. Hence, you better speak out after 20 preparation seconds; otherwise, you will be stressed out, and things will get worse. But if you get everything, what should you take notes for the following question.

“More and more young people buy sumptuous clothes to impress their friends. Is this a positive or negative development?”

They are keywords. You need to remember all keywords from the question. So what do you think are the keywords here? 

It’s correct; there are sumptuous clothes, impress your friends and positive or negative development. Once you know all the keywords, it’s very easy for you to answer the question thoroughly. Otherwise, you may lose a huge point for it. 

b. Brainstorming

After identifying all keywords, your job is to think of what to talk about them. In this case, you only need to brainstorm a short and simple answer and go straight to the point.

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  • Positive or negative development: Whatever you choose, you need to make it quick. If you choose the positive side, why? We need at least two strong points to support your perspective. In case you think it may have both positive and negative aspects, you need to deliver very detailed bullet points to reinforce your notions.

  • Sumptuous clothes: Once you pick your side, it’s time to brainstorm some strong reasons to uphold it. Why is it positive or negative if people buy sumptuous clothes? Who does it affect? Who does it benefit? 

  • Impress your friends: Is it important to buy luxurious clothes to impress friends? Or are there more critical stuff that we need to care about?

In this step, you only need to come up with some points to uphold your perspective. Please DO NOT speak it. 

Time management strategy: As you already know, we have 20 seconds when the question appears to do this step. So please make sure you pay close attention to all keywords and brainstorm how to answer them shortly. 

2. Follow the tense triggers

When you listen to a question, there are always clues to help you figure out what tenses they ask you to speak. Hence, it’s truly essential to use appropriate tenses if you do not want to lose points for the Grammatical Accuracy grading element.

When you see the following question, what tense should you use to speak?

“More and more young people buy sumptuous clothes to impress their friends. Is this a positive or negative development?”

Apparently, we need to use the Simple Tense to arrange our speech. This tip is a piece of cake once you understand the question itself.

Time management strategy: You should do this step together with taking notes and brainstorming simultaneously in your 20 seconds preparation. 

3. Structure your speech

Here we come to the most important step in our strategy!

What if you read and answer the following question? Does it remind you of other question types?

“More and more young people buy sumptuous clothes to impress their friends. Is this a positive or negative development?”

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You nailed it! It’s Read, then Write. Therefore, our strategy to arrange your speech is exactly the same. 

There are three parts that we need to make clear.

a. Part 1: Share your response – Opening statement 

How do you deliver your first response to the question? 

If you have no ideas yet, this may be helpful:

“More and more fashion brands develop new sumptuous clothes on a daily basis, which look so deluxe and fancy. As a result, those types of clothes lure young people’s attention because of their values and benefits. However, I reckon that there are both merits and demerits.”

It’s an advanced way to start your speech. However, people usually use some ubiquitous opening statements to make their point. Some you may use:

  • As far as I am concerned…
  • In my humble position…
  • As far as I can tell…
  • In terms of…
  • When it comes to…
  • If I’m not mistaken…
  • From my point of view…

When you come to practice, you should try to practice them flexibly so you can use a bunch of ways on the day you sit for the actual test. 

b. Part 2: Deliver your points – Body paragraphs

We have to provide two vital points to reinforce our initial response, whatever the question is.  

Here are a few examples to make our points clear.

  • How has the proportion of the family changed in the last few decades in your country?
    They ask about the size of the family changed in your country. So, whether you say it’s getting smaller or bigger, you should bring up reasons, shouldn’t you?

  • Do you think doing experiments on animals is good or not. Provide your reasons.
    Regarding this question, you have to answer YES or NO. And, of course, you need to deliver some points to prove your perspective.

  • Describe a new skill you have learned recently and you think it was important.
    How about this one? It’s exactly the same, and you may start talking a little about the new skill. Nonetheless, you still need to provide reasons why you think it was important.

All in all, you should share two strong points, reasons, or facts to support your first answer because it is the only way to ensure you get a high score for your Production.

Once you acknowledge how many points you need to make, it’s time to deliver. Linking words and collocations is perfect for connecting your paragraphs and making them into one organized piece of art.  

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People predominantly use the following phrases and words to start their talk. 

1st reason/ point/ fact

2nd reason/ point/ fact

First and foremost,…

To commence with,…

To begin with,…

Regarding my first point,…

To initiate with,…

First of all,…


In addition,…




Another point that…

However, regarding our sample question, we will use something different: On the one hand,… and On the other hand,… because we think young people buy sumptuous clothes has both positive and negative aspects. 

On the one hand, in the beginning, fancy clothes help the young people look outstanding in a crowded place and impress their friends. Besides, buying new clothes regularly also offers opportunities for the fashion industry to soar rapidly day in day out. Hence, if the young inhabitants purchase extravagant fashion stuff, they will probably lend themselves credibility with certain brands and the whole fashion field simultaneously. 

On the other hand, we, human beings, are never satisfied with what we have. Precisely, we most of the time want something new or different to please ourselves, which is a deadly manner. Especially the young people do not possess valuable assets to treat themselves comfortably yet. They more often than not buy expensive things that they cannot pay off the money. By that, I mean the young inhabitants will put extreme pressure on their shoulders to pay off the bad debt.”

However, how could you speak those lengthy attractive speeches? Again, the question format is different from Read, then Write. But the way we organize our points is particularly the same. 

c. Summarize your perspective – Ending statement 

Alright, here we come to the final part – an ending statement. You only need to paraphrase your initial response to the question by starting with:

  • All in all,
  • To conclude this
  • In conclusion
  • To wrap/ sum up
  • To encapsulate
  • To recapitulate

All in all, purchasing sumptuous clothes is beneficial for lots of sides. Nevertheless, young people need to improve their willpower to overcome the temptation of buying luxurious stuff often. Otherwise, they will seemingly end up losing their lives properly.”

Time management strategy: 

You should not ever miss any parts as they work together to make a coherent and inviting answer. Thus, you need to deliver all three parts within 90 seconds. Precisely, you have 10-15 seconds for the Opening statement, 50-60 seconds for the Body paragraphs, and 10-15 seconds for the Ending statement. 

4. Use linking words

What are linking words? And why should we use them? 

Have you ever asked yourself these questions? 

Linking words are words or phrases that show the relationship between paragraphs, sentences, or sections. Some examples are below:


  • While…
  • Moreover,…
  • Furthermore,…
  • In addition,…
  • Additionally,…
  • Besides,…
  • On top of that,…


  • Clearly,…
  • Indeed,…
  • Especially,…
  • In particular,…
  • Particularly,…
  • Without a doubt,…
  • Obviously,…


  • Therefore,…
  • Thus,…
  • Hence,..
  • Consequently,...
  • As a result, that…
  • So,…
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Simply put, we use linking words to connect ideas and ideas, paragraphs, and paragraphs that help you deliver an organized, readable, and engaging speech.

*Practice makes perfect!

Thousands of questions, automatically instant feedback, an integrated dictionary, and much more are waiting for you.

The higher score you dream of, the more you need to practice; hence, we offer a DET Practice Platform with thousands of questions so you can practice as much as you like. We also upload more questions on the 15th of every month, including similar open response questions to real ones, as we will take DET on a monthly basis.

On top of that, our correcting systems will assess your performance based on several elements, such as Fluency, Lexical diversity, Lexical sophistication, Grammatical accuracy, Acoustic features, and report detailed feedback to help you improve your score efficiently.

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