1. Mimic recordings of native speakers. You need the tape scripts to do this. Many of you use those Cambridge practice test books (which are excellent!) and the Listening tests from those books can be used for mimicking after you have used them as tests. (Don't waste these especially written tests by studying them slowly before you use them to test yourself under test conditions. After you have used them as tests, then it is a good idea to study them more slowly.

'Mimicking' means copying everything about the way the speaker speaks, as exactly as you can, not just repeating the basic word pronunciation. "Everything" means, a) the pronunciation of the words, b) the way several words are (sometimes) spoken as several linked sounds, almost like one long word, and c) the way the speaker puts greater stress on one or more words in a sentence.

Similarly, mimicking the recordings in excellent British English books such as "Headway" will help you improve a lot.

Alternatively, you could choose to mimic recordings of American English if you want to. But too much "mixed" pronunciation (a mixture of British and American pronunciation) might, at times, confuse a listener (the examiner).

Overall, mimic imported recordings of native speakers, not domestically produced materials, which are inferior because the native speakers in those materials are not professional actors and often do not speak 100% naturally, especially at natural speed, with naturally linked sounds.

Although "Side by Side" is one of the best books you can use to improve your spoken grammar, the recordings that go with those books are not the best for improving your pronunciation. The "Side by Side" recordings are quite good for helping you with some aspects of your pronunciation, especially sentence stress and rhythm, but the recordings are sometimes spoken at an unnaturally slow speed, especially the recording for Book 1. This is understandable since the main purpose of "Side by Side" is to help you learn to make grammatically correct sentences when speaking.

  1. If you think your pronunciation of the basic sounds of English is not very good (not very clear), here is a hint that will help your score in the IELTS test, (although this hint will not really help you improve your pronunciation) : try to avoid speaking single-syllable (一个音节) words when a multi-syllable (多音) word is possible. For example, some candidates in China say "maths" in a way that sounds like "mice" and the examiner might not understand what you are saying. But if these candidates say, "mathematics", the examiner will understand it, even if part of the pronunciation of this word is imperfect.
  1. Check the page on this website for some 'Common Pronunciation Errors'.
  1. Practice speaking contracted English.
  1. Practice speaking English with the sounds linked. For example, don't say, "In/o/ther/words" but instead say it as, "I/no/ther/words."
  1. Try to understand and practice how to put the stress on two-word combinations. See the section for this on this website for this. That page has a "diagnostic test" to help you see how much you know about where to put the stress on two-word combinations. If you want to skip the test, just go straight to the lists of different word combinations here: But if you don't understand the explanations on those pages, try going to the answers page for the diagnostic test for a more detailed explanation.
  1. Remember: watching foreign movies will do very little to improve your pronunciation because when you watch a movie you are only listening, not speaking.
  1. Reading aloud is useful but only after you are quite sure that your pronunciation is correct. Do a lot of mimicking practice first.
  1. A good website for hearing the pronunciation of most English words is