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Interviewing is a tried and tested way of assessing a language learners speaking capabilities, however, it can seem intensely formal to the interviewee and cause the interaction to be dominated by the examiner (Karim and Haq, 2014) in their role as interviewer in the IELTS test. In the test then, this tends, to lend itself toward a situation in which the speaking is less natural in form than it could be if it were in a different format e.g. an informal discussion over coffee. Hughes (1991) states the most obvious format for the testing of oral interaction is the interview, however, it has at least one potentially serious drawback. When the test taker feels they are in an interview situation they will speak to the examiner as if speaking “to a superior” (Hughes, 1991, pg.104). Therefore, the speaking confidence of the test taker may be put to a disadvantage. This limitation may well be avoided should the candidate feel they are able to ask questions as well as the examiner. Through a relaxed dialogue rather than an interview the conversation could well take a more natural path providing more confidence for the test taker. Also, interviews can cause unnecessary anxiety and nervousness to the test taker which could limit their interaction.


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