Oral English 5 Tips for the Speaking Test

In the Key English Test and Preliminary English Test speaking tests (Break-through and Waystage level), there are two examiners: an assessor and an interlocutor. The assessor usually sits apart from the candidates and does not take an active part in the test. He or she just listens.

In the oral English, if you jump in with an answer, even in perfect English, but its not the answer to the question, you wont impress the examiner.

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The oral English test is your chance to show that you can speak and communicate in English. Take the opportunity! Give full answers, listen to the questions you are being asked. Dont focus on being perfect; focus on communicating with the examiner and the other candidate. You might even enjoy yourself. Good luck!

The examiner wants to see you COMMUNICATING in English. If you dont understand something, thats ok, but dont just sit there, ask for help:

A: Because (Dont panic, a simple reason is fine, sometimes it helps to repeat the full sentence) I like playing guitar because its very relaxing. (Good!)

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Questions beginning with Have you , Do you , Is it etc can be answered simply with a yes or no answer.

It is therefore important to speak up! Dont mumble your answer; dont look down as you speak. LOOK UP AND SPEAK OUT and be heard by everyone!

If you cant think of a word in English, thats fine too, but try and paraphrase, explain the word:

Q: Have you any brothers and sisters?

During the oral English exam, the question Why is often asked. Be ready for it!

Remember: The examiners are not looking for perfect English in your Oral English Test. At the A2 (or Waystage) level, examiners are looking for evidence that you are at that level to do your best, you must SHOW them your level of English, SHOW them how good you are.

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If you are talking and you get stuck, dont worry! Start again:

In order to be a good speaker, you need to be a GOOD LISTENER. During the speaking test you have to listen to and follow instructions from the examiner. If you dont listen properly you might jump in and answer when he is asking the other candidate the questions. Or you might stay quiet because you think the question is for the other person and not you.

A: I have been learning English since I was five years old. (Beautiful English, but is this the answer to the question? Was the candidate listening?)

A: No. (Dont stop there!) I am the only child in my family. Its just me, my mother and father. (Great!).

A: Yes. (Dont stop there!) I play football every week with my friends. (Much better!)

Q: What do you do in your free time?

A: Because (Dont panic, a simple reason is fine, sometimes it helps to repeat the full sentence) I am studying English because its important for my work. Also, because I like it. (Good!)

The most important thing is to try to keep going, go on, and say something! You can have a little pause, but dont leave too many long silences they can be embarrassing. Dont worry though, the examiner will move on to another question if he or she sees that you are in difficulty.

If you need a moment to think, say something, while you are thinking:

Say calm and follow the conversation. Dont keep jumping ahead to what you think the next question might be.

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