Body language

Making an impression is as important as the words you use.

Don’t look like you are reciting an answer; act like it is a natural conversation.

Remember what the examiner is looking for

The speaking test is an examination of fluency and communication, not using big words.

Talk more (but not too much)

The less a student says the more the examiner has to ask. One or two word answers means the examiner has to ask more questions; the more questions that get asked, the harder the exam.

Speak freely and widely on a subject (not only about the obvious information) so you have more control over the exam – although remember to stay on topic.

Don’t talk for an unnaturally or boring amount of time.

Get your good ideas and language out

The examiner has the power to stop the speaking part when he/she thinks he has heard enough. If you hold back at the beginning the exam might finish just as you are getting going.

Try to control the areas in which you talk

If your brother does a weird job with lots of vocabulary you don’t know, don’t invite the examiner to start talking about it.

Give yourself time to think

It is perfectly normal to need a moment to think of an answer. The skill is to not say ‘umm….errr…’ or nothing at all.

Repeating or commenting on the question (‘Oh, that’s a good question’; ‘Hmm, I have to admit I’m not an expert on that’) is quite a common trait, even for native speakers.

If you forget a word, try to use words you do know to describe it

It is an excellent idea to learn some phrases to use if you do forget a word: this can impress the examiner even whilst you are forgetting.

Remember that examiners are people doing a potentially boring job.

Examiners get bored after seeing a lot of students, and they can be grumpy before lunch. Be polite, friendly and engaging. Examinations are supposed to be completely objective, but it is human nature to respond better to likeable people and care less for the morose.