GENERAL STRATEGIES FOR THE SPEAKING MODULE
Strategy 1:Don’t memorise long answer
Anything you say that the examiner thinks has been memorised will not be assessed.
Strategy 2: Use your imagination in your answers
Remember that the examiner is testing your ability to speak English, not your views or general knowledge.
Strategy 3: Use varied and advanced vocabulary
You must show that you have enough vocabulary to discuss non-personal topics. The examiner will be checking to see if you can use complex sentences. You will get credit for your attempts, even if you make mistakes.
Strategy 4:You can stall,but not for long
If you cannot think of an answer to an examiner’s question right away, you can say some ‘fillet’ phrases to acknowledge the question and to show the examiner that are thinking about your answer. However, avoid waiting too long before you speak. This will cause the examiner to give you lower marks for fluency.
Here are some phrases you can use to fill in the spaces when you need more time:
- That’s a good question!
- OK, well, let me see.
- I’ve never thought of this before . . .
- Hmm, let me think . . .
Strategy 4:Make your voice heard
You should speak loudly enough for the examiner to hear you and for the tape-recorder to capture what you are saying. Also, make sure to pronounce your words as clearly and correctly as possible.
SPECIFIC STRATEGIES FOR THE SPEAKING NODULE
In this part of the test, the examiner will ask you some questions about yourself. You should not feel nervous or threatened in any way. The examiner is there to help you speak, and if you misunderstand a question or cannot answer, he or she will repeat or change the question.
Strategy 1:Ask to clarify questions you do not understand.
It is OK to ask questions if you do not understand what the examiner has asked you. This will not lower your score.
Strategy 2: Give direct answers to the examiner’s questions.
Answer each question you are asked. Try to give examples, reasons and your opinions where appropriate. Your answers do not need to be very long or sophisticated.
Strategy 3:Try to sound natural
Try not to be nervous. Speak to the examiner as if you were speaking to someone you have just been introduced to.
You will have one minute to prepare and make notes. It is important to make useful notes to guide you during your turn. Do not try to write out your whole speech. Write down your ideas and some key points. The three bullet points on your task card will help you do this.
Strategy 1:Read the Task Card carefully
You don’t want to misread or misunderstand the topic or bullet points. If you tusk this step, you might makes notes and prepare a speech that doesn’t cover the topic at all. Then you’ll have to talk without any preparation.
Strategy 2: Make brief notes about each point on the card.
During the minute you are given to prepare for this turn, decide how you will introduce and link your ideas. Keep your answer relevant to the instructions on the card and try to address each point in torn. Remember to include some examples to support what you say.
Do not try to write these as full sentences because there will not be enough time for this. Write key words only, starting each point on a new line for clarity. You should include key words and expressions and prompt words to help you remember your ideas.
Strategy 3:Keep to the time limit
You are expected to speak for a maximum of two minutes, but you will not be timed. One to two minutes can seem like a long time, so you do need to have an idea before taking the test of how much you can say in two minutes. That way you can make sure to cover all the points on the Task Card without going under or over.
The best way to prepare for this is to practise writing down notes and crafting speeches that last roughly one to two minutes. Use the points on the card to help you organise What you are going to say.
EXAMPLE:TASK CARD,NOTES,SPEECH,AND WRAP-UP QUESTIONS
Describe a piece of furniture you have in your home.
You should say:
•What kind it is and what you use it for
•What materials it is made of
•How this piece of furniture was chosen for your home
Also explain how you feel about this piece of furniture.
- antique, expensive
- got it from grandparents—don’t know much about it
- took good care, doesn’t look shabby
- used it for school
- love it—will give to my children or collector of antiques
I would like to tally about my writing desk. This desk is in my bedroom. It is an antique and is probably very expensive. It is quite large and I think it is made of oak. I received it as a present from my grandparents when they moved into my parents’ house. I do not know much about how long my grandparents had it or where it came from. It’s quite old, but I have taken really good care of ir, so it doesn’t really look shabby. It’s got three drawers. Some parts of it are decorated with some fancy carvings. Anyway, 1 really love this desk because ] spent lots of time studying and working at it when I was at school. I still find it very useful and will probably give it to my children when they start school. If they don’t want it, I’ll sell it to a collector of antiques.
After you have completed this task, you will be asked a couple of rounding-off questions, which require very simple answers.
Examiner:Do any of your friends have a piece of furniture like this?
Candidate:Yes, some of them do.
Examiner:Where would you go to buy a piece of furniture like this?
Candidate:At an antique shop.
In this part, the examiner wants to hear you discuss some general but more abstract topics that are related to Part 2.
During this part of the Speaking module, you will be expected to show your ability to:
- fully answer the examiner’s specific questions on a specific topic
- introduce and connect your ideas
- express and justify your opinions on a range of topics
The examiner can only assess what you say, not what you are thinking, so it is important to give a full and relevant answer, linking your ideas smoothly. This skill is known zs fluency.
STRATEGY 1:Speak at length,but stay on topic
In the Speaking test, you should try to give a ‘full’ or extended answer. The examiner cannot give you high marl‹s if your responses are always very short. However, make sure that the information you provide is relevant to the question and that you have kepT to the original topic of the question.
EXAMPLE:RESPONSE TO A PART 3 QUESTION
Examiner: Do you take photographs?
Candidate 1: Yes, I do.
Candidate 2:Yes, I like photography. I especially enjoy taking photographs using my digital camera.There’s so much I can do with those photos on my computer.
Candidate 3: Yes, I like photography. I also like drawing and painting. I started painting when I was 12 years old.
Candidate 1 has given a short, limited answer that will not receive high marks. Candidate 3 has added information that is not relevant to the topic. The best answer is from Candidate 2, who has given an extended answer that is relevant to the question and conversation topic.
If you give a short reply, the examiner will ash more questions to help you develop your answer. He or she may stress some words to help you. However, you will get much better marks if the examiner does not need to help you with providing appropriate answers.
Strategy 2: Learn key phrases for introducing and linking ideas.
To make your speech easier to understand and follow, use a variety of expressions and words that help introduce and link your ideas. Here are some helpful phrases.
Presenting your point of view:
•I think that . .
•I don’t think that . . .
•Personally, . . .
•I believe . . .
•As far as 1 understand/know, . . .
•I am convinced that .. .
•In my opinion, . . .
•I personally think .
•I guess . . .
•I suppose . . .
•I’d say . . .
Adding new ideas or statements
•AISO, . . .
•And . . .
Explaining reasons and consequences
•It’s probably because . .
•That’s why . . .
•One of the reasons for this could be . . .
•What this means is that . . .
•It’s not likely that . .
•It’s very unlikely that . .
Moving to the next point
•Anyway, . . .
•So, to move on, . .
•For example, . . .
•For instance, . . .
Strategy 3: Express and justify your opinions correctly and with confidence.
In this part of the Speaking module, you will need to communicate your opinions while also demonstrating your control of grammatical structures and depth of vocabulary. Use modal verbs to give possible reasons or describe likely advantages/disadvantages.
Examiner:Why do you think some people like giving presents more than receiving?
Candidate:Well, it might be because they are generous.Another reason could be they feel good about themselves when they give someone a present.
When you give an opinion, support it by giving a reason for it or by offering a second point of view.
Examiner:Do you agree that public transport should be free?
Candidate:I totally agree.We all pay taxes and I think some of the money governments collect from tax-payers should be invested in building an efficient public transport system.This could also encourage people to use public transport instead of driving private cars. But I think it might be difficult and very expensive to put this idea into practice, and I suppose many people would disagree that making public transport free is a good idea.