Speaking exams

Speaking exams


Speaking exams can be stressful! What if you don't understand the examiner? What if you don't know the exact word you need? Don't panic! This section has loads of tips and advice on how to survive your next speaking exam.

Woman speaking

This section is going to help you to prepare for speaking exams, which for many learners are the exam that is most feared! This section will give you lots of tips and advice so you can do as well as possible in any speaking test. Remember that everyone gets nervous in exams, especially oral exams. So, don’t worry, our tips will help you feel more confident in a speaking exam.

  • Listening to as much English as possible will help to improve your speaking. Listening to songs, podcasts, films, TV series or video clips will help you to feel more confident about speaking.
  • Speak as much English in class as possible. If you speak English regularly in class, you will find it easier to speak in an exam.
  • Slow down! It’s not a race. Before you speak, think carefully about what to say and speak a little slower than normal.
  • Use language you know is correct. Use words and expressions you have used before.
  • If you don’t know a word, think of another way to say it. For example, if you know the word ‘expensive’, but can’t remember the word ‘cheap’, you could say:
    It’s not expensive.
    It’s a good price.
    It’s not a lot of money.
  • Listen to yourself while you speak and if you hear a mistake, correct it. Native speakers make mistakes and correct them all the time.
  • Look at the examiner’s or other student’s face and eyes when you speak. Do they understand you? If not, say it again with different words.
  • If you don’t understand the question or the activity, ask the examiner. Say: ‘Could you repeat that, please?’
  • Always say something. Don’t just say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Explain your answer with a reason. Say ‘Yes, I agree because....’
  • If you can choose the question or topic, choose one you know something about. It’s easier to talk about something you know.
  • Speak clearly so that the examiner can hear you. If you find this difficult, practise with a friend at home. Stand at opposite ends of a room and speak to each other in English. Or speak to each other in English on your computers.
  • What can you prepare before the exam? Ask your teacher. For example, questions about personal information. Prepare what to say at home and practise with a friend, in front of a mirror or record yourself on your phone or computer. 
  • In some exams, there are two examiners. One who talks to you and one who listens. Say hello and goodbye to both examiners, but during the exam, focus on the examiner who talks to you.
  • This is your opportunity to show the examiner what you know. Use your best language and pronunciation.
  • Remember that everyone feels nervous in exams. So, take some deep breaths before the exam and try to relax.
  • Finally, remember that the examiners are normal human beings, not aliens!

Use the 'Book navigation' box on the right-hand side of the page to work through this section.

Total votes: 2191


Language level: 


How well did you do in the exercise? Do you have any more top tips for doing well in speaking exams?


Ilda G's picture

Hi Jo
I really like this website,but I'd like to know something...
Is that possible to get notifications when someone replies my coment???
Because I make a question for example and I don't know if someone has answered that question??

309 users have voted.
JoEditor's picture

Hi ilda,
We are improving the way comments work on the site and soon it will be much better. We don't have plans to have notifications at the moment but we will think about it.
Thanks a lot for your suggestion. Best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

312 users have voted.
Simon's picture

Hi Everybody! Remember, you can ask us any questions you might have about exams or tell us what exams you are worried about.  And we will try to give you some good advice so that you are relaxed and confident on the day of your exams.  

Simon (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

424 users have voted.
Ilda G's picture

Hi Simon...
It is more easy for me to write my ideas when my teacher ask me a question... And I think it is more easy for me to write the verbs in the correct form than to speak them...
What can I do to answer the questions of my teacher in the correct form???
I really need some advices how to be more correct on speaking english

349 users have voted.
mama's picture

whenever u come across a word dat u don't understand always check for it in ur English dictionary then begin to use it when speaking before u can think of it you become fond of it. try it. bye

148 users have voted.
Simon's picture

Hello Blue Sea, Yes I think many teachers say this to their students!  It is really important to raise your voice a little when doing a speaking exam.  If the teacher can't hear you, the teacher can't give you a really high score! Try it next time...

Simon (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

432 users have voted.
lili's picture

I think so too and when you start speaking sometimes you just blooc and don't know what to say and you're words just disappear..... :P

49 users have voted.
meriouma's picture

oh yes! me too i find difficult to speak English like native speakers :( because english is not a language which i practise every day !!

322 users have voted.