This section gives you help and advice for different types of speaking tests and exams. You can watch six videos of real students doing speaking exams. 

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: 4309
Language level: 


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


as_tak's picture
as_tak 6 September, 2012 - 18:43

i dont like speaking too as i am not good at it ..... when i start to talk i forget the whole words i used to know !

481 users have voted.
raghda's picture
raghda 13 July, 2012 - 13:55

when i pass a peaking test i look like someone who is going to die loool , i always think about the grammar roles and say emmmmmmmm

458 users have voted.
1Dgirl's picture
1Dgirl 17 June, 2012 - 14:43

My problem with speaking english is that, with the teacher, i can't talk english that well. But when talking with my friends or people that i know, i can express myself very well.

459 users have voted.
JoEditor's picture
JoEditor 17 June, 2012 - 17:38

Hi 1Dgirl,
That's interesting. Do you feel more nervous talking to your teacher than to your friends? Maybe you should do some deep breathing and relaxing before an exam, or try to imagine that the teacher is a member of your family or a family friend! Do you think that might help?
Best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

467 users have voted.
Georgia8's picture
Georgia8 29 May, 2012 - 15:01

My problem with speakings is that I feel I don't know many words and because of that I get stuck...

467 users have voted.
Ilda G's picture
Ilda G 23 January, 2013 - 21:32

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??

379 users have voted.
JoEditor's picture
JoEditor 24 January, 2013 - 13:25

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)

374 users have voted.
Simon's picture
Simon 16 May, 2012 - 04:32

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)

488 users have voted.
Ilda G's picture
Ilda G 23 January, 2013 - 21:27

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

415 users have voted.
mama's picture
mama 4 September, 2013 - 18:54

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

215 users have voted.
Simon's picture
Simon 15 May, 2012 - 02:32

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)

493 users have voted.
lili's picture
lili 8 December, 2013 - 10:19

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

110 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
Jonathan - Coor... 12 September, 2013 - 07:45

Hi AHassan. We are here to help you! Look around LearnEnglish Teens and see what you would like to practice. What do you want to improve?
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

210 users have voted.