Watch the video of two students doing an information exchange activity. Then read the tips below.
If you have a speaking exam with another student, you may be asked to do an information gap activity. This means you look at some information and your partner looks at different information and then you talk and exchange the information.
Here are our top tips for information gap activities.
- Listen carefully to the instructions.
- Ask your teacher to repeat if you don’t understand exactly what you have to do.
- Look at your partner and check that he/she understands you when you speak.
- Be ready to repeat or explain things if he/she doesn’t understand you.
- Listen to your partner’s answers carefully and show interest in what your partner says.
- Take turns with your partner.
- Talk a lot more than your partner.
- Ignore what your partner says.
- Worry if you and your partner have different levels of English.
- Look at your partner’s worksheet and copy the answers!
Examples of information gap activities
Example 1: information exchange
Student A: Look at the information about films at the local cinema. Listen to your partner’s questions and use the information to answer them.
Student B: Look at the information about films at the local cinema and ask your partner questions to find out more about the films.
Example 2: picture difference
Students A and B: Look at your picture. Describe it to your partner. Listen to your partner talking about his/her picture. Find five differences between the pictures.
Example 3: role play
Look at the information on your role card and talk to your partner. Find a solution to the problem.
Student A: You are a guest staying at a hotel. The hotel website says it is a luxury hotel, but in your room the sheets and towels are dirty, the bathroom is too small, the street outside is very noisy and ... (you decide two more problems). You want to change to a better room and you want a discount. Talk to the receptionist and solve the problem.
Student B: You are a hotel receptionist. There is a guest staying at the hotel who complains about everything, even when there isn’t a problem. You can move a guest to a different room, but you can’t change the price of a room. Talk to the guest and solve the problem.
Worksheets and downloads
Examiner: So, you’re planning a trip to the cinema together. You’ve got some information about films but your information’s not complete. Ask your partner to find out the missing information. Then, discuss together which films you’d like to see and choose a film to go and see together.
Kelvin: So, the first film is Karemon but I don’t know the show times for it. So what …
Melissa: Let me see, it’s at one o’clock in the afternoon and 6:30.
Kelvin: So, what is the ticket price for adults?
Melissa: It’s 80 dollars.
Kelvin: And the next one is Mr and Mrs Jones. So, what secret do they have?
Melissa: They are both international spies.
Kelvin: International spies, wow! And the third one is My Dog, Spot. So, what kind of film is it?
Melissa: It’s a comedy.
Kelvin: Comedy. And the next is Robot 2075. So, what has the robot done?
Melissa: The robot has taken over the world.
Kelvin: Taken over the world, wow. And the ticket price?
Melissa: The ticket price is 75 dollars.
Kelvin: 75 dollars.
Melissa: It’s my turn. I would like to know what kind of film Forever is.
Kelvin: It’s a romance film.
Melissa: I see. How about War Games 3D? I would like to know what the man does.
Kelvin: As you know, his country’s under attack so he has to fight and save his country.
Melissa: He’s very brave. For King Robert V, I want to know, what does this film show?
Kelvin: It shows how King Robert V became England’s greatest king.
Melissa: I see, and what’s the ticket price of the film?
Kelvin: It is 80 dollars for adults and 40 dollars for under 12s.
Melissa: Thank you, and also for the Midnight Moon, what kind of film is it?
Kelvin: It is a horror film.
Melissa: I see, and what are the show times?
Kelvin: The show times are 7:50 and 10:00, ten o' clock.
Melissa: Thank you. So, what film do you want to watch?
Kelvin: For my first priority I would like to choose King Robert V because I’m very interested in England’s history.
Melissa: But it will be so boring! For me, I’d like to watch Midnight Moon. It’s a horror film. Do you like it? Or we will have another choice … ?
Kelvin: How about Mr and Mrs Jones?
Melissa: Oh sure, we can have a look. It’s a ton of cool things.
Kelvin: It will be very interesting too.
Melissa: Yeah. What time do you want to watch it?
Kelvin: Maybe 9:30?
Melissa: Sure, we can watch it after dinner.
Kelvin: OK. See you there!
Which of these three examples have you had experience with in your school exams? Was it easy or difficult for you?