Speaking exams

Speaking exams

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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: 3894

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Discussion

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

Comments

halfblood_prince's picture
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hi everybody, i'm a newbie ! i wish that my english may be improved when i use this website.talking about speaking skills i have to say that i'm really worried about my speaking skills, i don't understand why my mouth just get dry when i speak with others, my vocabulary just run away when people look at me, of course, i get stuck immediately and ... you should look my face at that moment ._.', then everything ends, it's so terrible. i try to take all my courage to talk with others, but the result always repeat, and the conversation stops, what should i do? i have the courage to talk ^^!, but what should i have more than that in order to keep the talk last long?

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3 users have voted.
Jo - Coordinator's picture
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Hi halfblood_prince! Welcome to LearnEnglish teens! It sounds like you're doing everything you can to improve your speaking, well done! Speaking is a practical skill like learning to swim or driving a car. You can't just study the theory and start doing it; you have to practise and practise! It's totally normal that it's difficult, especially at first. Have you seen our speaking skills videos? You can learn new language and practise your speaking with those. Keep doing everything you can to speak with other people and little by little you will start to feel more confident. Good luck! Joanna (LearnEnglish Teens team)

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3 users have voted.
halfblood_prince's picture
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thanks a lot for your help, teacher! i really feel grateful to those who have a hand in this website, i wish that i knew it more sooner. However, i believe that everything will be ok when i start to explore this pages! I'm going to have an ielts test next month, and of course! i'm really worried about speaking test, if you don't mind, could you please help me to find out some necssary topics,i find it hard to search a right topic because it's quite universal and variety. i'm going to learn movie topics and describe people ( a small child, an old person, a person in the news), these topics really hard for me and i can't find the suitable vocabulary to describe. i'm really expecting for your help!

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2 users have voted.
SlidesofKnowledge's picture
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Well... I normally have a few mistakes in the exam because when I talk to the person who is speaking Englis, the person makes me feel comfortable, although, it's strange because my English is not very good. So, I would like to speak English with other people to improve it but I don't have the oportunity. What should I do?

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12 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
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It's a good idea to find a speaking partner. :) Do you have a teacher who you can ask? He or she might know another student who is interested in the same thing. Or, I wonder if there are any English language practice groups organised in your area. You could check your local library or newspaper for any ads.

You can also keep practising speaking here, with the videos in our Speaking skills practice section. Have you tried them yet?

Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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10 users have voted.
Cindy_3103's picture
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Hello everyone :) I'm a newbie. I think that I"m not good at Speaking skill because i can't speak confidently before many people. Can you give me some advices to improve that problem??? Thank you so much :) Love you all <3

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65 users have voted.
Muslimgirl65's picture
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Hi Cindy_3130 ! I think
1)you should not fearfull in exam it is so normally
2)perform your vocabulary building
3) study before teh exam in front of the mirror

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62 users have voted.
Retnopalupi's picture
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hi guys, I'm a beginner for lerning English and I have some problem about speaking english with fluently.I always afraid if what I say is wrong, so can you help me?

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68 users have voted.
JoEditor's picture
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Hi Retnopaulupi,
Don't worry about making mistakes when you speak English. It's all part of the process and we all make mistakes - they help us to learn. Have a good read through this section. Soon we are going to have a Speaking skills practice section on the site which will help you too.
Best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team) 

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71 users have voted.
gianggiang's picture
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Hi.
I'm curious to know if the word " Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" is used to say when you don't know or forget what to say, isn't it ? If so, could anyone teach me how to pronounce it ?

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90 users have voted.
Cindy_3103's picture
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Hi ^^ U are Vietnamese?? And i think you are in grade 10 now huh?? if i were right then we are at the same age and nationality. Nice to meet you :)

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54 users have voted.
gianggiang's picture
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Hi,
I've searched on google and it said that (Y) meaned " I like it ", ( Y) is the symbol of the word " Like". At first, I thought that (Y) meaned " I love you" as ( Y) means Love, he he

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87 users have voted.
Alicenguyeen's picture
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hi guys! I am also not quite confident with english speaking skill. I just concentrate on revising listening so that my speaking is not as excellent as my friends. I wish my speaking would be better and have a partner to speak, just the only way is practise, practise and practise day by day!

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136 users have voted.
JoEditor's picture
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Hi Brisha99,
Thanks for your comments on the site. Please remember to read our House rules. It's not possible to practise your speaking directly with another user on the site as we don't allow personal contact details to be shared.
Best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team) 

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103 users have voted.
lemon_twist96's picture
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Hi, I have a speaking exam tomorrow and i'm super nervous!

i think i'll be ok as i'm a first language speaker, but because of where i live i'm two years ahead of the people in my grade:( I just have one question which i couldn't seem to find the answer to on this page; how do we end a speaking exam appropriately? My teacher told us that we couldn't finish with "...and that is all i wanted to say, thankyou"

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146 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
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Hi lemon_twist96. Is your exam a presentation? Well, it's probably a good idea to restate the main point or idea of your presentation, and you can introduce it with 'In summary, ...' or 'For these reasons which I have explained, I believe ...'. After that, here are some common ways to bring it to a close.

  • That's the end of my presentation. Thank you.
  • Thank you for your attention.
  • Thank you for listening.

It might also be a good idea to ask the teacher or the audience 'Do you have any questions?'

I hope that helps. If possible, check the ending with your teacher before the exam starts. Good luck :) :) :)

Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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147 users have voted.
rosegh's picture
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good evening
i really need some help
my spoken English is awful because i do not have anyone to speak with him\her
i am slow in formulating sentences in my mind so i would rather write
my grammar is good , and i am studying intermediate level now
i want to take IELTS exam
how can i develop my spoken English and prepare for IELTS exam?
is it early?
am i waiting for studying upper-intermediate level then take IELTS?
i need high mark in it
what should i do?
please help me

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165 users have voted.
hihiqu's picture
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I think it is always important to speak confidently. English speaking is hard but try to focus what I'm saying then I will be successful in my test!

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160 users have voted.

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