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: 3244

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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

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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17 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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19 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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37 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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30 users have voted.
LeGenGs's picture
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I thınk it is great page and very useful. I am use the page and ı lıke them. Exercise is very good. Tanks you very much . İt is great advice for speaking exam. I like page.

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44 users have voted.
LeGenGs's picture
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hi! it is good advice speaking exam for me. it is useful text and i lıke this page. Thanks you. I want to speak at the moment :)

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41 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
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Hi smilemaria85. Nice username :) Well, there are several ways of talking about the future. There isn't just one future tense. Have a look at this video which gives you some examples of going to, will and the present continuous, and then try the exercises on that page. I hope that's useful!
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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45 users have voted.
HadiaSABAH's picture
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If we want to speak better english,then in my opinion, we should read aloud to ourselves when we are alone and if we get stuck at some part/word , we can search it on online dictionaries like collins and etc. They even tell you how to pronounce it in the US english and the UK english.Also ofcourse , we can sometimes talk to ourselves . Don't think it is wierd, it really helps even if you are nervous or whatnot.Also try to talk to your friends in fluent english...Don't be afraid to get humiliated.Real friends don't humiliate or laugh at you, they are your mirror when you have dirt on your face... Anyways the point is that the more you speak the better your speaking becomes.

Happy learning! :)

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44 users have voted.
Juliette's picture
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I succed in doing this exercise and all of this tops are interesting but it stays difficult to remember to use them when you're in front of examiners.

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61 users have voted.
Ellenagurl's picture
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hi, i really want to speak english well. sometimes i want to be a great debater but i have tried once and i cant speak english as much as well. my grammar also bad and my accent isnt good but i confused, where can i practice my public speaking skills

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70 users have voted.
pinkpurple's picture
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I really like to speak and in times when they conduct a speaking exam i do really well but yes after reading tips i really feel they are helpful. I have got 20 out of 20 on my speaking test

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74 users have voted.
enjy6676's picture
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hi
am really i mean extremely bad at speaking my accent is horrible . i hate getting lower marks and not passing my tests for my accent i read the words in a different way from its original way . i would like to be better in english so i can pass my tests with no fear in me. when i always have a chance to do any english test in any kind of school i get scared and automatically refuse it cuz i already know that i wont pass it . i would anyone to give me advises or anything just to be good in english .

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84 users have voted.

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