Watch the video of two students talking about themselves in a speaking exam. Then read the tips below.
Examiner: Hi. What’s your name?
Kelvin: My name is Kelvin.
Examiner: Kelvin, OK. So, Kelvin, I’m going to ask you a few questions. I’d like to ask you about your school. So, what subjects do you like most?
Kelvin: I think I like economics most because I can study different kinds of demand and supply theory and I can use it in my daily life to observe the market. I think that’s very interesting, yeah, and very useful.
Examiner: OK. And are there any subjects that you don’t like so much?
Kelvin: Actually, I don’t like physics too much because I need to calculate many difficult questions and all those mathematics words. I’m not really used to them. So, I don’t like physics.
Examiner: I see. All right. Well, how about in the future? Are you hoping to go to university?
Kelvin: Yeah, sure.
Examiner: OK, and what would you like to study there?
Kelvin: I think I would like to study something about business. So, I think nowadays we can only make a lot of money by participating in the financial sectors. So, I would like to study something about financial business. I want to get rich, yes.
Examiner: OK, that’s great. Thanks, Kelvin.
Examiner: Hi. What’s your name?
Melissa: My name is Melissa.
Examiner: Hi, Melissa. And, can you tell me about your family?
Melissa: I’ve got no sisters and brothers. I live with my father and mother and my dog.
Examiner: And your dog?
Examiner: Great. All right, I’d like to ask you a few questions about your school. So first, what subjects do you like most?
Melissa: I like mathematics the most because I think it’s satisfying to calculate the solution.
Examiner: OK. So, mathematics ... is there any other one?
Melissa: And English, I think, because it’s fun to learn a language.
Examiner: Great, OK. Which subjects do you think are most useful for you?
Melissa: I think accounting is the most useful because every company needs an accountant and to be an accountant I need to study this subject.
Examiner: Sure, OK. And are there any subjects that you don’t like?
Melissa: I hate Chinese because it’s difficult to study the passages. Yeah, and I don’t really understand what it’s about.
Examiner: OK, that’s great. Thanks, Melissa.
Here are our top tips for talking about yourself in an exam.
- Think about the types of topics and questions you may be asked before the exam. School, family, free time, daily routines and future plans are common topics.
- Practise answering simple questions about yourself. Work with a friend to practise or record yourself and listen to the recording.
- Listen carefully to the questions. If you don’t understand the question, ask your teacher to repeat it.
- Give complete answers in full sentences.
- Look at the examiner. His/her face may tell you when you’ve said enough and he/she is ready for the next question.
- Memorise your answers. It’s good to have ideas ready, but it’s better not to memorise long replies to typical questions.
- Just reply with ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
- Panic if you are asked an unexpected question. Take a few seconds to think before you answer it.
Here are some examples of things you can say about yourself:
My name’s ...
I’m from ... / I live in ...
I was born in ...
I’m ... years old.
I go to ... school.
I like ... because ...
I don’t like ... because ...
In my free time / After school, I ...
My best friends are ... because ...
My favourite (school subject, actor, pop group, sport) is ... because ...
I have ... brothers and sisters.
In the future, I’d like to ... because ...
Everyone loves talking about themselves! Have you ever had a speaking exam like this? Can you think of any other sentences that might be useful?