Can you speak English well enough to pass the oral exams?

Oral exam success is not only a matter of personal achievement but also proves that you are ready to communicate in real English in the real world.

Question: What do good oral exams have in common? 

Answer: They engage candidates in real-world interaction tasks (or, at least, simulated real-world interaction tasks) which allow them to showcase a range of real-world sub-skills.

Why ‘real-world’? Well, because a speaking exam should reflect what candidates actually need or want to use their English for in their everyday lives.

Let’s focus on sub-skills. If we take the Cambridge English Advanced exam as an example, the handbook informs us that across its four parts control over the following sub-skills is required in order to be successful: comparing, describing, expressing opinions, speculating, sustaining an interaction, exchanging ideas, justifying opinions, agreeing and disagreeing, suggesting, evaluating and reaching decisions through negotiating.

It’s very easy to see that these are real-world sub-skills, demanded in real-world interaction tasks:

As a student, you may want to agree or disagree with another student’s opinion.

As a job interviewee, you may need to describe your past achievements.

As a doctor, you may need to speculate on a patient’s condition.

So, what’s the best method to prepare yourself to showcase such a range of real-world sub-skills? Well, first of all, it’s important to become familiar with the format of the exam you’re going to take, and the exact sub-skills it requires.

Then, of course, you have to practise. One way is to simply do mock test after mock test. However, as well as being a surefire way to induce boredom, this involves someone acting as the examiner and, depending on the exam, someone else acting as the second candidate. 

What else can you do?

How After Class can help you become a speaker of real English

We engage our students in real-world interaction tasks which help them develop real-world sub-skills. Indeed, the examples from the student, the job interviewee and the doctor all come from our sessions. We not only give you the confidence to pass your speaking exam, but also the confidence to use your English for real.

So, if you’re preparing for a speaking exam, what are you waiting for? Sign-up for a free trial today.

References: Cambridge English: Advanced Handbook for Teachers 2016 Cambridge University Press, Cambridge