1. Don't stop talking: This may seem obvious but many people find it difficult to keep talking for the entire length of the exam. As a general rule, don't stop talking until the examiner stops you. There is nothing wrong with taking a second or two to formulate your answer before you respond, just try to keep the 'ehms' and 'ums' to a minimum. Also avoid giving one word answers and closed responses. Let's consider this question, 'Do you have any brothers or sisters?' A bad answer would be a simple yes or no where as a good answer would be 'Yes, I have one brother and one sister. They're names are Bobby and Suzy. Bobby is older than me and Suzy is the youngest. They like...' See the difference? If you find this difficult, see the next point.
2. Be prepared: Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Even though your oral exam may be relatively short, there is still no excuse for not preparing. Most oral exams consist of the same general topics such as your background, what you did in the past, what your plans are for the future, your family, your favourite movie/place. By preparing a short paragraph on these topics, you will be much better prepared. Also, if you can ,get your hands on previous exam papers and see what the examiners asked. Another great way of preparing is actually speaking English with others. If you want help preparing those paragraphs or even just practicing your oral, send Learn English Online an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can of course, just leave a comment at the bottom of this page.
3. Relax and smile: Finally, remember to relax and smile. Easier said than done, right? Well, maybe not so if you remember these things: it's only a short exam and if you've prepared there is very little they can ask you that you won't have an answer for. And also, it's an oral exam so it cannnot be very detailed and the examiner is not looking for totally original answers, they are testing to see how well you understand and speak English, that's all. Remember to smile and be friendly, you'll relax both you and the examiner. Also, use humour where appropriate. A well timed joke can make the world of difference and make your English sound so much better.
So there you have it. I told you it would be quick and easy. We'd love to hear your oral exam experiences. Please leave a comment underneath. And as mentioned earlier, if you want any help, please get in contact with Learn English Online.
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