We want to lend you a hand to pass an oral exam in English. Why? Because tackling any exam is always a bit stressful.
To start with, pay attention to these pieces of advice for improving your concentration when studying. They will be very useful to pass any test.
Normally English exams evaluate the different linguistic skills. A while ago we gave you 5 pieces of advice for passing a listening exam, and today we are focusing on certain tips that will help you pass an English oral exam.
1. Change your idea about the exam
You don´t have to dramatise it. To pass an oral exam in english, you must view it from another point of view. It´s convenient that you relate because if not, this test can become something too stressful.
Being relaxed can make the difference to tackle this type of test. It may be the difference between success and failure.
By being in front of your examiner, you can interact, correct errors and make them empathise with you. But don´t forget that it´s an exam, they´re not your friend.
You should treat it like a lesson. If you need help, don´t worry: look for a good English academy for this.
Oral exams are very fluid. You can exchange ideas with a teacher. If you go with an open mind, it will be like having a conversation, with the difference being that they are evaluating you.
Do you know one of the advantages of this type of test? By being an oral, you will have more opportunities to adapt and modify your answers and therefore, pass.
2. Investigate the oral exam in english
Be like Sherlock Holmes and investigate the structure of the test in question. It´s not hard to find out what it consists of. It can be enough to access the company´s website and having a look.
It will make you surer, knowing what it´s about. If you have any doubts about what the test contains, ask your English teacher to explain. Understanding every section will be key for passing an oral exam in english.
3. Respond well to the questions
It will seem obvious, but it will not be the first time that nerves or lack of preparation are responsible for you not being able to respond clearly to the questions you are asked.
Examiners are very well trained to detect students who have memorised what they must say. Memorising, is the worst study techniques, I´m sure your teachers have told you 10000s of times. Therefore, don´t use it as a strategy to pass an English oral exam.
One of the ways to discover this trick, is when people give an answer related to the question, but avoid the real question.
Do an active listening exercise, read the questions carefully and respond to everything that they ask you. It´s not bad to add information, but your priority is responding precisely to the given topic.
If you have problems with listening comprehension, take a good look at this post about how to improve your listening and not die trying.
4. Prepare yourself for the English oral exam
And we repeat ourselves, this doesn´t mean memorising answers, because you could lose points. You should be able to cover the basic information to tackle this test.
Think about your personal story, what you like (and don´t), your goals, your routines, the place where you live, your house, job…
They are very common themes that come up as open questions in oral exams. Have a reflection in this respect and you will already be ahead.
5. Show your control with wide answers
This will depend on your preparation, but it´s always recommended if you are able. The more specific you are, the greater skill you show in the language.
Look at these two examples:
“She has a pet cat. She stays with someone when I´m at work”
“She has a Persian cat. She stays with my best friend when I´m at work”
Can you see the difference? If you´re able and have time, bring additional information to your answers. Adding details will give a very positive impression of your fluency and that you have skill in using more complex phrases and vocabulary.
When they ask you a question, the first thing to do is give the main information. Then, explain why and if you proceed, include an example or anecdote. We assure you that this way, you will pass your English oral exam without problems.
6. To Practice or to practice, that is the question
If you have prepared yourself well, the issue may be in the speaking. Therefore, we recommend that you look at this post with 8 tools to improve your English pronunciation.
Practice is fundamental for passing an English oral exam. We recommend that, a few days before, you make the most out of conversation classes with a teacher, to see what you have learnt about the topic and therefore you will be surer of yourself.
7. Understanding what is being said
This isn´t too obvious. We are highlighting it because it´s often passed over. You shouldn´t repeat like a parrot, you should be able to learn and take in what you have studied.
If you truly understand what you have prepared, it will be very easy to maintain control. A good way is learning vocabulary related to your personal life and interests. Expressing yourself in this manner in an oral exam will gain you more marks.
Reciting what you have learnt, may mean you fail. It´s not worth risking this and losing time without learning English.
8. Show confidence in front of the teacher
This often is related to the character of each person, but you should try to pretend.
Put your interpretive skills to the test. It´s natural to feel nervous, anxious, that your body responds in an unexpected way…
Throughout the duration of the test, pretend that it´s a play. We know that it´s a challenge, but you can do it. Take a look at this post about 8 pieces of advice to get over your fear of speaking a language.
An additional piece of advice here, is that before responding to any question, take a breath, think, and you will see how fluently, correctly and clearly you will sound.
In this way, you will feel more confident. These tips for breathing can help you to understand the listener and organise your arguments.
9. Pay attention to non-verbal communication
Words aren´t the only think that can communicate, it´s something that you always have to bear in mind.
It´s important what you say and how you say it. To pass an English oral exam, is going to be valuable at all levels, like any aspect of life.
Put some non-verbal communication skills that we are going to give you to practise and you will see how the results will be more than obvious.
It´s not a good idea to hide your hands in your pockets, nor to point with your finger. This way, you show insecurity and an aggressive attitude. Maintain a relaxed body, it´s clear that you are in an oral exam and nerves are inevitable.
Enter with energy, strength, and confidence with a strong walk. When you sit down, do it comfortable, but maintaining a relaxed and upright posture. Don´t move around in the seat while the teacher is asking you a question… it will seem like you aren´t in control of the situation.
Look at your interviewer in the eyes naturally, but not in a defiant way. Your head high so that the examiner knows that you aren´t avoiding questions.
It´s not recommendable to cross your arms or make too many gestures. If it´s hard for you to control your hands, take a pen as support, but don´t make any noises with it.
Don´t do things like biting your nails, touching your hair, scratching etc… All of these gestures are a very clear signal of anxiety. Nor should you laugh lots if something is funny, smile but nothing more.
And one final piece of advice, stand in front of a mirror and practise your non-verbal communication.
10. Be yourself
It´s a very overused phrase we know. We are referring to the fact that you should adopt strong positions that aren´t you. Why? It will make you feel even more nervous and uncomfortable.
To pass an English oral exam, you must be natural, speak with the adequate language of the subject and without abusing technical components that will make the message difficult to transmit.
Learning verb phrases, useful expressions, quotes… and you will see how you will pass with ease.
Do you know what we recommend that you do to improve your oral skills? An English summer trip, fun and learning in a perfect immersive environment.