CAE: SPEAKING – TIPS (2)

The first part of the oral exam is simply answering questions about yourself. It’s aim is to relax you. However, many people are so scared at this point (or tired, as sometimes the oral exam follows the written exam marathon) that they answer with “yes”, “yyyyhm” or “I don’t know”.

The trick here is to start using a phrase such as “Oh, that’s a tricky one” or “Well, let me see…”. It gives you extra time to think, makes you sound more natural and earns you extra points in the eyes of the examiner.

You can even use a whole table to make sure you start with a phrase, talk, link and talk some more.

Phrases: Well,… / Actually,… / As a matter of fact, … / That’s a tricky one. / Let me think. / Difficult to say, really. / No, I’m afraid I… / I haven’t made up my mind yet but I might… / Oh, very much so.

Linking: in fact / which / as / particularly / who / even / Who knows, I might even

Another important strategy is to LIE. Don’t think about the real answer, just invent one. In the exam you don’t have the time to analyse your future career, decide which of your interests is worth mentioning or count how many countries you have been to.

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