English Oral Exams – 4 Powerful Tips To Excel

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Just the mention of English oral exams can give palpitations to some people. 

I was surprised at how this exam, which is relatively accessible to most of us in Singapore, should be so intimidating.

It could be that we are better at writing than speaking or that we feel more confident when we write as we can rewrite our answers. 

I know that it is not the same for an English oral exam.

Furthermore, there is the examiner who is seated only inches away from you. 

They are only there to help you succeed but somehow it does not seem that way when you are actually in the ‘hot seat.’ 😊

Ok. We have all been there before and believe me, there are ways to make that ‘hot seat’ a seat of confidence and pathway to your future.

I have 4 simple tips gleaned from my own experience as a student and a teacher which you apply in your English oral exams. 

They are really so simple that you may wonder if they are worth doing but trust me, the simple ones are really the best.

english oral

Tip #1 – Prepare By Doing Breathing And Reading Exercises

This is the simplest of all but do not be tricked by how simple it sounds. It requires lots of practice to get it right.

Breathing exercises mean that you have to breathe deeply and slowly in order to modulate your tone and pace.

Have you wondered how you tend to speak much faster during an English oral exam compared to your normal way of talking? It is anxiety.

Your pulse will accelerate when you are awaiting your turn no matter how fluent you are. It is just a natural tendency I suppose.

The only way to avoid this unfortunate tendency is to breathe deeply while you are waiting. 

Somehow it controls your voice tremors and paces out your words. Your sentences are not rushed and the overall effect is that of a confident speaker.

You may start practising at home when you are relaxed. Just breathe deeply and read from any text. Do this every day and it will become automatic.

Tip #2 – Read And Record

Recording your reading is not really such a bad idea. Read any text and record it on your phone. 

Look out for cadence, pronunciation, and pauses. These are the basis of any oral presentation and you can use it for your English oral practice. The way you speak and your tone will become clear when you play it back. 

All students are usually baffled at the way they sound. We never realise the way we sound to others. The recording will ‘kill off’ those bad habits we had accumulated over the years. It will make your recording more polished and smoother. 

I have no doubt that you will make the necessary amendments the minute you hear yourself speak. 😊

Tip #3 – Read And Be In Touch With Current Events

Knowing what is going on in the world around you is essential. As a student of English, it is a basic criterion that you should be knowledgeable about world news. 

Be confident when you talk and try to be sophisticated in your delivery.

Be aware of the latest developments in technology and peoples’ awareness. 

Always quote these sources when you deal with conversation topics for your English oral exams. It is your duty to be as savvy as possible. 

Do not repeat hackneyed phrases. Bring some life into your presentations by alluding to the latest speech or video by an environmentalist. 

Or give your views about the difference it makes when one is mindful of natural resources. 

Inject your views based on current issues and stand out from other students during theEnglish oral exam.

Tip #4 – Memorise Useful Phrases For Popular Topics

I know most people say that one should not memorise but having useful phrases at the back of your hand is a big asset. Look out for phrases and quotations which are current, appear in the news, or are ‘trendy.’ 

Be aware of the shifts in the way people think and talk. Always stay on top of what is happening. It is not really such laborious work if you think about how exciting it can be to always be self-assured.

Knowing what is going on and projecting your knowledge in a confident way should be your aim now. It is all about your confidence and you already know how to sound confident. 

Keep up with the exercises I have mentioned and you will be on your way to being a confident and pleasant speaker during your English oral exams. 

You will achieve excellent results in due course. 😊

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