Very few books and website explain clearly the test procedure.
So if you haven’t taken the test before, it can all seem like a bit of mystery.
You will probably be very nervous before your speaking test.
The examiner might be too as they have a lot of things to manage and rules to follow.
By following these simple guidelines you can make the exam as easy as possible for both of you.
Before the Test Starts
Don’t enter the room until the examiner invites you in
You will told to wait on a chair outside the examination room.
You might see a candidate leave and think that it’s your turn.
Don’t assume anything. The examiner will call you when they are ready.
Be friendly, but don’t ask any questions.
Once the examiner invites you into the room, they will show you where to sit.
Feel free to offer a polite greeting e.g. “Good morning/afternoon”.
However I strongly suggest that you don’t ask “How are you?” Personally I don’t mind it, but this will make some examiners uncomfortable.
Sit down and wait for the examiner to start the test
Put your ID card or passport on the table, but don’t hand it over until the examiner asks to see it (which will be later).
Before the test officially starts, the examiner might check your name (to make sure you’re the correct candidate).
They may even ask if you are ready to start or ask how you are.
Just give very short answers. This is not part of the test.
When the test starts just say your full name and wait for the first real question
The examiner will start the test with the following information for the recording:
“This is the speaking test for the International English Language Testing System…”
They will read out the date, the test centre’s name and number, your name and candidate number, and then their name and examiner number.
Finally they will say:
“Good morning/afternoon. My name is…………Can you tell me your full name please?”
This is not the first question. This is just for you to confirm you are the right candidate.
Don’t comment on your name or the examiner’s name.
And definitely don’t take this opportunity to talk about yourself.
Just say your full name and wait for the first real question which comes after the following:
“Now, in this first part I’d like to ask you some questions about yourself…”
During the Test.
Don’t throw the question back to the examiner.
This is a test, not a conversation.
Examiner: “Are you doing anything special this weekend?”
Candidate: ”Yes, I’m going to Queen’s Park. Do you know it?”
The examiner is not allowed to answer questions, and so you might make the examiner feel uncomfortable. They will have to ignore your question.
Ask them to repeat questions but don’t ask them to change or explain them
You can ask for each question to be repeated so make sure you practise this.
For example, “Sorry, can you repeat that please?”
You can also ask to have individual words explained
For example “Sorry, what does tradition mean?”
However, you cannot ask the examiner to change or explain the whole question.
After the Test
Say goodbye and leave.
The examiner will end the test with the following:
“Thank you very much. That is the end of the speaking test.”
After this, the examiner will politely invite you to leave the room.
After this you might feel you want to stay to chat to the examiner, sit down on the floor and cry for a bit, or even ask about your score.
However the examiner wants you to go because they can write down your scores.
And they usually don’t have much time to prepare for the next candidate.
So I suggest saying a simple goodbye and then leaving.
“Thank you. It was nice to meet you / have a nice day. Goodbye.”
If you’re interested in seeing what the difference is between scores – watch this video from our YouTube Channel to see the difference between a BAND 5 and a BAND 7.
Now it’s your turn! Put your answers in the comments.
Which part of the test scares you the most?
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