Before the Interview
1. Be present at the center at least 30 min. before the interview.
2. Before going into the interview room, take a DEEP breath!
3. Dress appropriately: neither too casual nor too formal.
4. Greet the examiner. Say "Good Morning Sir/Madam or "Good Afternoon".
5. Be polite, friendly, and relaxed.
During the Interview
TIPS for Part 1
1. Make eye contact with the examiner. Although theoretically you can speak great English with your head down, the fact is you may not seem as confident. Although there is no mark for confidence, you need to present yourself in as positive way as possible.
2. Make sure you understand the examiner and are able to communicate without grammar mistakes.
3. Consider this part of the test as meeting someone for the first time and telling him about yourself. Try to be relaxed and keep conversation going.
4. Speak clearly and don't worry about your accent. Everyone has an accent when they speak English. The important point is that you enunciate the best you can so the examiner can understand you.
5. Rehearse in advance to overcome any obvious problems. If you make a mistake, don't worry, just correct yourself and keep going.
6. If the examiner asked you questions about your home town, neighborhood, or city; use good words about your home town, etc. to impress the examiner. Do use negative expressions to talk about your country or city. If you express all bad things always when you are talking, the examiner won't be impressed by your words unless you are asked to explain the problems.
Tips for Part 2
1. In part 2, you have one minute to think about the topic and organize your mind. The examiner will give you a piece of paper and a pencil to take notes because speaking for two minutes without stopping is not easy. The biggest mistake students make is not to take notes. Candidates who do not take notes often say, "Uh. I think may be, um, ... well, ..., Ur..., It seems to me, ...".
"Um and Uh" are the sign of hesitations. It means you are not sure of what to say or you do not have any ideas to express. In both cases, you are most likely to lose scores with long pauses and hesitations. Therefore, use notes to help you organize your mind and ideas, remember what to say and how to say.
2. In this part. use P.R.E.P." method. Start with "P"- make one sentence about your main Point/ topic. Then give two or three sentences to provide "R", a Reason. You need to support your ideas. Next give "E", an Example. Describe the example using two or three sentences. Finish by repeating "P". your main points, but use a different sentence. If you have extra time, give a second example.
3. Do not memorize answers to prepare for the test. The interviewer has enough experience to recognize that you are not speaking naturally and will change the subject or give you a lower score.
4. Avoid short, "yes”, "no" answers.
5. Explain names or words which are in another language. For example, if you are asked to speak about a festival, which involves using words in your language, say the words clearly and give the meaning so the examiner can follow your expressions.
6. Try to make good sentences to make good impression. For example, in part 1, if you give easy answers, the examiner cannot be sure of your level whether you are Band 4 or may be band 5. But if you give good and specific answers with short explanations, the examiner will think you could be Band 6 or even Band 7.
7. Keep a steady pace. Do not speak too fast or too slow.
8. Do not take so much time. Two sentences for each answer are usually enough. If you have a long-time introduction, the examiner may think you do not know how to answer the questions.
9. Remember you do not need to present true ideas or facts. Sometimes, you do not have any personal idea or example on a certain topic to say.
Avoid words such as: I have no idea. I don't know what to say, etc. Try to make up your own story related to the topic and explain the connection.
For example, if you are asked to talk about a foreign country you have been to, but in fact you have never visited a foreign country before, try to make your own story.
10. Do not worry about the time. Try to organize your conversation for about 2 minutes but the examiner will stop you when time is up.
11. Record yourself. Play the recordings back to see how easy you are to understand and how you could improve. You should practice one or two topics every day before your exam.
12. Avoid using slang or very informal language.
13. Use easy words and expressions if you are not very confident.
14. Remember to practice. Use a watch; give yourself one minute to take notes on a topic, and then two minutes to make four or five sentences to express your ideas on the topic. Make sure to provide answers to all of the questions in Part 2.
Tips for Part 3
1. In part 3, which seems to be the most difficult part of speaking test, when the examiner says "Now, I would like to ask you some more questions related to part 2, you know that Part 3 is starting. Be ready!
2. In Part III, you could be asked to talk about changes either in your country or in International trends. Remember in this part, you need to justify and support what you say by examples, explanation, story, and statistics.
Example 1: Tell me about the recent changes in university graduation in your country.
Answer: Well, not only in my country but also around the world, there is a remarkable increase in the number of university graduates. I can't speak for the world, but in my country, this is partly due to subsidized study costs. Only 10-15 years ago, the option of going to university was open to those who were wealthy enough, but now people from all backgrounds have an equal opportunity to follow their education. I think, this is definitely a step in the right direction, although there are still potential students who don't have the means.
Comment: As you see, the first sentence includes the candidate's main idea and the following sentences are supporting the main idea.
Example 2: Do you prefer to watch a movie on TV or in the cinema? Why?
Answer: Actually, I much prefer to go to cinema because the screen is bigger than any TV, and the sound is really good. For example, I thought the film "Titanic" was great because the music was romantic, and it just wouldn't have been the same if it was played at home on a normal television.
3. Try to use "FILLERS" instead of pausing and hesitating. Fillers are set of the words which can give you the opportunity of tilling the gaps you face during speaking such as: I mean…; You see....; Well, let me see…; If you see what I mean...; Let's get this into perspective,… ; You know,… ; Well, ; Uh,...
4. Before you start speaking, think of different tenses. You must use past and present tenses to compare two aspects of a topic.
For example, if you are asked:
"How has the method of teaching changed in recent years?"
You should say:
Well, in the past teacher used to be the only speaker in the class, whereas nowadays, students are also involved in teaching and learning process."
5. Use the General-Specific technique. As soon as you hear the question, give a general opinion about the topic. Then give a specific reason or example in the next sentence or two. Among other things in part 3, you will be asked to; speculate about the future, give opinions, suggest a solution to a problem, or describe a process or a procedure. Try to come up with a complete answer. For example, if you are asked how you would solve traffic problems worldwide, don't just talk about buying more buses; consider where the money for the buses would come from, explain how you would raise the money for the buses and persuade people how to use them. This certainly impresses the examiner.
6. You cannot ask questions on part 1 and Part 2, but you can ask questions on Part 3 if you do not understand the question or you do not know the meaning of a word.
For example, the interviewer says. "Do you like traveling on the tube?"
You can say that you don't understand:
- 'I'm sorry. I don't understand.
- 'I'm sorry, I don't follow.'
- I haven't come across that word / expression before." Could you explain what you mean?"
If you just didn't understand what the interviewer has said, ask him to repeat the question:
"Sorry, I didn't catch that. Could you say that again?
"Excuse me. Could you repeat that?
If you are looking for clarification, ask the interviewer to confirm what you think:
"Do you mean …………."
"When you say …………, are you asking/ do you mean …………?"
Hopefully these simple questions will get the interview back on track and you can also impress the interviewer with your conversation skills.
7. If you are asked a question about a subject for which you have no idea to express, use the following expressions to give yourself time to think more or remember what to say:
- Well, it's difficult to say. but...
- I don't have any idea, but I suppose, ...
- I am no expert to comment, but...
- Actually, that's not something I've really thought about, but...
- Mmm... I am not really sure, but...
- I dot know much about that, but...
- That's an interesting point and I think I would have to say that ....
- I'm not exactly sure what you mean, but...
- That's a rather difficult question, but perhaps...
If you still can not think of anything to say after a few seconds, you should focus on the question or an aspect of the question and move your answer onto a related but more familiar topics. This is not ideal, but it is still better than saying nothing.
8. When you can not remember an English word, use other words. Try to explain or give examples. Sometimes you can use the opposites. For example, if you forget to say the word "tidy" while you are describing your roommate or your neighbor, you can say "clean" or "not messy".
9. Part 3 is where the final score is given to you. So, try to use a wide range of vocabularies, different expressions, and also various structures to present your ability in using language in different situations.
For example, if you are asked, "what do you think about the balance between the work and leisure", you can say:
"I am a big table tennis fan, even though I am not very good at playing table tennis myself. I love to watch the match on TV. I play table tennis whenever I get a chance. Playing table tennis not only refreshes my body and makes me mentally alert, but it also makes me ready and eager to engage in the work of day. In addition, a reasonable amount of exercise prepares the body for a good night sleep. However, over-indulgence in physical exercise can do more harm than good because it will make you too tired to stay awake during the work.
10. Try to see the following websites which offer in-depth articles on a variety of topics of general interest. Read some of the articles, check the vocabulary you don't know, try to get a general understanding of what an article is about and understand some of the specific details. Try to pick up something from the articles there in order to improve your general knowledge. If you remember just one fact that you can use in the test, it will improve your confidence!
- The Economist: www.the economist.com
- National Geographic: www.nationalgeographic.com
- New Scientist: www.newscientist.com
- Go articles: www.goarncles.com
- Find articles: www.findarticles.com
After the Interview
1. At the end of the interview, you should say "Thank you and Goodbye."
2. Do not ask the examiner about your score because he is not in a position to tell you.