Tips for the Examiners

No matter how well prepared candidates are, their performance in the exam room may vary from how they usually perform with their teacher. We have asked LanguageCert Marking Examiners to share some advice from their experience.


Here are some tips from the marking examiners:


  • Make sure you understand the question in Part 1 before you answer it. Don’t give rehearsed answers based on the topic. And make sure your answer covers what was asked!


  • Focus on the instructions in Part 2. You need to understand what your role in the scenario is, who is supposed to start and what you need to say. If you didn’t understand the scenario, ask the interlocutor to repeat it.


  • In Part 2, there’s no need to take on a persona or act in an unnatural way. Make sure you focus on the register you have to use, and initiate or continue a dialogue as naturally as you can.


  • Remember that Part 3 is about taking an active part in a discussion, so don’t be afraid to take the initiative and move on to the next item on the task sheet once you have agreed on it. You don’t have to wait for the interlocutor to do so.


  • The aim of Part 3 is to reach some sort of an agreement or make a rank order. Instead of just reading out the key ideas, tell the interlocutor any ideas you might have on the topic and always support your views.


  • Use the time you get for preparation in Part 4: gather your thoughts, make sure you understand the topic you are supposed to talk about, and make notes about the key ideas you wish to highlight. Practise beforehand: you should be comfortable talking on your own for a short time about a given topic.


  • If you have difficulties finishing a sentence, try to backtrack and reformulate the sentence. In other words, do not struggle for minutes with a sentence that you cannot finish. Start a new one instead.


  • During preparation, use authentic listening materials such as films. They will help you acquire a natural intonation. Do not talk monotonously. Try to use your voice as an instrument to express yourself, your message, your feelings.


  • Use your intonation to convey feelings (excited, sad, worried). This will be especially useful in Part 2 where the scenario might require you to comfort a sad friend or congratulate someone on passing an exam.


  • Remember that the exam is recorded, so you need to communicate using your voice and not body language or gestures.


  • Use music to help improve your pronunciation. It can help with the pronunciation of individual sounds as well as word stress, sentence stress and intonation. Download the lyrics too as they can help you the same way as subtitles can help you understand films. You can also try singing along and imitating the artist’s accent and intonation.


  • Make sure you know how to spell your name!
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