English Speaking Test

English Speaking Test: Preparing for the day

Students say they dread the speaking test. Why ?

“Because I will be so nervous I will forget all my English!”
“Because I’m afraid I won’t understand the examiner!”
“Because the other candidate will be brilliant and will do all the talking!”

Let’s look at these reasons to ‘dread’ the English speaking test, and what YOU can do about them.


The best way to help settle your nerves is to PREPARE for each question. English speaking tests are PREDICTABLE. Know the test sections as well as the examiner. Know what to expect. Know what questions will be asked. Know what will come next. Lots of preparation means no surprises on the day.
Once you start the exam, you can relax. You know what’s coming next, you have prepared well and you can do your best.

The Examiner

Examiners are fully trained, professional HUMAN BEINGS.

  • They are always kind and courteous, they always speak clearly.
  • Their role is to support you to do your best.
  • They won’t surprise you with trick questions.
  • They won’t surprise you with new or unusual tasks.
  • The examiner wants you to do well.

If you don’t understand what the examiner has said or what the examiner wants you to do, that’s fine. You can ASK THE EXAMINER:

  • “Sorry, could you repeat that please”.
  • “I’m sorry, I don’t understand, could you explain that again please?”

You can actually gain marks by showing that, even when you don’t understand, you know what to do or say in English. Remember, you are taking the English speaking test at a particular level. The examiners are looking for evidence that you are at that level – not for perfect English!

Speak up!

In the KET and PET speaking tests, there are two examiners: an assessor and an interlocutor. The assessor usually sits apart from the candidates and does not take an active part in the test. He or she just listens.
It is therefore important to speak up! Don’t mumble your answer; don’t look down as you speak. LOOK UP AND SPEAK OUT and be heard by everyone!

The other candidate AND YOU

You are assessed separately to the other candidate. If the other candidate speaks for a long time, or if he or she doesn’t speak at all, it won’t make any difference to your mark. However the examiner will make sure that you both have the opportunity to speak. The test will be fair to both of you, so you can focus on YOUR performance, not the other candidate’s.
So, don’t be nervous. The examiner is there to support you; the other candidate cannot stop you from doing your best. Doing your best is your responsibility!