Introduction to speaking (10-hour)

Welcome to the 10-hour course, which has been designed for those of you who are hovering around the 6.5 - 7 band score, but need more guidance to enable you to be confident of achieving a band score of 7+


We are going to delve straight into the speaking aspects of the test.


Test overview:


Part 1 - You meet the examiner, provide him/her with your ID, and then answer questions about yourself. This is known as 'the Ice Breaker', as this part of the test is intended to get you relaxed.


The examiner will be assessing you, but he/she also knows that you will be nervous to begin with, and will ask you questions which you can answer 'easily'


(The famous excuse "I am shy" will not matter to the examiner. The only thing he or she is there to do is to test you).


Now when I say 'easily' I mean that the questions are about 'YOU' so you should know about yourself.

You should learn how to introduce yourself fully, and provide some background about your life both in and outside of work or study.

My advice is to prepare an introduction and practice it, as elements of it may appear in parts 1 & 2.


My name is Steve Smith. I am 26 years old and I am from Bournemouth, which is a town on the south coast of England.

I am currently a motor mechanic and I am studying mechanical engineering with a hope to become and advanced motor engineer.  I live in an apartment with my two friends. We all work together.

In my family there are 5 people including myself. There is my mum, dad, brother and sister. My dad is an accountant and my mum has retired. My sister June is away at university studying law, and my brother, who is older than me, is a teacher, and is married with 1 son.

Bournemouth is a lively town, and is famous for tourism, and universities. There are lots of clubs, and restaurants, and lots of live shows during the summer.

My hobbies included swimming, surfing, and camping in The New forest, which is a beautiful forest on the outskirts of the town.


Format of the test:

The questions are designed for the examiner to hear certain grammar/vocabulary in your answers. So it is vital for you to understand the format of each question, and to answer it effectively.


What types of entertainment are available in your city?

(This is a 'list' question, so put together a short list of 3-4 things, and provide examples of 2).

I can think of several. We have restaurants, shows, cinemas, balloon rides, boat trips, and 3 golf courses. Golf is very popular followed by balloon rides which show tourists great views of the town and the coastline.

I have made a list,  chosen 2 things and given a brief reason why they are popular.


Part 2 is the most difficult part of the test, as it involves 'only you'. As you know you will have to prepare and 'present' your talk. Most successful students increase their vocabulary on general topics and try to speak English everyday in preparation. These are 2 examples of things you should be doing.

Describe a place in another country you would like to live and work in the future

You should say:

Where the place is

Why you want to live there

What you would do there

There are many intriguing places around the world where you can reside and make a living, but today I am going to tell you about the place I would choose.
The country is New Zealand.The main reason is that it has a wonderful variety of landscapes and is breath-taking visually. The country is split across 2 islands, North and South Islands, with ferries which operate between the 2.
In the North you can enjoy the warmer climate, whereas in the South it is ideal for winter weather activities like ice-climbing and skiing.
I would like to work as a blogger, doing activities, and telling readers about the country, the people and their culture. The people are incredibly warm and welcoming, and fiercely proud of their heritage. There is a large Maori community there, which stems from the surrounding islands such as Fiji, Tonga, and others.
There is so much to do, from sky-diving, to underwater caving, visiting massive geysers, bungee jumping off bridges, and so much more.


Part 3 stems from part 2. It is a general discussion in which the examiner wants you to 'lead' the conversation.  The questions he/she asks are there to allow the examiner to listen to you providing discussion type responses, and not 'closing' the conversation. Allow the examiner the opportunity to respond if he/she wants to. This is one skill of good discussion.

Do people from your country live and work in other countries?  Can you give some examples?

Yes, many people do this. My country does not have enough jobs for the population, therefore many people are invited overseas for employment. Examples are: the domestic service industry, hotel work, nursing and medical profession, and also entertainment. This is plugs the gap in the employment market which is unfortunately lacking in my country.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of living in a foreign country?

Well, the are plus and minus points. In its favour there is the opportunity to earn money and support ones family. There is also the ability to experience life in a culture different from one's own, and to mix with foreigners,  but the downside to this is the fact that families are often separated for long period of time, and, as an example, parents miss watching their children grow up and develop. 

Are there many people from other countries living or working in your country?

There is a historical connection mainly with The USA. They were basically the last colonizers of my country, so they have left the biggest legacy. The military is the biggest connection, as there are are many American ex-military people who live and work, or have retired here. There are also many other nationalities who have settled here for other reasons.

What is the attitude of people in your country to foreigners?

Generally, speaking for myself, I think that it is interesting to see other nationalities here. Most people only know what they see on TV, or on the internet. Foreigners have different customs and cultures to us, but they should be made to feel welcome, as there are many of my countrymen living in their countries.


To sum up this section, it pays to begin the speaking exam well, as it will help you to relax more quickly. Over the next few lessons we will breakdown the 3 parts of the test in more depth.


Thank you, and see you in the next lesson.