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Written Nov. 5, 2008

How To Speak in Part 2 (Page 1)\

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How Part 2 is Conducted

Summary: The examiners all give the same instructions to all candidates. If you are still talking at the two minute point, the examiner will say, "Thank you" and you must stop.

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"Now I'm going to give you a topic and I'd like you to talk about this topic for one to two minutes. Before you speak, you'll have one minute to think about what you're going to say and you can make some notes, if you wish on this piece of paper. (The examiner then gives you a piece of paper and a pencil.) Do you understand?" (You reply, "Yes.")  "(Here's your topic). I'd like you to describe ..." Here, the examiner reads the first line that is written on the task card, at the same time as he/she gives you the card. The examiner will not read any other words from the task card. As soon as you receive the card, your one minute of thinking time begins.

[There is only one topic that I think you could possibly ask the examiner to change, the "Website" topic, because some young candidates (e.g., 16 or 17 years old) are not allowed to go onto the internet by their parents. Obviously, if you are one of these candidates, you cannot be expected to answer the question. (And you are obviously not reading this web page, either!) If you have finished high school, I suggest you don't try to tell the examiner you are one of these people who is not allowed to use the internet, unless it is true.]

Some examiners believe it is a good idea to give a "Sports" topic to girls or a "Clothes" topic to boys, in order to really test the extent of the candidates' vocabulary. (I did not think that way when I was an examiner.) So you should expect to get any topic.

Actually, most examiners make little noises to show that they are listening while you are talking. For example, the examiner will probably say things such as, "Mm" or, "Oh!" or, "Ok". You should not ask the examiner questions he or she is supposed to listen to you speak continuously, not have a discussion with you.

The purpose of these questions is not really to test your English but rather, to make you feel that the examiner really was interested in your 'little story'. If the examiner just moves on to Part 3 without making any comment at all about your 'little story' it is possible that you might think the examiner didn't like your story or was not interested in it, and that might cause you to lose confidence.

These follow-up questions are usually, 'Yes/No' questions. You should give a very short answer but don't just give one-word answers such as, "Yes" or "No". At least say, "Yes, I did" or, "No, I haven't" or similar answers. However, such answers are still too short. It is best to begin your answer that way and then follow with a few more suitable words. For example: "Have you told this story to anyone else?" "Yes, I have. I told my father and he thought it was very funny.

Sometimes the examiner will not ask you any follow-up question at all. There are three reasons why you might not get one of these questions: a) the questions in the question book don't suit what you just said, b) you have already answered the questions in your little story or, c) there is not enough time left in Part 2 because it is almost at the 4 minute mark, the time limit for Part 2.

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