Tips for Oral and Aural Exams

These exams can be scary but with these strategic tips you can take them in your stride.

 

Preparing for the oral exam:

oral exams

  • Prepare early and well: lots of practise is essential for good language skills. Get started early and use the language as much as you can.
  • Put aside language time: spend some time each day speaking in the language you’re learning.
  • Learn vocabulary: put together key words you’ll need for certain topics on flash cards.
  • Check pronunciation: check it with the teacher, by recording yourself or by talking to a native speaker.
  • Listen and learn: listen to the language as much as you can: on CD, Youtube, with a friend etc.
  • Practise set pieces: anything you can prepare beforehand, do so and practise it lots.

During the oral exam:

  • Be polite: stay polite and mannerly towards the examiner.
  • Don’t worry about nerves: we all get nervous. You never lose marks for nervousness. It would be strange if you weren’t nervous.
  • Don’t be afraid: the examiner wants you to do well and wants to give you marks so no need to fear them.
  • Answer fully: answers the questions as fully as you can. Avoid the yes/no answer.
  • Guide questions: mention things you want to talk about and the conversation will be guided that way.
  • Ask for clarification: if you don’t understand a question don’t be afraid to ask for it to be repeated or reworded.
  • Verb tense: pay attention to the verb tense and use the one dictated by the question.
  • Slow down: take your time. There’s no rush.
  • Speak clearly: speak out clearly. Don’t mumble.

Preparing for the aural exam:

aural exams

  • Prepare early and well: lots of practise is essential for good language skills. Get started early and use the language as much as you can.
  • Listen to learn: listen to the language as much as you can: to the teacher, DVDs, Youtube, friends etc.
  • Talk with friends: get together with some of your classmates and listen to tapes of the language; speak it together.
  • Use past papers: practise with past exams.
  • Practise timing: make sure you can answer in the time allotted.

During the aural exam:

  • Read the paper: read every bit of the paper. It will help prepare you for what you are about to listen to.
  • Listen first: on the first playing of the tape just listen to get an overall impression of what’s going on.
  • Write second: on the second playing answer the questions. Fill in an answer to all questions, even if it’s just a guess.
  • Check third: on the third playing check your answers and add any extra information you now hear.

For more study tips, read Shortcuts to Success: Study and Exam Skills for Leaving Certificate by Irene Togher.

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