Tips for speaking tests (I)

As the main external exam season starts, I thought this would be a good time to write a series of posts giving tips for how to approach the speaking exams in particular. To kick off, here is a new video from Cambridge English TV with some useful ideas about answering questions in the speaking tests.

Clearly, you cannot be marked on language which you do not produce, so you should aim to answer questions fully. However, sometimes the question seems to be asking for a simple answer – an apparently closed question with no interrogative pronoun. In this case, the temptation is to give the simple answer, but these questions are provided with a possible back-up question in the examiner’s script – ‘Why?’, so if the candidate does not elaborate sufficiently in their answer, they can be prompted to do so. It causes a better impression if the candidate does not wait to be asked why, but explains and elaborates their answer from the beginning. It shows they are more willing to speak, and gives a more natural feel to the conversation.

English: Speech balloons. Question and Answer....

There is a great temptation to prepare answers beforehand, particularly for the questions in Part 1 of the test which everyone is asked (‘Where are you from?’  ’Where do yo live?’ or ‘What do yo like about living there?’, for example). However, it is usually quite obvious to the examiner that an answer is prepared, and it will possibly be cut short. In one examining session last year, I examined ten candidates from the same class, one after another. When asked ‘What do you like about living here in Madrid?’ every one of them spoke about the fantastic public transport system which the city has. Clearly, this quickly became irritating and received no credit.

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Ayer hemos inaugurado el Modern Languages Club. Nuestro equipo directivo y los alumnos/as de Educación Primaria y Educación Secundaria acudieron a la celebración.
El principal objetivo del club de idiomas es crear un espacio multilingüe dentro del colegio, en el que los alumnos/as podrán utilizar los idiomas de forma natural, leer libros, ver la televisión en distintos idiomas, utilizar recursos de manera gratuita, etc.
Les informaremos sobre todas las novedades de nuestro club a través del blog.
A continuación les presentamos a nuestro equipo directivo:

Nuestros profesores/as y alumnos/as visitando las instalaciones del Modern Languages Club:


Goldilocks and the three bears in infants

In our M.L.C. classes we are having a lot of fun exploring traditional stories.
One of them is «Goldilocks and the three bears»

First we read the story and the children had a chance to choose a mask of
Goldilocks or Mummy bear, Daddy bear or even baby bear!!
So after choosing their favourite character they were able to ‘act out’ the story.
One of the children volunteered to help the teacher with the narration.

The use of storytelling and role play helps the children to expand their
vocabulary and it also gives them the opportunity to feel comfortable and
confident in using the language in a relaxed and fun way!!

Have you heard the musical version of «The Sleeping Beauty»?

It’s really cute, it’s called » There was a princess long ago».

We have been singing the song and acting it out during class,
so why don’t you look it up and maybe share a few musical minutes
with your child?

I can guarantee you’ll have a ball!


Flyers´alumni have been working following the Kagan method, based on Cooperative Learning. Without any doubt it has helped the students consolidate different ways of learning, contributing to the development of their social abilities.
The structure we have been using is called “Quiz, quiz, trade”. Each kid has a card, one side of the card has the question and the opposite side has the answer. The students must find a friend to ask and answer the cards they have. Then they will check if their answers were correct, congratulate and thank each other for having played together. After this they will exchange their cards and find new friends to play with.
In our class we have played with “the time” which we have been studying recently, and we had a great time!


Los alumnos/as de Flyers trabajan en el aula utilizando la estructura Quiz Quiz Trade de la metodología «Aprendizaje cooperativo». El contenido que han trabajado es: preguntar y responder la hora en idioma inglés.