Are you taking the Cambridge First (FCE), Advanced (CAE) or Proficiency (CPE) Speaking Exam soon? Yesterday I was examining for Cambridge, and I must say how surprised I was by one thing which many candidates were doing before the exam.
In fact, I was shocked – ‘fall off my chair’ surprised and amazed!
So many candidates were waiting in the hallway or corridor before the exam, but which language were they speaking with their partner?
Now I don’t know if this is unique to the Czech Republic, or whether this happens in other countries as well, but please give yourself the best chance of doing well by speaking in English beforehand.
This might seem obvious to you, but over the course of the day I heard so many candidates in the waiting areas speaking Czech to each other, and I also saw many pairs sitting next to each other without saying anything!
Reminders for you to keep in mind before the big day
Here are a few easy things you can do before your Cambridge Speaking Exam, or indeed any English exam:
- Get a good night’s sleep
- Speak to yourself in English on the way to the exam centre
- Introduce yourself to everyone you meet in English once you enter the exam centre
- Speak to the exam organisers in English – it’s a Cambridge English Exam and of course the organisers will be able to speak English!
- Find out and remember your partner’s name while you’re waiting. This will make the communication between you a little warmer (don’t forget that in Cambridge English exams you usually have to speak with your partner as well as the examiner). Saying “I agree with Mark” sounds better than “I agree with my partner” and it also builds rapport.
- You know that most English exams have some kind of small talk in the first part of the exam, so why not practise this with other candidates while you are waiting? You’re in this together! Topics may include:
- what you do, your job or studies, plans for the weekend, what you did this week, what books you read, your favourite football team, why Australia will beat England in the cricket this summer, whether you prefer Ross or Chandler or Joey from Friends, anything!
I’m willing to bet that many candidates don’t speak English in the week or the few days before the exam. But I say to you – be different! You can go to any number of English events in most cities, have a lesson or a conversation exchange before the exam, and do as much as you can in English the whole week. Watch your fave TV shows, listen to the BBC and then talk about it either with yourself or a friend.
At the very least get thinking in English so that by the time you walk into the exam centre you’re already thinking in English.
That’s how it should be – good luck!
Fall off my chair – I was so surprised that I fell off my chair 🙂 Usually this idiom is used this way: “I nearly fell off my chair.”
Rapport (n.) – pronounced without saying the ‘t’ as it’s from French; means that you start off well together and get on well
I’m willing to bet that = I’m very sure