Surviving the Oral Examinations: 4 Things To Do the Day Before Your Exam

It's the day before your oral exam You've practiced speaking in class and during your school exams, and now it's the final lap. Want to finish strong and round off your preparations nicely? Read these tips to find out what you can do to feel more prepared the day before your oral exam. 


1. Review your notes

Perhaps the most important thing you can do to prepare yourself is to read through the oral notes provided by your English teachers. While general notes on reading expressively and communicating clearly during the stimulus-based conversation are helpful, the most useful notes are those with personalised feedback on areas where you can improve. Even if you've read them before, it's important to (re)familiarise yourself with these tips so that they are fresh in your mind on the exam day.


2. Refer to your ilovereading magazines

Next, look to your ilovereading magazines as an additional resource for a brief final revision. Turn to the last few pages of the magazine and look for the oral section. Each issue includes a concise set of practice questions along with tips that tackle the reading and stimulus-based conversation portions for primary and lower secondary students (‘i’ and Inspire), and the spoken interaction portion for upper secondary students (iThink). 

Model answers are provided for you to do a self-assessment after each practice, so no need to panic if you are revising at the eleventh hour and your teacher is not around to guide you.  

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3. Watch (or listen to) TED Talks! 

After reviewing the key points from your school notes and doing additional practices, it's time for some easy listening. Plug in your headphones and listen to some inspiring talks by influential speakers at TED. Not only will you pick up proper pronunciation, emphasis and intonation for the oral reading component, you'll also gain further insight into topics that could come in handy for your essays. 

To get you going, we'd recommend this list of the most popular TED Talks of all time. The second talk on this list, by social psychologist Amy Cuddy, is particularly relevant as she argues that you can get a confidence boost just by following a few simple steps. And who wouldn’t want to feel more confident before stepping into the exam room? 


4. The examiner is your friend (in this case)

Finally as you walk into the exam hall, enter with the frame of mind that you are about to meet and converse with a friend. This especially applies to the spoken interaction or stimulus-based conversation portion of the exam.

Rather than form rigid responses repeating what your teacher mentioned in class, slow down and take a moment to consider what your honest opinions are, and express them as you would to a friend. This is not to say you forget all the preparation your teacher has done together with you, of course. Your personal opinions can certainly include those viewpoints, alongside your own.

The point is to dialogue and engage with the examiner rather than regurgitate an overly rehearsed speech to them under the pressure of a tense and formal environment. Taking on the friend approach could lighten the atmosphere and hopefully create some room for independent thinking.