There are 5 minutes before it is your turn to speak. What do you do?
It is the day of your oral examination. The students with the index numbers before you have their backs turned towards you, facing the examiners. Their expressions, hidden from you, giving you absolutely no clues. You are seated a distance away from them, with a passage as well as a visual text in your hand and a sea of content in your head.
What do you do? How do you even begin to organise your thoughts? Do not fear, Writers’ Guild is here! The minutes before your oral examination can be the extremely daunting. Follow these recipes for success to maximise your 5 minutes of preparation time.
The Reading Component (Prep Time: 2 Minutes)
Your full concentration
1. Read the passage quickly in your mind.
Spend no more than 30 seconds on this. This will give you the chance to understand the overall content of the passage before we dive into the details. This will help you to identify the tone you should use while reading aloud.
2. Read the passage out loud twice. As you read, pay attention to the following:
a. Punctuation and Pauses
i. Pause and catch your breath when you encounter a full-stop or a comma.
b. End consonants
i. E.G: Car, Cart. Card, Cards
c. Difficult words
i. You may need to spend a few more seconds on these difficult words. Try breaking them up into easy to pronounce syllables.
The Stimulus-Based Conversation (Prep Time: 3 Minutes)
Now, this is your time to shine. The stimulus-based conversation requires you to share your educated opinion on a particular issue. Let’s take a look at how we can cook up an interesting and interactive conversation.
Your honest opinion
A genuine conversation
1. Never walk into a battle unprepared
Read the visual text carefully and anticipate the questions the examiners could possibly ask you. Question yourself with the following prompts:
What is the visual text trying to tell me?
How would I react this topic?
What stories and experiences do I have related to this visual text and topic that I can share with my examiners?
2. Remember the ROFL method
Form an opinion about the given topic and give a reason why you feel this way.
An occurrence is a special experience you have related to the topic. Do not fret if you do not have any personal experiences. You can use stories your friends or family have told you or interesting anecdotes you have read online or in newspapers.
Use GIF to help you recall experiences:
Global (things happening around the world)
Individual (your personal experiences)
Family and Friends (stories told to you by friends and family members)
Think about how you felt during the experience you had.
Wrap up your conversation by reminding your examiners about your opinion. Link your experience and opinion by answering the question again.
3. It is a Stimulus Based Conversation, not a Stimulus Based Monologue. Do not unleash a stream of word vomit or talk at your examiners. Instead, talk with them. This means you can include them in what you are saying. Take a guess at what their opinions on the issue might be. Prepare short questions for them.
Let’s take a look at an example of how this can be achieved.
Examiner: Do you believe that recycling in important?
Student: Yes, in my opinion, recycling is a crucial contribution we can make towards saving the environment. I am sure you would agree with me. Did you know, recycling reduces the amount of waste we degenerate by about 3 million tonnes? Isn’t that amazing?
As you can see, the student is clearly including the examiner in the conversation by seeking their opinion and asking them questions.
Your examiner may or may not answer you but they are guaranteed to be impressed by your genuine desire to speak with them. It shows sincerity and confidence as a speaker.
Speak From the Heart
The question of “What if I have nothing to say?” forms a mental barrier that prevents you from unleashing your full potential.
Trust that you will have something to say.
You have done your revision and you are prepared. No matter what topic unfurls before you, your heart and mind will form an opinion.
Go with your guts and trust your instincts. The first thoughts that pop into your mind when you receive your visual text are a good spring board for your conversation.
When all else fails, tell the truth. Give your genuine reaction to the topic. Do you hate it? Give your reasons why. Is it linked to a memory? Share it with your examiners. Does it bore you? What can make it more exciting for you?
Do not be afraid of your examiners. They are on your side. They want to give you the high marks you deserve, so show them proof of exactly why you deserve them.