Learn >> Exams >> Roadmap to Speaking Success

Day 1: Take up the challenge!

If you're reading this the chances are you're facing an English Speaking exam and want to make sure you're successful on the big day.

What can you do in the time available to increase your chances of passing with the highest possible grade? Well, three things are essential:

Goal 1: Make sure you know what to expect in the exam so you can prepare efficiently and avoid any nasty surprises on the big day.

Goal 2: Be aware of your strengths in speaking English and the areas you need to work on.

Goal 3: Take every opportunity to practise!

The good news is that by doing this mini-course you'll be taking a giant step towards achieving these goals.

However, let's start with a reality check. If you think about it, speaking is the one skill that many students get the least amount of practice in.

Imagine you're lucky enough to be attending a weekly one-hour lesson in a class of 12 students given up entirely to speaking - that's 60 minutes.

Take off ten minutes for late arrivals, greetings and administration at the start and end of the lesson - that's 50 minutes left.

The teacher might talk for about 30% of the lesson including giving instructions, feedback etc. - that's about 35 minutes left.

If you work in pairs for the entire lesson that's about 17 minutes speaking time for you each week. If you work in small groups of three for the entire lesson that's about 11 minutes speaking time for you per week! In a whole-class discussion for the entire lesson that means you have about 3 minutes speaking time per week!

The likelihood is you'll take part in a variety of speaking tasks so the figures will be somewhere in between. However, there will also be lots of interruptions, questions and sometimes someone else who talks a lot ….. the times above are probably a little generous!

This is why your teacher will advise you to take every opportunity to speak English, both in class and in your own time.

And this mini-course will make exactly the same recommendations. To get the most from the time that remains until your exam day, you'll need to commit to practising your English speaking skills.

However, we're pretty sure if you make this commitment and try the tasks we suggest over the next eight days, your chances of passing the speaking exam with the grade you're hoping for will improve significantly.

This is what we'll be covering over the following 8 days:

Day 2: Get to know your Speaking exam with our '10-Question Quiz'.
Day 3: Assessment criteria: find out exactly what the examiner wants from you.
Day 4: Know yourself: learn what you do well and where you need to improve.
Day 5: Get speaking partners at a time and place that suits you.
Day 6: Speaking exercises: make the most of your speaking opportunities.
Day 7: Talk successfully online: tips for online communication.
Day 8: Get a progress report: how to get feedback on your speaking skills.
Day 9: Tips for the big day: some final advice for a successful exam.

Each day there'll be a task and here is today's:


This task is an easy one to start with but very important nonetheless.

1) How much time can you put aside each week to prepare for your Speaking exam? List times in the week you can do some self-study. Put them in your diary.
2) Do something to remind you of your commitment … putting some stickers around the apartment/house with 'Speak English' written on them will do for a start!


How well do you know the Speaking Paper for your exam? Try our '10-Question Quiz' in tomorrow's lesson.


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Ready to commit to really improving your fluency, accuracy and confidence in speaking English? Then sign up now for one or our courses:
CAE Speaking Success!
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IELTS Speaking: Advanced
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Splendid Speaking
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