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Day 4: What do you do well? What needs improving?

Welcome to Day 4 of 'Your Roadmap to Speaking Exam Success'. Here's a reminder of the second goal we identified on Day 1:

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

There's no short cut to improving your general proficiency in English as measured by your use of grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and discourse management. Your English is currently at a particular level and this will only improve over time depending on the amount of practice you put in. This is why you need to take every opportunity both in class and during self-study to improve your English speaking skills. This will come about by practising ALL skills, not just speaking. Your vocabulary will grow the more you read in English, the more you listen to spoken English the better your pronunciation will become.

But what other steps can you take to improve your spoken English in preparation for the exam?

Start by looking at your own habits when speaking English. For example, do you worry a lot about making mistakes and therefore tend to speak slowly and deliberately? Do you wait to be asked for your opinion before saying anything during a discussion? Do you find yourself hesitating a lot when speaking at length? Habits like these mean you're not making the most of your opportunities in speaking English. Try today's task to identify areas you can work on for improvement.

Task

Read the statements below, some of which appeared in yesterday's quiz. Grade yourself from 1 to 5 on each one. (1 = Often, 5 = Never)

A) Do you tend to focus too much on speaking accurately at the expense of your fluency skills?
B) Do you speak very quickly with little concern for accuracy?
C) Do you often answer questions briefly with little detail?
D) Do you find it difficult to deal with comments or questions you don't understand?
E) Do you wait to be asked questions rather than initiating conversation yourself?
F) Do you spend most of the time talking and rarely ask questions?
G) Do you often repeat the same words and expressions instead of using a variety of vocabulary?
H) Do you find it difficult to find the words or grammar to explain what you mean?
I) Do you run out of things to say when making a long turn before the time's up?
J) Do your long turns ramble rather than have structure?
K) Do you hesitate a lot during long turns?
L) Do you find it difficult to vary your intonation?
M) Do you find it difficult pronouncing certain sounds such as vowels, dipthongs or consonant clusters?

If you scored too many 1s and 2s, set yourself the task of improving at least one grade in all areas during your exam preparation. Your English proficiency will improve as you get out of habits that slow down the development of your spoken English.

Tomorrow

Looking for the chance to speak with other advanced English students at a time and place that suits you? You'll find out how to do this in tomorrow's lesson!


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