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Day 5: You're not alone - finding speaking partners online

Welcome to Day 5 of 'Your Roadmap to Speaking Exam Success' where we'll turn our attention to the third goal we listed on Day 1:

Goal 3: Take every opportunity to practise!

If you're looking for speaking partners and are fortunate enough to be studying as part of a class you'll have the opportunity to arrange out-of-class get-togethers with your colleagues. (Of course, you should also make sure you take every opportunity to speak English in class as well!)

There may be native speakers working or studying in your area who would be willing to help you with your English in return for the chance to practise your language. However, care needs to be taken when meeting up with strangers face-to-face and in any case, work or study schedules may make this option difficult.

Fortunately, new technology offers lots of opportunities to join online communities made up of people looking to practise English with others. Meetings can be arranged at a time that suits you, you can speak from the comfort of your own home and in the process make new friends from all over the world.

We have several areas on Facebook you can join. Our own Splendid Speaking 'Group' on Facebook has hundreds of members looking for speaking partners, many of whom are preparing for exams. We also have our 'Page' called Splendid Speaking for Advanced English Exams:

Splendid Speaking for Advanced English Exams on Facebook

FCE, CAE and CPE Students: If you're preparing for Cambridge FCE, CAE or CPE we have Facebook Pages for each of these exams.

In order to post messages to the group or become a fan and follow updates on the Page you'll need to join Facebook, and in order to speak online you'll need to set up an account with a service like Skype. Finally, armed with a pair of headphones and microphone you'll be ready to chat!

When looking for contacts there's no need to focus only on people preparing for the same examination as you. Most advanced speaking exams have the same task types but in a different format:

1) There will be a 'getting-to-know-you' part at the beginning, where the examiner will ask you (and your partner if you have one) questions to find out more about you.
2) You'll be asked to make a short presentation or 'long turn' where you'll have to speak for 1 or 2 minutes on your own without interruption.
3) There will be one or two tasks where you'll take part in a discussion and/or role play, either with a partner, with the examiner, or both.

So as far as getting speaking practice is concerned, a CPE student will be very well matched with an IELTS student aiming for 7.0 and upwards; someone preparing for BEC Higher will find they have a lot in common with someone doing BULATS or CAE.

Task

1) If you don't already have an account with an online communication tool such as MSN or Skype, sign up for an account. Visit the 'Guides' page on the Skype website:
http://www.skype.com/help/guides

2) Join our group on Facebook and post a welcome message:
http://www.splendid-speaking.com/extras/facebook.html

3) Become a fan of our Page here

4) Read our tips on successful online communication

5) Take time to read our safety tips about communicating online:
http://www.splendid-speaking.com/products/safety.html

Tomorrow

You know the exam and how you'll be assessed, you've set some personal goals and know how to meet up with others to practise speaking. Time to speak … but more about that tomorrow!

 

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