ISLPR Language Services Blog

Strategies for ISLPR Test Candidates: The Speaking Test

Posted by on Apr 19, 2021 at 10:27 AM

Over the next month we will go over some tips to help you mentally prepare yourself for an ISLPR test and strategies to help you perform well during an exam.

To make things easy, we’ll break the test down into 4 parts and provide strategies to improve each of your macro-skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing. Today, we’re looking at:

The Speaking Test.

Preparation: before the test

Before you sit an ISLPR test, we encourage you to practise your English speaking skills at home as much possible.

  • Talk with a wide range of proficient speakers of English in your local community.
  • Tell them to not be afraid to give you feedback on the way you speak.
  • Do not waste your time preparing and practising mini ‘speeches’ that you hope to be able to use in the test.

If you are doing the full ISLPR test, speaking skills are examined throughout the one hour interview. Our number one tip is to breathe. Often candidates get nervous, overthink their response and start talking too fast to understand. Take a deep breath before you respond, relax and converse with your tester as you would with a colleague at work or a lecturer at University.

During the test

  • During your interview, observe normal conversational conventions of (for example) pausing, turn-taking, initiating, elaborating, agreeing and correcting.
    • Remember to breathe! Pause and think about your response. Try to slow down your conversation and speak at a moderate pace.
  • Watch the tester’s facial expressions and other body language for signs of (for example) difficulty in following you. Use cooperative ‘repair’ strategies as you would in real life.
  • Don’t be afraid to:
    • admit that you don’t know a fact;
    • say that you would prefer not to discuss a sensitive topic; or
    • admit that you find it difficult to express a particular idea in English.
  • Tell the truth. It is not a good idea to pretend that, for example, a topic is sensitive when it’s simply a challenge for you to talk about it in English. You are unlikely to trick the tester and sustaining the conversation when you have ‘bent’ the truth adds an extra stress level.

Let us know if these tips were helpful in the comments section below! If you have any questions relating to the speaking section of the test, comment below and we’ll reply back to you ASAP.

ISLPR Language Services Pty Ltd, October, 2019