As the GCSE speaking exams are fast approaching, we have got one of our top Spanish tutors to offer his top tips for how to prepare for the dreaded Spanish oral test…
Get comfortable with the language! The amount of people who have language degrees but can’t really speak the language is staggering. A great way to manage the language and learn to listen is to try to convert everything you do into Spanish. Start with the TV, switch it off and instead go online to this link. Select the news show or any Spanish programme that sounds interesting to you and spend a few minutes each day listening in on the world and improving your Spanish at the same time!
Get comfortable saying the words. Reading out loud is a great way to start recognizing the sounds and get your tongue used to pronouncing words that can be a real struggle. Also try talking to yourself in Spanish. This will help you use the language in a natural manner.
Get comfortable expressing your thoughts. Here, you are trying to train your brain to pluck words from your memory with the same fluidity that you manage with English. In Spanish, there is not just one way to say something. The English language has one of the largest vocabularies in the world because we have single words that describe a single situation, feeling, sensation or thought. In Spanish things are more fluid, more relaxed and more emotive. Try not to confine yourself to learning Spanish in a scientific manner: have fun, play around with the words and enjoy talking!
Practice, Practice, Practice! The more you practice speaking Spanish, the more natural it will come to you. Make sure you understand the format of your Spanish speaking exam and practice every element of it, whether that be a presentation, answers to questions on different conversational topics, role-plays, or anything else. Try and get someone to speak with rather than just speaking to yourself because this will allow you to really understand the language and develop a conversation, which is what you want to replicate in the exam.
Finally, you must try to relax! The last few minutes before your oral exam can be almost painful. Keep calm and remember that all you are doing is going into a room and having a conversation with someone. Breathe deeply, drink some water and remember that the examiner is not trying to catch you out. He or she wants you to be comfortable enough to answer their questions in a natural manner.
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