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Common Mistakes in Level 3 Speaking

Updated: Jun 17, 2022

Preparing for a Level 3 speaking exam can be a long and stressful task. A lot of attention is rightly placed on grammar and vocabulary preparation; but what else can influence your result?

As a former examiner at the Central Examinations Commission in Łódź I examined literally hundreds of candidates over the 15 years I was there and would like to share with you some observations concerning common mistakes that Level 3 candidate make.

I have also prepared a short video

where I go into a little more detail:

Common mistakes in L3 Briefings!

  • Introducing the briefing as if it was to a civilian audience or a presentation, e.g. “Good morning ladies and gentlemen” instead of “Good morning Sir/Ma’am” : Always brief the commander (most senior officer in the room)

  • Repeating the briefing topic from the exam instructions word for word, or recitation of memorised introductions

  • Moving on to discussing options without presenting the situation first

  • Presenting only the advantages without disadvantages, or vice versa

  • Presentation of only one disadvantage and one advantage

  • Repeating the same arguments without supplementing them or introducing new ones

  • Not giving any justification for the choice made

Part One

  • Redundant introduction eg Ladies and gentlemen we have gathered here to discuss.... Usually followed by the candidate reading the instructions from the exam prompt

  • A lack of naturalness in the discussion; it is not like a normal natural conversation Advanced vocabulary or phrases used unnaturally, or incorrectly woven into very simple sentences

  • The discussion turns into two separate monologues; no ‘Active Listening’

  • No reference to the partner's statements, except “yes I agree with you”

  • The domination of one candidate - passivity of a candidate - only answering the partner's questions, does not initiate a discussion

  • No justification of opinions or avoiding a deeper analysis of an aspect by moving to the next one

Common mistakes in L3 Discussions! Part Two

  • No precise answers to the examiner's questions, off-topic answer resulting from incomprehension of the question or drawing the topic to one's own life experiences

  • The use of inversion in every sentence and using very official structures

  • An artificial use of formal linking devices more appropriate for written language , e.g. furthermore, moreover

The above list is available in a downloadable PDF below.

Mistakes in L3 Speaking PDF
Download PDF • 454KB

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