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
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.