The GCSE Speaking Exam

The Speaking Exam can seem daunting but remember: no one is trying to catch you out, so try to stay calm, it represents only 25% of the total exam. What is more important, if you are taking our conversation lessons it will be a piece of cake.

Notice that your GCSE speaking exam will be conducted and recorded by your teacher.

The exam is in three parts. Before you start, you’ll get 12 minutes to prepare for the first two sections. During your preparation time, you can make notes to take in with you for the first two tasks. You can’t keep the notes for the general conversation!

     1.  Role-play (2 minutes)

You’ll get a card with a scenario on it. It’ll have five bullet points, three will be notes on what to say, in Spanish. The ! means you’ll be asked “unknown questions”, and ? shows you have to ask a question about the words next to it (look at an example).

The role-play card will tell you to use “” or “usted, but otherwise, use “usted to talk to your teacher.

     2.  Photo Card (3 minutes)

Before the exam, you’ll receive a photo and three questions relating to it (look at an example). Your teacher will ask you the three questions that are on the photo cards, as well as two more questions you haven’t seen.

     3.  Conversation (5-7 minutes)

You and your teacher will have a conversation. The conversation will be based on a theme that you’ve chosen, and the theme that hasn’t been covered on the photo card. You’ll have to ask your teacher at least one question.

Tips to answer your questions in the GCSE Speaking Exam

Try to be imaginative with your answers. You need to find ways to show off the full extent of your Spanish knowledge. For instance, if you are talking about your daily routine you must find the excuse to use different tenses:

Normalmente vuelvo a casa después del colegio, pero mañana será diferentes porque jugaré al tenis con mi amigo, espero que sea la revancha porque perdí el último partido.

I usually go home after school but tomorrow will be different because I will play tennis with my friend, I hope it will be a rematch because I lost the last game.

You see, in this small paragraph we have used a present, a future, subjunctive and a preterite, I am sure your teacher will become very impressed.  Talk also about other people, not just about yourself, It is fine to make people up if that helps.

For instance, in the previous paragraphs, we can introduce some small changes:

….mi amigo y yo jugaremos al tenis, espero que sea la revancha porque perdí el último partido. Es que mi amigo Ali juega muy bien, él va a entrenar a una escuela de tenis muy buena. Mis padres quieren que yo vaya también a esa escuela.

…my friend and I will play tennis, I hope it’s revenge because I lost the last match. My friend Ali plays very well, he is going to train at a very good tennis school. My parents want me to go to that school too.

Another good idea is that you give loads of opinions and reasons for your opinions:

La verdad yo no sé que hacer , a  mi me gustan los deportes, pero en este momento tengo mucho trabajo en el colegio. Además, lo que más me gustaría es ir a una escuela de  piragüismo. Es un deporte que me encanta ver en la televisión

The truth is I don’t know what to do, I like sports, but right now I have a lot of work at school. Also, what I would like the most is to go to a canoeing school. It is a sport that I love to watch television

Don’t worry to ask for help during the exam, but do it in Spanish!

  • If you are really stuck trying to think of a word or phrase, you can ask for help, ask long as you do it in Spanish, it would not be a problem.

For example, if you can’t remember how to say “homework” in Spanish, ask your teacher. You won’t get any marks for vocabulary your teacher’s given you through, but probably this word will help you to continue with your exposition.

¿Cómo se dice “homework” en español? (How do you say “homework” in Spanish?).

  • If you don’t hear something clearly, just ask:

¿Puedes repetir, por favor? (Can you repeat, please?).

  • You can also ask this if you’re desperately in need of time to think of an answer. It will help you to buy some extra time!

¿Puede darme un poco más de tiempo? (Can you give to me a little more of time?)

  • Don’t worry if you hear yourself make a mistake.

Given that we are only human, you’re bound to have a few slip-ups in the speaking exam. Don’t panic: it is completely natural. What’s important is how you deal with a mistake. Just correct yourself and move on!

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