2. Think about ‘the other side of the coin’. This is often a seriously missed opportunity to show what you can do. Here’s an example. If you are asked to talk about a street market you liked visiting, remember to say what you dislike about regular shops. If talking about a favourite piece of electronic equipment, mention the other choices that could have been your favourite but aren’t (second and third in the list). Doing this has two big benefits. It gives you chance to demonstrate more language to the examiner, but equally importantly, it contextualises, or gives background to the thing you’re discussing. It’s also a great way of explaining ‘why’ something is the case; so for instance a ‘favourite holiday’ in Spain can only be your favourite because of how it compares to your other holidays.
4. When talking about a personal experience, call on all your senses to help. What could you see, hear, feel, smell, or taste in a situation? Remember to include colours and sensations you felt. This all helps the examiner hear the best of your English and get a real feeling for what you are speaking about.
5. Think about the topic from the perspective of questions. Ask yourself what, why, where, when, who and how? This can stimulate ideas for your speaking and help prevent you ‘drying up’ before the end.
Obviously the different topics you might be given to speak about can call for very different answers but hopefully these tips will give you some confidence for when the examiner hands you the topic you are going to speak about. Good luck!