As I write the sun is streaming in the window onto my back and it feels wonderful.  On days like today, all seems good with the world.  St Patrick’s Day is behind us and it is full steam ahead to the state exams in June.

Except the exams don’t actually start in June!  While the written examinations are a few months away yet, the oral language exams start next week.  It does seem unfair that this year they are well before the Easter holidays but c’est la vie (see what I did there?).

By now you will be ready for your test, with your revision done.  So, all you have to do is get through test, with these helpful tips:

#1 Remember that the examiner is your friend

They want you to do as well as you can.  If they ask you anything tricky in the orals it’s because up to that point they felt that you were doing really well and they wanted to develop that further with you. They are not there to make life difficult for you.

#2 It’s ok to be nervous 

The orals examiner is trained to expect it and will do everything they can to ensure that you get off to the best possible start.  Once you get going you’ll be great.  Smile and tell yourself that you are relaxed.  Remember, fake it till you make it.

#3 Breathe

In through your nose, deep into your lower tummy and slowly out through your mouth. 

#4 Practice listening to yourself 

Use your phone to record yourself speaking in the language you are being tested in and replay it.  Listen to your diction, are you clear when you speak?  When alone in the room with the examiner, sometimes people become self-conscious as they hear themselves speaking aloud in a very quiet room.  Practising hearing yourself speak will make that experience a lot easier.

#5 Know exactly what you want to say in your orals

Even if you are temporarily thrown off guard you can easily bring the conversation back on track again.

#6 Listen to your tempo

The conservation should flow naturally. If you have learned off certain set pieces, practise them so that they seem unrehearsed and natural.  Use your phone here too.

#7 Imagine you are finished your Orals

Imagine yourself 2 minutes after leaving the exam room and everything had gone even better than you had hoped.  See yourself telling everyone how well it went, listen to the words you’re using like easy, brilliant, so nice, everything I practised came up.  Feel the smile on your face as you do so.  Then ask yourself this rhetorical question; ‘What had to have happened for me to feel this good?’. You know what you need to do & this powerful exercise will remind you of any areas you need to brush up on.

#8 Believe in yourself 

You have the work done.  Now just do it.

For more on our Junior Cycle & Leaving Cert Study program, contact us on 087 2996054 or elaine@hummingbirdlearning.com .

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