Using ‘thinking time’ techniques

In the Speaking test you may find some questions difficult to answer. This may be because the topic is unfamiliar to you or because you have never thought about that aspect of the topic before. You will therefore need time to think about your answer. However, you should avoid long periods of silence during the test, as the examiner may think you are unable to answer the question.

You can overcome this problem by using techniques that give you time to think of ideas to talk about. These techniques are useful because they help you to avoid lengthy pauses or hesitation.

Listen to the following examples showing various techniques Krystyna has used to give her more time to answer the question.

Example 1
KrystynaExaminer: 
Who do you think should be responsible for educating teenagers about drugs?’
Candidate Krystyna:
Well, that’s a difficult question … I think that both the school and the parents should be responsible …’

In this example, the candidate Krystyna says that the question is difficult to answer (‘Well, that’s a difficult question …’). This technique is useful because it helps you to avoid lengthy pauses or hesitation.

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